Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;The Charm of Christ
2 Corinthians 8:9
I would take the text as showing the God-nature in the self-giving of Christ.
I. The Divine Plenitude.—'He was rich' carries us up into the relation of the Son to the Father, and into the wealth He shared as Son with the Father. We have now to try and realise some of the great things which are of the essence of Deity, and to remember that they belonged to the riches of Christ as sharing in the nature of the Godhead. What, then, are the riches of God? (1) God is rich in omnipotence. In His pre-existence He was one with the Father in that eternal energy which is both the source and conservation of the things that are. (2) God is rich in omnipresence. It is an overwhelming thought that in all the vastness and in all the worlds there is no spot where God is not. (3) God is rich in wisdom. (4) God is rich in generosity. The whole of the life of God is a life of sacrifice. He is the blessed or happy God because He is the self-giving God. In nature He gives with surprising prodigality, and in grace with loving generosity.
II. The Divine Poverty.—He 'emptied Himself. Now, 'if His riches consisted in sharing with the Father the attributes of Deity, surely His poverty must have consisted in the act of self-limitation in the Incarnation. He could no longer share with the Father in placing the seal of infinite wisdom on every flower that blooms and on every star that shines. He could no longer with the Father, out of plenitude of power, revel in the prodigality of Deity; He had 'emptied' Himself, and was poor; He had not lost His divinity, but it was circumscribed. Deity contracted itself in order to reveal itself, and the contraction is at once the shame and the glory of Jesus. Again—Jesus became poor as the Son of Man. He was poor socially. Isolation is the penalty of greatness.
III. The Divine Purpose.—There is a legend of Thomas Aquinas kneeling before the cross, when a voice said, 'Thomas, thou hast written and done much for Me. What reward shall I give thee?' Lowly he kneeled and said, 'Lord, give me Thyself!' When we possess Christ we get the true wealth, which is pure health of soul. That was the purpose of His coming and the grace of His poverty. By the charm of the condescension in which He became poor, He wins us to His wealth.
—J. Oates, The Sorrow of God, p. 121.
References.—VIII. 9.—C. O. Eldridge, Preacher's Magazine, vol. x. p. 554. H. Woodcock, Sermon Outlines (1st Series), p. 40. G. W. Brameld, Practical Sermons, p. 26. W. H. Hutchings, Sermon Sketches, p. 257. A. Coote, Twelve Sermons, p. 1. F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iii. p. 83. R. C. Trench, Sermons New and Old, p. 249. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii. No. 151; vol. xxxvii. No. 2232; vol. xl. No. 2364; and vol. xlvii. No. 2716. Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 278; ibid. vol. v. p. 28; ibid. (5th Series), vol. ii. p. 248; ibid. vol. ix. p. 223; ibid. (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 411; ibid. vol. iv. p. 126.
2 Corinthians 8:9
In a small house beside the yard in front of City Road Chapel, John Wesley took his departure out of the world. In his wanderings he was always preaching or meeting classes. He seldom spoke; but once, in a wakeful interval, exclaimed, 'There is no way into the holiest but by the blood of Jesus. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." That is the foundation, the only foundation; there is no other.'
References.—VIII. 9.—W. Pulsford, Trinity Church Sermons, p. 1. VIII. 10.— Expositor (4th Series), vol. viii. p. 323; ibid. (5th Series), vol. x. p. 426. VIII. 17.—Ibid. vol. iv. p. 164. VIII. 18.—Ibid. (4th Series), p. 334; ibid. (5th Series), vol. ii. p. 115; ibid. vol. vii. p. 405. VIII. 23.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. vii. p. 120. VIII. 24.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi. No. 1522. Expositor (4th Series), vol. v. p. 365. VIII. 25.—Ibid. (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 373. IX. 1.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. i. p. 209. IX. 5.—Ibid. p. 276. IX. 6.—F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iv. p. 229. IX. 6, 7.—W. H. Evans, Short Sermons for the Seasons, p. 108. IX. 7.—J. S. Maver, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. p. 127. J. H. Jowett, Examiner, 28th June, 1906, p. 628. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv. No. 835. Expositor (5th Series), vol. ix. p. 447. IX. 7-15.—Expository Sermons on the New Testament, p. 196. IX. 8. —Expositor (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 285. IX. 15.—J. Keble, Miscellaneous Sermons, p. 235. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi. No. 1550; vol. xxxviii. No. 2247; vol. xxxix. No. 2290. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p. 101. J. Stuart Holden, The Pre-Eminent Lord, p. 225. X.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. vii. p. 107. X. 1.—John Watson, The Inspiration of Our Faith, p. 190. Expositor (5th Series), vol. vi. p. 66; ibid. (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 287. X. 1-10.—Ibid. p. 463. X. 2.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. iv. p. 298. X. 3, 4.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. vii. p. 459. X. 3-5.—C. Bradley, The Christian Life, p. 362. X. 4.—W. G. Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. p. 156.
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.