Sacrificial Health

Sacrificial Health
The idea of evaluating our health leads to an interesting parallel.  Health principles one and two (evangelism and spiritual health) are the foundational ideas upon which all the others depend.  Health principles three, four and five (ministry, worship and body health) are normal results when evangelism and spiritual maturity are happening.
There’s a parallel… as we make personal progress in these areas of health, they also become indicators of corporate church health.  Even with sound Bible teaching, a church without evangelism among unbelievers and spiritual health among believers isn’t healthy.  In fact, it isn’t really a church at all.  It’s nothing more than a teaching center.  While sound Bible teaching is certainly important, that one thing alone doesn’t make a church.  A church - THE church - is people: the body of Christ.
When a healthy local body serves Christ together, maturity, ministry, worship and even the addition of more people (evangelism) is a natural result.  However, all of these require sacrifice.
In 2 Corinthians 8, we see five areas of sacrifice practiced by the churches in Macedonia: v. 1 grace; v. 2 liberality; vv. 3-4a sincerity; v. 4b generosity; and vv.5-9 obedience.  The churches of Macedonia included  those in Philippi, Berea, Athens, Corinth and Thessalonica, in whom we can see this illustrated.  In 1 Th. 1:6, Paul commended the church for becoming "followers (imitators) of us and of the Lord."   He then outlines how they did it in v8-10: their evangelism (the word has sounded); their faith (your faith toward God); their stand (turned to God from idols); their service (serve the living / true God); and their faithfulness (wait for His Son).   In 2 Cor. 8, where their  generosity in giving was one of the ways they "imitated" God.
The Macedonians also demonstrated liberality in their sacrifice.  Liberality is defined in the Online Bible Greek Lexicon as: "the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy".  They weren't trying to impress; but rather simple to honor God. 
Their sacrificial health was also seen in its sincerity and in its generosity (v3/4).  Sacrifice isn't sacrifice unless it's sacrifice.  The NIV states it this way: "they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people."  They were so sincere and so generous that they plead for the privilege, even though Paul knew they couldn't (humanly speaking) afford it.
Ultimately, the Macedonians' sacrifice was an outgrowth of obedience.  We read in v5 that they "first gave themselves to the Lord".  Seeing sacrificial giving as obedience to God is an indication of sacrificial health in a church.