Sunday, November 24, 2013
Sermon Series: For Goodness’ Sake?
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— 11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15 As it is written,
“The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.”
*Gather with your family, friends, small group or Sunday school class and discuss these questions in depth.
- Look at the things Paul listed to the church at Corinth that they excel in: faith, speech, knowledge, utmost eagerness, love and support from brothers in Christ. Would you be surprised to hear someone say that YOU excel in those things? Why or why not?
- What is the generous undertaking Paul is referring to in verse 7? (Read from the beginning of chapter 8)
- Paul says in verse 8 that he is not commanding the church at Corinth to “excel also in this generous undertaking”(v.7), but he is “testing the genuineness of [their] love.” How do you test the genuineness of your friends/family/spouse’s love? When would you NOT want the genuineness of your love to be tested?
- In verse 9, Paul reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice, or his generous gift, for us. Then in verse 10 he gives his advice to the church. Is it correct to say that what Paul is about to advise us to do is because of what Jesus did for us?
- Paul asks that those at the church in Corinth who have the “eagerness” or “desire” to do something, or have begun to do something, would just do it. Paul is basically calling out those of us with “good intentions.” What good intentions do you have? How long have they been intentions?
- Do you think God is okay with some of us (who know His commands and His word) living in abundance while others do not have enough?
- Paul talks about a “fair balance” in verse 14. Discuss this concept with your group.
- Write down a list of “good intentions” you have had for a while. Is it a mission trip you’ve thought about going on? Is it taking dinner to your sick neighbor? Whatever it is, identify what is stopping you from just doing it and leave that inhibition at the foot of cross.
- Really think about the five things in verse 7 that Paul listed the church at Corinth excelled at. Those of us who read and listen to God’s word, who obey His commands, who have accepted Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us ARE JUST LIKE the church at Corinth. Think about how you excel in those things.
- Sometimes we lack confidence in our own ability to share the message of Christ with others. We fear they may ask us a question we don’t know the answer to, or that they will argue with us and we won’t be able to defend our faith. Pray for confidence from the Holy Spirit and also for divine appointments, giving you the opportunity to practice what you know is true. The Bible is our sword and contains every defense we need, so lean wholly on the Scriptures, but do not be afraid to respond to a question with “I don’t know, let’s explore that together.” Ask a friend or family member to play an unbeliever and practice sharing the gospel with them.