Tag: Book of 2 Corinthians

How To Deal With Our Doubts

Dealing With Our Doubts

Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 13

What is doubt? Doubt is that state of mind in which we hesitate to choose between two opposite conclusions. To doubt is to be “uncertain” of the truth.

There is only one truth, when it comes to eternal heavenly life!

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 
Joh 14:7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 

When we ask “show me the way”, Christ is the way!
When we ask “what is the truth”, Christ is the truth!
When we ask “how can we know true life” Christ is that answer!

Men reveal God by their words, Jesus Christ revealed God by the things that He accomplished and by the facts of His life!

Jesus Christ is the truth, that in His life, we can find the foundations of all truth, morally and spiritually!

Jesus is the only way because He is life. Dead men cannot walk that rode to life. The tomb of the Lord is still empty!

Another truth is, death is “certain”.
And still another truth is there will be “Judgment”.

In this lesson we will see the Apostle Paul warn this church at Corinth of the chastisement which he is determined to inflict on all offenders of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”, who have not repented of those things.

The truth is everyone on the face of this earth can be prepared for “judgment” because “we can” be saved, “we can know” that we are saved, and “we can judge ourselves” to see if we are living proof of that salvation!

Watch as Paul first gives a minister’s warning, then a minister’s prayer, then a minister’s challenge, and last a minister’s blessing. All these by the authority given to him by Jesus Christ.

As every good missionary does, Paul would one day have to make a report of all that he had done on the mission field and especially in such instances as what occurred at this church in Corinth, it would be best to have witnesses.

What did Jesus say?

Mat 18:15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 
Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 
Mat 18:17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 

So let’s learn from these Holy Ghost inspired words of the Apostle Paul.

*****2Co 13:1  This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 

The truth is, Paul had received letters, Paul had heard rumors, Paul had sent his own witnesses and now Paul intended to complete a full investigation of the condition of this Corinthian Church, himself.

Paul would assume nothing. Paul would take nothing for granted, but Paul would follow the principles of the Word of God, which at that time was the Old Testament.

Deu 19:15  One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. 

We may wonder sometimes how God can judge us righteously and be just one person but we forget that we have One God but He is in three persons. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit therefore God can surely judge us righteously.

1Jn 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 

We should be clear, three times during the life of Jesus was His Father’s voice heard from Heaven confirming the ministry of His dear Son!

Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 17:5; John 12: 28-30

In fact, we will find that those who reject the Word of God in this time of God’s “Grace” will be judged more harshly than at any other time in our history.

Heb 10:28  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 
Heb 10:29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 
Heb 10:30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 
Heb 10:31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 

The truth is, God will accept no man’s judgment of His children so God keeps His own books on each of us, so He can see for Himself but thank goodness He does allow for a “Mediator”. As the song says “A Young Jewish Lawyer”

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 
1Ti 2:6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 

Paul explains that his discipline would go far beyond normal church discipline but those who had been true to the Lord had no need to fear, just those who were false Christians.

*****2Co 13:2  I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: 

Paul has warned these false Christians before in this epistle and he warns them again now, because Paul is certain that they remained in this church causing problems.

There are some of Satan’s people in every church!

God warns and warns, but God also says when He comes He will come as a thief and a thief does not warn you of the day he is coming!

Rev 3:3  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 

And to those that insisted that Paul was too loving to act in firmness (all the rest) Paul says he would not spare.

This is also the message of the Lord. Those that repent will not see the wrath of God but those that do not accept that a loving God can also show His wrath, will be fooled!

Eph 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 
Eph 5:7  Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 

We can see that there is nothing confusing in the Word of God!

Paul insisted that he would exercise his spiritual authority and that he would certainly discipline “all” offenders!

The sins of Corinth must not be allowed to continue in any church!

The church cannot live in sin because the church can only survive if it lives by the power of God!

It is also obvious that God expects His church to take a stand on the Word of God because we do not stand alone, the Lord always stands with us!

These at Corinth would certainly see that there was nothing confusing about what Paul was saying!

*****2Co 13:3  Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 
2Co 13:4  For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 
2Co 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 

We should understand, the day after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, there were still some who demanded that Jesus show them proof of His power over life and death.

You cannot show a non-believer enough proof to change their rejection of the truth of Christ and those that reject the Lord will reject all truth!

These born again Christians in Corinth were Paul’s proof and that could not be denied except by those false Christians!

The preaching of the “Gospel” is the power of God unto salvation!

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

Christ may have appeared weak when He was crucified but that was certainly not weakness that raised Him from the dead!

As Christians we may appear weak in this world but on the day of the “Rapture of the Church” that will all change and the day that the Lord returns to this world, we will then see who is weak.

Rev 6:15  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 
Rev 6:16  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 
Rev 6:17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? 

As Christians we need only to examine ourselves to know if we are indeed in Christ and Christ within us!

If we are still living in sin then we need to question our “faith”!
If we cannot feel the Holy Spirit when we think to do things against the Word of God, we need to question our “faith”!
If we do not feel the need to gather with the “body of Christ”, we need to question our “faith”!

God says:

1Jn 5:11  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 
1Jn 5:12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 
1Jn 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; “that ye may know” that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 

It’s not important how we look.
It’s not important if we are not eloquent speakers.
It’s not important if we have faults, “we all still do”.
It is important that we have “faith” in the power of God that lives within us!

We may question our ministry for the Lord but our “salvation” should never be questioned!

We should examine our doctrine to see if it matches the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

More important, we should examine ourselves and realize that errors of the heart are more dangerous than the errors of the mind and we must realize we can never be too sure of our salvation, we certainly do not need to make a mistake here, it is just too important!

What is a reprobate?

A reprobate is someone who may confess that they know God but their actions and their works tell a different story.
A reprobate is someone who has rejected the “grace” of God and is lost to sin!
A reprobate is someone who has been rejected by the Lord!
And sadly a reprobate is someone God has given up on converting!

Rom 1:24  Wherefore “God also gave them up” to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 

Rom 1:26  For this cause “God gave them up” unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 

Rom 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind”, to do those things which are not convenient; 

We must know that we are not reprobates!

*****2Co 13:6  But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. 
2Co 13:7  Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 
2Co 13:8  For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 

What is the truth of salvation? The very moment we place our “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ and in God’s promises, the Holy Spirit moves into us and He will never leave us nor forsake us!

Those false teachers may or may not be reprobates but with the Holy Spirit living within us, then as Christians, “can never be reprobates”!

If those of the Church of Corinth were truly Christians and had self examined themselves Paul was sure that they would come to the right conclusion and we know that they did.

All those who do right in the sight of God will reject all those things that are unrighteous!

And then Paul began to pray for this church. Paul prayed that they would do no evil and repent in order for him to bring a blessing rather than his discipline.

No one has the authority to discipline a Church that follows the truth of the “Gospel”! Not Paul, not these false teachers, not the government and not any other house of God! God would not approve any such thing!

No one can destroy the laws of God! The kingdom of Jesus Christ cannot be shaken because it stands on a solid foundation!

The truth of God is to be lived and boldly proclaimed under any and all circumstances!

The early Church overcame many obstacles and has survived, we should not ever think it will fail in our day or any other day!

One of the greatest rewards to the true Pastor is when he believes he preached his message in weakness yet the believers were still strengthened by it.

When a Pastor has complete freedom to preach the truth of God and not spend his time trying to correct a bad message from the world, the “body of Christ” gets all the benefits!

The church that can withstand the attacks of Satan, and their own corruption to still perform the work of the Lord, shows the strength of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”!

It is then that a Pastor can concentrate on the “edification” and “sanctification” of his body of believers.

After all the Pastor’s job is to make “disciples” of Jesus Christ!

*****2Co 13:9  For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. 
2Co 13:10  Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction. 

So why had Paul been so bold in these epistles?

So he would not have to use that same boldness and sharpness according to the power that the Lord had given to him!

Paul did not want to have to confront those who had caused such problems. “As we have said it is the Church’s responsibility to put a stop to all such things”.

Paul would rather spend his time and his opportunities to build onto the church and not destroy any part of it or any member.

Paul did not want to tear down lives in order to save this church but he would if it was necessary!

Paul was actually content if he was seen as weak as long as it was understood that he ministered with the full power of God. This was the greatest attribute of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was not the power of the miracles that made Christ our Savior.
It was not the power of God that made Christ our Savior.
It was the “meekness” of an all powerful God that loved us enough to die in payment of our sin!

It is only those who reject the Lord that will get to see the immense power of God, when they have refused His “Grace”!

What were some of the powers we have already seen?

We saw Ananias and Sapphira both lose their lives for lying to God.

Act 5:5  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 

And

Act 5:10  Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. 

We have seen Hymenaeus and Alexander and the incestuous person at Corinth, delivered to Satan for destruction of their souls, if they would not repent.

1Ti 1:20  Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 

And

1Co 5:4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

Did Paul have this kind of authority, we can be certain that he did, because his authority was that of Jesus Christ but church edification was Paul’s main goal!

This last thought, “this warning”, was intended to remain in their conscience because right after this statement Paul closes out this epistle.

*****2Co 13:11  Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 
2Co 13:12  Greet one another with an holy kiss. 

Notice again Paul was writing to the Christians and not to any false christian.

To say “farewell” is a wish of happiness but here it can also mean rejoice in the knowledge that we are Christians who are favored by God through His Son Christ Jesus.

As Peter so wonderfully put it:

1Pe 4:13  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 
1Pe 4:14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 

Paul says knowing this then “be perfect”. There has never been but one who was perfect and that was Jesus Christ so Paul is saying be more like Jesus than the world.

1Pe 5:10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 

Then be of good comfort.

2Th 2:16  Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 
2Th 2:17  Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. 

Then be of one mind.

Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 
Php 1:28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 

Then live in peace.

Heb 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 

The God of love and peace will be with you.

Rom 16:20  And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. 

The word holy is added to the word kiss so that this kiss is to not be considered anything but as a salute to each other.

1Co 16:19  The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 
1Co 16:20  All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. 

To salute is to honor one another!

Rom 16:16  Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. 

Christians honoring Christians. In America we use the hand shake but a hand shake in some places is repulsive and considered unsanitary.

But all Christians are to honor one another because we are all the “saints” of God and we do not need some man or some church councel or some Pope to declare our sainthood!

*****2Co 13:13  All the saints salute you. 
2Co 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

This epistle to the Corinthians was a very harsh letter and we as Christians need to be made aware of our faults and Paul has been as loving as he could and still make us aware of the truth of the Word of God.

Grace is still the unmerited favor of God and the “Grace of God” can only come by Jesus Christ.

Grace is the absolute love of God shown to sinners who deserve Hell but through our Savour, the Lord Jesus Christ will become a apart of Heaven’s glory!

How much does God love His creation?

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 
Joh 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 

We must never ignore the truth of God’s “love” but we must still realize that God had a purpose for His love and that was to join us with the Holy Spirit who is the seal of God ownership!

Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 
Rom 8:10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 
Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 

We are all subject to having doubts in our relationship with God but we must remain solid in our “faith”.

Faith is the only answer to doubt!

We must also deal with our own spiritual shortcomings before we ever question another brother or sister in Christ.

If there were anyone who had more love for the Church than the Apostle Paul then it could only be the Lord Jesus Christ!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Sometimes God Says No to Prayer

When Prayer Seems to Fail

Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 12

The biggest problem in the church of today is that the Word of God is not accepted as the truth. It is a great misunderstanding to think of the Bible as just a book of ancient writings. The Bible is the actual Word of God! The Bible is an actual message from Heaven to humanity! God Himself is the author of the Bible!

When we understand these things, we can then begin to understand what God is saying.

Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

After all what is “faith”?

Heb 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

“Substance” is something real, not imaginary, something solid! Faith is the assurance of things we hope for! Things we hope for are our personal achievements.

“Evidence” is the things that enables the mind to see the truth. The evidence we see is also the proof of things we cannot see. A Supreme being with a supreme cause for His creation.

Faith then is “Believing all the Word of God”.

When we accept the Word of God as the truth, we can then enter in to a new life, a new mode of power and a new mode of existence!

Col 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 
Col 3:2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 
Col 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 

Listen and believe what the Apostle Paul writes by the Holy Spirit:

*****2Co 12:1  It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 

It is never a good thing to boast of our accomplishments because we could not accomplish anything long lasting without the Lord in our lives!

Paul had begun this church at Corinth by the power of God and because of false teachers Paul saw the need to defend his ministry.

Paul’s salvation was real.
Paul’s call into the ministry was real.
Paul had to defend his calling.

Paul began his boasting by lifting up the Lord. Paul is saying “let me tell you what the Lord has revealed to me”.

*****2Co 12:2  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 
2Co 12:3  And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 

First if we skip down to verse 7, where Paul says “lest I be exalted” we can see that “this man” Paul was talking about was himself!

Paul had kept quiet about this for 14 years and the truth is, deep matters between ourselves and God should never be subject to boasting unless there is a real reason to do so!

No doubt Paul had many revelations from the Lord on many different occasions. This was the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ and we know Christ is very involved in His Church!

Paul recognizes that he did not know what the state of his consciousness at the time of this revelation. In other words, Paul knew he had a vision and he had seen clearly what God had wanted him to see but he did not know if the soul was in or out of his body. Paul did not know if he was conscious or unconscious.

Just so we are clear, the third Heaven is God’s dwelling place! The place where the clouds are is the first heaven, the place where the stars are the second heaven. Even the Apostle Paul rejected the notion of 7 heavens and we should also!

No doubt that as Christians we are all a part of the Body of Christ:

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 
Rom 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 

Paul had a glorious vision that had only one answer.

*****2Co 12:4  How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 

The third heaven and paradise are then the same place.

Paradise is then the unseen world! The spiritual world! The spiritual dimension of being!

These two worlds are separated by a great gulf that is impassable. One world a place of sorrows, known as Hell, which continues to enlarge itself because of unbelief and the other Paradise where all believers go at the very moment of death.

Paradise is a picture of Heaven and Heaven is where God dwells in all His presence and glory.

It would never be against any law for Paul not to speak of Paradise, the truth is there are simply no words in any language that can describe the beauty of Paradise.

Isa 64:4  For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. 

We should understand that there is nothing in the Word of God that is to be hidden and God does not hide anything from us. God just ask us to believe the words He gives to us!

Paul’s life was all about the “Gospel”. Paul’s life was with the Lord, Paul’s dreams were of the Lord, Paul saw God as not many see God. Paul heard a Voice that not many hear because most people have of a lack of “faith”.

This is the One in which we all should praise and glorify!

*****2Co 12:5  Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 
2Co 12:6  For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 

Paul was answering his critics who said that he had no authority to preach the “Gospel” but Paul does not stay there long, because Paul knows that our true strength comes from our weaknesses!

It is when we know our weaknesses that we can depend on the strength of the Lord. This is not speaking of our weakness of sin but our weaknesses as servants of the Lord and they are different for every one of us.

These are our difficulties in this life, our great afflictions and even our persecution.

We all, at some time, have tendency to glory in our own accomplishments even when we are foolish to do so but we must always speak the truth and that without exaggeration. The truth of the Lord must never be seen as boasting!

It is a fact that Paul had many visions and many sessions with the Holy Spirit or there could not be so many books of the New Testament which carries his name!

Paul clearly understood that these things did not make him special in any way. In fact, had Paul refused God would just have used someone else!

*****2Co 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 

The Strong’s Dictionary describes this thorn as a bodily annoyance or a disability.

A “thorn” can also be anything that is troublesome to our mission to serve Jesus Christ.

Paul also says this thorn was “the messenger of Satan to buffet him”.

We could also say this was a “demon”.

To “buffet”, means “to beat with the fist”! So, Paul’s thorn was certainly something evil!

We know that a thorn can cause pain and a thorn is impossible to forget. A thorn always seems to make contact with something as we go about our daily routine. To stop this, this thorn must be removed!

*****2Co 12:8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 
2Co 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

Obviously, this was something Paul could not do himself and something that no other human could do for Paul.

Remember Paul had all the powers given to him by the Lord.

Paul had the power to heal others but he could not use those powers on himself!

We should clearly understand, it is the Lord Jesus who chooses His servants and the mission of each servant.

It is the Lord who oversees their qualifications, their support, their trials and their deliverance from those trials. When that person has a problem and they do not take it to the Lord they show that they do not belong to the Lord! To Paul his prayers seemed to fail.

Notice Paul sought the Lord on 3 separate occasions to remove this obstacle of pain by the time he had written this epistle and it is possible he did so on other occasions.

We should understand the purpose of this life time trial of Paul. (lest I should be exalted above measure)

It is obvious that pride can be our greatest enemy after all it was pride that ruined the life of Lucifer and God tossed him out of Heaven along with his followers.

We are to always be humble servants of the Lord and constant physical pain can be the greatest humbler.

But there is an even greater reason than this!

The Lord Jesus Christ sets us free from the bondage of sin, but the Lord does not give us independence to serve ourselves!

Php 2:4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 

God says we are to bear one another’s burdens.

Notice things happen to us because we live in a sinful world, but our trials come from the Lord for His reasons and one day we will understand that these things had a real purpose that we may not understand while we are living.

In this case of Paul, God appointed this evil and Satan with the Lord’s permission inflicted it.

Job 1:9  Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 
Job 1:10  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 
Job 1:11  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 
Job 1:12  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So, Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. 

Satan needs to have God’s permission to bring evil on a child of God! If God allows it then God has His own reasons for doing so!

How did this affect Paul?

****It made Paul a better missionary!

God wanted to reveal His power in Paul. The weaker the vessel the more God will be glorified!

Grace is the unmerited favor of God. God’s presence, God’s love, God’s favor, and God’s blessings are all we need in this world to do the work that the Lord has given us to do. In fact without God’s grace we would falter and fail in our mission!

God’s Grace can carry us through any circumstance we face in this world!

We see that Paul suffered physically and many times this is true of others but there can also be spiritual suffering.

A self-sufficient person is saying that they do not need God!

So the truth is, we should all glory in our infirmities so the world can see the power of God in our lives!

*****2Co 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 

This may sound like a hard saying but in fact it is the truth if we remember that God can only do things that are the right thing to do, all the time!

We can take pleasure in the weakness of our mind and body, when we know the power of Jesus Christ will overcome those things.
We can smile and keep going, when we are ridiculed for serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
We can always feel secure, knowing that God will always meet our needs.
We can always feel safe, knowing that we are in the hands of the Lord when persecution comes.
We can always feel the victory, even when we are in tight situations and it looks like there is no means of escape, the Lord will make a way.

All we need to remember is that the power of Christ Jesus is much stronger than all the combined forces that mankind can put together!

Mat 19:25  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 
Mat 19:26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 

Nothing on this earth can overcome the “will of God”!

*****2Co 12:11  I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. 
2Co 12:12  Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 

Paul is saying, “to many of you I may seem to be a fool” but in fact this church was in error “because they had not defended their Pastor”.

Every church who has a Pastor who preaches the truth of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” must come to his aid when he is attacked by those who do not follow the Word of God.

We cannot pick and choose what part of God’s Word we will follow. We must accept all God’s Word as the truth and we must rightly divide the Word of God to keep it in context.

There will never be a volume 2 of the Word of God. There will never be a revised version of those old Hebrew and Greek scrolls.

We already have the truth of God in our possession!

Every Pastor should ask himself if he can defend his ministry before Jesus Christ.
Every Pastor should ask himself if he is following the lead of the Holy Spirit in his ministry.
Every Pastor should ask himself if he is totally committed to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If he can be positive in his answers, then he needs to stand on his ministry and that church needs to stand with him at all cost!

2Ti 1:11  Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 
2Ti 1:12  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 

A church that stands with such a man of God, will not be inferior to any other Bible believing place of worship!

*****2Co 12:12  Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 
2Co 12:13  For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. 

Paul ended verse 11 saying “though I be nothing”.

We are all nothing in comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ!
We can only boast in the Lord, we would fail without Him.
We can only trust in the Lord, if we trust in anything else we will fail.
We are nothing to be considered in the work of the Lord, the Scriptures will be fulfilled with or without us!

What is the truest sign of a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Jas 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. 

Paul had done this many times. Paul had also planted many churches.
Paul had been consistent in his Christian life after his salvation and his calling.

These people had witnessed supernatural miracles showing the Divine Power of God.
These people had seen wonders that could not be explained with man’s knowledge.
These people had witnessed many things that just could not be explained away, acknowledging the Power had to come from God.

Act 19:11  And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 
Act 19:12  So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 

Anything that any of the other Apostles could do had been witnessed by this church by the hands of Paul!

In fact, the only thing Paul had done differently was to refuse to demand that this church support him financially.

Paul says, “if this was wrong then forgive me”.

2Co 11:9  And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. 

What Paul was saying was, it was this body of believers who had wronged their Pastor!

In fact it seemed to Paul, that the more he loved them the less he was loved by them!

In fact, Paul’s critics accused Paul of using the money given for Jerusalem to help him in his ministry which was an absolute lie.

*****2Co 12:14  Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 
2Co 12:15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 
2Co 12:16  But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. 

It is a fact that if we have a sin that gets us in the most trouble we are usually quick to believe that all others are just as prone to it as we are but that is simply not true. Over and over again, Paul was accused of making money from his ministry as if it were a business. We can be sure that those false critics were guilty of this very thing. In fact, the more they could stir up the people of the church the thicker their wallets got.

The truth of the “Gospel” is that God requires a personal surrender!

Paul was not interested in what these people possessed, Paul was interested in their person. (I seek not yours but you)

At one time, scientist thought that the earth was the center of the planetary system and then they became confused about the heavens.

When it became clear that the Sun was the center of our system they began to see how truly organized our solar system was and it open the doors to exploration.

When we see ourselves as the center of law and order in the universe all other things are confusing but when we make the Lord Jesus the center of all life, confusion becomes order and reality.

Jesus Christ seeks a personal relationship with each, and every one of us. Jesus Christ seeks us. Jesus first saves the soul and then expects our reasonable service until He has us all. This universe already belongs to God to do with as He wishes!

Paul was not seeking their money.
Paul was not seeking their praise.
Paul was not even seeking their affections.
Paul was trying to get them to give themselves over to the Lord Jesus Christ!

This is the purpose of every minister of Jesus Christ!
We are then to follow the Word of God and make application of the Word of God to our lives.

The treasures of Paul were his love and his mercy which came from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 3:8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 
Eph 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 
Eph 3:10  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 
Eph 3:11  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 
Eph 3:12  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 

God as our Father in Heaven is laying up all His riches for His children of “faith” the body of Christ!

These Corinthians could not say that Paul had been a burden to them in any way. Paul had truly preached the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ freely and it could not be denied!

The critics then said that Paul had deceived them when he sent Titus and those other two to prepare these Corinthians in advance for those collections making Paul out to be a criminal.

Every man called of God must always be on guard against greed and worldliness and giving the impression that he is a cheat or a thief.

Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 
Joh 10:12  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 
Joh 10:13  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 
Joh 10:14  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

And Paul responded to these accusations:

*****2Co 12:17  Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? 
2Co 12:18  I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? 
2Co 12:19  Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. 

Paul clearly understood that he was accountable to God and not to men!

It is obvious that Titus and those with him also had made no request for financial support. Paul had anticipated that he would be accused of using any monies that were gathered.

Titus walked in the same Holy Spirit as the apostle Paul.

Every minister must be willing to preach the Word of God freely when it is necessary!

Titus walked in the same methods as Paul.
Titus lived in the same manner as Paul, “according to the Word of God”.
Titus just like Paul worked with his own hands to supply his needs rather than be a burden to this church.

The ministers of God must never show “covetousness”.

Paul was not defending himself, in order for them to judge his actions. Paul was called to build the church and not to tear it down

Paul was called of God, he answered only to God, God expected Paul to keep his ministry clean.

Paul only desired for this church to repent and return to the work of the Lord and this a quickly as possible.

It is for certain that God will unmask every deceiver in His own time!

The Apostle Paul did the things he did for the “Bride of Christ”.

What had John the Baptist said?

Joh 3:29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 
Joh 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease. 

These are the same feelings of Paul and every true minister of God!

Paul also had the same “Fatherly Fears” as our Father in Heaven!

*****2Co 12:20  For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: 
2Co 12:21  And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

We can be sure that Paul was still not completely sure this church would repent and may still reject his ministry.
Paul feared that the church would not deal with these false teachers and Paul’s critics.

Those evil attacks against Paul would have to cease in Corinth if the church was to survive and then Paul listed some things that can cause any church to divide.

1) Debates: Quarreling within the church that cause strife.
2) Envyings: Jealousy among the members.
3) Wraths: anything contrary to the Word of God
4) Strifes: Contention, law suits, caught up in things just to prove you are right.
5) Backbitings: Speaking evil of one another, spreading rumors, hurting some one’s good name without cause.
6) Whisperings: suggesting evil things of each other.
7) Swellings: Pride and conceit
8) Tumults: Interrupting the worship service for no reason but just to do so.

9) And being unrepentant!

We know of one who had relations with his father’s wife but it is obvious that there were others who were committing such sin.

Any and all relationships outside the relationship of one man and one woman in marriage, is sin and is an abomination to God!

It was obvious that some in this church had refused to repent and Paul was sure to address this issue when he returned to Corinth and Paul was making them aware.

Act 17:30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 
Act 17:31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. 

We need to clearly understand if we refuse to repent of our sin, God will never hear our prayers!

Psa 66:18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

If God will not hear our prayers they will certainly fail! 

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Coming Face to Face with False Doctrine

Facing False Doctrine

Understanding the Truth

Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 11

What is the greatest truth that is rejected by this world?

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

When Jesus said these words, His intent was then and still is today to say that “He (Jesus) is the only way to Heaven and there is no other way” to come face to face with our Father in Heaven!

Those that dispute the Lord Jesus Christ are all foolish!

Let’s begin:

*****2Co 11:1  Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 
2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 

As we already know there had been false teachers and critics in this church at Corinth who had severely attacked the Apostle Paul and his ministry for Christ. It would have been wrong for Paul not to address this issue and even boast of the truth of God.

Satan was using everything in his power to destroy Paul’s influence in the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

We can be sure, even more today that Satan is using many of these same methods to gain control of the Church!

What is the truth about Satan, Satan is a liar!

Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 

The modern-day church of today is filled with false teaching!
The modern-day church of today is rejecting the Doctrine of Jesus Christ on whom the Church is founded!

The goal is obvious, to break the foundation and the church will fall!

Paul is simply saying you heard their side now hear my side (bear with me, “allow me to defend myself”).

The Lord teaches us to take a stand.

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, “and having done all, to stand”. 

We are not to cower down every time someone voices their attitude of hate toward the ministers of the Gospel!

These false men had boasted of their gifts, and their abilities, and their usefulness to God, which were all lies and Paul saw the need to come to his own defense, not for himself but “for the honor of God”.

Psa 106:8  Nevertheless “he saved them for his name’s sake”, that he might make his mighty power to be known. 

Paul said he needed to respond to those false accusations, not for his own account, but it was a “godly jealousy”. We could say the Holy Spirit decided these things for Paul!

We should understand that Christ Jesus stands in the relation of a husband to the Church He has founded in His name!

Paul presents himself as the marriage-friend, in a sense the “best man” and therefore shares the bridegroom’s jealousy!

Isa 54:5  For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. 
Isa 54:6  For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 

Much like John the Baptist did:

Joh 3:27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 
Joh 3:28  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 
Joh 3:29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 
Joh 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease. 

Once a virgin was betrothed, then by agreement they must remain that way until the marriage is consummated!

The Apostle Paul had led these Corinthians to the Lord but at this time they were being deceived by false (strange) doctrine.

Heb 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 
Heb 13:9  Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. 

Deception is what brought sin to Adam.

*****2Co 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 
2Co 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 

We can use Eve as an example or a “type” of the Church but not “Mary” because Christ is the “new Adam”.

1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 

The Church must beware lest, like Eve, the church takes heed to the Tempter(Satan).

2Co 2:11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 

Satan is subtle! Satan is artful, Satan is cunning, Satan is insinuating, Satan is sly, and there are other words to describe him but most of all Satan is evil and Satan has an evil agenda for the destruction of God’s people or at least their usefulness in the work of the Lord.

Satan begins his work on the mind!

If Satan can corrupt the mind, he will begin to influence our decisions!

We must always be aware of Satan’s agenda!

Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, “which deceiveth the whole world”: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Simplicity means “our single-minded devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ”.

There will never be a time that the Lord will allow us to have 2 masters!

In a sense, Paul is saying that if “anyone” comes into your church and preaches another Jesus, another Gospel, we need to boot them out the door as quickly as possible. There may be other spirits but there is only One Holy Spirit!

Paul is telling these Corinthians that their mind may not yet be corrupted but they were leaning in that direction and a corrupted mind is hard to overcome!

A corrupted mind will turn away from Christ and we have seen the evidence of this today on a grand scale in many places that used to be devoted to the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

As Eve gave into the seduction of Satan, so is the Church capable of such a seduction and much of the Church is falling into this trap of Satan!

There is always the danger of false teachers and we need to show them the exit doors of the church building quickly!

What is the truth of our day?

1Ti 4:1  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 
1Ti 4:2  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 

We are wrong if we think we are not in that time of these “latter days” now!

All prophesy will one day become history as much of it already has!

*****2Co 11:5  For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. 
2Co 11:6  But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things. 

If these false teachers had truly had another Gospel then it may have been worth listening to, but the only message they had was a distortion of the “Gospel Truth”.

We should realize the truth of this statement!

There are more religions than I can count but each one is only a distortion of the Word of God. If we have the Word of God, then we need to accept it just as God has written it and not in bits and pieces!

We cannot pick and choose what we will believe and what we will reject!

When God calls those who minister the “Gospel”, He does not always give them great eloquence of speech. The gift that God gives to each one is the “knowledge” of the truth.

Not only had Paul spent 3 years with the Lord Jesus, Paul had sit at the feet of Gamaliel the greatest of the teachers of the Old Testament in all of Israel.

Col 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 
Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 
Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 
Col 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 
Col 1:29  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Paul, having insight from the Holy Spirit, had not been a burden to these Corinthians in finances and now even this was used against him.

*****2Co 11:7  Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? 
2Co 11:8  I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 

Paul had already taught this church that they should provide support for the true Pastor who preaches the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” so Paul now asked, “was it a sin that he did not ask for such support for himself”.

If we remember Paul had used his skills as a “tentmaker” to support himself during this time and he preached the “Gospel” freely to these Corinthians.

It was said by the false preachers that a true Apostle would have certainly demanded such support, as they had!

It was a fact that these Corinthians had no understanding of “free”.

Like the world of today, their understanding was that nothing of any value could ever be free and so we see the reasoning of the Apostle Paul.

Much of the world is of this thought today and many fall into the trap of thinking they must pay for salvation or do some work to purchase salvation, neither one understanding the “Grace of God”.

The Lord Jesus Christ made the only payment that God would accept and Jesus Christ did all the work that was required!

Our only work is to believe!
Our only payment is to give ourselves to the truth God!

Eph 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 
Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 
Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

Paul had received some support but it had come from other churches, mainly the church at Philippi, other than the church at Corinth.

The churches of Macedonia were truly poor so in a sense it was robbing from the poor to help the rich who were the Corinthians in comparison to those Macedonians.

Why had Paul done all these things?

*****2Co 11:9  And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. 
2Co 11:10  As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 
2Co 11:11  Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 

When Paul was in Corinth he had to work with his own hands and then witness and preach to get this church started and it started as a house church like many do today but even this work was not enough to provide Paul’s daily necessities and he lacked and some brothers from Macedonia had come to his rescue.

Paul had refused to ask these from Corinth for any help at all!

“Achaia” is accepted as meaning all of Greece. Paul was saying that no man and no reason could stop him from preaching the “gospel of Jesus Christ in all of Greece. Paul made an oath that day and Paul spent all his days as an Apostle boasting of the “Grace of God” and God’s plan of salvation and boasting how he had preached the “Gospel” freely to these of Corinth.

Paul was saying that these Corinthians had no one to blame but themselves if they rejected the “Gospel” and this is the same for this world today!

This is the truth of all who will come face to face with God at the “White Throne” of judgment, they will have gotten there by their own means with no one else to blame.

Paul’s critics had said that Paul had no love for this church, yet Paul had done all these things to show his love for this church and these people of Corinth.

The word “wherefore” means it was for these reasons.

Was it because Paul did not love these people, No, but there was also another reason?

Every Pastor must always guard against giving people a chance to criticize his financial policies and he is never to compromise the “Gospel” to pacify some church members into giving!

This also is a great problem in today’s places of worship!

*****2Co 11:12  But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 
2Co 11:13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 

The one thing for sure is, that false teachers in the church will always seek their own glory and not the glory of God!

They were false and deceitful in all their doings, so their boastings were never to be believed. This should be the same for us today!

The cure for knowing the words of a false teacher is to know the Word of God yourself!

Paul used the word false apostles because:

1) They had not been sent by the Lord.
2) They had no apostolic powers, which the Lord had given to His chosen 12.
3) They were only “actors” trying to play the part of an Apostle.

Tit 1:10  For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 
Tit 1:11  Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 

In the day of Paul, it had been mostly Jews but today they are in all denominations of the so-called Christian movement.

False teachers may be religionist “but they are never Christian”. They are the deceitful workers of Satan who disguise themselves as men of God!

We should not marvel at these things but we should know these things are true! Why?

*****2Co 11:14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 
2Co 11:15  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

All those who are looking for a Devil in a red suit with horns and a tail are foolish!

Satan will appear to be the greatest of all Christians, the greatest of all preachers, the greatest of all teachers, and the answer to all religions!

Satan can still appear in his heavenly glory as he is an angel created of God.

Eze 28:13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 
Eze 28:14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 
Eze 28:15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 

Eze 28:17  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 

Satan is our enemy!

Satan is under God’s curse!

Satan only has a little time left!

Satan is a deceiver!

Gal 1:8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 
Gal 1:9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 
Gal 1:10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 

So, it should be no great thing that some servants of Satan have infiltrated the church and they will bring the evil world into the church!

Satan will always present himself as the messenger of the truth!
Satan will always present himself as the pathway to intelligent obedience to God’s Word.
Satan will always present himself as the one who is to “enlighten” God’s people to reality.
Satan will never present himself as Satan!!!!!!!!!!!

Satan false ministers will do the same thing!

How can we know the difference then?

False ministers will always deny the life of Christ, His righteousness as the perfect and ideal sinless man!
False ministers will always deny the death of Christ, that He had to die in payment for all our sin!
False ministers will always deny the resurrection of Christ, that He had victory over death to show the new life for the believer.
False ministers will always deny the blood of Christ!

The truth is God will accept no person apart from Jesus Christ!

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The truth is God will only accept each person who honors His Son!

Eph 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 
Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 
Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

God will only accept those who love His Son!

1Pe 1:21  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 
1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 
1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 

In the end, all false teachers, all false preachers, and Satan Himself will suffer eternity for what they have done!

Mat 16:27  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Paul said you may think of me as a fool but I am only a fool for Christ sake!

*****2Co 11:16  I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. 
2Co 11:17  That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 
2Co 11:18  Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 
2Co 11:19  For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 
2Co 11:20  For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. 

We may not completely understand this passage but we should consider that this is the way Paul chose to address his critics and a guideline for every Pastor.

Paul was preaching the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ and these false teachers and preachers were saying that Paul’s message should not be allowed in the Church. So how is that different from what is being said today?

The modern-day church is doing it’s very best to rid the church of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

First it is evident that Paul does not believe that Christians should boast before other people but this church at Corinth had placed him in a position to defend the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Gospel.

Paul had already been described as a weak man, so to not defend his message would have been a sure sign of weakness.

Paul is saying “if you think of me as a fool, then receive me as a fool”.

These things were necessary if the church at Corinth was to be saved from collapse!

Those false teachers had boasted greatly of their message and had been accepted so it was only being fair to Paul to allow the same.

What is the truth of false teaching and the liberal church of today?

False teaching makes people “spiritual slaves” where as, the Gospel is a message of “freedom”.

Joh 8:35  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 
Joh 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

False teachers will use “greed” as their inspiration. The “Gospel” is about the “free gift” of God.

False teachers will use “craftiness” to entrap you, the “Gospel” uses the “truth”.

False teachers are arrogant assuming, great superiority, trying to become lords over God’s people and not being examples of the Gospel!

1Pe 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 
1Pe 5:3  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 

False teachers are always proud and haughty and will show contempt of all others, showing no respect for our rights or our dignity.

BUT, The “Gospel” is all about brotherly love!

Mat 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
Mat 22:38  This is the first and great commandment. 
Mat 22:39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 
Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 

The true man of God must defend his ministry and he must always be bold in his defence of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!

*****2Co 11:21  I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 
2Co 11:22  Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 

We can take this to mean that those false teachers were all Hebrews and Israelites. Not only that but they were also of the seed of Abraham.

These were some of the same evil men who had confronted John the Baptist, always trying to stop the spread of the true “Gospel”. Their end is in the “Lake of Fire”!

Mat 3:9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 
Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 

Paul is saying if these were all the qualifications that were needed then his pedigree was even greater than theirs.

Then Paul says if they are ministers of Christ, if they are ministers of the Messiah? Then where is their proof?

It is true that every man of God must have a godly heritage but he then must also walk the walk of the Lord Jesus Christ!

The false teacher will never bear his own cross for Jesus Christ!

John the Baptist had asked this same question of some imposters?

Mat 3:7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 
Mat 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 

John said they were nothing but “vipers”. A viper is a snake whose bite will bring death.

A human viper is malignant and extremely dangerous to true life!

What was Paul’s proof? His suffering in defense of the “Gospel”!

Joh 15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 
Joh 15:19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 
Joh 15:20  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 
Joh 15:21  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 

*****2Co 11:23  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 
2Co 11:24  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 
2Co 11:25  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 
2Co 11:26  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 
2Co 11:27  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 
2Co 11:28  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

We can see that the Holy Spirit had moved Paul to say “show me your proof and I will show you mine”.

Paul then said surely I must be the biggest fool of all!

Until we come face to face with Jesus Christ, we will never understand the mysteries of God’s procedures with His servants.

Some would think that if the “Gospel message” is that important than why would God not have made the way of his ministers clear, safe and even pleasant. It would seem the more trials these men suffer is a distraction and an embarrassment.

The truth is this world will never be reached with the “Gospel” unless God’s people are willing to be diligent in labor and willing to sacrifice themselves!

We should remember Adam. Adam had a really cushy job!

Gen 2:15  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 

Adam allowed his love for Eve to supercede his love for God and this brought on sin!

So we see, it is the love of God that must sustain us in every situation!

In most every case, the true ministers of God will suffer and labor more than most men do for Christ Jesus!

We can see that Paul had become a vile man to most Jews just by their actions toward him.

Deu 25:3  Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee. 

They treated Paul more like an animal than a human, if they had the opportunity.

Paul was also a Roman citizen but the Romans had beaten Paul with rods which would be like cane or similar to a fiberglass fishing rod. These were illegal to use on a Roman citizen because some men had died because of their use.

To be stoned would certainly be an attempt to murder the Apostle Paul!

On 3 separate occasions, Paul had been in ship wrecks and at least one time he had survived on a plank for at least 24 hours.

Paul had crossed many rivers that had no bridge.
Robbers were a danger to everyone who traveled on the roads of that day.
We already know that the Jews hated the Apostle Paul and many Romans also, any many were just jealous.

But there were also false Christians just as there are today!

History tells us that Paul was imprisoned at least 7 times.

Paul had hungered.
Paul had thirsted.
Paul had spent many sleepless nights.
Paul had spent many nights without enough clothes to keep him warm.
Paul had also suffered a daily pressure, a daily burden for the care of the churches he had planted and all the “body of Christ” as the church also suffered through the persecution of this world.

Though a lesser man would have just given up or quit, Paul kept going for the cause of Christ!

What is the truth?
Weariness comes with disappointment and defeat. (Victory comes in Christ Jesus)
Weariness comes with our personal conflict with sin but there is a Deliverer. (Jesus Christ)
Weariness comes with unbelief, it is “faith” that gives life and a zest to live. (Life comes by Jesus Christ)
Weariness comes from a state of being alone. (Jesus said I will never leave you nor forsake you)

Paul loved all the “Body of Christ” and it shows, but Paul was not obligated to the Church, Paul was obligated to Jesus Christ.
Paul was fighting for Jesus Christ!
Paul’s authority came from Jesus Christ, Paul would surrender to no other authority no matter what the cost to him personally!

But still what was Paul’s greatest obstacle? His own flesh!

*****2Co 11:29  Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 
2Co 11:30  If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 

Remember Paul had at one time been a persecutor of the “body of Christ” even causing the death of many saints of God but as soon as the ‘Love of Jesus” had touched his heart, Paul’s zeal became his strength and God had added to Paul much tenderness.

Paul knew how much he had been forgiven and he now knew how to forgive all others!

This is a lesson that we all need to learn!

We all need to understand our weaknesses as we live powerless in this sinful world. Our strength comes from the Lord!
We may be weak in the flesh but we do not have to be weak in the presence of Satan we have already won that battle, it is over, it is finished!

In our world of today we must be honest to see that sin has grown so much that we are just not offended by sin any more. In fact, we have reached a point where we actually sympathize with sin, but God says we are to always hate sin but never to hate the sinner.

The truth is, it is never good to boast of what we have done for Christ Jesus but when we have suffered for the cause of serving Christ we may have a reason to boast!

None of those false teachers who had come to Corinth to lead them astray had suffered for Christ nor had they suffered of the people.

There is a song that says “I cannot walk without you holding my hand”.

Paul says “I will glory in my weak flesh that survives by the hand of God”!

*****2Co 11:31  The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 
2Co 11:32  In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 
2Co 11:33  And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

It could be said that the Bible is a book of principles that we as Christians are to apply to our lives after salvation!

The bottom line is that, it is God who must be King in our lives and in our conscience.
It is God’s rules that must rule those who would be righteous.
It is “truth” that rules in God’s Kingdom.

There are no loopholes in the Word of God!

It is obvious no one man such as Paul could have survived all these things without the hand of God in his life!

In truth, the “Gospel” cannot be stopped!

What Paul had realized in all his tribulation, was that God could take a man who had tried to destroy the Church and turn him into someone who could be used to build the Church.

The Apostle Paul realized that he was just a servant of Christ who counted all things loss for the cause of Christ.

Paul was always ready to be put to shame for Christ.
Paul was always ready to suffer for Christ.
Paul was always ready to endure, in order to make known the name of Christ.

The Apostle Paul’s greatest lesson for us is, that surely Our Savior deserves our best, no matter what we are going through!

2Co 1:3  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 
2Co 1:4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 

If we are to boast as Christians, let’s boast of all the things that Christ has brought us through in our days with Him!

Those that do not know the Lord boast only of themselves!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Consistent Living For The Lord

The Blessings Of Consistent Living

Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 10

The word “consistent” means “fixed”; or “firm”.
“Living” means as we understand it here means “as a living principle”, or “living our faith”.

The truth is there were some at Corinth who had been trying to overturn Paul’s authority and destroy his influence in the church. Notice Paul no longer says “we” but now he says “I” as Paul will now begin to deal with his critics.

The truth of most Christians is that we do not acknowledge our true enemy!

The Bible is specific about who the enemy of this world is and especially to the Christian.

Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

We already know that the root of evil is the “love of money” , “covetousness”.

Our enemy is the influence of evil on God’s people!

We must never be careless nor casual in our spiritual battles!

Our power is in our “consistent living” for the Lord and by wearing the armor of God at all times!

Our power in this life comes from pleasing the Lord by being His true disciples!

Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 

Lets continue:

*****2Co 10:1  Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 
2Co 10:2  But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 

If we are to be like Christ then we need to know our Savior. Jesus Christ was known for His “meekness” and His “gentleness”.

Isa 42:3  A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 
Isa 42:4  He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

We should clearly understand “meekness” does not mean some sissified, limp wrist man but “meekness” is “strength under total control”.

Meekness is a “grace” which Jesus alone impressed as a Mighty God presented as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and He remained that way all His days.

“Gentleness” goes with the meekness of Christ because it best represents this time period we call “Grace”!

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 
Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 
Gal 5:24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 

Paul had followed the example of Christ Jesus in addressing the insults, the attacks, the rumors, the outright lies, and the evil that had been done to him!

There was at one time a bracelet for kids that had WWJD printed on it. It stood for “What Would Jesus Do” to remind them of what to do when confronted.

It would pay for us all to ask ourselves this question, “What would Jesus do”, when we are confronted with evil!

What was Paul’s goal for his ministry?

1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 
1Ti 1:16  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, “that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting”. 

We see that Paul had personal experience with the meekness and the gentleness of Christ and wanted to show that to the world.

Remember Jesus Christ was meek, “not because he was weak” but because He was so strong, after all Jesus had all the power of God within Himself!

Col 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 

This should be our goal, to be so strong in our faith that we can show meekness “and it be clearly understood”.

For instance America is still known as a Super Power but America can show meekness because of control of that strength. For many years now we have not seen this as the truth because our strength and meekness has eroded!

God on the other hand has all power that will never erode and He can show meekness in His terrible strength!

Paul said we should all remember the absolute power of our God at all times.

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.

Meekness and gentleness are directly opposed to the love of displaying that strength. No doubt if God showed just a part of His strength the churches could not hold the people who would want to get closer to the Lord.

God has no desire to show His pre-eminence at this time because our righteousness depends upon our “faith” and not our fear of Him! 

Again this is God’s plan and He wants us to be a part of His plan and not have a plan of our own!

What Paul is saying if his critics would return to God then they would never seel “what the Christian says today” Paul get in the flesh. Paul had a great desire to not have to confront his critics in boldness and strength.

Again we should remember the 12 Apostles had powers that we can only imagine and those powers were to be used to build up the church, not to tear it down but Jesus would stand by any decision that they made.

Those 12 Apostles had powers that we may never understand till we get to Heaven.

Mat 16:19  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 

Joh 20:23  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 

There can be no Apostles today because no other men have been trusted with such power as these men were!

Paul was just saying “compliance or non-compliance of his requests” rested entirely upon his critics.

We should understand that Paul was only a human and like as today as we all say “you do not want to see me get in the flesh”.

It should be very clear that we must have patience and we should give everyone time to repent of their sin with loving kindness!

*****2Co 10:3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 
2Co 10:4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 
2Co 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 
2Co 10:6  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 

We should all remember even after we are saved we still “walk in the flesh” because we are not yet perfect, we are not yet glorified.

As along as we are in this flesh we are subject to all the weaknesses of our flesh.

We still age, our flesh is feeble, our minds can fail(we are subject to error in judgment), we are subject to disease, and we are targets of Satan and of the unbelievers of this world. Then there is also our conduct and our temper.

The truth is if we will study the Word of God and apply it to our lives then we will not war after the flesh.

2Ti 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

Our flesh is useless in our spiritual warfare!

Our enemy is Satan and Satan’s influence on this world!

Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

**What are some of Satan’s strongholds?

We live in a world where it is becoming even more willful to be ignorant of God’s Words:

2Co 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 
2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 

The world has turned this around against us and now claims that the Christian is willful ignorant of the truth of the modern philosophy and have convinced many with their false agenda.

But this same world teaches infidelity, where revealed truth is just rejected!
This same world teaches prejudice against all the doctrines of Jesus Christ!
The same world teaches superstition and idolatry!

The biggest stronghold is that of a depraved heart and depraved mind where we find our refuge when all other things fail for us!

Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weapons!

1) We must cast down imaginations!

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

2) We must cast down everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God! 

Eph 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 
Eph 6:15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 

3) We must bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ Jesus!

Eph 6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 

**And then there is another very important thing:

We must have a readiness to revenge all disobedience!

**We must always be ready to administer church discipline!

The “grace” of God is completely in disagreement with the ways of this world we live in.

**We must deal immediately with false teachers and false preachers!

This is not just for the Pastor to do but the Church must step forward and insist on it!

“This is where the Church is failing terribly today”.

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 

**We must take a stand on the “Doctrine of Jesus Christ”!

**We must also allow some time for repentance!

This is the state of “God’s Grace” we are in today. God is allowing this time for repentance!

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 
2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 

God is allowing a time of repentance that only He knows and we are wrong if we do not allow a time of repentance in Church discipline but even that time must end at some point.

No matter what this world says, The Lord is coming and He has already given His warning, there will not be another warning, God’s patience does have a point of ending!

And Paul continues:

*****2Co 10:7  Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. 

Paul is saying that if you insist on looking at things with an outward appearance and not look into your hearts then go ahead and look and they would see what Paul’s ministry had accomplished.

Every Pastor has the right to be accepted if he belongs to Christ, these things are hard to hide!

A true man of God should be welcomed and the church should help him through every problem!

The trouble makers at Corinth had said that Paul just did not measure up, but Paul said look at what was accomplished through Jesus Christ.

Those trouble makers had not planted a church. They had not won souls to the Lord. They had no Apostolic powers. They were just trouble makers!

“They were just doing what trouble makers do”.

Paul said if he was to judged by outward appearance then look at what lies plainly before your eyes.

1) Paul was indeed the founder of this church at Corinth.
2) Paul had refused to be maintained by this church, for his own particular purpose.
3) The way Paul lived was proof of his sincerity.
4) The Holy Ghost conviction of this church also vouched for him.

These things were certainly all true of the Apostle Paul but Paul said we still need to look much deeper than what is seen on the outside.

None of these things would be true if Paul had not belonged to Jesus Christ!

Joh 7:24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. 

Those men who are not seeking to destroy what Jesus Christ died for but to see it grow, should be honored with the love of the church!

*****2Co 10:8  For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: 

No doubt that the 12 Apostles had been given powers that no other men have been given and we are wrong if we think this is not true.

Paul had a supernatural endowment from the Lord. In this Paul was certainly superior to all who questioned his sincerity to the church. Paul felt that if he wanted to boast of these things then there was nothing wrong with that boasting.

Paul also insisted that he might use or not use this authority”because this power did not infringe on his freedom to do so”.

Paul also knew that this authority, this power was given to him to edify the church and not for destructive purposes!

God had done such things with Moses, and Joshua, and Elijah and Elisha and the other 11 apostles but if we study we will see that they were free to use it or not to use it.

God has instilled in us all to be useful and not to be destructive if at all possible!

Rom 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 

The truth is the more gifts God gives to each of us the more we are exposed to the hatred of this world.

When Paul mentioned his authority given to him by the Lord, he was by no means telling a lie, these things were true!

*****2Co 10:9  That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. 
2Co 10:10  For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. 

Paul is described as a short, thin headed man, with crooked legs, whose eyebrows met and had a hooked nose but no one knows the actual appearance of the Apostle Paul.

Paul’s critics said he was a poor preacher and not an eloquent speaker.
They would recall how some would even fall asleep while Paul preached and we all know the story of Eutychus how he fell to his death while Paul was long preaching and Paul revived him.
They had said it would be a waste of time for Paul to return to Corinth.
And they made compared all these things to Paul’s writings.

So we can see that Paul’s critics said that these letters might be weighty and powerful but he was truly a very weak man and his speech was contemptible.

Remember Paul had said that if he returned to Corinth he would use the authority given of Christ if need be:

Refer back to verse 6 and add this one:

2Co 13:10  Therefore I write these things being absent, “lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction”. 

We can see the these critics in the Corinthian Church did everything they could to discredit Paul and Paul was aware of it all!

But Paul said you need to keep this one thought.

*****2Co 10:11  Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. 

Paul’s critics denied his authority given to him of God.
Paul’s critics ridiculed Paul’s appearance.
Paul’s critics said Paul was just a coward, because he would threaten at a distance but was silent and weak when he was present.

We can understand that all these things had to hurt the Apostle Paul but he did not give up on himself and he did not give up on this church.

Paul was making it very clear that all those that made these statements would see him just as he had written not in weakness, but bold with the authority of God!

Paul insisted that he did not make idle threats that he could not back up with the power of God!

*****2Co 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 
2Co 10:13  But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

The truth is when we judge ourselves using ourself as the standard we are foolish.
We can only judge ourselves using Jesus Christ as our standard to get an accurate picture of ourself!

Nor should we ever judge ourselves by the character of some other human being!

We have the owners manual for our guideline and it is called the Word of God!

When we use some one other than Christ to look up to, as our standard, then we have given that person the authority to run our lives.
Only God through the Lord Jesus Christ has that authority!

God says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” 

Jesus said: “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”

The Bible simply says when we compare ourselves among ourselves “we are not wise”!

How can we ever boast ourselves against someone who is measureless in the eyes of God.

We already know that most every man has no limit to his high opinion of himself.

What does God say is the truth of each of us?

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 
Rom 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 
Rom 3:12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 

We cannot use another human as our standard of excellence, we must use the rule (or ruler or measuring device) that God has distributed to us!

God has a plan and a purpose for each of us and we are to always follow the lead of the Holy Spirit.

Paul had not chosen to place a church in Corinth, God had.
God had chosen Thessalonica, God had chosen Berea, God had chosen Philippi to place houses of worship!

Paul did not take it upon himself to go to other places and Paul did not go to where other missionaries were working.

Paul was the missionary to the Gentiles!

*****2Co 10:14  For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 
2Co 10:15  Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 
2Co 10:16  To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. 

We must remember the command of Christ Jesus:

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 
Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

What Paul adds is, that there is no room for division or competitiveness in the church.

Jesus Christ sends His disciples throughout this world. If we go to where the Lord has called us to go and not pile on top of each other then the “Gospel message” will one day reach every human being and they will get their opportunity to accept it or to deny it.

In fact, we should not worry or wonder if the “Gospel” will reach the world because that is God’s responsibility. We “must” fulfill the purpose that He has for our lives!

We are never to stretch ourselves beyond our measure!

These false men who had come to Corinth with a “different gospel” were not sent of God, because it goes against God’s purpose!

All those who preach other than the “Gospel of Christ Jesus” are false men and women who serve the god of their belly or Satan!

God has His own methods of directing His servants, His missionaries, His Preachers, His Teachers!

God has His own methods to dictate when that mission is to end and move on to another place but “God does not ever change His command to go”!

The truth is, anyone that goes without the guidance of the Holy Spirit will have very little, if any good results!

We may also not ever understand that some people just love misery too much to give it up!

Psa 144:15  Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

In other words, the people that hate the Lord, love misery!

We should also clearly understand that when God establishes a new Church in an area, He has a specific purpose for that place and that area, but He also still gives the commands of the Lord Jesus to all the “body of Christ” everywhere.

God does not leave any room for us to tear down each other and we are not in some competition for the same people!

It is a fact that the troubles in this Church at Corinth had actually hindered the work of God through the Apostle Paul and this is another lesson for all of us to learn.
Controversy in one house of worship can hinder the work of God in other areas!

We should also see that when the Christian community of one area has allowed the world or the government to dictate the “gospel message” then it will affect the work of missionaries to found another church in some other area chosen by the Lord!

What we do in our local church and our local area has some effect on the spreading to the “Gospel” around this world and we must always keep these things in consideration!

God has a plan and He just wants to be a part of His plan. We are never to come up with our own plan!

God says that in every way possible “the body of Christ” in every location, is to assist in the means to preach the “Gospel in the regions beyond their own location”!

**We are under no circumstances to ever be a hindrance to the spread of the “Gospel”!

**We are never to glory in our selves because we must give God the glory, after all we are already on the winning side!

*****2Co 10:17  But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 
2Co 10:18  For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

What does this mean?

Let God explain Himself:

Jer 9:24  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. 

In the Book of Genesis, in the creation of man, God said “let’s make man in our image”.

When God made Adam he took delight in loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness because this is the nature of our God.

It was sin that changed Adam!

God said if we are glory, then glory in understanding and knowing Him on a personal level and in this we would know His ways.

God says when we glory in our wisdom we will fail.
God says when we glory in our own strength we will fail.
God says when we glory in our riches we will fail.

It is these people who have already chosen their god and it is the same in the world we live in today!

Jer 9:23  Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 

The world may think that success lies in the wisdom of man but the world is wrong!
There are those that think success lies in the might of man but they are wrong!
There are those who think success lies in the riches of certain men but they are also wrong!

**We can only glory in the knowledge of the Lord and His ways to succeed in this life and obtain everlasting life!

God is already our Creator we must also realize Him as our King, with absolute power (for He is)!

Psa 105:3  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. 
Psa 105:4  Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. 
Psa 105:5  Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; 

We must stand before the Lord at the cross to be saved.
We must stand before the Lord in judgment even after salvation but not for our sin.
We must stand before the Lord in this life to have the joy of the Lord.

If we cannot do these things how can we say we love the Lord?

Joh 5:42  But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 
Joh 5:43  I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 
Joh 5:44  How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 

If you want to know the real truth, the Lord will not accept anyone recommended by some man!

The Lord Will Only Accept Those That He Recommends Himself!

Those the Lord recommends are only those who have repented and given themselves over to the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Questions?

Let’s Pray

God Blesses Those Who Give

The Blessing Of Giving

Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 9

Why does God call on us to give?

We can give God nothing that we did not first get from Him!

God can just have a thought and it will materialize.

Let’s think of it this way at first:

We already know that the love of money is behind all the evil in this world with Satan pushing this thought.

1Ti 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

So the root of evil is selfishness, God expects us to be the opposite of that, the secret to defeating selfishness is giving!

Let’s look at nature:

The Sun exists to give light, and heat, and even life itself.

The Seas give life along with many other things.

The Earth gives life and is always giving.

Why should we defy what God has created?

God has given us a purpose in life and God measures us according to that purpose!

2Co 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 

This is the theme of our lesson today.

We must never forget “receiving” is truly a blessing when we have a need for sure, but the “giver” gets an even greater blessing!

Act 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. 

Jesus would not have said this so many times if it were no true!

When we hate to give then we can see our own selfishness, which goes back to the root of all evil!

Let’s begin:

*****2Co 9:1  For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: 
2Co 9:2  For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
2Co 9:3  Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: 
2Co 9:4  Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. 
2Co 9:5  Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.  

It should be very plain, God expects His people to be givers!

At my place of worship, we call these things love offerings. These Scriptures are not referring to the “tithe” which God expects from every child of God who has an income.

We must always to willing to give to needy saints but by no means exclusively to them we are to still help the lost and needy too if we are able!

If the church only helped Christians we would not be following in the will of God!

If we helped only the lost we would not be showing love for our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Give it to Jesus and let Him put it where He knows it needs to go!

**After all God “gave” His Son in payment for “our” sin for He had none Himself!

**Christ came to this earth to “give” of Himself!

**Those who give to please God should never be caught unprepared “to give”!

These people of Corinth understood these things but it was now time to show proof of their love and to make the collections.

“Being unprepared to give” to a giver can be embarrassing to him and cause him shame!

In today’s world almost no one carries much money on them at all for many reasons and we need to be aware of the time of collection so we can be prepared.

Paul had plans to return to Corinth when the Macedonians arrived at his location.

We can be sure that none of those who traveled with Titus where of Macedonia!

And we should understand from these words of Paul that he had never had negative things to say about this church at Corinth and had in fact boasted of their zeal to do right by the Word of God, including the zeal to give to those who had great needs.

Heb 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 

Jesus Christ gave everything He had, including His life that we could be saved if we only believed. The name of Christ and the name Christian then means “sacrificial giving”!

So being prepared shows the love of Christ and does not show covetousness.

Sadly we if we are honest, most of us “including myself” rarely give all that we are able to give!

But in reverse we many times spend more than we are able “including myself” for things that we really do not even need!

As long as people are homeless and people starving in this world we need to consider ways to help, if possible.

As long as there are diseases that could wipe out an entire population we need to consider ways to help, if possible.

As long as there are disasters in this world such as tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, and any the many other such things, we need to consider ways we can help, if possible.

When the Church shows covetousness we are showing cold-hearted worldliness!

We sometimes forget this basic rule of thumb in the Word of God.

*****2Co 9:6  But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 
2Co 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 

God gives us the example to two different Christians:

1) One who sows sparingly.

2) The other who sows bountifully.

First: the seed that is sown, has been selected and stored from a previous bounty that God had already provided, just for the purpose of sowing. All his needs had been met and he is prepared to sow again when the proper time comes.

Second: Not many farmers cast seed one at a time or “sparingly” but usually with an open handful “bountifully”. They are hopeful for a fruitful harvest every time they sow!

Third: the seed is sown on an empty field, a bare field in want of growth. (Those in want, especially those of faith)

Fourth: then the seed is covered where the sower has faith, hope, and patience that the harvest will be bountiful. (He sows these things in private and his good deeds may not be noticed till some time passes.

What does God say to each individual?

Pro 3:9  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 

And why should we do this?

Pro 3:10  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 

We must first give “the tithe” which are the first fruits of what God has already provided. God will then bless this giving and our barns will be full and our vineyards blessed. “By the way new wine, is the freshest of fresh grape juice”, which relates to continuously providing, even though our barns are already full.

It is from this plenty, that is far above our needs, that giving to others in need comes from but God also says to give till it hurts a little from time to time and what does God say about these things?

God loves a cheerful giver!

We can see these are two different things!

The giver who pleases God deliberately is a reflection of God’s love.

The Lord Jesus Christ hated the shame of the cross but He cheerfully gave Himself for our sin, because He has no sin.

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross”, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

To be a Christian says “I want to be like Christ”. Jesus Christ was a “Cheerful Giver” of all He had.

God does not give us a fixed sum to give for charity.
God does look at the quality or the nature of our giving.

1) Is it of our own free will.
2) Does it cause an uneasiness in our mind.(grudgingly)(out of sorrow)(reluctance)
3) Did we give out of necessity. (Were we coaxed into giving by outside means)
4) God must actually see a “Cheerful giver” for God to be pleased!

And what is God reward?

*****2Co 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 
2Co 9:9  (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

There is no greater blessing than this in the days we have on this earth before our physical death!

Salvation is the free “grace” of God. It cannot be bought, earned, or won!
When we are not “cheerful givers” we are out of the order of God’s “system of grace” which revolves around the Cross of Jesus Christ!
God loves what makes people happy and the spirit of love shown to others is one the sources of His happiness.

Those who live just for themselves first become wretched and then they become poor in many things of this life.

If we do not believe that God is able then we are saying the God is no longer the Creator who spoke and all things became reality!

After we have shown “faith”, God shows us His grace.
After we know “hope” God shows us His peace.
After we know “charity” God makes all His “grace” abound towards us!

All three are required but which is the greatest after salvation?

1Co 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 

Any other thoughts of the “Hope” of God are just childish reactions!

1Co 13:11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

So who provides that seed for the sower to begin with?

*****2Co 9:10  Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 
2Co 9:11  Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

Isaiah said it this way:

Isa 55:10  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 

It is the Lord provides the seed for the sower!
It is the Lord who blesses the seed from the sower!
It is the Lord who provides all our needs!

So the first motive for being a “cheerful giver” is to obtain the “grace” and the “blessings of God”, not out of duty, but out of love.

We should understand that word “ministereth” as a “promise” of God.
God will provide bread for our own food!
God will multiply our own seed so we can sow!
God will increase the fruit of our own righteousness!
And these things will be continuous!

Notice, these are not only spiritual blessings(that will last forever) but also material blessings(to use in this life).

God encourages us all to be “cheerful givers” with these promises!
God will more than return what the giver gives!

The truth is that each believer will receive so that he can give so leaves no excuse for hoarding the gifts of God!
The truth is each and every believer becomes “a channel” through which God sends His blessings!

Again this is God’s plan and He only asks us all to be a part of His plan and not make our own plans!

Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 
Isa 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

Simply put, “we cannot out-give God”!

Eph 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 
Eph 3:21  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. 

What is the truth of the “Gospel”?

*****2Co 9:12  For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 

Being a”cheerful giver” not only makes up the deficiencies of those in need, it relieves their needs and furnishes them with hope under sorrowful circumstances!

But that is not all:

**It means that we all can enter into the throne room of God to give thanks to God for His “Grace”!
**It also means we are fools to think God will not look harshly upon selfishness!

In fact Jesus said these words to a rich young man one day:

Mat 19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 

The point being, Jesus was perfect because He gave every thing He had, including His life for each and everyone of us!

None of us can be perfect in this life but this rich young man was foolish and it led to his many sorrows:

Mat 19:22  But when the young man heard that saying, “he went away sorrowful”: for he had great possessions. 

We should all clearly understand God knows we are nothing but dirt and He had great pity upon us all but a “cheerful giver” will still receive the “praise of God”!

There are still other reasons for being a “cheerful giver”.

*****2Co 9:13  Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 

What is the truth of salvation?

The salvation of the Lord is then:
1) Full
2) Finished
3) Free
4) Cannot Fail
5) And is Forever

We will never understand the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ” until we become subjected to the “Gospel”!

We must willingly submit ourselves to the entire “Gospel” and not in bits and pieces!

***So then a “cheerful giver” proves his loyalty to the “Gospel”!

A “cheerful giver” will give and give and keep on giving until the Lord returns!

***And yet another object of “giving” is for the world to “glorify God”!

The “Gospel” is the truth and comes with a binding authority higher than any of this earth.
The “Gospel” reveals the only method of salvation, one which man could never even have conceived.
The “Gospel” prescribes the only rule for practical living.
The “Gospel” is God’s love letter to His greatest creation, mankind!
The “Gospel” makes us aware that the gifts of God, our resources, are to be used to carry this “Gospel” throughout this world!

***This includes our time, our influence, and our money!

But there is still more:

*****2Co 9:14  And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 

**Being a “cheerful giver” will enhance our prayer life!

Giving stirs up great prayers, great love, and great fellowship among all God’s people!

No other results can be greater than these as we all serve the Lord

Eph 1:15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 
Eph 1:16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 

In fact how can we not be “cheerful givers’?

*****2Co 9:15  Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 

***The greatest gift ever given to this world is the gift of God’s only begotten Son!

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 

How can we not give back things “that are not required” but things that we can “cheerfully give” to make sure that this world has the opportunity to hear this wonderful message of God?

I assure you that these Scriptures are as much for me as they are for anyone else!

I have felt ashamed in my own selfishness!

Questions?

Let’s Pray that we all can become “cheerful givers” for the cause of Christ!

Blessings Come From Helping Others

The Blessings Of Helping Others
2 Corinthians 8

When we study the Books to the Corinthians we see a body of believers who had some serious problems in trying to become a working ministry of the Lord.

We have seen may spiritual problems and sadly spiritual problems will always lead to a financial shortfall.

The churches throughout Judea were suffering a great poverty and sincerely needed help to survive. In the Israel of that day if you rejected the teaching of the Pharisees you were not only not allowed to worship in the Temple but in most every case you would loose your job and any other source of income. Many of the Jews had scattered to foreign lands just to survive but those that could not, faced terrible poverty.

The only support that was available was from the “body of Christ”.

Corinth was not only a most wicked city but it was also a rich city. These of this new church had a desire to help but those controversies within the church body had not allowed that help to develop.

Today we know that the needs of missions is a never ending call.

In many places of worship today we have forgotten that giving is a part of the “Grace” of God, just as the knowledge of Christ, the love of God, and the filling of the Holy Spirit!

Giving has been lowered to just being a burden. Many see giving as just filling the coffers of the church when it should be about spreading the Word of God and aid to the body of Christ in times of need.

The “Grace” of giving should also be included in our prayers because the truth is God loves the cheerful giver!

2Co_9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

You see God is specific, if giving has become only a burden to you then you can miss out on this love of God.

The Grace of God includes being a “cheerful giver”!

We will all stand before the Lord at one day and we should remember what He said:

Act 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

We know that love is the greatest sign of Christian “Grace” and we need to understand that giving for the cause of Christ “is a part of that love”!
It was Paul that wrote that “Charity” was the greatest sign of a Christian and Paul did not use the word “Love”. In our English language “Charity” is the only word that resembles the “Love of God”.

God gave us life. God gave us all our necessities. God gave us His Son that we might live forever.

If we take away “giving” then all we have left is not really much love!

No one can really understand this until we have “given” ourselves to the Lord!

Let’s Begin

*****2Co 8:1  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 
2Co 8:2  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 

Remember Paul is writing to the Corinthians. Corinth in that day was a rich city by all standards. We can be sure there were some poor people here but like America, Corinth was a city great opportunities financially. You could get a job in Corinth if you really wanted a job!

Macedonia included all of Greece and was the doorway to Europe.

We know that Paul had already established the church in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.

At one time Macedonia had been known for its natural resources but over time this area had been ravaged by the numerous wars and Rome had stripped this area of its wealth.

Because of these things most of the people of Macedonia were poor and had very little opportunity for that to change.

Most of the known world had realized these things and in the end the greed of Rome was Rome’s downfall.

It seems this lesson is never learned today.

Paul used these places of worship as an example to these Corinthians because they were extremely wealthy in the “Grace of God”!

Remember “Grace” is “the unmerited favor of God” and God’s grace is reflected many times in the good things that God gives so freely.

Ordinarily poverty is used as an excuse of not giving but this was not so of the people of Macedonia!

How did Paul describe these people?

1Th 2:14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: “for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews”: 

How did these people react to the ‘Grace of God”?

*****2Co 8:3  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and “beyond their power they were willing of themselves”; 
2Co 8:4  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 

The truth is they were willing to give far beyond their power to give!

In verse 2 Paul used the phrase “deep poverty” which means just at is says “poverty down to the depths”, utter poverty! These same people were giving more than all others!

What is the truth in most places of worship?

1) There are those who say they have nothing to give because they are too poor. Regardless of this fact God requires the minimum of a 10th of that income.
2) There are those who give a great deal thinking that should be enough but they do not give according to their means or they would hundreds in place of tens, or a thousand in place of a hundred.
3) There are also those rich and poor who believe the Pastor will only run people away from the church because he causes the plate to be passed so often.

All these groups of people lack the “Grace of Giving” because we all should give according to our means to give, in order for the ministries of God to succeed!

If we are to exercise the gift of faith, and the gift of love, then we need to exercise the gift of giving according to our means.

What is the truth of these Macedonians?

In verse 4 we can see that Paul even cautioned them “much intreaty” not to cause them own selves harm by their giving, “But They Insisted That Paul Receive Their Gift”!

So how is this wonderful gift obtained?

*****2Co 8:5  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. 

They had an abundance of joy because they had given themselves to the Lord and they were saved and they knew it for certain!

1) They gave themselves over to the Lord!

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

2) They then gave themselves over to God’s representatives.

2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 
2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

3) They then obeyed the will of God to carry out His will. Above all others these Macedonians had volunteered to help those in Judea who were actually dieing of starvation.

What did Jesus teach?

Mar_3:35  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

After all the gifts that were gathered were to aid the poor Jews that remained in Jerusalem, a people who were suffering even more greatly because they had given themselves over to the Lord!

We must understand that giving is also the means of getting!

What is God’s principle of giving?

Pro 3:9  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 
Pro 3:10  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 

We give so that we can receive!

This is one of those principles that the world cannot understand, just like the certainty of the “Glorified Body”.

Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 
Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 

There are many good reasons to be charitable with all our possessions but the best reason is “that it shows the grace of God in our own lives”!

*****2Co 8:6  Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 
2Co 8:7  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. 
2Co 8:8  I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

So what is stewardship?

In the Bible times, a steward was one who managed the affairs of the household of another person.
This showed a great confidence to those who held such office!

It could be said that the Apostle Paul was the steward of God’s church, “the body of Christ” and this is a function of all those who are called of God to minister the Word of God.

But the fact remains that every “born again” child of God is to be a good steward. After all we become
God’s Temple if we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and “we are responsible for the affairs of that household”.

1Pe 4:8  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 
1Pe 4:9  Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 
1Pe 4:10  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 

1) We are to give because it will remind us that we are dependent on God to meet all our needs.
2) We are to give because it will remind us that our Redeemer gave all of Himself in order that we can live forever.
3) We are to give in order to promote spiritual welfare.

The problem with us humans, is that we are born selfish and we wish to hold onto all our possessions, even those gifts that God has given to us so freely!

Some would ask then, when should we give and God gives us a good suggestion of a good time.

1Co 16:2  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 

We know the first day of the week in the Scriptures refer to Sunday!

Paul challenged these Corinthians to give and even excel beyond what these Macedonians had given.

They had actually began this at one time but those controversies they had been through had stopped most all support for the church and the church ministries.

1) “Faith” is our ability to trust in God and to live a victorious life.
2) “Utterance” is our ability to share the “Gospel” with others we meet.
3) “Knowledge” is our ability to understand the Word of God.
4) “Diligence” is our energy and zeal to be ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
5) “Love” is our ability to care for the minister of God that He has given us and to care for all brothers and sisters everywhere, along with the work of the Lord.

If we have done all these things then we are not complete unless we become “cheerful givers” also!

We should give cheerfully.
We should give frequently.
BUT, We should give intelligently.

The intent of bearing our own cross for Christ Jesus is self denial and we may also have to deny ourselves of some things, to be able to give in a Christlike manner!

God does not give us a command to give because if giving is forced or even coerced it loses all it’s benefits because it will not please God!

Giving proves the state of our hearts in the eyes of God!
We already know that love is an action word “so love is proven more by action than by word of mouth”!

1Jn 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; “but in deed and in truth”. 

Again who is our example in all things?

*****2Co 8:9  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”. 

The Lord Jesus Christ was rich and as the Son of God He possessed all the nature, all the being, and all the fullness of God, who just speaks and things just happen.

**Jesus Christ dwelt in the power and the majesty of the Godhead, the Holy Trinity!

Col 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 

**Jesus Christ possesses every good and perfect thing!

Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 

**Jesus Christ had all the worship and adoration of all heavenly things!

Rev 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, “stood a Lamb” as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 
Rev 5:7  And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 

But the Lord Jesus Christ gave all these things up just to come to this earth to be a substitute in death for all our sins!

Jesus became poor “for our sakes” that we through His poverty could be rich in all things in Heaven and Earth.

And these are things that we know to be true, so how can we not give a little something of our selves and our possessions that He has shared with us “for all good things truly belonged to Him”!

So what was Paul advice to these Corinthians and to all of the Church everywhere?

*****2Co 8:10  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. 

If we take that word “expedient” as meaning “profitable” as it does, we can then understand what Paul is saying:

1Ti 6:18  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 
1Ti 6:19  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 

Before the controversies had divided this church they had made a commitment to support missions. In fact they obligated themselves to help their brothers and sisters in Judea.

Paul had already taught about the “judgment seat of Christ” and the gain or the loss of rewards. Paul is saying, why would anyone want to change a gain into a loss!

It is certain God expects us to uphold our commitments because if not then a commitment becomes meaningless!

Certain of these Corinthians had made a commitment to help the Christians in Judea and they were persuaded that it was absolutely the right thing to do.

So what does God say?

Jas 4:17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

Here is another case of a gain becoming a loss!

This commitment was made a year ago, so we can see that these disputes within the church and the lack of Church discipline had stopped the Church outreach which is also where a gain becomes a loss.

It was surely profitable or expedient that this church get back to the work of the Lord!

*****2Co 8:11  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. 
2Co 8:12  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. 

The greatest challenge in giving is not only to give but to give willingly and to give readily.

A church that has no outreach is not much of a church and this holds true to every individual. We must all give of ourselves in some way to the missions of the Church!

We see that Paul adds that phrase “out of that which you have”. In other words according to your own means!

If we accept what God is saying then, if we have undertaken a mission project then we need to complete that project but also that this should be a continuous and ongoing thing for all churches.

There is always a need somewhere and this will remain until Lord returns!

The world is full of sin.
The world is full of disease.
The world is full of poverty.
The world is full of death and hunger and thirst.

We know that a small child cannot hear you when their stomach is empty and so is a grownup.

Many in our world die without Christ everyday just because no one cares enough to help them.

Mar 14:7  For ye have the poor with you always, “and whensoever ye will ye may do them good”: but me ye have not always. 

Until the Lord returns there will always be a need for missions and the support of those missions!

Giving can happen when we have a willing mind!
But there must also be a readiness to give when an opportunity arises.

We should judge our own selves. God accepts everyone according to what they have and not according to what they have not.

We should remember the story of the little old lady in the Temple.

Luk 21:3  And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 
Luk 21:4  For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: “but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had”. 

The point being that God does not expect us to give all that we have of our finances as this sweet lady had done, but in the eyes of God, her small amount counted for a much greater reward that what the others had given even though they had given a far greater amount!

God says give what we can and even if it hurts a little, no matter the amount with this thought in mind, God will judge us on “what we give compared to what we could give”. God has a way of multiplying things!

What is the truth of giving?

*****2Co 8:13  For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 
2Co 8:14  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: 
2Co 8:15  As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

After all what is a Christian? A Christian is someone who learns the principles of Jesus Christ and then applies those principles to their own lives.

Christian still means Christlike and not worldlike and much of the church has forgotten this main principle!

We should also remember Jesus was no wimp. Jesus stood His ground on the Word of God even before all obstacles.

In the Christian mind, Christ must be all in all, the measure of all things, and the standard that we are to use to set our goals in this life!

As Christians we are all in this thing together. We are one family! If one suffers we all suffer! We should help meet the needs of one another.

The truth is, God has given all of us a certain capacity for enjoyment. If God increases our riches beyond that point of enjoyment and we hoard those things and they cause sadness in any way, we cannot blame God, we should have given that extra it to those who who do not have and stayed at the place where we enjoyed the life that God had given to us already!

More does not make happy into happier!

We should remember “the manna” that fed the children of Israel for 40 years. They could only gather what they needed and as much as they needed. If they tried to gather more than they could eat it would
spoil. If someone was sick or injured then another could gather enough for them so that they all had all that they needed.

God’s principles do not ever change and we are wrong to think so!

God still made this giving to be voluntary.
God left it in our power to keep or to give away!
God left it in our own power to give a little or to give much!

But God also gives us good advice in how to deal with giving.

Gal 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 
Gal 6:10  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

We can be sure if God has provided something extra, then He will soon show us a place where that extra is needed to have an opportunity for a reward saved in Heaven but also joy in this life!

We should have this thought in mind, “that whatever is done for another Christian or to those in need, is the same as if it were done for Christ Himself”!

Mat 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

Since we know that giving is truly important to the Lord and to the spread of the Gospel, then we should surely know that those who collect that ministry also have a great responsibility to make sure those offerings gets to where it is needed and it is used for what it was intended!

*****2Co 8:16  But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 
2Co 8:17  For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. 
2Co 8:18  And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 
2Co 8:19  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: 
2Co 8:20  Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: 

Those that gather the collections of the church also have an important function and it should be taken very seriously!

The truth is, the “body of Christ” must always be aware of who handles the money!

These people must be trustworthy!
Titus was an evangelist who assisted the Apostles and became a church planter himself.

Titus cared for this church at Corinth as much as Paul did!

This church clearly understood this fact and placed great trust in Titus.

So those that take up the collections must also have a great love and care for the church!

The name of this other person is not as important as is his qualifications. “His praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches”.

He was a Christian. He was treated as a brother in every church. He had a strong testimony in the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

It would only be a wild guess to assume that this was Luke because we cannot possibly know, and it is his qualifications that are most important!

This person had been hand picked to keep the collections secure until they were delivered to the place of their need.

You see the men who secure the collections of the church “should be chosen by the church”.

If Paul had handled these offerings himself, he would have left himself and his ministry open to being charged with confiscating or even stealing church money.

Every Pastor needs to consider these things in his own ministry!

In reality Paul sent 3 messengers to Corinth to gather this offering and we should observe another Godly principle.

Mat 18:15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 
Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear thee, “then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established”. 

These Corinthians had made a commitment and if they did not follow through then there would be 3 witnesses and not just the word of the Apostle Paul.

Paul wanted all men to know that he was honest and that he would never take money out of the offerings for his own use.
Paul wanted no one to question his personal conduct because he had dedicated his life to the “Gospel” and to helping people and his reputation was everything to him for his work to have meaning and to produce fruit.

This should not only be the goal of every Pastor but also for every child of God!

*****2Co 8:21  Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 

Paul said above all things we give no one an occasion for suspicion, not only in the sight of all men but also in sight of the Lord.

God is not sitting in Heaven just waiting on us to make a mistake so he can punish us but He is certainly aware of all the things we do and at all times.

Psa 139:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 
Psa 139:2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 
Psa 139:3  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 
Psa 139:4  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 
Psa 139:5  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 
Psa 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 

If we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ then we must have a reputation that resembles Christ’s reputation and above all Christ Jesus never sinned and even those that hated Christ knew Him as a good man!

We as Christians must have a clear conscience and it must appear to the world that we have a clear conscience!

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

The two men who Paul had sent with Titus had met all these qualifications and everywhere this was known.

*****2Co 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. 
2Co 8:23  Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 
2Co 8:24  Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

Paul had sent Titus who the Corinthian Church had come to trust, a Christian brother whom all the other churches had selected to trust, and this third Christian who had been tested frequently by the Apostle Paul himself.

Again if this this church was not ready to honor its commitment then there would qualified witnesses and these things could not be blamed on God’s Apostle.

Paul had requested no particular amount and remember they already were giving in support of their own church.

Paul had said to be liberal. (of bounty and not covetousness)
Paul had said to be deliberate. (Christian charity is a calm and wise thing, with courage to refuse if necessary, not an impulse but with purpose of heart)
Paul had said to be cheerful. (The Lord loves a cheerful giver)

Giving is also a proof not only of the love of God in our lives but also the love of all our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Love is an action word that calls for proof sometimes if not all the time!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

When Sorrow Comes Into Your Life

When Sorrow Comes

Book of 2 Corinthians 7

What is sorrow? To begin with, we should know that sorrow is the exact opposite of joy!

Sorrow can actually be bad for your health. It will contract your heart, sink your spirit, and it will cause injury to good health!

If there was a theme for our lesson today it would come from verse 10.

2Co 7:10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: “but the sorrow of the world worketh death”.

We must be aware that sorrow becomes sin when it causes us to blame God or we shirk from our duty to serve God!

Sorrow is also sinful when we are oppressed so much it threatens our lives!

When we reach a point that we have no hope, it means we have forsaken the Lord and abandoned our “faith”!

1Th 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, “even as others which have no hope”.
 
We must never act like we simply have no hope because we already know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!

AND God will never forsake us even in our times of sorrow!

Let’s begin:

*****2Co 7:1  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 

This verse may should have been included in the previous lesson but here it is.

Since we have these great promises of God which are tokens of God’s favor toward us.

Since we have them as proof of God’s purchase of us with the “Blood of Jesus”.

Since these are declarations of God’s good-will towards His adopted children.

Since these are just part of God’s “Covenant of Grace”.

Since God’s promises are the foundation of our “Faith” and the object of our “Hope”.

Then on these things let’s build all our expectations of God!

God has given us sure directions!
God has provided our means of encouragement!
God has promised to listen to and to answer our prayers!

Since God has already done these things and promises even greater things than these, why can we not do the very little that He ask of us!

Isa 64:4  For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, “what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him”. 

Then Paul adds, make room for us in your journey for the Lord and make room in your hearts!

*****2Co 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

Paul says “receive us” because the greatest desire of the Apostle Paul was for the “spiritual” developement of his flock.

This should be the greatest desire of every Pastor! We need to be growing toward the Lord Jesus at all times!

It would seem that no church has ever experienced more problems that this church at Corinth but in the end, they remained united in the cause of Christ and were a solid force against the evil of Corinth.

The Apostle Paul and those with him had been accused of many things and Paul again addresses some of these things.

Just as the Lord Jesus was innocent of all charges, Paul, though no way a perfect man at all, he and those with him were innocent of these charges by some in this church.

It was a simple matter of justice!

Paul had not wronged any one in this church body! Paul had not treated anyone “unjustly” which is the meaning of “wronged”.
Paul did not offer any proof, for they were his proof if they would look into their hearts they would know the truth.
Paul had not corrupted anyone in this church. Paul had not destroyed anyone in “doctrine” or even “morally”. In fact Paul had been a true example how we should all live for Christ. Paul had only preached the whole counsel of God which was his command of the Lord.
Paul had not defrauded anyone. Paul had not taken advantage of anyone in this church, friend or foe. Paul had not even taken advantage of any financial help, preferring to work by his own hands to support himself.

And Paul continued:

*****2Co 7:3  I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. 

We must remember the Apostle Paul had certainly been wronged by this Church but he also remembered the Words of Jesus Christ.

Mat 18:15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 
Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 
Mat 18:17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 

Paul was certainly not trying to condemn anyone but he sincerely wanted to gain a brother!

Paul had a great love for this church and this church had a great need for revival.

All these things at this church needed to be settled before Paul would ever return to this church.

Again a church that does take a stand on the Word of God, “does not deserve a Pastor that does”!

And a faithful Pastor must always confront error and corruption with boldness!

A revival can only begin with the truth of God without any compromise!

2Ti 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy we can be sure he had learned many of the these things at Corinth and these lessons are valuable for every young Pastor.

*****2Co 7:4  Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. 

Again we see that Paul had an understanding of people that most do not have.

Obviously this is because Paul and Paul’s words were being led by the Holy Spirit.

Paul could only be so bold because Paul was confident in the results!

Isa 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 

Remember Paul was writing to saved people. Paul was pointing out errors at the same time he was boasting to people who loved the Lord.

1Th 2:19  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
1Th 2:20  For ye are our glory and joy. 

A Pastor has every reason to rejoice when his message is received by people who love the Lord and who crave for the truth of the Word of God!
To a true Pastor confidence, hope, and belief are essential.

To a Pastor, a church that not only has great love for the Lord and for all people, must be willing to repent if they have strayed in error of the Word.

Repent means returning to the truth and by the way this is the only means for revival in any church body. They must repent and return wholly to the Word of God!

The Holy Spirit will never work in any church body “that refuses to return to the Word of God”!

The truth is it is hard enough to be a Pastor, a Missionary, or Evangelist but if the “Body of Christ” will not follow the whole counsel of God, then that effort is not worth the risk.

For this cause many good Pastors have left the ministry even though they are wrong in doing so!

*****2Co 7:5  For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. 

We can just imagine the stress mentally and physically on the Apostle Paul.

Paul had been beaten to a point near death more than once.
Paul had stayed in Ephesus for 2 years teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul had traveled to Troas expecting to meet Titus there but when that did not happen, Paul had answered the Macedonian call by the Holy Spirit and still he had not heard from this church at Corinth.

In fact it could be said, that Paul could have been close to breaking down himself. He certainly was under great distress mentally and physically!

His flesh had no rest. There was great opposition to the Word of God.
He suffered from the enemies of Christ. There was great persecution of the messengers of God.

All this time Paul was thinking that even the Church in Corinth could be failing to survive.

You see that God knows all things, all the time, and God knew Paul needed some relief!

All these things began to effect the health of the Apostle Paul and God was not ready to take Paul home yet!

*****2Co 7:6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
2Co 7:7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. 

The truth is God will always meet the needs of His faithful servants! This means so much more than financial means.

It was Titus who had carried the letter now named 1Corinthians to this church and he had certainly stayed to make known the truth of what the Holy Spirit had given to Paul. In fact he may have delivered this message, this epistle to more than this one church as much time had passed.

It was the return of Titus that had brought much comfort to Paul but even more was the message Titus had when he returned.

Paul gave the glory to God who had known the need of Paul.

Finding that the church at Corinth had repented and returned to their first love, the Lord Jesus Christ was certainly good news and a great comfort to Paul.

God had met Paul’s need at this time in a way that only God can do!

What had Jesus said?

Joh 14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 

You see Paul was cast down, which in reality is depression and that’s all God needed to know.

We should clearly see that Paul had to endure these heavy trials for a great period of time before God moved.

Just like Christ Jesus, Paul had to learn obedience by the things that he suffered and this we all do but maybe not at the extent of Paul and surely not that of Christ or He would not be our example.

Heb 5:8  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 

The Lord could never be the “Author” if He had not suffered the most!

There are a great many things that can cast us down as we serve the Lord.

We see the wicked prosper and the Christian suffer.
We see corruption in trade, in politics, in science, and literature including filth and open lies.
We see more and more rejection of the Word of God.

But God never changes His command.

God will just comfort us through all these things!

The thing we see is that God used another Christian, Titus, as His messenger of comfort and God will do this most of the time and work through the Holy Spirit that abides within us.

And now we can understand why Paul, by the Holy Spirit, has put these great words into this epistle we now know as 2 Corinthians.

The message Titus brought was that the church at Corinth had repented (earnest desire and mourning) and had a great desire for the return of Paul. (they had a fervent mind)

This had to take place or Paul could have never returned to Corinth!

Again we see that a church that does not follow the Word of God does not deserve a Pastor that preaches the whole counsel of God in truth!

*****2Co 7:8  For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 
2Co 7:9  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 
2Co 7:10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 
2Co 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

When a Pastor preaches the truth, he has no reason to repent just because the church body does not like the message!

Paul had no reason to repent and the Holy Spirit decided that the world wide body of Christ needed to remember these things through this period we call “Grace”.

The church has no Holy Ghost power today simply because the Church will not cleanse itself of sin and continues to allow the world to dictate Bible Doctrine.

God said what He meant and God means what He says and He does need some Pope or some church leader, or some false pastor, or some government to try to interpret another meaning.

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 
2Pe 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 

When the Word of God gives us the truth, we certainly are never to change it just because we do not like it!

Paul never rejoiced because of any pain his letter caused, Paul rejoiced because that pain had brought repentance!

Godly sorrow should bring an eagerness to correct any sin.
Godly sorrow should bring repentance. To acknowledge sin is not enough, we must repent!
Godly sorrow should increase our hatred for sin but not the sinner.
Godly sorrow should make us keenly aware of the wrath of God.
Godly sorrow should create a great desire to eliminate the problem and get back to the work of God as soon as possible.
Godly sorrow should bring us to the knowledge of Church discipline, correctly applied.
Godly sorrow should bring us to a point of innocence again in the eyes of God.

We should all be very clear, though we sometimes wonder how any church could be like this church at Corinth, we should know that God gave us these Scriptures for a reason.

A genuine Church must demand a true man of God and then that church must care for that man of God.

That man of God must preach and teach the whole counsel of God and be unyielding to any change in the Word of God.

The Church must discipline according to the truth of the Word of God immediately and not allow things to spread and cause a loss in the work of the Church, the work of the Lord.

Together all parties must care for the righteousness of the Lord’s cause!

We should remember clearly that worldly sorrow only produces death!

Worldly sorrow can only cause guilt and remorse leading to depression which can lead to natural death.
Worldly sorrow can only turn someone against the truth of God and then lead them to spiritual death.

Godly sorrow is brought on by Holy Ghost conviction.

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 

1Th 5:19 Quench not the Spirit. 

Paul said he rejoiced because this church had proved themselves clear in this entire manner.

If we are to remember this church at Corinth, then remember this church for what they had accomplished where so many are failing today!

This church had witnessed its own revival by adhering to the complete truth of God.

So Paul says “wherefore”, for which reason:

*****2Co 7:12  Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. 

Many had considered the letter known as 1 Corinthians was too harsh for the church.

Paul explains that though church discipline is a required thing at all times in most every church, and those that were wrong should be vindicated according to the Word of God, the main object of his letter was to get this church back into the work of the Lord as quickly as possible.

A church that does not have a zeal for the work of the Lord has failed in its purpose to exist!

We all know that one unhealthy branch on a tree can harm the whole tree. That branch needs to be removed for the tree to grow properly.

So Paul then says “therefore”, for this reason, for this cause:

*****2Co 7:13  Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. 

The goal that the Holy Ghost had set for the previous letter to these Corinthians had been achieved and Paul could readily see it in the face of Titus.

Isa_55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

It amazes me that the comfort of one will most everytime rub off to comfort someone else.

God designed His church in this manner. If someone is going through a particular trouble, in almost every case someone else in that church body has made it through a similar problem and they can then help that person. I have witnessed this many times in the church I attend.

*****2Co 7:14  For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. 
2Co 7:15  And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. 
2Co 7:16  I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things

Titus was a young disciple of Paul at this time and had not yet gone to Crete where he would spend most all his remaining years. These were valuable lessons for a young preacher boy.

When we can see the handy work of God it certainly increases our faith but when we realize that we have been used as an instrument in the hand of God it certainly can grow our confidence in the thing that God has called us to do!

It is always a profit to believers to see God’s “Grace” applied when we can witness the results.

Titus was so over joyed to witness these things and Paul was caught up in the joy of Titus.

When the truth of God is observed in action, then it proves the truth of Scriptures.

The church at Corinth had been revived!

In other words we can pray for revival until we are blue in the face but revival will never come unless as individuals we judge any evil that is in our own lives!

**Revival cannot come unless we as individuals put away all filthiness of the flesh and our own spirit!

Revival is about the church going back to work more than it is about evangelism.

Fruit will come to a revived church!

God is waiting on His people individually to get right with Him and then God will provide the tools that are needed!

We spend to much time praying for the lost world to get right with God and not enough time praying for God to point out the sin in our own lives so we can be better servants!

Paul had boasted to Titus that the people at Corinth would repent and follow the Word of God because they knew the Word of God was true.

Titus had found these things to be true and his overwhelming joy had increased the joy Paul felt for this church.

There cannot be revival unless the pastor of that church shows confidence in his people!

**Revival can only come when people hear and understand the truth!

Love for God and God’s people is a key to revival in every church!

When people understand that they stand before a holy and righteous God who only seeks the best for His people, who is more a Father than a God, then they will yield to His truth.

**A church can only have revival when it understands that God demands repentance or else the facing of His judgment.

**Revival can only come when our fear of failure to do what God’s love demands is greater than our own demands!

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 
Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

**We have also seen that when we allow doctrinal error into the church we are binding the hand of God and doomed to failure!

2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Every man called of God is commanded to be ready to preach the truth at all times!

2Ti 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 

For there is coming a time when the world will close its ears to the Word of God and we may be there now.

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 

The strength of every Pastor comes from the Holy Spirit but it certainly does not hurt for the Pastor to have confidence in that church to understand the truth!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!