"Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; 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. 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; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting".
"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. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:"He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever."
"Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift"! (NKJV)
I. No Need to Write: (You're doing what you supposed to) (verses 1-5)
A. Paul chose not to make the financial appeal further; (Reasons why)
1. He said enough to be effective. The Corinthian church agreed to contribute to the offering being sent to the poor in the Jerusalem church.
2.. He knew their enthusiasm the Churches (Achaia) in Macedonia showed theirs enthusiasm a year ago and gave mightily even though they were in poverty and were suffering heavy persecution from the Judaisers.
3.. Your enthusiasm has influenced many other churches to give.
4.. Convinced of their commitment, He challenges them to go forth and proceed.
B. Sending the Brethren Ahead of Time WHY? (verses 4-5)
1. Paul did it to make sure they are ready with the collection ahead of time.
2. He did it to make sure that all the "boasting" he did to Macedonia would not turn out to be a lie.
3. Some of the Macedonians may show elect to accompany Paul and the delegation, so He wanted the Corinthian Church to be on point and ready to turn over a "large contribution.".
4. Paul was preserving his reputation. (We should preserve the reputation (integrity) of both the physical church and our own reputation as well too.)
II. The "Principle" of Giving- “Sowing and Reaping” (Verses 6-15)
Remember: If you sow (give) sparingly, you reap a “sparse” harvest. If you give abundantly, You will reap in abundance…..
A. How should you give? What should be our "Manner" and "Attitude" in Giving
1. Give bountifully: (vs. 5)
Paul implied this. He implied that a liberal contribution from Corinth was expected. They were to give the best they could despite their personal circumstances a matter of bounty, not out of covetousness. He conveyed to them that men who expect a good return at harvest are not likely to pinch and spare in sowing their seed, for the return (harvest) is usually proportionate to what they sowed seed-wise.
2. Give according to what you purpose in your heart. (vs.6)
Any charitable contributions like other good works, all should be done with thought, design, and purpose. Some people give by “impulse”, and many times give more than they intended, and then regret it afterwards. (like impulse buying…) Then sometimes, they don’t give enough because they didn’t considered all things. Take the time to consider the matter in entirety. Due deliberation, as to this matter of our own circumstances, and those of the persons we are about to relieve, will be very helpful to direct us how liberal we should be in our contributions for charitable uses.
3. Give freely. (vs.7)
Whatever we give, be it more or less, give it because you wanted to, not begrudgingly , nor of necessity, but cheerfully, Sometimes, people will give merely to satisfy the importunity of those who ask to give. What they gave is in a manner squeezed or forced from them, and this unwillingness spoils all they do. We ought to give more freely than the modesty of some necessitous persons will allow them to ask: we should not only deal out bread, but draw out our souls to the hungry, Isaiah 58:10. We should give liberally, with an open hand, and cheerfully, with an open countenance, being glad we have ability and an opportunity to be charitable.
III. The "Rewards" of Giving “What God does in Response” (verses 8-12)
A. God will make “all grace” abound toward you. God will give you great favor.
The sense is, "If you give liberally you are to expect that God will furnish you with the means, so that you will be able to abound more and more in it." You are to expect that he will abundantly qualify you for doing good in every way, and that he will furnish you with all that is needful for this. The man who gives, therefore, should have faith in God. He should expect that God will bless him in it; and the experience of the Christian world may be appealed to in proof that people are not made poor by liberality. (vs. 8)
B. You will always have sufficiency in all things: You will never lack those things that you need. (vs.9)
Philippians 4:19: “God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Malachi 3:10-12:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty.
C. God will provide seed for you to sow and multiply the seed you sow and increase the fruit of your righteousness. You will always be able to sow and you will always reap a harvest. (vs.10)
D. You will prosper in all tings and you will fully understand that the purpose of riches is not for us to hoard or spend sole on our “pipe dreams,” but we will use riches to help the poor and to show them how to become sowers too through evangelism and training them up the way they should go. (vs. 11)
E. Your giving (manner and attitude) will prove your love for God. It will also prove that you believe giving is a necessity in ministry and is “doctrinally” correct and sound. “Good religion” demands that we keep the commandments of Christ and exemplify them in all manners of giving. And because we are our brother’s keeper we are to meet the needs of the poor saints and the community. Our giving answers the prayers of the poor and they will give thanks to God for what he supplies through our giving. (vs. 12- 13)
F. Your charity will ultimately stir the saints who received from your charitable giving to desire to pray in intercession for you in all things that you will continue to be blessed and highly favored: They will be exited and motivated to pray. They will anxiously pray to be united in Christian friendship with those who have been so signally endowed with the grace of God.
The underlying principle here is, that charity should be shown to poor and afflicted Christians because it will lead them to pray for us and to desire our welfare. The prayers of the poorest Christian for us are worth more than all we usually bestow on them in charity. Anyone who has secured the pleadings of a child of God, however humble, in his behalf, has made a good use of his money.
G. The recipients of your charity will one day desire to personally meet you and get to know you. On account of the favor which God has shown to you: the strength and power of the Christian principle, manifesting itself in doing good to those whom you have never seen. The apostle supposes that the exercise of a charitable disposition is to be traced entirely to God. God is the author of all grace; he alone excites in us a disposition to do good to others.
IV. Thank God: For HIS Gift to Us (John 3:16) (verse 15)
“We give because “God gave”
Paul closes out this chapter by reminding the Corinthian Church of the need to thank God for the “Gift” he gave to them (us) The invaluable gift of a Savior was always on his mind. He was so accustomed to dwell on that in his private thoughts. The idea is, "Your benefactions are indeed valuable; and for them, for the disposition which you have manifested, and for all the good which you will be enabled thus to accomplish, We are bound in all things to give thanks to God. All this will excite the gratitude of those who shall be benefitted. But how small is our charitable giving compared to the “great gift” which God gave us in bestowing unto us a Savior!. No words can truly express it, no language can truly convey an adequate description of the value of the gift in Jesus Christ and all the mercies (renewed to us each and everyday) which result from HIM."
V. Concerning God’s “Unspeakable gift” (verse 15)
1. The “fact” that the Savior Jesus Christ is a gift to mankind. (See John 3:16; Galatians 1:4; 2:20; Ephesians 1:22; 1 Timothy 2:6; and Titus 2:14).
Man had no claim on God. He could not compel him to provide a plan of salvation; and the whole arrangement-the selection of the Savior, the sending him into the world, and all the benefits resulting from his work, are all an undeserved gift to man.
2. Christ is “unspeakably great” a gift, whose intrinsic value no language can express, and no one’s heart can fully conceive. The reason this is so is because:
a) Of his own greatness and glory. Jesus left the halls of glory to glorify God the Father by first, declaring God through living example, miracle working and teaching the "oracles" of God.
b) Because of the inexpressible love which he shows us. God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us.
c) Because of the numerous sufferings which he endured for us. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities..Jesus was "stricken", "smitten" of God and "afflicted".
d) Because of the inexpressibly great benefits which result from his work. No language can do justice to this work in either of these respects; no heart in this world fully conceives the obligation which rests upon man in virtue of his work.
3. Thanks should be rendered to God for this. We owe him our highest praises for this. This appears:
a) Because it was benevolence in God. We cannot rightfully claim; we could not compel him to grant us a Savior. God by his own "sovereign right" could have denied us a way of reconciliation and the free gift withheld, We owe an abundance of thanks to God where out of his love Christ was freely given despite our unworthiness .
b) Because of the benefits which we have received from him. All our peace and hope; all our comfort and joy in this life; all our prospect of pardon and salvation; all the offers of eternal glory are to be traced to him. Man has no prospect of being happy when he dies but in virtue of the "unspeakable gift" of God. And when he thinks of his sins, which may now be freely pardoned; when he thinks of an agitated and troubled conscience, which may now be at peace; when he thinks of his soul, which may now be unspeakably and eternally happy; when he thinks of the hell from which he is delivered, and of the heaven to whose eternal glories he may now be raised up by the gift of a Savior, his heart should overflow with gratitude, and the language should be continually on his lips and in his heart. "
Dr. William Edward Boddie