2 Corinthians 8:16-24
Perhaps you’ve heard about the old miser who called his doctor, lawyer, and minister to his deathbed. “They say that you can’t take it with you,” said the dying man, “but I’m going to. I have three envelopes with $100,000 in cash in each one. I want each of you to take an envelope, and just before they close the casket, I want each of you to slip your envelope into my casket.” They all promised to do so. And at the end of the funeral they did it! On the way home, the conscience-stricken doctor confided, “I’m building a clinic, so I took $50,000 and put the rest in the coffin.” Then the lawyer confessed, “I kept $75,000 for a legal defense fund and put $25,000 in.” At this, the preacher said, “Gentlemen, I’m ashamed of you. I put in a check for the full amount!” Ah yes, ministerial integrity.
Last week we looked at the first half of
2 Corinthians 8. Paul was encouraging the believers at Corinth to give generously to the church at Jerusalem. He shared with them the generosity of the Macedonian churches that were in great affliction and poverty yet gave generously, selflessly, joyfully and sacrificially.
This week we are going to read as Paul continues his thought in the following verses by describing the men who will be participating in the delivery of the love offering to Jerusalem. He describes 3 Faithful brothers.
2 Corinthians 8:16-24
Paul lists three men who are going to join him in the delivery of the offering for the church at Jerusalem. We can call them A Few (3) Godly Men
The first man is Titus. Paul’s Partner
Paul thanks God for putting the same earnestness in
Titus’ heart that He put in his heart.
As we talked about last week, Paul asked Titus to deliver his severe letter to Corinth.
And Titus was also going to help with the collection being taken up for the Jerusalem church.
Titus was urged by Paul to help with the collection, but he went on his own accord.
This is the same way Paul describes the giving of the churches in Damascus. They gave of their own accord. It was their idea. They wanted to help complete this act of grace.
The second man is the Famous Brother.
We don’t know his name but all of the churches were familiar with him.
He didn’t need to be identified in this letter. They knew him because of his preaching of the gospel.
Oh to be famous for making God’s name famous!!
Not only was he a great preacher, he was a man of integrity.
He was appointed by the churches to travel with Paul and the others to deliver the generous gift that the church at Corinth had given or was about to give.
This shows that he could be trusted with the large sum of money. The church knew he wouldn’t be one to pilfer from the donations that had been collected.
Before Paul moves on to the third brother who is going to help with the delivery of the funds to Jerusalem, he gives several reasons for the offering.
He calls it an act of grace.
The church at Corinth was giving out of the kindness of their hearts and out of love for the Father.
They were also giving for the glory of the Lord.
God is the most generous giver of all.
He gave up His only Son so that we could be brought back into fellowship with Him.
He gives grace upon grace.
He lavishes His love upon us.
He gives wisdom to those who ask and He gives it generously without reproach.
This gift from the Corinthian church to Jerusalem was done to bring glory to God. It was an act of grace and love.
The same love that caused Jesus to be nailed to the cross in our place.
Paul goes on to say that they are doing the collection this way because they don’t want anyone to blame them for misappropriating any of the funds.
They are not only concerned about doing what is right before God, but they make sure to do what is right in the sight of man.
Thirdly, Paul mentions the Earnest Brother.
Again, this brother is not mentioned by name but by reputation.
He has been tested and proven faithful.
One of the qualifications of a pastor and a deacon is that they not be a recent convert.
That is because they need the testing to help mold them into the person God wants them to be.
God stretches and grows us through the trails we encounter.
This brother came through the testing with flying colors.
He is described in the same way as both Paul and Titus – earnest.
Put another way – diligent.
That’s the way believers ought to be described.
We should persevere until the end being faithful to the One who saved us and calls us His children.
Notice how Paul says that this brother is more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in the Corinthians.
Isn’t that how you want to be described?
Helping others be more earnest because of their confidence in us.
That means we are faithful servants of Christ.
Paul finishes this section with some kind words about these 3 brothers.
Regarding Titus he calls him his partner.
The Greek word is koinonos, it’s the same root as the word koinonia which means fellowship or sharing something in common.
This is incredible because Paul had lots of ministry partners but he only uses this word to describe Titus. Not Barnabas, not John Mark, not Silas.
Paul also calls Titus his fellow worker for Corinth’s benefit.
Titus helped Paul immensely in his ministry to Corinth.
For the other brothers, Paul refers to them as messengers of the church.
The Greek word is apostolos, where we get our English word Apostle. He is not referring to them in the sense of being with Jesus because they weren’t; but he is referring to them as messengers who are sent out by the church. Just like churches send missionaries into the field to preach the good news to the lost.
The final verse of chapter 8 is the application to the church at Corinth.
Paul urges them to prove their love to the churches.
Right here he is basically calling them to put their money where their mouth is.
They had the idea and the desire of taking a collection a year ago. But it never materialized.
It’s not enough to desire to help others or to desire to love others. As believers we must put our desires into action.
There were several benefits of completing the offering for the church at Jerusalem.
First, it showed their faith was real. Second, it brought glory to God.
Third, it helped an impoverished church.
What can we learn from this part of Paul’s letter?
We must Be Good Stewards of what God has blessed us with as a church.
We should be listening to Him as we plan our ministries. We should be looking for where He is at work and find ways to join Him in His work.
We should be searching for opportunities to help those in need.