2 Corinthians 8:1-6 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
II Corinthians 8 teaches a great lesson about our need of having God's sufficient grace in our lives. We find the apostle Paul teaching the Christians at Corinth the example of generosity from the testimony of the church in Macedonia. Although they suffered poverty this Church was a great example of generosity. The Corinthians were used to having enough or being rich yet they lived in great need of God’s sufficient grace. They had lost this need or blessing in their lives.
2 Corinthians 8:13-15 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.”
What is the Grace of God?
The grace of God is the favor of God, goodness of God, endorsement of God, and commitment of God.
The question that many are asking is: Since I have everything humanly speaking (like the church of Corinthians), why do I need God's grace?
Facts about Money:
•Money can give you things but never satisfaction.
•Money can buy you a beautiful house but never a beautiful home.
•Money can give you happiness but never real joy.
•Money can buy you the best bed but never rest.
•Money can give you all the luxuries but never a happy face.
•Money you can buy the best alarm, bodyguard, dog, and all the security in the world but never total peace.
What do I need to have that has real worth? The grace of God! God’s grace will give us:
•A great home
•A happy countenance
Psalms 127:1-2 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Psalms 21: 6 For you have blessed him forever; You filled him with joy with your presence.
Psalms 147:14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
When the apostle Paul recounts the example of the Macedonian churches, he draws attention to four key characteristics – the reasons they enjoyed the grace of God. These four essential characteristics can grant us the grace of God in our lives.
Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
They had the spirit of gratitude and it pushed them to give above their ability.
2 Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”
The Macedonians knew that God's grace required giving. They learned how to give to God with joy despite living in poverty.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
The word liberality refers to giving generously, but there is much more to the word liberality than just generosity.
Liberality means to be free from pretense, deceit or hypocrisy, without ulterior motives, without a hidden agenda. They gave because they wanted to give. It also means to give freely without expecting anything in return. They weren't giving to get something. They were giving to give.
In absolute sincerity, these Christians gave beyond their ability more than anyone would believe they could afford to give, because of God's grace upon their lives. Giving is never a question of our financial condition. It's always about our faith in God.
2 Corinthians 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
They gave themselves before giving anything else. They put everything they were and everything they had on the altar for God. Nothing was held back. Every prized possession was available to God. If God wanted them to do His work, they would. Nothing belonged to them. Everything belonged to God. They did it by the will of the Lord. It's what they knew God wanted them to do.
When the time came to give, they did not give according to their own ability, but according to God's ability.
We are to be an example not only to the believer but also to the non-believer.
Believing without seeing, taking God at His Word, having confidence in God.