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“GeneroCity”​

Week 4

2 Corinthians 8: 1-9

Verse of the Week

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” - 2 Corinthians 8:9

Main Idea:

 The Grace of Giving: Looking at Jesus and the Macedonian Church

1. Grace Based Generosity=Giving Despite Circumstance

The Macedonian church is a great example of what it means to understand the grace of God. Grace means “unmerited favor” and the term is used frequently throughout the New Testament. Ephesians 2:4-8 shows us that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. That means it’s not about our works that God saves us, but rather His own goodness and abundance. When we understand the riches of his grace, it changes the way we live and view things. The Macedonian church was poor….really poor. The Roman Empire had moved into the community and had taken a lot of wealth. Many scholars believe that the church was poor itself because of their faith in Jesus and refusal to worship the false idols of the culture and time. Yet, even though they were poor they jumped at the opportunity to give. See what Paul is doing in this passage is getting ready to come and collect an offering from various churches to help the poor at the Church in Jerusalem. As Paul is writing to the Corinthian Church, he’s using the Macedonian church as an example and an encouragement. So how were the Macedonians able to give a generous gift even though they were poor? They gave despite the circumstances they found themselves in because they understood the grace of God, they were spiritually strong and they were all in on the mission of the church. 

 

Questions for Application:

  1. How has your week been spiritually?

  2. Why is it important to understand grace before we can understand giving?

  3. Why did the Macedonians give richly even though they weren’t wealthy?

  4. Can you share a time when you’ve experienced the grace of God in your life?

2. Graced Based Generosity=Giving from the Heart

Something we talk about often is that God first starts his work on the inside before he works on the outside. This means God begins with our heart. Ezekiel 36:26 describes this beautifully talking about us receiving a new heart. The illustration is that before Christ we have a hard heart that’s obstinate toward the things of God and generosity. Then at conversion, we receive a new fleshly heart that’s receptive to the things of God and we are moved to follow and obey Him. True generosity that God desires can only come from a transformed heart, that’s the only way it makes sense. Everything in us is wired toward sin, selfishness and making much of our name and our things. It’s only until Jesus is the Lord of our lives and the king of our hearts will we give our lives to Him and His Mission. I love in this passage that Paul points out that the Macedonians had given themselves to the Lord and the Church. That means they were ALL IN on the Gospel and the mission of the church. They didn’t have to be commanded to give, they wanted to freely. In fact, the gift was so large that it far exceeded Paul’s expectations. See that’s the way grace works, it’s above and beyond. When we look at our lives and we know Christ, we see he has been overly and abundantly good to us. It’s in our understanding of this goodness and grace that we can give from a heart with joy. 

 

Questions for Application:

  1. Why is it important to let God work on our heart first before he works on our actions?

  2. How has your relationship with God changed the way you think about giving?

  3. What excites you about gracious giving to the Kingdom of God? What does it give you joy to see God do through the church?

3. Grace based Generosity=Giving Because Jesus Gave

Verse 9 is an incredible passage to take to heart. Everything in the Christian life is a response to what Jesus has done. This is pointing straight to the Gospel looking and what Jesus has done for us. I’m reminded of the words of JD Greear: “We don’t grow past the Gospel, we grow deeper in our love for the Gospel”. The source of gracious giving toward the church and the mission of God starts with seeing Jesus. Let’s walk through this 

 

  1. Jesus’ Richness = Jesus was in heaven. That means he was in perfection with his Father as He always has been. He had more wealth than anything this world could offer.

  2. Jesus’ Poverty = Jesus CHOSE to leave the riches of heaven to come to earth. While he was here, he took on the form of a servant and then ultimately died a sinner’s death on a Cross. He gave his WHOLE life up for us. Why?

  3. Our Poverty = Jesus gave up his life to meet us where we are and rescue us. All we bring to the table is a life that is marked by sin. Romans 6:23 shows us that the wages of sin is death and that is our “spiritual poverty”. Jesus came to change that.

  4. Our Richness = Jesus took our sin upon himself on the Cross so that we might receive the riches of his righteousness and go to heaven. Our poverty became his and His riches became ours. That is the Gospel!

 

This is the source of everything we do and the source of our generosity. We give because we understand what Christ gave for us!

 

Questions for Application:

  1. How does Jesus’ example spur us on to be generous?

  2. How does this news change your love and affection for Jesus?

  3. How has this series grown you and how has it changed your relationship with Jesus moving forward?

Announcements

  • March 26th - We begin two services at 9AM and 11AM! H&S members prayerfully consider attending the 9AM to make room for our new guests. 

  • April 2nd - Easter Egg Hunt 4PM at the Market. Parents bring baskets and a meal will be provided for everyone!

  • April 9th - Easter Sunday! Invite your friends to church!

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