Summary: An explanation of faith promise missions.
“God’s Plan for Financing World Evangelism”
2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 10-12
This morning we come to climatic part of our mission’s conference. Today we make our commitments concerning our individual commitments to missions for the coming year. There can be no mission work accomplished through the local church apart from our faithfulness to give financially that others might hear the gospel. First Baptist Church uses a biblical plan called “faith promise” to determine how much we as a church will be able to give to world missions in the coming year. Some of you are new to the family and so this morning I want to share with your “God’s plan for financing world evangelism.” Look with me this morning at 2 Corinthians chapter eight where will find the most through examination of stewardship in the entire bible.
After waiting a year for the Corinthian church to fulfill their promise regarding their promised offering. Paul writes 2 Corinthians 8 to challenge them. In order to effectively get the message into their hearts, he begins with an example of what the Macedonian churches had done. Remember, the Macedonians had participated in this offering because of the report they had received from Paul about Corinth’s promises. Paul tells us about this in 2 Cor. 9:1-5, “Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; (2) for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. (3) Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; (4) lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. (5) Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.” (NKJV)
Paul begins to lay the groundwork for the Corinthian believers participation in the offering by citing to them the example of the Macedonian believers in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: (2) that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. (3) For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, (4) imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. (5) And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” (NKJV)
As we notice the example of the Macedonians giving to the needs of others began with the recognition that they had been given a great deal themselves as recipients of grace of God bestowed on them. Paul repeats the word for “grace” seven times in the eight chapter and three more times in the ninth chapter.
Notice that Paul says that there are three parts to the equation: that the great trial of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty. When Paul added the three factors together the outcome was rich generosity. Here is a mathematical equation that make absolutely no sense to the world or even to the Christian who is not surrendered, that is affliction + poverty+ joy = liberality or generosity. The word “liberality” means to be free from ulterior motives. It is uncalculating. It was just sheer unadulterated joy of giving that motivated their hearts.
We need to note that this giving is obedience in the face of trying circumstances and overwhelming difficulties. The Macedonian churches were not giving out of their abundance: rather they were giving generously out of their poverty. The Macedonians make it absolutely clear that our stewardship does not depend upon our circumstances. It depends upon the quality of our relationship with Christ. We give because like the Macedonians we have been recipients of his amazing grace.
Verse four says, “imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints,” another translation of this would be “begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints.” Notice that the Macedonians considered it a privilege to give to the aid of brothers and sisters in need.Nobody asked them to give – they did it on their own and even pleaded with the apostles for the “privilege” of sharing in this way.