II Corinthians 8:6-15

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 8:6-15

PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN GIVING

INTRODUCTION:

We all know that it costs a lot of money to run a local church. This message is not to be construed as a plea for money, but as a study in principles regarding Christian giving.

The principles of Christian giving found in II Corinthians 8-9 have nothing to do with tithing, the practice of giving one tenth of one's income to the Lord through the local church. What is under consideration in these chapters is a special offering for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. The principles found in these chapters are applicable to other special offerings received by the church but are not applicable to the weekly support of the local church and should not be understood as replacing the practice of tithing. In my commentary on I Corinthians 16 , I wrote,

We have already seen that -

I. GIVING IS A GRACE - 8:1

II Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.

We have also seen that -

II. GIVING IS TO BE SACRIFICIAL - 8:2

II Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

We have furthermore seen that -

III. GIVING IS TO BE DONE WILLINGLY - 8:3-4

II Corinthians 8:3-4 - (3) For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; (4) Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Finally we have seen that -

IV. GIVING IS TO BE DONE SPIRITUALLY - 8:5

II Corinthians 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

As we continue, we see that -

V. GIVING IS TO BE DONE VOLUNTARILY - 8:6-8

II Corinthians 8:6-8 - (6) Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. (7) Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. (8) I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

According to verse 6, Paul encouraged Titus to bring the offering from the church at Corinth to completion.

Insomuch that suggests as a result that. It suggests as a result of what the Macedonian believers have done.

We desired Titus, who was one of Paul's helpers, suggests we strongly urged (i.e. urged, appealed to, exhorted, or encouraged) Titus.

That introduces what Paul desired or urged Titus to do.

As is just as.

He had begun is He began beforehand.

So he would also finish is, So he would also bring to an end or, So he would also end.

In you means in you Corinthian believers.

What he would bring to an end is the same grace, by which Paul means the same gracious gift. A good start in gathering this collection had been made when Titus was in Corinth, and it was now time for Titus to finish what he had started.

II Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

In verse 7, consistent with their abounding in everything, Paul urges the Corinthian believers to abound in their giving.

The word translated therefore is the word ordinarily translated but when introducing a strong contrast. Here, however, it is used in conjunction with see in the sense of then or now.

As introduces a comparison.

As ye abound is, As you are abounding, As you are outstanding, As you are prominent, As you excel, or, As you are excelling.

In every thing indicates where the Corinthian believers abound or excel. It is a generalization; and specific examples of every thing are cited in the words which follow: in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us. This is just a partial list of things in which the Corinthian believers excelled or abounded.

The first example of their abounding is in faith, i.e. in belief or in trust.

And utterance is, And in utterance (i.e. in word, in speech, or in speaking).

And knowledge is and in knowledge and speaks of an intellectual grasp or comprehension of something.

And in all diligence speaks of an earnest commitment in discharging an obligation or experience and is understood in the sense of in all eagerness, in all earnestness, in all willingness, or in all zeal.

And in your love to us, where love is the sort of love which gives itself completely on behalf of another without expecting anything in return, refers to the love the Corinthian believers have for Paul.

See that ye abound is, See that you are abounding or See that you are excelling.

In this grace also is in this gracious gift also, which is referring to the collection for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem.

II Corinthians 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

According to verse 8, Paul is not commanding the Corinthian believers to give but is urging them on the basis of what the Macedonian believers have done to demonstrate that they genuinely love the Lord.

I speak not by commandment is I am not speaking by commandment and suggests I am not speaking in accordance with an authoritative directive, I am not speaking by command, I am not speaking by order, or I am not speaking by injunction. It means that Paul is not ordering the Corinthian believers to do something.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to I speak not by commandment.

Paul is speaking or writing by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

By occasion is via or through in the sense of by virtue of.

The forwardness suggests the earnest commitment in the discharge of an obligation in the sense of the eagerness, the earnestness, the diligence, the willingness, or the zeal.

Of others is others of a different sort and suggests the commitment or zeal of people from Macedonia rather than the commitment or zeal of people from Achaia.

And introduces a second reason for Paul's writing II Corinthians: to prove the sincerity of your love.

To prove is understood in the sense of in order to prove or for the purpose of proving. Prove implies drawing a conclusion about worth on the basis of testing in the sense of approve or approving. Its focus is on the result of this testing.

The sincerity is the genuineness, and of your love suggests of the Corinthian believers' love. Love is the sort of love which gives itself completely on behalf of someone else without expecting anything in return. It is easy to talk about loving someone; but talk does not always demonstrate the existence of genuine love. The Corinthian believers' participation in giving to the financial need of the impoverished saints in Jerusalem will demonstrate that their love for these saints is genuine and not just talk.

VI. GIVING IS TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE SET BY CHRIST - 8:9

II Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

According to verse 9, Christ's grace is that in spite of His being rich, He became poor in order that believers might be rich.

For ye know is, For you have knowledge of or, For you have come to know.

The grace speaks of a beneficient disposition of someone in the sense of the favor.

Of our Lord Jesus Christ indicates that it is Jesus Christ's grace, which Paul proceeds to explain.

That though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.

Though he was rich is understood in the sense of although He was rich or although He was wealthy.

Yet for your sakes indicates the reason Christ became poor. Since the Scriptures clearly teach that Christ died for all persons, it is also true for the sake of all believers as well as for the sake of all unbelievers everywhere.

He became poor, which refers to Christ, is, He became poor as a beggar or, He became very poor or beggarly.

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

Ye is you (plural).

Through his poverty, where his refers to Christ, is through His beggarliness or through His extreme poverty.

Might be rich is might become rich. In this context, might be rich is understood in the sense of might be spiritually rich as a result of salvation. Christ voluntarily gave up all of heaven's glory in order to become a man to die on the cross to pay for the sins of all humanity.

VII. GIVING IS TO BE DONE ACCORDING TO ABILITY - 8:10-15

II Corinthians 8:10-15 - (10) And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. (11) Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. (12) For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (13) For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: (14) But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: (15) As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

In verses 10-11 Paul gives his advice to the Corinthian believers that they should complete their offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem, which they began a year earlier. It should be remembered that giving to this offering is in addition to tithing. God expects every believer to tithe. Giving beyond the tithe is to be done according to ability.

And herein is and in this and suggests in this matter of the collection.

I give my advice is I am giving my advice, my opinion, my judgment, or my way of thinking.

For is used to introduce a reason or explanation and is understood in the sense of because.

The content of this is to complete the collection which they had begun a year earlier.

Because this is expedient is because this is good, because this is useful, or because this is helpful.

For you is for you Corinthian believers.

Who have begun before is such ones who began beforehand.

Not only to do indicates that they had begun to gather a collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. It speaks of being active in gathering a collection.

But also to be forward suggests having something in mind for themselves and is used of purpose or resolve in the sense of to will, to wish, to want, or to be ready.

A year ago is from last year, from a year ago, or since last year.

II Corinthians 8:11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.

Verse 11 completes Paul's advice to the Corinthian believers that they should complete their offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem, which they had begun to receive a year earlier. Now is emphatic, and therefore means so also, similarly, or likewise. Now therefore perform suggests likewise finish something already begun in the sense of end, bring to an end, or finish.

What they are to finish is the doing of it.

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

As there was is just as (there was).

A readiness suggests an exceptional interest in being of service, in the sense of a willingness. Readiness is translated a willing mind in verse 12 and a ready mind in verse 19.

To will is the same phrase translated to be forward in verse 10 and suggests to have something in mind for oneself. It is used of purpose or resolve in the sense of to wish, to want, or to be ready.

So introduces the clause being compared with as there was a readiness to will: so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.

A performance is the same term translated perform in the previous phrase and suggests to finish something already begun in the sense of end, bring to an end, or finish.

Also is understood with so and suggests in addition to there being a readiness to will, there may also be a performance of what has been willed.

Out of that which ye have hints that the believers in Corinth may have been waiting to complete the collection, hoping that they may have been able to give more. It suggests that they should act on the basis of what they have rather than on the basis of what they might eventually have. For some reason the Corinthian believers had begun to receive the collection for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem but had not finished what they started.

II Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

According to verse 12, a mind willing to give is accepted in accordance with what he has rather than in accordance with what he does not have.

For is used to introduce an explanation and is understood in the sense of because. It provides the reason the Corinthian believers should give what they currently have to the collection rather than waiting so that they might possibly be able to give more in the future.

If introduces a condition whose construction indicates that, for purposes of discussion, it is assumed to be true. There may or may not be a willing mind, however; so if is understood in the sense of assuming that.

There be first a willing mind suggests having an exceptional interest in being of service and is understood in the sense of willingness, readiness, or goodwill. It suggests that someone is willing.

It is accepted is (it is) acceptable.

According to that a man hath is according to whatever someone has.

And not according to that he hath not is (and) not according to what he does not have. It means that the amount of the gift is not what matters but the desire of the heart to participate in this collection. God does not need believers' money. He wants their hearts.

II Corinthians 8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.

According to verse 13, Paul desires that all believers everywhere participate in giving offerings rather than that only the Corinthian believers put themselves in financial jeopardy to meet the needs of the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. God is not on an austerity budget or in any danger of going bankrupt. He is not in any way dependent upon the believers giving more than they can afford to give.

For introduces Paul's explanation of why the Corinthian believers should give what they have in hand and not wait, hoping that they might be able to give more.

As indicated by the italics, I mean, has been supplied by the translators.

Not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.

Not that is used to introduce a purpose clause and is understood in the sense of not in order that or not for the purpose that.

Other men be eased is literally relief (be) for others.

And ye burdened is literally, difficult circumstances for you.

II Corinthians 8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.

Paul indicates in verse 14 that churches should come to the aid of other churches which are in need. In this situation, the churches in Greece might give money to the church in Jerusalem. On another occasion, the church in Jerusalem might be able to give to churches in Greece.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to what Paul does not mean in verse 13 and what he does mean in verse 14.

By an equality is by equality or out of equality.

That now at this time is (that) at the present time and speaks of the time when the church in Jerusalem needed help and the believers in Corinth were able to help.

Your abundance is your fullness.

May be a supply for their want suggests (may a be a supply) for their need or deficiency.

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

Their abundance (i.e. their fullness) speaks of another possible occasion in the future.

Abundance is the same word translated fullness in the first part of this verse.

Also may be suggests a different possibility in the future. The day may come when the Corinthian believers may have need and the Jerusalem saints will be able to help them with their need.

As indicated by the italics, a supply has been supplied by the translators.

For your want is for your need (or deficiency).

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

There may be equality is equality may happen or equality may come to pass.

II Corinthians 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

To establish equality in giving, Paul in verse 15 quotes Exodus 16:18 , which reads,

(18) And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

The context in Exodus 16:18 speaks of gathering manna. Paul takes this principle and applies it to the situation where the Corinthian believers had an ability to help and the Jerusalem believers had need for help.

As it is written introduces this quotation from Exodus 16:18 . It is appealing to the Scriptures as authoritative. It is literally, Just as it has been written; and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It was written by Moses in the past, and it remains written for all to read in the present.

He that had gathered much is the one who (had gathered) much, i.e. more than he needed.

Had nothing over suggests did not have more than is necessary or did not have too much.

And he that had gathered little is the one who (had gathered) less than he needed.

Had no lack suggests that he was not in possession of relatively less and is understood in the sense of did not have less or did not have too little. Regardless of how much the individual gathered, God made the equality. They did not have more or less than they needed.

Someone will say, "Well, that let's me off the hook. I just can't afford to give. After all, my family must come first. God wouldn't want me to neglect them."

Someone placed a clipping from a magazine on my desk a number of years ago. It said, "Funny how a S10.00 bill looks so big when you take it to worship, but so small when you take it to the supermarket?

Funny how reading the church bulletin is a chore, but reading a 30-page newspaper every day is a habit you've grown to enjoy.

Funny how long an hour is spent in worship, but how short it is when golfing, fishing, or attending a ball game.

Funny how we applaud when the ball game goes overtime, but we complain if the worship hour is over the regular time.

Funny how laborious it is to read a chapter in the Bible, but how easy it is to read a 300-page novel.

Funny how people scramble to get a front seat at the ball game, but scramble to get a back seat at church.

Funny how we can't fit a gospel meeting in our schedule with a year to plan for it, but we can adjust our schedule for other events at a moment's notice.

Funny that parents are so concerned about school lessons but are completely unconcerned about Bible lessons.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven, providing he/she doesn't have to believe, or to think, or to say, or to do anything.

All of this would be funny . . . IF . . . it weren't so tragic!"

Tithing is the place to start. Everyone has that ability.

It was practiced before the law - Gen. 14:20; 28:22

It was practiced under the law.

There is no Scriptural reason to believe that tithing is not the place for new believers to begin giving today.

Some are able to give far more than 10%, and they do.