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2 Corinthians 8-9 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 1, 2024 6:00 am

2 Corinthians 8-9 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 1, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shares a powerful message about the blessing it is to give to those who are in need.


Here it is. That in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, beyond their ability they were freely willing. What Paul says is the grace that God gave to these churches is the opportunity to give financially to the poor brethren who are in Judea. Have you ever considered that the opportunity to help someone else financially is actually a blessing? Well today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip shares a powerful message about the blessing that it is to give to those who are in need. We're glad you've joined us today. Connect with Skip Heitzig exists to bring more people into God's family and connect listeners like you to his unchanging truth.

That's why we make teachings like this one today available to you and others on air and online. If you've been encouraged by today's program, please consider giving a gift to help others around the world connect with God and be strengthened too. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888 or visit slash donate.

That's slash donate. Thank you. Okay we're in 2 Corinthians 8 as we join Skip for today's message.

So a little background. Paul the apostle in his lifetime made three great trips. We talk about mission trips.

This guy covered the known world at the time. Three missionary journeys where he took the gospel from Antioch, Jerusalem, then Antioch and across Asia Minor and with each time he penetrated a little bit further west, tell the gospel made the gospel made its way into Europe. So great strides were being made on Paul's third missionary journey. He takes a collection from the gentile churches, non-Jewish churches in some of those regions, Macedonia and Achaea.

Macedonia being Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Achaea being Corinth, that area. And he wants to take the finances collected there to support the brethren who are in Judea. The early church, the first church, the original church in Jerusalem has been suffering greatly. So Paul takes up a collection not for himself but for the brethren in Judea.

Now what Paul does is sort of like foreign missions in reverse. What I mean by that is the sending church was the Jerusalem church. Jerusalem and Antioch were the two churches that sent people out from there. And because of them sending people out from there, the gospel ended up in these gentile regions. But now these gentile regions are going to support the original sending church. That's why I say it's like foreign missions in reverse. So you wonder, well, what is going on in Judea that would require these churches who are the fruit of the original church to need to give money to it?

Well, number one, jobs. Most of the jobs in Jerusalem at the time were temple oriented. The temple was the biggest enterprise going in the city of Jerusalem. The temple enterprise, which was enormous, was massive, was run by a group of Jewish leaders known as the Sadducees. You've obviously heard of the Sadducees. The Sadducees were the largest, most formidable enemy of the early church in Jerusalem.

And here's why. The Sadducees were liberals. They didn't believe in miracles, didn't believe in angels, and they did not believe in resurrection. The early church had a singular message.

Jesus came, died, and was raised from the dead. So because they preached the resurrection in virtually all of their sermons, the Sadducee party was their biggest enemy, and they controlled the jobs in Jerusalem. Now, during the ministry of Jesus, things were a little bit different. Jesus' biggest enemies were not the Sadducees, but the Pharisees, the legalists. But now that Jesus has died and the early church claims resurrection, now the biggest enemy are the Sadducees.

So number one, jobs. And since the Sadducees controlled the temple enterprise, those who believed in Jesus, believed in the resurrection of Jesus, were losing their income, losing their jobs. Factor number two, in response to factor number one, the early church took their resources, sold their belongings, pooled the resources so they had a common commonality between them, we're told in Acts chapter two.

Those who believed sold their belongings and had all things in common. So they pooled their resources. But those resources only lasted a limited period of time. Those resources are now running out. So jobs were lost in response to that. People shared their resources.

Those resources are dwindling. There's a third factor, and that is a famine hit really hard in Judea. Now, you know a little bit about this famine, because in the 11th chapter of Acts in Antioch, there was a prophet by the name of Agabus. Agabus was well known in Antioch, in Jerusalem, in Caesarea. And Agabus stood up and he predicted a famine is coming to the Mediterranean world.

And it says, it came. The footnote in Acts says, and it happened. And because of that prophecy, wisely, the brethren in Antioch and the other churches decided, let's prepare to send relief to our brethren who are in Judea.

It says that in Acts 11. So those were the three factors that caused Paul to make a huge issue of this, and he does. There's quite a number of chapters in his letters that are devoted to him receiving an offering for the poor saints in Judea. Now, one would wonder, why is Paul so personally invested in this? You could say, well, he was trained in Jerusalem.

True, he was. He sat under Gamaliel, so he knew Judaism. But I think Paul is personally invested in the early church in Jerusalem, not just because of his academic background, but at one time, he was their chief persecutor.

He was the one who went after them. They laid the clothes, or the people who stoned Stephen, laid their garments at the feet of Saul. Saul watched over them, and the very next chapter in Acts says, breathing out threats and slaughter against the church. So he was an antagonist against the early church in Jerusalem, and it was that antagonism that moved him north toward Damascus.

And then Jesus interrupted him, the blessed interruption. So because of that, and Paul did reference this, he said, look, I'm the chiefest of sinners because I persecuted the church of God. So I think because of that background, Paul, this is very personal to him, and he wants to ensure that the church in Jerusalem is supported since they were the original sending church.

So he receives an offering. And Paul writes a lot about finances in these two chapters. Now, just a note about finances in general.

We'll just clear the decks, clear the table. There is nothing in the Bible that says that wealth, prosperity, resources is wrong in and of itself. Money is not evil. The Bible does not say money is evil. The Bible, if anything, says money is neutral. Money is neutral. It's not evil. The Bible says the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

That's the actual scriptural reference. But money is not evil. Abraham was wealthy. He was so wealthy that his wealth was on a par with the kings and the rulers of Canaan. Abraham had 318 paid staff members, servants. Joseph was arguably the second wealthiest human being on earth at the time. And there are several instances. Job, God blessed him, the Bible says, with enormous wealth. Yes, he was tested.

Yes, he lost everything. But it says God blessed at the end of his life even more than at the beginning. So there's nothing wrong with wealth. What's wrong is what you do with it. If you use it wrongly, then it's wrong. If you use it rightly, then it's a blessing. It can be a blessing. It can be a curse.

It's like a two-edged sword. So he pivots now in chapter eight, verse one, says, Moreover, brethren, or also, brothers, I want to talk about something else. Moreover, brethren, we've made known to you the grace of God bestowed upon the churches of Macedonia. You read that and you go, wow, I'm interested now. What could Paul be referring to when he says there's this special grace that God has given the churches over in Macedonia? What would it be?

Here it is. That in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing. What Paul says is the grace that God gave to these churches is the opportunity to give financially to the poor brethren who were in Judea. That was to be seen as a grace.

That was to be seen as a blessing. But notice something about these Macedonians. It mentions great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty. They're getting hit hard. They are at the bottom of the barrel financially. Things are hard for the churches and the brethren, the believers in Macedonia, in Philippi, in Thessalonica, in Berea.

Those are the churches of Macedonia. Life is hard and they are poor. And yet at the same time, they have joy. Can two things be true at the same time?

Of course. And these two things are true at the same time. Poverty, joy. You can be poor and happy. You can also be rich and miserable.

You can be rich and happy and you can be poor and miserable, but you can also be poor and happy. And they were poor and afflicted and filled with joy. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, beyond their ability, they were freely willing. That is, the churches in Macedonia, I'm collecting this offering from you Corinthians as well as those Macedonian churches, they've already given. And it wasn't easy for them to give because they were afflicted and they were poor, but they did it joyfully even beyond the proportion that they were able to give.

They gave more. They gave sacrificially. Now you're gonna, as we read through this, Paul is gonna talk about this offering and say, look, I'm not commanding you to do this. I don't wanna lay a guilt trip on you to do this, but I do want you to know that these churches that I'm partnering with besides you see giving as an opportunity. And they do that with joy and they give beyond their ability. There's an interesting principle in the Bible when it comes to giving of your time, of your talent, of your treasure. It should at some point be sacrificial.

It should cost you something. That's the principle David operated off of. When he wanted to find a suitable place to build the temple for the Lord. And there was a guy who had a threshing floor by the name of Ornan or Arana, depending on which of the two Old Testament passages you're reading, same guy. He goes, Ornan, I'd like to buy that piece of property on the top of the hill, the threshing floor. I wanna build a temple for God.

And Ornan says, Oh, Dave, or your majesty. You're doing it for God. I'm not gonna charge you. You can have it. David says, no, no, no, no. Give me a fair price.

You earn a living by threshing out weed on the threshing floor. Just tell me your price, name your price and I'll pay it. No, no, no, no, David. King, sir, your majesty, you're doing this for God. It's in worship for God. You wanna build a temple for the Lord. I just think you should have it. I'll give it to you. And David put his foot down and he said this, no, for I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which costs me nothing. Because then it's not a sacrifice. It's gotta cost me something.

I have to feel it. When Jesus was in the temple one day with his disciples, he saw a woman in the gospel of Mark chapter 12, put in two little coins into the treasury, into the offering box, two mites. Now, two mites would tally up in today's money in our currency. Two mites would be equal to about one-eighth of one cent.

One-eighth of one cent. And Jesus saw her putting that in and says, you see that woman? She's put in more than everybody else. They gave out of their abundance.

She gave out of her poverty all that she has. So that is how these Macedonians were giving to the church in Jerusalem, according to their ability and beyond their ability. I remember as a kid when in just the church community I was raised in, I knew people who were a part of that community. And I would hear so often when I would go to my friends' houses and even in my own house, you'd have stuff laying around that says, you know, we don't use that. That's just sort of junk. Let's just give it to the church. What a horrible thing to think and to say.

Since we've used it and we no longer deem it as valuable, we consider it rather to be junk. Let's give it to God instead of saying, God deserves my best. He deserves the best. Israel was to give the best lamb, a lamb without spot, without blemish, the best of the grain, the firstfruits. So God graced them, gave them an opportunity to give, and I bear witness according to their ability, yes, beyond their ability, they were freely willing.

It gets better. Verse 4, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. You get the picture. The Macedonians, you know, we may have said, oh, well, you know, you guys are poor and you guys don't need to get involved. Oh, no, no, no, really, Paul, we insist. We want to give. We're begging you.

We want to be involved in this project, imploring us. And verse 5, and not only as we had hoped, and I love this verse, and I love this verse, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and then to us by the will of God. That's the key. You begin by giving yourself to the Lord. And once you give yourself to the Lord, if you have given yourself to the Lord, then you belong to Him, and all that He allows you to use is His. And you are simply stewards of all that He has placed in your life, given to your hand. And so you begin by giving yourself to the Lord, and if you give yourself to the Lord, then God has access to everything, everything.

And then to us by the will of God. So verse 6, we urged Titus. Remember Titus was the guy that Paul had sent to Corinth to bring the letter and to do the preliminary work for this offering. So we urged Titus, as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. Macedonians saw it as a great opportunity, a grace. You started this. You indicated that you wanted to be involved. Now see it as a grace bestowed on you also.

I've always been and probably will continue to be low-key when it comes to finances. It's how we started, and we've seen God provide. When we started, and we started just a few miles from here at a movie theater on Sunday mornings, before we had a Sunday morning, we had a Thursday night Bible study in an apartment gathering room at a nearby apartment complex. And we had a room by apartment complex. And the room was provided by the owners of the apartment complex. Those who ran it said, it's a Bible study.

You don't have to pay anything for it. But we still wanted to buy coffee and desserts for people who came to our Bible study. So we had a little coffee can with a slit on top for people to put anything they would want in there to buy coffee and dessert. When we began our Sunday morning, and the question was, well, how are you going to receive the offering for Sunday morning? I thought, maybe two cans, one on each side of the movie theater.

And that's what we did. We had a coffee can on one side, a coffee can on the other. And then when we moved into the building, we kept the can concept, only we decided to use what we call agape boxes. There they are in this sanctuary, scattered throughout. And we just thought, look, the Lord's provided pretty well through cans, coffee cans. Perhaps He'll provide through agape box. We'll just let people know that's where you can give your tithes and offerings to the Lord.

Let's just see what the Lord does. But we've always been that low key. Now, here's the reason why I started with the coffee can concept. When we moved here, I noticed that Albuquerque, New Mexico was on the geographic crossroads of two major freeways, across country, north and south, east and west, I-25, I-40. People pass through here, not just people passing through here, but evangelists and tele-evangelists and ministries pass through here. And while we were just starting our church, and Lorraine, I have this memory because your parents would tell me some of the stories. There was a particular evangelist that had been coming through town and was taking exorbitant offerings using trash cans in his meetings.

And he would tell the people, we're passing the trash can, we want them filled, to the brim. And just pressuring people to give, to give, to give. And your parents told me that they got up one night and walked out. They were just fed up with it. They had the discernment that this is wrong. And as they were walking out, the evangelist from the stage called out and said, you wouldn't leave a restaurant without paying.

And they knew right then, this guy's abusing his office. They told me that, and so I thought, coffee cans. We're going to use coffee. We'll use agape boxes and let the Lord do it that way. So I've always been low key because I hate hype.

You know, there are 20 people here with $20,000 or $2,000, the Lord has revealed, all that nonsense. I just hate that kind of hype. And I think God hates that kind of hype. So it's a grace. See it as a grace. If you don't see it as a grace, keep it. Don't worry about it. That's between you and God. That's Skip Heitzig with the teaching on the grace of giving from his series, Expound, 2 Corinthians.

Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at Now we want to tell you about a biography unlike any other you've ever read. Does God exist? And if he does, is it possible to know him? How you answer those questions shapes how you see the world and navigate life. And Skip Heitzig knows how important it is to have an accurate view of God's character. I've noticed that almost every problem that a person has in their life stems from an inadequate view of God. In Skip Heitzig's book, Biography of God, learn to recognize and remove the limits you may have placed on your idea of who God is. The truth is, I am a fellow traveler on the same road that you are on.

And we have access to the same information, the same documents, but I hope to offer a fresh perspective on God himself. Biography of God is our way to thank you for supporting Connect with Skip Heitzig as we reach a lost world with the gospel. Request your copy with a gift of $50 or more when you give securely online at slash offer or call 800-922-1888.

That's slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for part two of Skip's teaching and discover what your finances say about the condition of your heart. A good indicator or one of the indicators, one of the barometers, one of the gauges of a person's spirituality is what they do with their finances. Take a tour of somebody's checkbook, somebody's bank account, and you will see what's important to them. Where a man's heart is, there will his treasure be awesome. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-01 05:01:16 / 2024-05-01 05:10:05 / 9

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