Paul’s collection from Gentile churches for the needy Jewish saints in Jerusalem was a one project that was below the surface of his 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys. It was Paul’s goal to connect the two ethnic groups together through this relief effort. In this lesson we will explore the collection from the Corinthian perspective and possible reasons why they delayed for over a year in assembling the funds they had promised. Along the way we’ll make some applications to ourselves.
1.Paul’s Collection For the Needy Saints in Jerusalem:
A. Relief first sent by the church in Antioch (Act 11:27-30)
B. A larger, more expansive effort proposed during Paul’s trip to Jerusalem (Gal 2:9-10; cf. Act 15)
C. Planned, collected, and delivered during Paul’s second and third missionary trips (Act 21:18-20a; cf. 24:17)
D. Its purpose was to bring together Gentile and Jewish believers through the gracious act of charitable love (Rom 15:25-33)
2. Funds were solicited from Gentile churches in:
A. Galatia: Antioch Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (1 Cor 16:1)
B. Macedonia: Thessalonica, Berea, and Philippi (2 Cor 8:1-5)
C. Achaia: Cenchreae; Athens, and Corinth (1 Cor 16:1; 2 Cor 8-9)
D. Perhaps also: Ephesus, Troas, Colossae and other places where Paul had established congregations or had on going contact with them.
3. The Corinthians and the Collection (2 Cor 8-9):
A. They had a desire and readiness (2 Cor 8:10-12)
B. They had a zeal for the collection and a love for the needy (2 Cor 8:8; 9:1-2)
C. They had promised Paul a generous gift (2 Cor 9:5)
D. Yet, after one year their zeal had grown cold (2 Cor 8:10)
4. Four Reasons The Corinthians Had Delayed:
A. They were content to desire to contribute but lacked the motivation to complete the project itself (2 Cor 8:10-12)
B. They felt taken advantage of by the poorer Judeans (2 Cor 8:13-15)
C. They listened to false teachers who said Paul was untrustworthy (2 Cor 8:18-22; 11:1-13:12; 1 Ths 2:1-12; 1 Cor 16:3-4; Act 20:4-5)
D. They feared the sacrifice of such a large contribution (2 Cor 9:6-15)
5. Lessons From Paul Collections:
A. Give Collectively (1 Cor 16:2; Act 2:44-45; 4:32ff; 6:1ff; 11:29ff). The weekly collection democratizes the funding of the local congregation’s work.
B. Give Bountifully (2 Cor 8:6-11; Pro 11:24-25). You can’t out give God.
C. Collect and Spend Purposefully (1 Cor 16:1a; 9:5, 7a). Planned purposes & shared goals should drive the need for the weekly collection
D. Give Cheerfully (2 Cor 8:6, 7, 19; 9:7b). Our weekly giving is not a religious tax. Instead, our collection, and any gift to the needy, is an act of grace.