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They Gave Themselves to the Lord

8/27 – Thanks be to God! (2 Corinthians 9:1-15)

 

Introduction — Here Paul helps the church see that God is able to make all grace abound to them. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. They might want to be sparing, but God is able to help them be bountiful. They might give grudgingly, but God is able to help them give cheerfully. They might focus on their lack, but God is able to help them see His abundance. They might focus on themselves, but God is able to help them focus on others. God can change their hearts. God can change their minds. God can make the stingy generous. God can make the thoughtless thoughtful. God can multiply resources. God can increase the harvest of right living. God can fully supply the needs of everyone in the church. God is able to  make all grace abound to them. Did they believe that? Did they live that? How about us? Do we believe that God is able to make all grace abound to us? Do we believe He is able to make us generous in our giving? Do we give generously? Do we give cheerfully? Do we give as unto the Lord? Do we show our obedience to the gospel of Christ through our giving? Do we marvel that God is able? Do we thank God for His indescribable gift?

 

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

 

Now this . . . he who sows . . .

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

Comment: Here Paul begins the first of three paragraphs with the “and” or “now” connectors. In this section, he reminds the church of a clear farming principle. Now this . . . he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. To reap a big harvest one must start by sowing lots of seeds. The one who sows many seeds will more than likely do so because he made up his mind beforehand to do so. Further, he will probably do so cheerfully. In like manner, Paul states, the one who gives must give as he has decided to give. He must give cheerfully. And by implication, he must give bountifully. Paul is reminding the church in Corinth that they should not hold back. They should not be stingy with their gifts. They should finish what they began. They should sow bountifully to this gracious work. They should give in a determined and cheerful way. Question: Did they give generously? Did they give cheerfully? How about you? Do you give grudgingly? Do you give willingly? Do you give as if under compulsion? Do you give a meager amount? Do you give with a cheerful heart? Application: Thank God that you can give. Thank God that you can give bountifully and cheerfully. Now, give bountifully and cheerfully. Now, give as God directs. Now, thank God for His inexpressible gift!

 

Now God . . . is able . . .

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written,

 

He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”

 

Comment: Paul tells the church that God is able. In this second paragraph, he once again takes them to God’s riches. God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. These words are timely for the church in Corinth. They might want to be sparing, but God is able to help them be bountiful. They might give grudgingly, but God is able to help them give cheerfully. They might focus on their lack, but God is able to help them see His abundance. They might focus on themselves, but God is able to help them focus on others. God can change their hearts. God can change their minds. God can make the stingy generous. God can make the thoughtless thoughtful. God can multiply resources. God can increase the harvest of right living. God can fully supply the needs of everyone in the church. God is able to make all grace abound to them. Question: Did they believe that? Did they live that? How about us? Do we believe that God is able to make all grace abound to us? Do we believe He is able to make us generous in our giving? Do we give as unto the Lord? Do we marvel that God is able? Do we thank God for His indescribable gift? Application: Remember that God is able to make all grace abound to you. Now, give abundantly and willingly. Now, be amazed at God’s grace. Now, thank God for His inexpressible gift!

 

Now He . . . will supply . . .

10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.

 

Comment: Paul begins this third paragraph with an expansion on the idea that God is able to make all grace abound to the church. Paul writes: Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. That God will both supply and multiply the resources for their giving and increase the harvest of their righteousness is amazing. It’s almost inexpressible. Paul sees that the people of God who respond to the grace of God produce thanksgiving to God. Here Paul is almost beside himself with gratitude to God. And he sees the circle of grateful giving grow and overflow: For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.(9:12-14) Question: Do you see that God can supply the resources for giving? Do you see that He can grow your faith?

Application: See that by His grace God will supply what you need. Glorify Him through your giving. Spread the gospel through your giving. Give abundantly. Rejoice in Him. Praise Him. Thank Him. Yes, thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!

Word Study for 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

1 ministry (diakonia—service; table service; contribution; provision)

3 prepared (paraskeuazo—get ready; prepare a meal; make ready)

4 confidence hypostasis—substance; foundation; firmness; trust)

5 necessary (anankaios—urgent; indispensable; close; pressing; urgently necessary)

5 urge (parakaleo—invite; comfort; exhort; ask for earnestly; call together to; encourage; summon)

5 gift (eulogia—blessing; praise; bounty; act of blessing; benefit, the act of blessing)

6 gift (eulogia—blessing; praise; bounty; act of blessing; benefit, the act of blessing)

7 purposed (proaireo—choose; decide beforehand; determine; to bring forth; to take out; to prefer)

7 grudgingly (lype—grief; sorrow; pain; regret; sadness)

7 compulsion (ananke—distress; tribulation; trouble; complete obligation; pressure)

7 cheerful (hilaros—merry; joyous; happy; without grudging; healthy; glad)

8 able (dynateo—be powerful, strong; capable; effective; mighty)

8 abound (perisseuo—be in abundance; provide in abundance; be over and above; more than enough)

10 supply (choregeo— to lead a chorus; defray the charges; provide for)

10 multiply (plethyno—increase, grow in numbers; abound; to swarm with)

10 increase (auxano—make large; cause to increase; full grown)

13 obedience (hypotage—submission; subordination)

14 surpassing (hyberballo—outbid; be far more; be much greater; go beyond; to run beyond)

15 indescribable (anekdiegetos—beyond words; unspeakable; inexpressible; too great for words) [1]

 

Application for 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

Let’s help one another be faithful and generous givers.

Let’s prayerfully consider what to give.

Let’s give cheerfully.

Let’s know that God is able to make all grace abound to us.

Let’s give thanks to God for His indescribable gift.

 

Gospel Connections for 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

Jesus is a gift beyond words. Jesus did not give grudgingly or under duress. Jesus gave with joyful, lavish abundance. Jesus gave with a single, pure focus. Jesus gave thanks to the Father. Jesus glorified the Father through His obedience. Jesus prayed on our behalf. Jesus gave on our behalf. Jesus is a gift beyond words. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

 

Thoughts and Quotes for 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. ~ John F. Kennedy

 

In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you? ~ William Arthur Ward

 

Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation. ~ John Ortberg, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box

 

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

~ G.K. Chesterton

 

The more you know about Christ the less will you be satisfied with superficial views of Him. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

Commentary for 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

 

It is one thing to chide a church for being dilatory in their giving. It is something else to motivate individuals in the church to be free and unselfish in their giving. How does one develop in individuals such a happy spirit about giving? Church leaders throughout the ages have faced the same challenge that confronted Paul. In the next verses Paul presents four principles that are not directed to the Corinthian church as a whole but to individuals whose contributions will make up the church’s gift. First, he appeals to a proverb to make the point that bountiful giving leads to bountiful rewards; stingy giving leads to stingy rewards (9:6). Second, he cites Scripture to encourage giving generously and freely because God loves a cheerful giver (9:7). Third, he refers to God’s readiness to provide all that is necessary for generosity (9:8–10). Paul reassures those who might worry that they do not have enough seed to sow to attain a rich harvest. God will provide all that they need. Fourth, he maintains that their generosity will bring a great harvest of thanksgiving to God (9:11).

The benefits for giving that Paul sketches out in this unit can be summed up as follows:

1. It will make them spiritually rich (9:8–10).

2. It will bring thanksgiving to God (9:11–13).

3. The recipients will respond with prayers for them (9:14).

4. It will advance the well being and solidarity of the worldwide Christian community (9:13–14).[2]

 

II. Good encouragement to perform this work of charity in the manner directed. Here the apostle tells the Corinthians,

1. They themselves would be no losers by what they gave in charity. This may serve to obviate a secret objection in the minds of many against this good work who are ready to think they may want what they give away; but such should consider that what is given to the poor in a right manner is far from being lost; as the precious seed which is cast into the ground is not lost, though it is buried there for a time, for it will spring up, and bear fruit; the sower shall receive it again with increase, v. 6. Such good returns may those expect who give freely and liberally in charity. For, (1.) God loveth a cheerful giver (v. 7), and what may not those hope to receive who are the objects of the divine love? Can a man be a loser by doing that with which God is pleased? May not such a one be sure that he shall some way or other be a gainer? Nay, are not the love and favour of God better than all other things, better than life itself? (2.) God is able to make our charity redound to our advantage, v. 8. We have no reason to distrust the goodness of God, and surely we have no reason to question his power; he is able to make all grace abound towards us, and abound in us; to give a large increase of spiritual and temporal good things. He can cause us to have a sufficiency in all things, to be content with what we have, to make up what we give, to be able to give yet more: as it is written (Ps. 112:9) concerning the charitable man, He hath dispersed abroad. He hath given to the poor. His righteousness, that is, his almsgiving, endureth for ever. The honour of it is lasting, the reward of it eternal, and he is still able to live comfortably himself and to give liberally to others. (3.) The apostle puts up a prayer to God in their behalf that they might be gainers, and not losers, v. 10, 11. Here observe, [1.] To whom the prayer is made-to God, who ministereth seed to the sower, who by his providence giveth such an increase of the fruits of the earth that we have not only bread sufficient to eat for one year, but enough to sow again for a future supply: or thus, It is God who giveth us not only a competency for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and so should be as seed to be sown. [2.] For what he prayeth. There are several things which he desires for them, namely, that they may have bread for their food, always a competency for themselves, food convenient,—that God will multiply their seed sown, that they may still be able to do more good,—and that there may be an increase of the fruits of righteousness, that they may reap plentifully, and have the best and most ample returns of their charity, so as to be enriched in every thing to all bountifulness (v. 11),—that upon the whole they may find it true that they shall be no losers, but great gainers. Note, Works of charity are so far from impoverishing us that they are the proper means truly to enrich us, or make us truly rich.

2. While they would be no losers, the poor distressed saints would be gainers; for this service would supply their wants, v. 12. If we have reason to think them to be saints, whom we believe to be of the household of faith, whose wants are great, how ready should we be to do them good! Our goodness can not extend unto God, but we should freely extend it to these excellent ones of the earth, and thus show that we delight in them.

3. This would redound to the praise and glory of God. Many thanksgivings would be given to God on this account, by the apostle, and by those who were employed in this ministration, v. 11. These would bless God, who had made them happy instruments in so good a work, and rendered them successful in it. Besides these, others also would be thankful; the poor, who were supplied in their wants, would not fail to be very thankful to God, and bless God for them; and all who wished well to the gospel would glorify God for this experiment, or proof of subjection to the gospel of Christ, and true love to all men, v. 13. Note, (1.) True Christianity is a subjection to the gospel, a yielding of ourselves to the commanding influence of its truths and laws. (2.) We must evince the sincerity of our subjection to the gospel by works of charity. (3.) This will be for the credit of our profession, and to the praise and glory of God.

4. Those whose wants were supplied would make the best return they were able, by sending up many prayers to God for those who had relieved them, v. 14. And thus should we recompense the kindnesses we receive when we are not in a capacity of recompensing them in any other way; and, as this is the only recompence the poor can make, so it is often greatly for the advantage of the rich.

Lastly, The apostle concludes this whole matter with this doxology, Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, v. 15. Some think that by this unspeakable gift he means the gift of grace bestowed on the churches, in making them able and willing to supply the necessities of the saints, which would be attended with unspeakable benefit both to the givers and receivers. It should seem rather that he means Jesus Christ, who is indeed the unspeakable gift of God unto this world, a gift we have all reason to be very thankful for.[3]

 

 

9:15 Paul concludes this section on a note of confidence that the Corinthians will indeed comply, and so he offers thanks to God with the word that runs throughout this section, “grace” (charis, “thanks”). The thanks is not offered to the Corinthians for being well-disposed to Paul’s grand scheme and opening their purses to others. It is instead directed to God, who is the author of all perfect gifts. Paul gives thanks here specifically for the “indescribable” (inexpressible) gift. This may refer to a number of things that are all connected together: the gift of salvation, the gift of God’s Son, the gift of God’s grace (8:1, 4, 6, 7, 16, 19; 9:8). Most likely it refers to 8:9, “the primary gift of God which has established the whole framework of Christian life and fellowship within which Paul’s preaching and collection alike stand.”

These words of thanksgiving conclude Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians to renew their ardor for the undertaking and to fulfill their promise. They reveal that “all Christian giving is carried out in the light of God’s inexpressible gift.” Remembering thankfully Christ’s sacrifice (8:9) and God’s grace, which human words fail to capture fully, should cause them to finish the preparations for their gifts diligently, unselfishly, and cheerfully. Their gift models the kind of inexpressible gift that God has given to them.

If Rom 15:26–27 is any indication, Paul’s appeals in these chapters were successful. He reports that both Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to share in the spiritual blessings of the Jews and in return to share their material blessings with them.[4]

 



[1] Word studies from various sources on Logos Software, including, but not limited to Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains by James A. Swanson

 

 

[2] Garland, D. E. (1999). 2 Corinthians (Vol. 29, pp. 404–405). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 2288–2289). Peabody: Hendrickson.

 

[4] Garland, D. E. (1999). 2 Corinthians (Vol. 29, p. 415). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.