In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul addresses the subject of the Corinthian church’s participation in a collection being gathered to 1) provide relief for Jewish Christians suffering in Jerusalem and 2) unify the church by minimizing ethnic differences. The sermon text for this Lord’s Day is the fourth of five sermons from these two chapters. It focuses on issues of integrity (the Corinthians must follow through on what they had promised to do), encouragement (renewed zeal for the project would encourage others in their own participation), and blessing (generosity for the cause of Christ brings God’s blessing to both recipients and givers).
The hymns chosen for this service reflect themes found throughout the sermon passage.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship 1 Chronicles 29:10-13
Hymn Insert O God Beyond All Praising
Notes: We set the tone for the service with a hymn that captures the heart of worship. God, alone, is worthy of our praise; we can never exhaust the praise that is due his name. Even so, we unite our hearts and voices to “marvel at [his] beauty and glory in [his] ways.”
Worship through Giving
Response: Hymn Psalm 23b
Notes: We are familiar with Psalm 23 as a source of comfort for God’s children. Yet, it also expresses expresses the foundation of biblical stewardship. It declares that all good things come to us from the loving hand of the Lord, our Shepherd.
Hymn 141 Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed
Notes: Our dear Savior set the example for selfless devotion when he devoted “that sacred head for such a worm as I.” In response, we sing,
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away—
‘Tis all that I can do!
Scripture Reading Matthew 6:19-34
Notes: Jesus reminds us that real treasure does not consist in things that we amass here. Instead, he calls us to invest in things that really matter, in eternal treasure.
Hymn 222 (Tune: 220) Church of God, Beloved and Chosen
Notes: The church is created by God and for God. It is “beloved and chosen” by Him. Those who love God also love the church, the object of his special affection. This idea lies behind Paul’s gentle admonition given to the Corinthian church in the sermon text. As worshipers of God, they must love what God loves. Therefore, they must be a blessing to the Church.
Message Integrity, Encouragement, and Blessing
2 Corinthians 9:1-5
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn 560 Take My Life and Let It Be
Notes: We sometimes sing this hymn as an offertory response, “Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold.” However, it is particularly fitting as a concluding hymn in a service that calls us to complete devotion to the work of God for, through, and in His churches: “Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”
Prayer Response Mark Buhr
Benediction John Miles