Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:4 that he is sending these brothers in order that their boasting about the Corinthians in this matter should not prove hollow, for if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, I will be embarrassed and so will you. He is saying, "I am sending these men ahead to get everything ready because I have been boasting about you to the Macedonians. And if, when I come bringing the Macedonians with me, they should find you unprepared, I would be embarrassed." Now, if these men who went beforehand to make the preparation were Macedonians, the argument that Paul makes later would not make sense. So they cannot have been Macedonians, and therefore we have to rule that whole group out.

It is significant that when Paul established leadership in the churches, he always established a plurality of ministry. The Church of Jesus Christ is not a democracy. It is not a monarchy either in the sense of one individual assuming the right of king and ruling. If anybody is king, it is Jesus. And under Jesus, there is this plurality of leadership, the eldership in the church. It is the way Paul established it and the way Jesus set the pattern. Titus is an example of that.

It is worth pausing to think a little bit about these people who shared in the work with Paul. Titus had a long history with Paul. The first historical incident that we have is the one Paul tells us about in Galatians. Paul was in a great theological tussle in those days because there was a kind of Christian Judaism that was trying to force the Jewish law upon Gentiles.

2 Corinthians falls into three sections. The middle section - chapters 8 and 9 - forms a whole section, because those two chapters deal with a collection that Paul was trying to receive from the church in Corinth. In addition to the church in Corinth, the collection involved the surrounding churches, as well as churches in Macedonia, Achaia, and other parts of the world that he had evangelized.

This is what Christian people need to do. If people today would really give themselves first to the Lord, they would give their time, their money, and everything else to one another. And the work of God would go forward in our day in ways that we could not possibly imagine. This is what Paul says to the church at Corinth. They gave, but like so many, they started well and did not continue. Paul pointed to the Macedonians as a great example of those who not only gave but desired to give. In verse 11 he encouraged them to keep it up, to finish the work, and carry it through to the end.