SERVANTS' MINISTRY, Inc.
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Theme: Example of Christian giving
The subject in this chapter now changes from the comfort of God, to Christian giving. In the first seven chapters of Second Corinthians, Paul spoke on the comfort of God, such a comforting subject! I truly hope and pray that it has brought comfort to your soul, and strength for you to stand fast in your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that you know, deep down in your heart that you have an amazing Helper Who can and will assist you in your Christian life.
In this chapter, Paul leaves the subject of God’s awesome comfort, changing the subject to how a Christian should give to the church. He now talks about the collection for the poor saints of Jerusalem (Rom.15:26). The subject changes from Christian living to Christian giving, because giving is just as vital a part as living.
This next section on giving, will include chapters 8 and 9, and could be divided this way:
#1. Example of Christian Giving (2 Cor.8:1-6)
#2. An appeal, plea, urging to Christian Giving (2 Cor.8:7-15)
#3. Description of Christian Giving (2 Cor.8:16 through 2 Cor.9:5)
#4. Encouragement to Christian Giving (2 Cor.9:6-15)
These two chapters give us the most extended and complete section on Christian giving that we have in the entire Bible. In reality, all that we need to know is here. There are NO set rules, but there are certain clear-cut beliefs for giving to the church. That is not what I thought, you may say. I thought we were to tithe to the church. No my friend, that is NOT the rule for today! It might be a principle that you would like to follow, IF you so desire, but it is absolutely NOT a rule for anyone today.
See end of this chapter for: Should I tithe?
The word that is very important in this section, is the word grace. In chapter 8, the word grace occurs five times, and it occurs twice in chapter 9 . . . seven times in these two chapters.
(2 Cor.8:1,6,7, 9,19; 9:8,14) The subject is the grace (beauty, loveliness) of giving.
An Example of Christian Giving (2 Cor. 8:1-6)
2 Cor. 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; (KJV)
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia . . . we make known to you; we inform you. We do you to wit means we cause you to know; we witness to you the grace of God. The reason for Paul informing them of the liberality of the churches of Macedonia was to excite them to similar generosity. Of the grace of God . . . seems to mean the kindness that God had shown them in rousing a spirit of generosity, and in enabling them to contribute to help supply the needs of the poor saints at Jerusalem (Rom.15:26). The word grace is sometimes used in the sense of a gift, and the phrase gift of God, some have supposed must mean a very great gift, where the words of God may be meant to mark anything very outstanding or excellent, as in the phrase cedars of God (Eze.31:8), and mountain of God (Ex.3:1), meaning very great cedars and a very great mountain. Some critics have supposed that this means that the churches of Macedonia had been able to contribute quite largely to the aid of the poor saints at Jerusalem. But it seems to me that it could mean that the phrase grace of God means that God had bestowed on the Macedonians grace to give according to their ability in this cause.
The grace of God is the passion of God to share all His goodness with others. Grace means that God wants to bestow upon you good things! He wants to bring you into the likeness of His Son. This is the grace of which Paul writes in Ephesians: Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. (KJV)
We WERE lost sinners; we had absolutely NOTHING to offer God for our salvation! So He saved us by His love, His kindness, His mercy and His amazing GRACE! He wanted to save us, because He loves us, but He simply could not randomly forgive us because He is a HOLY God. He had to provide a Way, and that Way was that He sent His only begotten Son to die as a Perfect Sacrifice for us on the cross (Lev.17:11; Heb.9:22).
John 3:15-16 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
My dear friend, God is in the business of GIVING, not receiving. The Bible makes that very clear. It seems to me that some people think that God is poor and helpless, and that He needs our gifts, our money to see Him through. How utterly ridiculous! God is NOT poor, nor is He helpless! Psalm 50:10-12 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. (KJV) . . . God does NOT get hungry. God does NOT need anything.
The early church considered giving to be a grace. It was a passion, an overwhelming desire to share the things of God with others, which is RARE today!
Paul is writing specifically of a local situation, and we need to understand that. The Jerusalem church had been the first to give out the Gospel of Jesus Christ . . . the Gospel had begun in Jerusalem. Jesus had told the disciples they should be witnesses unto Him beginning in Jerusalem (Lk.24:47). The apostles loved Jerusalem, until persecution drove them from it and scattered them abroad, sending them into Judea and Samaria and finally to the uttermost parts of the earth. The church in Jerusalem was weakened because of persecution, plus the fact that there was a famine going on, and the church was poverty-stricken.
Now as Paul went on his third missionary journey, he collected an offering for the church in Jerusalem. That is sort of mind boggling. The mission churches were sending an offering to help the mother church. Today it is just the opposite. The home church sends out missionaries and supports them out in the foreign field. But in Paul's day the foreign field was supporting the home church.
Paul was not yet able to go to Corinth; so in this second Letter he sends instructions to them about how to give. Because he intends to go to Corinth, he tells them that he does not want any kind of promotion for giving . . . he does not want a collection taken up while he is there. He does not want to spend time talking about money when he is there. This collection was to be taken beforehand and then, when he arrived, he could spend his time teaching them the Word of God.
This should give you an idea of the local situation and the background of the instructions in this Letter. The facts of the local situation have now passed into history, but it is my humble opinion that the principles which Paul lays down in these chapters still abide. I believe they are as sharp and fresh today as they were when Paul first gave them.
When you place your trust in God, and do your best to obey Him, His grace will shine on you! We have had a prison ministry since 1996. We have NEVER asked anyone for money, and we NEVER will! The mention of money turns people away! God has always taken care of our needs, and He always will! WHY would we ever doubt a God who cannot lie? (Tit.1:2). These money hungry preachers who are always begging for money are in my eyes, are NOT true believers, or they would trust God to supply their NEEDS . . . not their wants! They do not NEED million dollar homes, jet planes and a garage full of high dollar automobiles! See: Filthy Rich preachers: http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_cults_rich_preachers.1.htm
In the first verse Paul refer to the Macedonian believers as examples in Christian giving, and this referred to the church at Philippi. In verse 2, he lists their motives and methods of giving.
2 Cor. 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. (KJV)
How that in a great trial of affliction . . . when it might be thought that they were unable to give; when many would think that they needed help from others; or when it might be thought that their minds would be completely absorbed with their own concerns. The trial to which Paul refers to here was no doubt some persecution which was stirred up against them, most likely by the Jews (Acts 16:20; 17:5).
The abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality . . . their joy came from the hopes and Promises of the Gospel. Even though their persecutions overflowed, their joy abounded, and the result of their joy was seen in the generous contribution which they have made. Their joy was NOT suppressed by their persecution, and they cheerfully contributed to help others. Their deep poverty . . . the Macedonians, although poor and persecuted, rejoiced at the opportunity of doing good to those who were more impoverished and persecuted than they were.
Generousity means simplicity (Rom.12:8; 2 Cor.1:12; 11:3); singleness (Eph.6:5; Col.3:22); liberality (2 Cor.8:2; 9:13); and bountifulness (2 Cor.9:11).
Liberality commanded regarding:
#1. God (Ex.22:29-30; 25:1-8; 35:4-29; 36:3-6; 38:8; Lev.19:5; Num.35:8).
#2. Israel's feasts (Deut.12:11-19).
#3. Ministers, preachers (Deut.12:19; 14:27-29; 18:1-8; Pro.3:9; Mal.3; 1 Cor.9; Gal.6:6).
#4. The poor (Deut.24:19-22; Ps.41:1-3; 112:5,9; Pro.11:24; 13:7; 14:21; 19:17; 22:9; 28:27; Mat.6:1-4; 19:21; 25:34-46; Lk.3:10-11; 6:38; 11:41; 12:33-34; Acts 20:35; Rom.12:8-13; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; 2 Cor.8 & 9; Eph.4:28; 1 Tim.6:18; Heb.6:10; 13:16; 1 Jn.3:17).
Examples of liberality:
#1. Pharaoh (Gen.45:18-20)
#2. Israelites (Ex.35:21-29; 36:3-7)
#3. David (2 Sam.8:11; 1 Ki.7:51)
#4. Barzillai (2 Sam.17:27-29; 19:32)
#5. Araunah (2 Sam.24:22-23)
#6. Israelites (1 Chron.29:6-9,16-17)
#7. Solomon (1 Ki.4:29; 6:1-38)
#8. Queen of Sheba (1 Ki.10:10)
#9. The Magi (Mat.2:11)
#10. The centurion (Lk.7:4-5)
#11. The good Samaritan (Lk.10:33)
#12. The poor widow (Lk.21:2-4)
2 Cor. 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; (KJV)
For to their power . . . to the utmost of their ability.
I bear record . . . Paul had founded those churches, and had spent much time with them. He was therefore well qualified to bear testimony in regard to their condition.
Yea, and beyond their power . . . far beyond what could have been expected of them; or beyond what it would have been thought possible in their condition. They were willing to give more than they were well able. This shows the strong interest which they had in the church at Jerusalem, and their anxious desire they had to help others.
Of themselves . . . their actions were free will, free choice; self-motivated; voluntarily; and on their own accord. They did not wait to be urged or pressed to do it. They rejoiced that they had the opportunity to do it. They came forward of their own accord and made the contribution. God loveth a cheerful giver, (2 Cor.9:7); and from all the accounts that we have of these churches in Macedonia, it is clear that they were very well-known for their cheerful generosity.
2 Cor. 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. (KJV)
Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift . . . earnestly pleading to take the contribution, and convey it to the poor and afflicted saints in Jerusalem.
And take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints . . . they begged us and pleaded for the privilege of having a part in helping God's people in Jerusalem.
2 Cor. 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. (KJV)
And this they did, not as we hoped . . . they did not give only what we expected, because we knew their poverty and persecution, and we expected only a small amount from them.
But first gave their own selves to the Lord . . . first, they made a complete dedication of themselves and all that they had to the Lord. They kept nothing back. They felt that all they had was His. And where a people honestly and truly devote themselves to God, they will find NO difficulty in having the means to contribute to the cause of charity.
And unto us by the will of God . . . Paul says that they also gave themselves to us, to be directed in regard to the contribution to be made. They complied with our wishes and followed our directions. The phrase, by the will of God seems to mean that God moved them to this, or that it was to be traced to his direction and providence. It is just another instance where Paul traces everything that is right and good to the agency and direction of God.
It is indeed sad in today’s world, that when people open their hearts and wallets to the suffering and the starving ones in the world, that these persecuted ones rarely get the full benefit, if any at all! The fat-cats running the nations fill their bulging bellies and bank accounts instead! I look to the day when His will shall be done: Mat. 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (KJV) One day God will put a STOP to all wickedness! Even so, come Lord Jesus (Rev.22:20).
2 Cor. 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. (KJV)
Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also . . . maybe this means, we were encouraged by this unexpected success from the Macedonians. We were surprised at the extent of their generosity, and encouraged by this, that we asked Titus to go among you and finish the collection which you had planned, and which you had begun. We were anxious that you should perform what you had promised and intended; and we asked Titus that he might go and finish the collection among you.
Paul tells them that the grace which motivated the Macedonians should be the same grace that should motivate the Corinthians (and us)! The real test of any person lies in what he gives. Someone has said there are three books that are needed for worship: the first book is the Bible, the second is the hymn book, and the third is the pocketbook. Giving is a part of our worship to God. If we do not have this grace of giving, we should go to God in prayer and ask Him to give us a generous, sharing spirit.
An appeal, plea, urging Christian Giving (2 Cor.8:7-15)
Paul Urges the Corinthians to be Generous
2 Cor. 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. (KJV)
Therefore, as ye abound in every thing . . . (1 Cor.1:5-8). Paul never hesitated to praise Christians when it could be done with truth, and in the fact that they were outstanding in some of the Christian duties and graces.
In faith . . . (2 Cor.1:24; 5:7; Rom.5:2; 11:20; 1 Cor.15:1; Eph.6:14-16; 1 Pet.5:8-9), in the full belief of the truth and duty of the Gospel.
And utterance . . . in the ability to instruct others; and maybe also referring to their gift of speaking foreign languages (tongues 1 Cor.14).
And knowledge . . . the knowledge of God, and of His Truth in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And in all diligence . . . diligence is readiness and persistence in the discharge of every duty. Paul had full proof of their readiness to comply with his commands, because of the case of discipline (1 Cor.5), to which so often reference is made in this Letter.
And in your love to us . . . displayed by the readiness with which you received our commands (2 Cor.7:4,6,7,11;16). See that ye abound in this grace (giving) also. The importance of spiritual endowments of any kind, or in any of the traits of the Christian character, should lead to great compassion and kindness, and the character is not complete unless generosity is shown.
Paul praises them because of their past actions. They abound in faith; they were able to witness; they had knowledge and were diligent, and they had love for Paul and for the other workers. Now he asks them to abound in this grace of giving also.
From this verse on to verse 16, Paul urges the Corinthians of the duty of generosity.
Seven blessings of the Corinthian church:
#1. Enriched in everything (2 Cor.8:7)
#2. Abounded in faith (2 Cor.8:7; 12:9)
#3. Abounded in the gift of utterance: tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy (2 Cor.8:7; 1 Cor.12:10; 14:1-40)
#4. Abounded in knowledge (2 Cor.8:7; 12:8)
#5. Abounded in all diligence, readiness and persistence in the discharge of every duty (2 Cor.8:7; 7:11)
#6. Abounded in love (2 Cor.8:7; 1 Cor.13:1-13)
#7. Abounded in the grace of giving (2 Cor.8:6-7)
2 Cor. 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. (KJV)
I speak not by commandment . . . (1 Cor.7:6). This does not mean that he had no direct command from God in the matter, but that he did not mean to command or boss them; he did not intend to demand what they should give. Paul used only moral motives, and urged them to consider that which he had done to persuade rather than to command them to give (verse 10). He was trying to persuade them to give generously, NOT because it was a command and law, but by showing them what others had given who had far less ability and fewer advantages than they had. People cannot be prompted to give to charity by command, or by a spirit of authority. The only successful appeal to give, must touch their hearts and conscience. My friend, if the apostle Paul did NOT take upon himself the authority to command in matters of Christian giving . . . NO preacher, NO church has the right to do so! And NO one should tell the congregation that God told them (in a dream or vision), that they all should give a set amount for a certain project, like one preacher did several years ago. That would be a TOTAL LIE! The Bible has NO such place where the apostles ever did such a thing! NOT everyone can give what the person next to him can give. We are to give “according to what we have” (verse 12).
But by occasion of the forwardness of others . . . Paul was giving the example of the churches of Macedonia as a way to encourage them to give generously to the cause.
And to prove the sincerity of your love . . . Paul does not specify here what love he refers to, was it love to God, love to Christ, love to himself, or love to the church in general? It may be that he meant that being generous in helping the poor and afflicted people of God would be the best evidence of their sincerity of their love to God, to the Redeemer, to him, and to the church.
Comment: I am talking about those people who are really in need of help . . . NOT those who are well abled, who refuse to work and who sit on their behinds and expect the government or the church to support them!
2 Cor. 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. (KJV)
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 . . . the riches of the Redeemer referred to here, are contrasted to the poverty that He willingly took upon Himself, so clearly revealed when He dwelt among men.
Paul always illustrated every subject, and enforced every duty, if it could be done, by referring to the life and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. The idea of this verse is very clear . . . that being to show the duty of giving freely and generously to those in need. The fact that the Lord Jesus was willing to become poor so that He might benefit others was what Paul had in mind! The Lord Jesus Christ, the Owner and Manager of the Universe, who possessed ALL things, was willing to leave His exalted and perfectly safe place in the bosom of the Father (Jn.1:18) and to become poor (Lk.9:58), so that we could become rich in the blessings of the Gospel, in the means of God’s amazing grace, to be heirs of all things (Heb.1:2); and that we who are in this way benefited, and who have such an Example as Jesus, should be willing to be generous to help those in need around us. The grace of giving . . . the love, the caring, the compassion, the kindness, the goodness and the mercy must accompany true faith. Jesus’ Coming in this manner to benefit sinners was proof of the highest love (Jn.10:15; 15:13). Yet for your sakes . . . That is, for your sakes as a part of the great family that was to be redeemed. In what respect it was for their sake, Paul immediately adds when he says, it was that they might be made rich. It was not for His own sake, it was for our sake.
Christ Jesus, the Lord, became poor, in the following ways:
#1. He chose being a Servant, a position in life that was usually that of poverty. Phil. 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (KJV)
#2. He was from a poor family. He was from the family and lineage of David, the king (Mat.1:6), but the family had fallen into decay, and was poor. In the Old Testament He is beautifully symbolized as a shoot or sucker that starts up from the root of a decaying tree (Isa.11:1).
#3. His entire life was a life of poverty. He had no home (Lk.9:58), He chose to be dependent on the assistance of the friends that he drew around Him. He had no farms or plantations; He had no magnificent palaces; He had no money hoarded in useless reserves or in banks; He had no property. His own mother He sent to live with one of His disciples (Jn.19:27), and the sum of His personal property seems to have been the clothing on His Back, and which was divided among the soldiers that crucified Him (Jn.19:23). He formed no plan to become rich, and He often spoke with deep seriousness about the dangers that go along with the effort to accumulate wealth and property (Mat.6:19-21; 13:22; 19:16-29; Mk.4:19; 10:17-25; Lk.12:15,33-34; 18:18-25).
#4. He died poor. He made no will in regard to his property, for he had none! Jesus left NOTHING physical or material, but what He left us was much more valuable than all the gold in the world! Our inheritance is eternal life in Heaven (Jn.14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:3-5). Thank You Jesus!
2 Cor. 8:10 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. (KJV)
And herein I give my advice . . . Paul’s advice was, to give to those that were in need, was matter of principle, for it was what the law of God and nature did require. I give my advice, does not mean that he commanded them . . . friends may advise us to what is our duty is, but to command us to do something is different.
For this is expedient for you . . . expedient is beneficial, convenient, practical; for your profit, or for your honor. A law, rule or command will NOT force people to be generous. It is only love from the heart, love to God and love to His people that will let people willingly be generous with what they have.
Who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago . . . Paul proves the expediency (convenience) of it from the concern of their reputation, that they might not be thought to have gone backward, or to become weary of well doing. But also to be forward . . . willing. They were willing in this, and they set about it with a vigorous and determined zeal and courage. There was a firm determination in the thing, and a willingness of their hearts in it which showed that they were motivated by Christian love. Consistency and their own reputation now demanded that they should complete what they had begun. A year ago . . . it was about a year before this that the apostle Paul, in his first Letter (1 Cor.16:1-3), had urged them to make this contribution in this way and there is no doubt that they, in obedience to his directions, had begun to lay up in store for this compassionate purpose. He now wishes them to finish this good work, and to show that they were not led to it by the example of the Macedonians, seeing that they had been the first to move in this contribution.
2 Cor. 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. (KJV)
Now therefore perform the doing of it; as there was a readiness to will . . . Paul now tells them to get done and not to be satisfied with just having started it. Do not think that the intention alone was sufficient, or that you are now released from the obligation. A year has gone by; but the need of the aid for the poor had not stopped. The feeling here is, that if we have felt it our duty to aid in a cause of kindness, and have started it, and was interrupted in completing our purpose, we should grab the first favorable chance to finish what we had planned. We should not regard ourselves as released from our obligation.
So there may be a performance also out of that which ye have . . . according to your ability.
Perform the doing: (1 Tim.6:18-19; Heb.13:16; Jam.2:15-19)
It should be in proportion to your means, as is stated in the next verse.
2 Cor. 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. (KJV)
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 . . . IF there is a readiness, a willingness, a desire to give, and IF the heart is in it, then the offering will be acceptable to God, no matter what you are able to give, be it much or little. A willing heart and mind is the first consideration to God! NO donation, no matter how large, will be acceptable where willingness does not exist! And NONE, no matter how small, will ever be turned away if the heart is willing. Willingness is that which God mainly desires, and without that, everything else will be offensive, to Him, hypocritical, and vain (2 Cor.9:7).
The value of religious offerings in God's eyes is NOT measured by their greatness, nor by magnificence, but instead by the spiritual motive that originates them.
#1. God is absolutely and completely independent of His creatures. The gold and silver are already His. If he had need of anything, He would create them. The benefit of religious offerings belongs to mankind! The one who offers is the one blest. Spiritual benefits are NOT to be measured or weighed in earthly scales!
#2. Ill-gotten gains are always rejected by God. To accept such would be to plot wickedness, but it is often for this profane end that men bring them. It seems that they hope to make the remainder of what they have safer, as they desire to be respectable. They want to take God into an unholy partnership with themselves. My friend, to Almighty God, this is a complete and utter abomination! A rotten, putrid stink in His nose!
#3. To God, all religious offerings are measured by their moral worth. The widow’s mite was estimated by the TRUE love that inspired it. To God, her offering was a solid gold nugget of spiritual affection. It is RARE that the love of the human heart been so completely converted into a material gift, as was this poor widow! Luke 21:1-4 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. (KJV)
That widow would have poured out her very soul to God if she could have. It is this genuine and real love that God values. Any offering that is not the result of the heart’s grateful feeling, is worth NOTHING to God!
According to that a man hath . . . no one is required to give what he does not have! His obligation is based on his ability. His offering is acceptable to God according to the willingness of his heart, and NOT according to the narrowness of his fortune.
See end of chapter for: Should I Tithe?
2 Cor. 8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: (KJV)
For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened . . . Paul tells them that he does not intend that others should be eased, at the expense of their being burdened by giving more that they could afford. Paul here simply impresses upon them the duty of giving according to their means. Paul in no way, intended that the entire burden should come upon them, causing them to be afflicted. Paul, nor God means that they (or us) should impoverish themselves in order that others may live affluently.
2 Cor. 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: (KJV)
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want . . . on just and equal principles. That now at this time . . . at that present time the abundance of the Corinthians might be a supply for the Jerusalem saints’ needs. Corinth was then able to give generously, but many of the other churches were not. They were poor, and perhaps persecuted and afflicted . . . but there might be a time when this would be reversed. Corinth might be lessened from its being well off, and might itself one day become dependent on the help of others. NONE of us knows what tomorrow may bring! The church in Corinth, therefore, should be generous in their now condition of success, that others would be willing to aid them should their condition ever be such as to need it.
The New Testament teaching on this subject is as follows:
#1. All giving is voluntary. A person's property is his own. It is in his own power to retain or give away. Giving must be voluntary. Giving is the fruit of love. It is a moral duty, and the hesitation to give is proof of the absence of the love of God (1 Jn.3:17-18). It is a duty where only the individual himself must perform on his own.
#2. The reason for giving is to relieve poverty. The equality is not an equality as to the amount of property, but equal relief from the burden of want. Paul says: let your abundance be imparted to their want, an equal relief from want or destitution.
#3. While all men are brothers, and the poor are proper objects of charity whether they are Christians or not, there is a special obligation resting on the members of Christ to relieve the needs of their fellow believers. We are to do good to everyone, says the apostle Paul, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Gal.6:1).
#4. A fourth rule for believers is designed to prevent any abuse of the brotherhood of Christians. The poor have absolutely NO right to depend on, or demand the gifts of the rich because they are brothers. 2 Thes. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV) . . . There were those who were willing to be idle, and who needed the serious warning of Paul to prompt them to work. Paul tells them: that if any would not work, neither should he eat . . . meaning at the public expense . . . as millions do in our time. They should NOT be supported by the church or the government! People who are able to work, and would rather beg, should NOT get one morsel of bread. It is a SIN to minister to the needs of people that have only fake needs.
2 Thes. 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. (KJV) . . . it is not known how this was made known to Paul, but he had no doubt it was true, and it seems he was prepared to believe it all the more readily from what he saw when he was among them. Which walk disorderly (2 Thes.3:6). Working not at all . . . completely idle and slothful, with no care to change (like today). But are busybodies (1 Tim.5:13; 1 Pet.4:15). They meddled in the affairs of others, of things that did not concern them. Paul had seen that there was a tendency to do this when he was in Thessalonica, and so he had commanded them to "do their own business" (1 Thes.4:11). The command, it seems, did no good at all, for in the class of meddlers, very few heed good advice. They are commanded to do their work quietly and to earn their own living (2 Thes.3:12). If these principles were to be carried out, there would be among Christians NO idleness, NO want.
All the instructions in chapter 8 & 9, refer to the duty of Christians to their fellow believers. There are two reasons for this. One is the common relationship of believers to Christ as member of His body, so that what is done to them is done to Him (Acts 9:4-5); and their consequent intimate relationship to each other as being one body (united) in Christ Jesus. The other is the assurance that the good done to them is pure good. There is no concern that the offerings given will encourage idleness or corruption.
2 Cor. 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. (KJV)
As it is written . . . Exodus 16:18 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. (KJV)
He that had gathered much had nothing over . . . this Passage speaks about the rule of the gathering of manna by the children of Israel. The manna which fell around the camp of Israel was gathered every morning. And the children of Israel gathered, some more, some less. All that were able gathered it; and when it was collected, it was distributed in the proportion of an omer, or about five pints to each man. Anyone who gathered more than an omer, would in this way contribute to the wants of those who may not have been able to gather . . . these would be constantly showing a spirit of kindness. Paul seems to apply this Passage, in the same spirit in which it was originally written, meaning that the rich Christians at Corinth should impart freely to their poorer brethren. They had gathered more wealth than was immediately necessary for their families or themselves. They should, therefore, impart freely to those who had been less successful. Exodus 16:20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. (KJV) . . . Wealth, like manna, is the gift of God. It that spread by His Hand around us every day. Some are able to gather much more than others, by their skill, their health, their diligence, or by predetermined arrangements, they are very successful. Others are feeble, or sick, or aged, or destitute of skill, and are less successful. All that is obtained is by the arrangement of God. The health, the strength, the skill, the wisdom by which we are enabled to obtain it, are all His gift to us. When in doubt about anything . . . ask yourself just one question: What would Jesus do? A TRUE Christian will ALWAYS do what Jesus would do in your situation!
Description of Christian Giving (2 Cor.8:16 through 2 Cor.9:5)
Paul Commends Titus and Other Brethren to Them
2 Cor. 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. (KJV)
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you . . . Paul considered every right feeling, every pure desire, every willing feeling to serve God or to benefit a fellow Christian as the gift of God. He therefore praises Him that Titus was willing to show an interest in the welfare of the Corinthians. The same earnest care . . . the earnest care here referred to was that the Corinthians might complete the collection, and finish what they had planned. Titus was willing to undertake this, and see that it was done. For you . . . Paul represents it as being done for them, or for their welfare. The poor saints in Jerusalem were to have the immediate benefit of their contribution; but it was a privilege for them to give, and Paul rejoiced that they had that privilege.
2 Cor. 8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. (KJV)
For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you . . . Titus cheerfully submitted with the appeal which I gave him, to visit you, and rouse you to this good work.
But being more forward . . . more willing to do this than I had thought. The idea here is, that Titus was very ready to engage in this; he was more ready to engage in it than Paul was to urge him to it. Titus anticipated his request, and had already decided to engage in it. Of his own accord he went . . . he went voluntarily, and without urging. Paul found that Titus was already willing in his heart to do it, for God put this earnest care in the heart of Titus for you. Titus was willing to make another journey to Corinth, and to try to complete the collection.
2 Cor. 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; (KJV)
And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches . . . it has been generally thought that this anonymous brother was Luke. Some have thought that it was Mark; while others that it was Silas or Barnabas or Apollos. It is impossible to decide who it was, and it really is not important for us to know, or Paul would have named him. It is strange though, that Paul mentions him again in (2 Cor.12:18), and he does it also in the same manner, without specifying his name. The brother, whose praise is in the gospel . . . as I said, most think it was Luke, who wrote a Gospel, and who was the companion of Paul in several of his travels. Others think it was Silas; others, Barnabas; others, Mark; and others Apollos. There is NO agreement on WHO it was. But . . . whoever he was, he was sufficiently known to the Corinthians, as we learn by what Paul says of him next.
2 Cor. 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: (KJV)
And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind . . . this appointment, chosen by the Churches, seems to refer more to Luke than anyone else; unless we suppose he refers to the situation (Acts 15:40-41), and then it would appear that Silas is the person Paul meant. With this grace . . . generous contribution (verse 1). Your ready mind . . . your willingness to relieve them. An opportunity of showing your readiness to do good to others, and to promote their welfare.
2 Cor. 8:20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: (KJV)
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us . . . Paul wanted to prevent any blame from being cast upon him in regard to the management of these funds. For this purpose Paul had refused to have the entire management of the funds (1 Cor.16:3-4), and had secured the appointment of one who had the entire confidence of all the churches. That no man should blame us . . . that no one could say that Paul had taken it for his own use, or contrary to the will of the contributors. It seems Paul felt how dangerous it could be for ministers to have too much to do with money matters. He had a very deep impression of the need of keeping his own character free from suspicion on this subject, for he knew how easy it might be for his enemies to charge him with embezzlement of the funds, and taking them for his own use. Paul took this careful caution to have witnesses of his conduct, and such as were chosen by the Churches themselves, that we might not be suspected of having either embezzled or misapplied their funds (1 Cor.16:3-4).
2 Cor. 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. (KJV)
Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. . . . the expression here occurs in: Rom.12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. (KJV) . . . In that place, it refers to the way that we are to treat those who injure us . . . while here, it refers to the right way of using property; which seems to have been a kind of saying by which Paul regulated his life . . . meaning that it applied to everything. The feeling is, that we are to see to it beforehand, and that ALL our conduct must be truthful and honest. It seems to have been the principal saying in the life of Paul, and it should be of ours too. Providing for honest things . . . taking care to act so as not only to be clear in the sight of God, but also to be clear in the sight of all men; avoiding ANY appearance of evil.
2 Cor. 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. (KJV)
And we have sent with them our brother . . . . again, who this was is not known, and guesswork is foolish. All we need to know is, it was someone in whom Paul had complete confidence.
Whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things . . . of whom we have proof that he has been faithful. It is clear, that he had been the companion and fellow-worker of Paul.
But now much more diligent . . . who will now prove himself much more diligent (hard working) than ever before.
Upon the great confidence which I have in you . . . the idea is, that this brother had great confidence in the Corinthians that they would give generously, and that he would, therefore, show special diligence in the business.
2 Cor. 8:23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. (KJV)
Whether any do enquire of Titus . . . if anything is to be said about Titus. The sense of the Passage may either be, that some of the division at Corinth might be inclined to ask about the authority of Titus to engage in this work, or that Paul having said, so much in commendation of the persons who went with Titus, it seemed proper for him to say something in his favor also.
He is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you . . . Paul states that Titus works with me in preaching the Gospel, and in establishing and organizing churches (Tit.1:5). To the Corinthians this fact would be a sufficient commendation of Titus.
Or our brethren be enquired of . . . meaning the brethren who accompanied Titus. If any inquiry was made about their character, or if it was necessary to say anything in regard to them.
They are the messengers of the churches . . . they had the entire confidence of the churches, having been selected and appointed by them to a work of labor and responsibility (Phil.2:25). These persons were NOT apostles in the technical sense: and this is an instance where the word is applied in the New Testament to those who had no claim to the apostolic office. It is also applied in a similar way to Apollos and Barnabas, although neither, strictly speaking, was an apostle of Christ. A TRUE apostle was someone chosen and called personally by Jesus. Paul was an apostle (Acts 9).
And the glory of Christ . . . they have a character so well-known and recognized for godliness, they are well-known Christians, and do great honor to the cause of Christ, that they may be called the glory of Christ. It is an honor to Christ that He has called such persons into His church, and that He has so richly endowed them. Every Christian should so live as that it would appear to all the world that it was an honor and glory to the Redeemer that He had such followers. A TRUE Christian should be an honor to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it had converted such and brought them into His Kingdom. It would be a great honor indeed, for anyone to say that he is the glory of Christ.
2 Cor. 8:24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf. (KJV)
Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf . . . by a generous contribution in the cause in which they are engaged, and for which they have come among you now, furnish the evidence that you love me and the Christian faith, and show that I have not boasted of you in vain. The proof of your love . . . your love to me, to God, to the cause of the Gospel (verse 8). And of our boasting . . . my boasting that you would give generously to the cause (2 Cor.7:14). Let it be seen that my boasting was well founded, and that I understood your love and character, and your readiness to contribute to the causes of Christian kindness and love.
Should We TITHE?
Can you show me where Jesus told the church to tithe? It is NOT there!
Tithing was a "law" given exclusively for the nation Israel. It was a "law" given by God, to the eleven tribes of Israel. The tribe of Levi (Levites) were the ONLY ones ever given authority by God, to accept tithes from people.
Numbers 18:20-32 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.  And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.  Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.  But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.  But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,  Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.  And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.  Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering to Aaron the priest.  Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.  Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.  And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.  And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. [KJV]
Hebrews 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: [KJV]
In the Book of Malachi, God calls "tithing" an ORDINANCE.
Malachi 3:7-8 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. [KJV]
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [KJV] Paul tells us very clearly here in this verse, that tithing (along with the rest of the Jewish Law) was abolished or canceled, nullified, revoked, rescinded, terminated, wiped out! We are NOT under the Mosiac Law, we are under grace! Thank You Jesus!
The Church of today (the Body of Christ), and giving.
Christian giving (the church) is a personal matter, between the individual and God!
If you want to give 10%, that is your option, BUT there is NO law saying you have to do so. Giving is between you and God. The law of tithing was ONLY for Israel!
Acts 11:29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: [KJV] ---According to his ability.
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. [KJV] --- As God hath prospered him/her.
2 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. [KJV] --- According to that a man/woman hath, and not according to that he/she hath not.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. [KJV] --- Give cheerfully, NOT grudgingly. IF you give only because you feel you must (have to), you may as well keep it in your pocket!
Mark 12:41-44 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. [KJV] --- Did this poor widow tithe? NO! She gave out of the abundance of her heart! Some people are very well able to give much more than a tenth of their earnings, whereas others, on a limited income, have great difficulty giving a tenth. The decision lies between the person and God. Pray about it. Let God lead you in this decision, as well as every other decision you make. Faith has a big part in all your decisions in life. If you trust God in all things, He will see you through.
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