The 2nd letter to the Corinthians was written about a year after the first. Mainly, because Paul had heard the first letter had not made the impact he had hoped on the actions and hearts of the church at Corinth. So, this letter was written defending his authority and actions as well as calling them to give of themselves to help others. 2 Corinthians gives a personal vantage point of the life of Paul, more so than any other book. Paul truly wanted the church at Corinth to recognize the amazing grace of God available to them all.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (CSB) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.
1. Joy and sorrow can co-exist
2 Cor. 8:2 During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
The people of Macedonia found joy in the most severe circumstances
When facing trials, don’t question the goodness of God, focus on the SERVING for God
2. Joy is found in what we do, not what we have
2 Cor. 8:3-4 I can testify that, according to their ability and even beyond their ability, of their own accord, 4 they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints,
They recognized the value in helping others even in their affliction
While Paul may have given them a “pass” in having to give, they begged him to do it anyway because they understood the value
3. It begins in giving all to Him
2 Cor. 8:5 and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us by God’s will.
This principle is only possible when we recognize our position before God
All we have and all we are belong to Him
4. Growing in Him is important, going for Him is too
2 Cor. 8:7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us—excel also in this act of grace.
It’s not enough that we have spiritual knowledge and understanding, we must put it into practice
And, we must do so in abundance (vs 7 “excel”= para-SWE-o which means “abounding”
5. Christ as our example
2 Cor. 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
The ultimate picture of this type of giving is from Christ Himself
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