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 Relationships: The Long Distance Factor     2 Cor 8:1-9; 9:1-2, 7-8, 12-15    Aug. 22, 2010


Introduction

       Did you ever try to witness to someone by long distance? How about a witness from others to you about the Christian life when the example lived a long way from your home. A great example can become very encouraging even if they live several miles away. Relationships: The Long Distance Factor, happens all the time through our mission work.


 

1.   Long Distance Examples Of . . Generous Giving. 2 Cor 8:1-7

       A.   Generous Giving Through The . . Grace Of God. 8:1-2

1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches of Macedonia:

       2 during a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the

       wealth of their generosity. 3 I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability,

 

       B.   Generous Giving Through The . . Giving Of Themselves. 8:3-5

4 they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints, 5 and not just as

       we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves especially to the Lord, then to us by God's will.

 

       C.   Generous Giving Through The . . Grandness of Their Giving. 8:6-7

6 So we urged Titus that, just as he had begun, so he should also complete this grace to you. 7 Now as

       you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—excel

       also in this grace.


       I like to know about people who are generous givers to the Lord’s work. Those I have known give a testimony concerning the grace of God in their lives. They believe they cannot out give God. Several of these people give of themselves in the Lord’s service and they do it with an excellent ability. The lady who founded Home Interiors had a necklace especially made for her with two shovels. One larger than the other, and the larger one represented God’s gifts to her while the smaller one was her gifts to God. It represented her belief about giving to the Lord. Some people in Corinth would agree.

 

2.   Long Distance Examples Of . . Genuinely Following Jesus. 2 Cor. 8:8-9

       A.   Genuinely Following Jesus . . Checking The Genuineness Of Their Love. 8:8

8 I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the

       genuineness of your love.

 

       B.   Genuinely Following Jesus . . Contrasting His Love With Theirs. 8:9

9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He

       became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.


       Did you ever think about your funeral? I want the song, “May all who come behind us find us faithful.”

I think it could be sung about the people in our text. Paul checked up on them concerning their love for the Lord and gave them a good grade. There was a contrast between them and the non-Christian people of Corinth, and that is the way it ought to be always. Paul used the example of the way Christ gave to encourage these people about giving. All of us should be motivated by the way Christ gave of his life.

 

3.   Long Distance Examples Of . . Gladly And Cheerfully Ministering. 2 Cor. 9:1-2, 7-8

       A.   Gladly And Cheerfully Ministering . . Eager To Serve. 9:1-2

1 Now concerning the ministry to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you. 2 For I know your eagerness, and I brag about you to the Macedonians: "Achaia has been prepared since last year," and your zeal has stirred up most of them.

 

       B.   Gladly And Cheerfully Ministering . . Excelling In Good Works. 9:7-8

7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not out of regret or out of necessity, for God

       loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always

       having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.


       To share our witness gladly and cheerfully will be seen as we eagerly share our faith. Sadly many Christians are reluctant in their verbal witness rather than being eager to share. We can learn to excel in our witness and help many come to Christ. Paul bragged about these people in other countries where he went on his missionary journeys. Paul tells us, “God loves a cheerful giver.” I remember seeing a booklet with the expressions of babies and one baby had a sour face and the caption said, “I could not give more and be cheerful about it.”

I don’t think I have ever given in a begrudging attitude. I am pleased to give and would love to be able to give large amounts.


 

4.   Long Distance Examples Of . . Glorifying The Lord. 2 Cor. 9:12-15

       A.   Glorifying The Lord By . . Supplying Of Needs Of The Saints. 9:12-13

12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing

       in many acts of thanksgiving to God. 13 Through the proof of this service, they will glorify God for your

       obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with

       others.

 

       B.   Glorifying The Lord Through His . . Surpassing Grace.. 9:14-15

              14 And in their prayers for you they will have deep affection for you because of the surpassing grace of

       God on you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. HCSB


       All of us can enjoy an example from Christians glorifying the Lord. The Corinthians glorified the Lord for His supplying the needs of the saints. These gifts resulted in thanksgiving to the Lord. Too often we accept the Lord’s gifts to us and forget to say thanks. Thanksgiving to the Lord needs to be expressed more by all of us.  Paul calls the grace of God the surpassing grace. It surpasses every expression of goodness we will ever receive. Knowing we will grow much through Relationships: The Long Distance Factor, is a blessing. Amen? Amen!