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2 Corinthians 8:1-15 ESV
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
I. GENEROSITY MAKES THE GRACE OF GOD VISIBLE (1-5)
A. Poor churches gave because the grace of God at work among them created a supernatural generosity.
B. Only the grace of God at work in us could convince us to give our money away.
II. GENEROSITY DEMONSTRATES MATURITY (6-7)
A. Living generously communicates we know longer believe money will brings us joy and meaning to our lives.
B. Maturity is not measured in what we know as much as by what we do. Where generosity is lacking so is maturity. (1 Cor 4:20)
III. GENEROSITY PROVES LOVE (8-9)
A. Genuine love for others is demonstrated by genuine generosity.
B. Jesus demonstrates genuine love for us in becoming poor before God so that we might be rich before God. (Phil 2:6-8, Matt 5:3)
IV. GENEROSITY IS AN ATTITUDE (10-12)
A. Generosity is not an amount or percentage. It is an attitude.
B. A generous attitude says no to ourselves to say yes to others.
V. GENEROSITY FUNDS THE KINGDOM (13-15)
A. Churches and individuals with abundance have a responsibility to help other followers of Jesus and churches less fortunate.
B. A church in need is a church in need regardless of age and a church with the ability to help is required to help.
C. We have financial responsibility to one another because we belong to same kingdom even if we belong to different churches.
VI. REASONS WE ARE HESITANT TO BE GENEROUS
A. We think the world revolves around us and that includes what God is doing in the world.
B. We fear that is we give away too much we will not make it ourselves.
1. Start where you are!
2. Give to more than the church.
3. Be generous from the right motivations.