FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection: The gospel is Jesus Christ given to us with all the blessings of God contained in him. – Ian Murray
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Mark 12:41-44
Holy, Holy, Holy - Adoration
Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior - Confession
Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts - Grace
Be Thou my Vision - Response
Come, All Ye Pining Hungry Poor - Communion
Doxology - Tallis Canon
The Bible Project:
As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.
This week check out the Holy Spirit.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father, your love brings life to dead souls, light to darkened minds, and strength to weak wills. Depending on our own strength we stumble; proclaiming our own goodness we sin; glorying in our own righteousness we corrupt everything we touch; indulging in self-pity we blind ourselves to the needs of those around us. Please forgive us and help us to believe that no wrong we have done, and no good we have failed to do, is too great for you to forgive through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Words of Grace
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
An example of gospel giving (v. 1-7)
The reason for gospel giving (v. 8-9)
The practice of gospel giving (v. 10-15)
The Heart of the Message
How does the grace of God transform our attitude toward and attachment to money? That is the question to which 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 speaks. Paul writes to the church in Corinth to help him collect financial resources to take back to the struggling church in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:1-4). Talking about money, especially when the conversation challenges our current practices is uncomfortable. So how does Paul do it? First, he describes the grace of God at work in the lives of the Macedonian churches (northern Greece, e.g. Philippi). They were eager (v. 4), having entrusted themselves to God and to the ministry of the church (v. 5), to give generously (v. 3) despite trying circumstances (v. 2). Second, Paul doesn’t lead with a heavy hand (v. 8) but with the gospel (v. 9). He speaks to the hearts of the Corinthians in light of what Jesus has done for them. In other words, the rationale for giving is the work of Jesus for us (re: Phil. 2:5-8). The question for Paul is, “is the gospel winning in your heart when it comes to your money?” Third, Paul spells out what “the grace of God” (v. 1) would look like in practice. He begins with the all-important question. Do the Corinthians have a heart willing to give (v. 12)? Gospel giving can’t be reduced to an equation or good intentions. It goes to the very core of who we are and who we love. But how much should they give? Notice Paul doesn’t even once refer to the Old Testament standard of “the tithe” or 10% of your earnings. The amount is a matter of conscience and freedom given what you have and not what you don’t have. As one writer puts it, “readiness gives all that is within its power to give.” Why is it practically important to give? Paul says, “so that there may be fairness” (v. 14). In other words, there is a mutual care and concern that must characterize the community of faith. No one person or community is to bear all the financial burden of the life of the church and its ministry. Our circumstances are no doubt different than the Corinthians, but the gospel remains the same and the grace of God is still at work. Therefore, to remember the gospel (v. 8-9) is an opportunity to excel in this act of grace (i.e. giving) also (v. 7).
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
What stands out to you about the Macedonians and why (v. 1-7)?
How does Paul seek to motivate Christians to give generously (v. 8-9)?
What do you find challenging or convicting or freeing from this passage?
How might this passage call you to change your practice of giving and why you do or don’t give?
Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648
Q. 17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.