2 Corinthians 8:1-15
A taxi passenger tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask
him a question.
The driver screamed, lost control of the car, nearly hit a bus,
went up on the footpath, and stopped inches from a shop
For a second, everything was quiet in the cab. Then the
driver said, “Look, mate, don’t ever do that again. You scared
the living daylights out of me!”
The passenger apologized and said, “I didn’t realize that a
little tap would scare you so much.”
The driver replied, “Sorry, it’s not really your fault. Today is
my first day as a cab driver — I’ve been driving a funeral van
for the last 25 years.”
Last week we looked at the 7th chapter of 2 Corinthians.
Paul was writing about joyful living.
His point was that we have to choose joy regardless of
our circumstances. The theme of comfort also came up
in this chapter as Paul mentioned how he was comforted
by Titus’ coming and the fact that Titus was comforted by
the Corinthians because of their zeal for Paul.
It all goes back to God who is the source of all comfort.
Sometimes He comforts us Himself, sometimes He
comforts us with other people.
And then sometimes He uses us to comfort others with
the comfort we have received from Him.
Now, let’s take a look at the first 5 verses of Chapter 8.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Macedonians Example of Grace
Paul starts off with an example from the Macedonian
churches of generous grace filled giving.
The churches were Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea.
Let’s be clear here that Paul is not writing about tithing or
regular giving to the church. This is a specific instance of
a one time offering from one church to another church.
But it is a good reminder that we are to be generous
because of all that God has given us in Christ Jesus our
These churches understood the grace of God which was
poured out to them in Christ’s work on the cross. And
they wanted to share that grace with others.
You don’t see a lot of grace among the unsaved. You see
a lot of revenge and bitterness.
Believers however, understand their previous condition
and are grateful to God for sending His Son to stand in
our place and reconcile us to the Father.
Paul is explaining that the grace that is being shown by
the churches is divine grace.
One commentator had this to say about divine grace:
“divine grace is not only a gift to be received by us but
also an energizing reality through which love flows out to
Verse 2 shows the heart of the Macedonian churches for
the body of Christ.
They were in the midst of severe affliction and extreme
poverty, but notice this: “their abundance of joy” has
overflowed in a wealth of generosity.
The Greek word translated generosity is haplotes and it
means sincerity or simplicity. Paul uses it to describe the
sincerity with which the Macedonians gave because of the
great joy that they had despite their circumstances.
The Macedonians gave according to their means and they
gave beyond their means.
It’s one thing to give according to your means but
another to give above your means. That shows not just a
level of generosity but of love, putting the needs of
others above your own.
It’s how Jesus lived His life.
He gave of Himself so that those who believe would be
reconciled to God. We will hear more about this a little
later on in the text.
The churches also gave of their own free will.
Paul wasn’t pressuring them to give or guilting them into
giving. They wanted to give to help the believers in
The Macedonian churches earnestly begged Paul to let
them take part in the giving to the church at Jerusalem.
The word earnestly is literally “with much comfort” which
fits Paul’s theme of comfort throughout this second letter
The Corinthians wanted the favor, this word is the same
word as grace in Greek charis, of taking part in the relief
of the saints.
It was their own idea to give, they weren’t compelled by
Paul to give. God prompted them through the Holy Spirit
to give out of their extreme poverty because they saw a
Not only did the Macedonian churches give their funds,
they gave their time and their talents to God.
They used the gifts God gave them to further the
Some people argue that they can give of their time so
they can keep their money.
We should be giving both, because God gave us
everything we have.
These believers at Corinth not only gave of themselves to
God, they gave of themselves to the church.
I heard of an offering being taken at a revival
service in Africa. The deacon was holding the plate
and a new Christian asked him to hold the plate,
“lower, lower” he said until the plate was on the
ground. Then the man stepped in. This man
understood. He gave of himself.
2 Corinthians 8:6-8
A Call for Corinthians to Complete their Grace
Now Paul turns his attention to the Corinthians.
He reminds them of their original commitment to send
help to the church at Jerusalem. Titus was going to help
with the collection that was either pledged or started a
year earlier. Now Paul is encouraging the church to
complete their act of grace.
Financially the church at Corinth was much better off
than the Macedonian churches. They were in extreme
poverty and under severe affliction, yet their abundance
of joy overflowed in a wealth of generosity.
Paul is calling the Corinthian church to share in the
generosity. They were already excelling in faith, speech, knowledge
and all earnestness, but He wants them now to excel in
this act of grace.
James writes “But someone will say, ‘You have faith
and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from
your works, and I will show you my faith by my
works.” James 2:18
Paul wants them to share in the grace of giving.
Paul makes it clear that he is not commanding them to
give, but he is urging them to complete what they
started. He believes their love is genuine for the church
2 Corinthians 8:9
Jesus’ Example of Grace
Notice how Paul explains the gospel of grace with a
financial twist which helps him make his point.
Jesus was rich because He was with God in heaven, but
He condescended to man by taking on the form of a
bondservant and becoming flesh. He became poor so that
man who was destitute might become rich.
Have you heard grace described as an acronym?
Jesus redeemed us by His blood.
He paid the debt that we couldn’t pay.
Why did Christ give up His life?
Because of His great love for us.
He put his love into action.
Let’s take a look at the last verses of our text.
2 Corinthian 8:10-15
After Paul reminds them of Jesus’ Grace he returns to the
thought of finishing what was started.
First, he writes of proportionate giving.
It’s not enough to just desire to give, Paul expects them
to actually follow through with it.
And he expects them to give in proportion to what they
That’s the way God gives to us, in proportion to what He
has. He has everything so He lavishes His love and grace
upon us so generously.
Paul doesn’t expect them to give according to what they
don’t have, but what they do have.
God knows how much each of us have.
And when we ask Him how much He wants us to give to
these special offerings He will put an amount on our
heart. That is from God and that is what we should give.
Finally, Paul closes these verses with some thoughts on
His point is that money comes and money goes, but
believers should always take care of one another.
At the time Paul was writing Jerusalem was struggling
financially and needed a great deal of assistance. There
may come a time when Corinth was struggling and
needed help. Paul’s point was that giving should be give
In Acts, the believers were all together and had
everything in common and they gave as each had need.
Some were selling property and giving the funds to the
church to help those in need.
But everyone was being taken care of.
This is not a sermon about tithing, but about giving
generously as God directs us. We all know that God
wants us to give a tenth of what He has given us back to
As I mentioned at the beginning this was a one time gift
from one church to another church.
So, what does God want us to take away from this text?
God wants us to Share His Grace with others.
There is a good chance that there is someone in our
church with financial needs. There could be someone in
another church with financial needs.
The point is that God knows what each of His children
And He may want to use you to meet those needs.
You just need to be sensitive to His voice and His leading.
We must look at giving as sharing God’s grace.