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"To Our Advantage to Give"
2 Corinthians 8:10-15
Wednesday AM Bible Study
October 8, 2008
Paul continues to set out before the Corinthians the principles of godly giving—encouraging them to follow-through on the committment they had made a year before. In this passage, he lays before them the advantages of their faithful follow-through on their plan to give.
I. THAT THERE WOULD BE INTEGRITY OF PURPOSE (vv. 10-11).
A. Paul chose not to "command" the Corinthians to give (v. 8). But he was not afraid to strongly "advise" them to do so (v. 10). Along the way, the willingness of the act of giving deminished—and so also did the actual completion of it. Paul solves the problem by laying them the advantages of following-through on the thing that they not only once began to do a year prior, but also had demonstrated a willingness to do.
B. One of the advantages is that there would be a completion of what they had purposed to do. There would not be the accusation of starting something and not finishing it. A "readiness to desire it" was a laudable thing; but only if there is a completion of it. Otherwise, the "readiness" has no merit (see James 2:15-16). There is no reward in a purpose of heart to do a thing if, in the end, the thing is neglected and left undone.
II. THAT THERE WOULD BE AN ACCEPTABILITY OF ABILITY (v. 12).
A. The key to this is based on "a completion out of what you have". In this, the Macedonian church truly shined. They demonstrated a willingness that was truly accepted, because they gave beyond their ability (v. 3).
B. Many professing believers have an expressed "willingness" to do something; but then bring their "willingness" into question by excusing themselves from doing what they can do because of what they say they "don't have". The proof of real integrity in the professed willingness to give is always based the actual doing of what we can do on the basis of what we actually have. We all have 'something' we can give; and it's on this basis that we must "complete" the willingness.
III. THAT THERE MAY BE AN EQUALITY IN THE BODY (vv. 13-15).
A. Paul was not, in this, wishing to communicate the idea that some should be put at ease while the Corinthians were burdened (v. 13). The goal was not to see who could be most "burdened". There's no reward in that. Rather, Paul's objective was that there be an "equality" in the body (see Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35). The assumption is that God sovereignly gives an abundance to one part of the body, so that they can have the joy of serving the needs of another part of the body to whom He permits a time of lack (v. 14).
B. Paul uses, as an illustration, the principle established in the experience of the children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings. God gave them manna daily (except on the Sabbath). But there was not to be a hoarding to the point of waste. If anyone were to run outside and gather as much manna as they could put in large buckets, the manna left over to the next day would spoil and putrify. Only what was needed for that day was to be gathered. Thus, as Paul cites from Exodus 16:18, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack" (v. 15).
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