Genuine Faith Gives

2_Corinthians_8_1t9.jpg2 Corinthians 8:1-9 (KJV)  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  [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.  [3]  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;  [4]  Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  [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.  [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.  [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.  

1 Timothy 1:9-11 (KJV)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  [10]  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men-stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;  [11]  According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Sunday night we talked about Smyrna the Suffering Church, and how Jesus commended that Church for working for Him though the world stood against it. Tonight the Lord through the Apostle Paul speaks of another group of Churches that were poverty stricken. These were the Churches of Macedonia. Macedonia was a very rich land, very prosperous. The IVP New Testament Commentary states:

“{Bible Scholar and Historian} Edwin A. Judge (1982) describes Macedonia as a splendid tract of land, centered on the plains of the gulf of Thessalonica. It was a prosperous area. Running up the great river valleys into the Balkan Mountains, it was famous for its timber and precious metals.”

Paul planted the Churches at Macedonia (Phillippi, Thessalonica, and Berea) during his second missionary journey.

In the middle of this very prosperous land the Gospel was spread – and it took hold like wildfire. But the devil does not like the Gospel, nor does He care for authentic Christianity.

Religion would have been welcome in Macedonia, but not Christ like love.

Religion has always been acceptable, and with it humanism, evolutionism, liberalism, and every ism that accompanies it. The Law of God was given by God to shine out in the darkness, to convict the world of evil, and the need for a Savior. The Gospel is God’s solution to the Law and our inability to keep it, the eternal life preserver, thrown to the convicted and drowning sinner. Man has a choice when the Law of God speaks. He can REPENT, turn, and receive the GRACE of God that bestows salvation on whosoever will. Or he can REFUSE the Word and continue in his sin.

The Law was not given to the righteous.
Christ was given to the righteous.
The Law was given to the sinner.
Christ is given to the Convicted Sinner.

When the Gospel was preached in Macedonia and the Law was presented to the unrighteous many were convicted and many embraced the Gospel. But not all were saved. Those who came to Christ not only had to give up their sins but, in many cases, were terribly persecuted. We read:

2 Corinthians 8:1-2 (KJV)  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  [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.

Where Grace Is, The Heart Is Changed

God bestowed GRACE on the Churches of Macedonia. TEN TIMES the word CHARIS or “Grace” is used in reference to Macedonia. The sinner hears the Law, and repents, coming to Christ. Then God bestows Grace on that sinner making a Child of God. Yet in Grace and Light the believer walks in Christ, but walks at odds with the world and the worldly. The believers in Macedonia were before salvation RICH in the things of this world, but now persecuted are …

in a great trial of affliction”

Though tested and tried, though brought to “deep poverty” these believers still experienced JOY and RICHES OF LIBERALITY. Though made poor by their giving, the Apostle says:

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

They gave BEYOND THEMSELVES. Though they lacked they literally FORCED Paul and the other local Churches to receive gifts to “minister to the saints”. They had little, but out of their little they gave to others. The Apostle says:

2 Corinthians 8:5 (KJV) 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.  

The Macedonian believers “gave themselves to the Lord” and then “gave themselves to US” or the other Churches. Their love was not in word only, but was sacrificial.

The Apostle was encouraging the Corinthians to giving. Where did he turn to encourage them? Did he – led by the Spirit – turn to the Old Testament Law? The Apostle loved to quote Old Testament text. Did he refer to Abraham who tithed a portion of all his goods to the King of Salem Melchizedek

Genesis 14:20 … and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of all …

or did he refer to that famous passage in Malachi:

Malachi 3:8-10 {NKJV} …Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

There are many places in the Law that refer to the Tithe, yet the Law is not for a righteous person. We who are saved by Grace do not give because a Law says we give.

We give because we love the Lord.
We give because we love our Father.
We give because Christ gave to us.
We give because we are loved of the Eternal.
We give because we are Children of God.

When Paul wants to teach the Corinthian believers – saved by the Grace of Christ – he refers to their fellow believers in Macedonia. He says “Look at these brothers and sisters. They were rich before they knew Christ. They were privileged. They had everything. Yet they lost it all when they came to Christ. Having lost it all, what did they do? Did they draw up into a ball, a fetal position, and withdraw from the world? Did they fall to pieces? NO! They gave MORE than they ever gave before.” The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 8:6-7 (KJV) 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.  

Paul said “We sent Titus to preach to you that YOU WOULD HAVE THIS SAME TYPE OF GRACE. You Corinthian believers abound in:

faith
utterance {sharing the Gospel}
knowledge {of God’s Word}
diligence {to obey His will}

BUT – Paul said – I WANT YOU TO ABOUND IN THE ATTITUDE OF THE MACEDONIANS ALSO. He commended the Corinthians believers on what they were doing, but wanted them to be like the Macedonians in giving. The Apostle says:

2 Corinthians 8:8 (KJV) I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness {diligence} of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.  

The Apostle says “This is not a commandment. This is not a point of God’s Law. But I ask you to give this way to PROVE the SINCERITY of YOUR LOVE.” Do you love God? If you do, then give as others who love God give. Do not be like the Pharisee who only gave to be seen of men. Jesus spoke to them one time saying:

Luke 11:42 (NKJV) But woe to you Pharisees! For you TITHE mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. THESE YOU OUGHT TO HAVE DONE, without leaving the others undone.

Jesus tells the Pharisees “You tithe – and this you should do. But you should also do JUSTICE (obey God’s others Laws) and do THE LOVE OF GOD.” We prove our love for God when we do the things He wants us to do. But if we only do the parts of the Law we like and ignore the other parts that are harder, are we indeed the Children of God. Children obey the Father’s will. We prove our love when we love others and love God. When we love God we do what He says, NOT because it is written in a Law on paper made from dead trees bound between the skins of dead animals. We do what God says because we love God.

As Paul references Macedonia and the Macedonian Christians to the Corinthians, there is an even deeper message here. Corinth was located in GREECE, and GREECE was a long time rival of Macedonia. Those two countries were usually at odds with one another. As Paul references Macedonia commending them for their love of God and love of the brethren the hidden message is this:

These people who used to be your ENEMIES
And now your EXAMPLES.
Will you give as they gave,
And love as they loved?

These Macedonians gave EVERYTHING to the cause of Christ. Impoverished for their faith, they gave out of their poverty. Though they only had pennies in their banks, they gave what they had our of love for God. They were a beautiful example of love for all to see. They gave BEYOND their means, and because they gave BEYOND their means God blessed them. God has promised to His Children:

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The lost person gives out of what they are able. The Child of God – trusting Christ – gives out of FAITH in God. The lost person says “I’ll give AFTER I pay off my bills”. The saved person says “I’ll give as God has directed my heart”. The lost person says “The Law says give 10%, so I’ll give 10%”. The saved person says “I will give what God tells me to give regardless as to percentage”.

2 Corinthians 8:9 (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 Apostle referred to the Macedonians and how they gave as Children of God. Now He refers to Jesus Christ. Not the Law, but to Jesus.

Jesus was rich.

Jesus was rich IN POSITION. He was ETERNAL GOD.

John 1:1, 14 (RSV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . [14] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

God became flesh and dwelt amongst us. As God He was Spirit. As God He was above pain, above suffering, above temptation, above need. There was nothing that Christ could not do. When tempted of satan in the wilderness that old devil said:

If you are the Son of God,
Command these stones be made bread!”

Jesus could turn stones into bread. He could have fed Himself. He turned two little fish and five tiny biscuits into a feast for over 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21). But He was not going to give heed to satan’s word. He was not going to let the devil have his way. Tempted, Jesus rejected the word of satan and held up the Word of God. Though hungry He said:

Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God!

Jesus Was Rich In Company

Jesus was daily in the Presence of the Father and the Spirit. Jesus said:

John 10:30 … I and the Father are ONE.

His mind was not fallen as our mind is fallen. In eternity He did not have to confront sin. He was not surrounded by evil, but by Angels, and by worship. Jesus was immortal God in the presence of immortal God, part of the mystery we call the Trinity. He had a throne. The Father said to Him:

Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8)

And the Scripture declares “In Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus Christ was God. Yet God – all immortal – lowered Himself to mortality. He went from the glory of Heaven to this fallen earth for us.

In Heaven He was exalted as God.
On earth He was devalued as “The man from Nazareth”.
In Heaven He was the Eternal Son of YAHWEH.
On earth He was mocked as YOSEPH’S son.
In Heaven He was the Son of the Eternal Creator.
On earth He was the son of a lowly carpenter.
In Heaven He was waited on by the Angels.
On earth He washed the feet of fallen men.
In Heaven His Word was heeded by all.
On earth His Word was mocked by the religious.
In Heaven He could not die,
But on the earth He had to die!

Very little is written of His childhood. His own stepbrothers did not believe in Him until after He rose from the grave. His own mother thought at one time that He had lost His senses. When Christ emerged from obscurity, He was frequently attacked, mocked, ridiculed, and humiliated.

Hebrews 4:15 (KJV) For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus Christ suffered as we suffer – yet never sinned. And when the time came He was crucified between two thieves, mocked as a criminal, and all of our sins were poured out on Him and judged. The Bible says:

Romans 5:8 (NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus was rich, but became poor for our sakes. He gave EVERYTHING for us. Shall we withhold anything from Him? If we are born again by faith in Him then our answer must be no. We must give because Christ gave. We must lower ourselves because Christ lowered Himself.

God’s people are saved by God’s Son.
God’s Son impoverished Himself for us.
We are to be sons of God!

As you have been loved, so should you love. As Jesus gave, so are we called to give. This is proof of our love, proof that He has loved us. Jesus said:

John 13:35 (KJV) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Love is more than a word. Love gives. Love gives sacrificially. Love gives as Christ gave. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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