Study on the Book of 2nd Corinthians

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Division 4 — “The Ministry & It’s Financial Collections”

Lesson 2: "The Men Who Handle the Collection" - II Cor. 8:16-24

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

II Corinthians 8:16-24, “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.”


-Introduction:

Men who handle collections in the church have an important function, very important. They hold a position that is very visible. People are always aware of the persons who handle their money. Therefore, within the church it is important that such persons be trustworthy and moral; that they live a good and clean life, and that they have a strong Christian testimony.


In our present passage, a special mission project is being undertaken to help the poor churches in Judea. A large sum of money is involved. Paul wants to make absolutely sure that everything is above board, that he leaves no door open for questioning what happened to the money. He wants to protect the name of Christ and his own name. Therefore, he chooses Titus to head up a delegation of men to handle the offerings. And note this; The men are chosen by the church, not by Paul (2 Cor. 8:19).


Again, the importance of the men who handle collections cannot be overstressed. For this reason, this passage discusses these men and the kind of men they must be. Six things here,

          1.  They care for the church—earnestly care (v.16-17).

          2.  They have a reputation for the gospel, a testimony for witnessing (v.18).

          3.  They are representatives chosen by the church in order to avoid charges of misconduct           against the minister (v.19-21).

          4.  They are diligent in many things, but especially in collections (v.22).

          5.  They are partners of the minister (v.23).

          6.  They are to be loved by the church (v.24).


#1) Men who handle collections care for the church.

Look again with me at 2 Corinthians 8:16-17, “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.”


Paul says that Titus had the "same earnest care" for the Corinthian church that he had. Imagine caring for the church as much as Paul cared! The word "earnest" means zeal. Men who handle collections must have a zealous concern for the church and its welfare. But note where the concern and zeal must come from,

          A.The concern for the church must come from God. It was God that put the care and           concern into the heart of Titus. Titus did not care for the church...

          •  because of tradition.

          •  because it was the church of his parents or forefathers.

          •  because he felt that it made him acceptable to God.

          •  because he sought to be seen and recognized by the people.

          Titus had a zealous care for the church because God had put the care into his heart. Men           who handle the collections must know God personally, know Him so intimately that God   can move upon their hearts and put a spirit of caring within them.


          B.The concern for the church must come from within the heart. This was true of Titus.             Titus was not void of feelings; his heart was tender and warm toward the church. He had           a natural care for the church and for the things of God.

          The point is this: the men who handle the collections must have a zealous concern for the           church, a concern that comes both from the Spirit of God and from a warm, tender heart           for the things of God.


#2) The men who handle collections must have a reputation for being a witness.

Look again with me at 2 Corinthians 8:18, “And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches.”


The man mentioned in this verse is never named, and any attempt to identify him is futile and worthless conjecture. Three significant things are said about him,

          A.He was a "brother" in the Lord, a Christian brother to Paul and to other believers. This is essential for those who handle collections:

              They must be men who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior.

              They must be acting like brothers, living in fellowship, harmony, and unity with other believers. There is no room for criticism, murmuring, or divisiveness.

 

          B.He had a strong testimony in the gospel. This means that he was a strong witness to the lost. He not only lived for Christ, but he bore witness to the saving power of Christ—that Christ could and would change a person's life: transforming him into a new creature, forgiving his sins and giving him eternal life.

-Thought 1. What a dynamic testimony for all those who handle offerings! How important...

          •  that they be true brothers in the Lord.

          •  that they have strong testimonies in the gospel.

          •  that their testimonies be so strong that people know that they follow the Lord.


#3)  The men who handle collections are representatives chosen by the church in order to avoid charges of misconduct against the minister.

2 Corinthians 8:19-21, “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.”


This is a very significant fact—a lesson that must be heeded by ministers and churches alike. If Paul had handled the offering himself, he could have left himself open to the charge of confiscating or stealing money. The only wise course was to have the church elect one of its own men to handle the offering.


Note that the offering was called "this grace." Therefore, the offering of a church is a grace; it is the heart of the church being poured out in a free gift to reach and help the desperate of the world. The church must pour its soul out in offerings for the lost and needy of the world. They reel under the weight of sin, hunger, thirst, disease, ignorance, loneliness, helplessness, purposelessness, and death. This alone stresses the awesome importance of the ushers and men who handle the collections.


Note another significant point: why the offering was being ministered. It was for the glory of the Lord. When people saw the offering and knew what it was to be used for, their hearts would glorify the Lord. The Lord would be praised more than He otherwise would be.


-Note: Paul clearly states why he had taken such precautions. He wanted all men to know that he was honest, that he would never put his hand into the till and take money out of the offerings. He did not want anyone to have a question about his personal conduct. Appearance mattered—what people thought mattered—for he had dedicated his very life to reaching and helping people.


#4) The men who handle collections are diligent in many things, but especially in collections.

2 Corinthians 8:22. “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.”


Who this unnamed brother was is not known. Three significant points are made about him, points that should speak to the heart of every usher and person who handles collections,

          -He was a brother, a true believer who was in fellowship with other believers and cooperated with the church in its mission endeavors.

          -He had often "proved diligent" when other ministries had been assigned to him. The word "diligent" means earnest, zealous, devoted. He gave himself wholeheartedly to whatever task the church gave him.

          -He observed and was alert to the testimony of churches. When Paul told him about the Corinthian church—about the great revival of the church—he became excited and was more willing than ever to serve Christ in the midst of the church.


#5) The men who handle the collections are partners of the ministers.

2 Corinthians 8:23, “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.”


Note that Paul expected people to be asking who these men were. This is a natural inquiry, for the men handle the offerings for the church. Therefore, it was extremely important that the credentials of the men be of the highest quality.

          A.  Titus was the partner and fellowhelper of Paul—especially in ministering to the Corinthian church. Most of the Corinthians would know this, for Titus had been God's main instrument in bringing revival to the church.

          B.  The other two men were messengers of the church, men especially chosen by the church to represent the church. Note also that they were the messengers of the glory of Christ. They were to reflect and share the glory of Christ as they served the church.


-Thought 1. Both points are to be true of all ushers and men who handle collections in the church.

          -Ushers are to be the partners of the minister.

          -Ushers are to be messengers of both the church and of the glory of God.


#6) Men who handle the collections, are to be loved by the church.

2 Corinthians 8:24, “Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.”


This is essential. The church had to prove its love to the men who were handling the money if they were to effectively fulfill their ministry. The church was to prove its love in two ways,

          -First, by receiving the men, accepting both them and their ministry.

            -Second, by helping the men fulfill their ministry. The church had to let the men present the mission project and then contribute to it.


*Next lesson: The Givers Who Please God, II Cor 9:1-7



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