Tag: Book of 2 Corinthians

Enduring Bad Treatment

Spiritual Power To Endure Unjust Treatment

Book of 2 Corinthians 4

The truth is, if we cannot see this world from a Biblical point of view we will suffer even greater in this world. We need a “Spiritual Perspective” in order to endure our time here and be of use to the Lord who has saved us!

It is a fact that we will suffer for our sins after salvation but the truth is, bad things can happen to good people and good things can happen to bad people that have nothing to do with personal sin.

Most of our own problems come from the choices we make!

Paul will now teach us all more about our personal ministry for the Lord and the ministry of those who are called to preach the “Gospel”.

**We will see that our ministry calls for us to be consistent, God does not have a retirement plan!

**We will see that our ministry calls for integrity in it’s service.

**We will see that our ministry calls for us to keep the “Gospel” simple.

**We will see that our ministry calls for us to serve Christ above ourselves.

**We will see that our ministry demands the presence of God within us!

**We will see that is is the presence of God that sustains us through all things in this life!

Our life is to be a manifestation of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”!

*****2Co 4:1  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 

We know that word “therefore” means to look at the previous Scriptures which was last weeks lesson that ended with us doing our best to live in the image of Jesus Christ.

When we have received God’s “Grace”, which is “God’s Riches At Christ Expense”, which begins with God’s “Mercy”, then we have no reason to “faint”.

We have no reason to give up!

We have no reason to be weak, we have no reason to be weary, we have no reason to fail!

We must remember God does not reward us for our accomplishments, for that is in His hands, God rewards us for “effort”!

We are not to give up our ministry for any reason, including persecution.

The “Gospel” will always be “Good News” to those who accept it!

The “Gospel” is the only cure for what ails this world. How can we call ourselves Christians, if we do love people enough to tell them of this cure!

Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 
Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 
Eph 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 
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. 

So what are the traits of a true Pastor?

*****2Co 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 

Most pulpits would empty up on the first thing:

**God’s ministry demands honesty and integrity! There must be purity in the motives of every man of God!

We are all sinners, including our Pastors but when things are hidden that could cause disgrace to that person or that church or a scandal to either, that person is no being honest in his ministry.

1Ti 3:2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 

**God’s ministry demands our Pastors to walk as Jesus walked. There must be purity in the conduct of our Pastors, they are not to be imposter’s who pretend to lead others to Heaven without being prepared themselves.

He is not to walk using or misusing people, or circumstances, or events, all for his own purpose.

Eph 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

**God’s ministry demands purity in doctrine. The Word of God came from God, it is not to be handled like it came from man and subject to change.

God is the author and God is the authority behind His Words!

Each Pastor is only a spokesperson for God.

God does not intend for His Words to fit into the philosophy of man but be treated as Divine Truth!
God’s Word is never to be twisted and turned in order to lead us into false doctrine!

The Pastor is never to add the ideas, the traditions, or the speculations of men to the Word of God.

The Pastor is to preach the whole council of God. Some parts of Scripture are tough to preach and may not set well with those who listen but the Word of God is always true!

These harsh places are to be studied and preached with the same love as those of salvation and the glories of Heaven.

Mat 22:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 

Tit 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 

Tit 1:14  Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 
Tit 1:15  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 
Tit 1:16  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. 

**Every Pastor is to be true to the truth of the Word of God!

Mal 2:6  The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. 
Mal 2:7  For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 

The “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ” is never to be hidden by words or by actions or confusion!

*****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.

We must be clear on just what is the “Gospel”!

The “Gospel” is the “good news” of God to a lost world!

I think it is “good news” that I know my Creator and my Spiritual Father, but many do not.

Even all of nature will teach us this truth of our Creator!

I think is is “good news” that our Father sent His Son into this world as a man but most see these as just words from a book of fables.

But when it says the God sent His Son into this world to save sinners, then this is certainly “good news”!

1Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 
1Co 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 
1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 

1Jn 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 
1Jn 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 
1Jn 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 
1Jn 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

This is the “Good News” the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ!

AND, the “Gospel” is only hid to those who refuse to believe!

Those who are “lost” are those who will perish because they refuse to accept this truth of the Word of God!

These are the ones who are traveling down the wrong road and in the wrong direction, totally opposite from the road that God has shed the light of Jesus upon.

These are all those who have chosen on their own, to travel away from God and therefore they cannot see God because their back is turned toward Him.

BUT, there is also another reason, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not the “Gospel”.

The god of this world is Satan!

The Scriptures teach us that Satan rules in the minds of the people of this world. Satan is not a figment of imagination, he is a real living person who lives in the spiritual world that surrounds us all.

Satan opposes God and everything God stands for!

Jesus said:

Satan is the “prince of this world”.
Satan is the “evil one”
Satan is a murderer, a liar, and the father of all liars.

Paul said:

Satan was the “god of this world”
Satan was the “prince of the power of the air”

Peter said:

Satan was our “adversary”.

John said Satan was the Devil.

What these things mean is, that it is Satan’s evil nature that rules over this world!

1Jn 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 
1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 
1Jn 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 

Satan is able to blind a person’s mind more and more as they follow in the ways of this world because Satan appeals to the flesh.

Satan is able to manipulate any government that governs by the laws of man rather than the laws of God.

The reason all these things are true is because our own sin will not prepare us for the truth of the “Gospel”.

Our sin has dulled our perception of sin, so sin is just punished by another sin until death comes as we completely separate ourselves from God!

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

The ministry of God requires each and every Pastor to be servants of the Word of God!

*****2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 

No Pastor can preach Jesus Christ effectively who has not first learned the Spirit of Christ!

The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of complete self-sacrifice!

Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 
Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 
Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 
Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 

A Pastor does not preach to build himself up in the eyes of man!
A Pastor does not preach, his own ideas, his own thoughts, or his own philosophy!
A Pastor does not preach to impress people, with his abilities, his speech or his leadership qualities!

The true Pastor preaches Jesus Christ and Him alone!
The true Pastor preaches that Jesus Christ is Lord!

And we need to always remember that Christ means the Messiah, the Savior promised by the Living God.

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. 

A true Pastor is a servant to the Church for Jesus’ sake, he is not sent to please man just to lead them to the Savior!

Jesus Christ became our servant and He sacrificed Himself everyday and this He did for all of us!

Php 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

All these things have happened and will happen because our Creator, our Father in Heaven, commanded it to be so!

*****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. 

If you haven’t figured it out yet, when God speaks things happen!

Gen 1:3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 

The Apostle Paul says even God’s great act of creating light takes a back seat to the glorious light of Christ in our salvation!

Col 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 

You see it is God who shines in our hearts after salvation:

1Jn 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 

Salvation then, is seeking the “Glory of God” in the “Face of Jesus Christ”.

We then know that the glory of God is in His Son Jesus and that Jesus is the absolute image of God!

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

Heb 1:1  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 
Heb 1:2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 
Heb 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 

The Pastor that knows all these things and teaches all these things, must also be able to endure the troubles and trials of his profession all his days and it is the same for each saint of God.

*****2Co 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

It should obvious that no one Pastor has the power to do all these things in his own power. We see our own Pastor experience weariness and fatigue.

We see our own Pastor experience the strain of his work and the pressure in always doing the right thing in the eyes of his flock.

He is sometimes criticized and even opposed especially by this world we live in.

The thing we need to know is that it is the presence of God within him that sustains the Pastor and God will do the same for each child of God!

In verse 6; it is God who gives the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

We are all earthen vessels!

Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 

God moves in to each believer, at the moment of salvation!

Rom 15:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. 

Rom 5:4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 
Rom 5:5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 

At the moment of salvation, the presence of God enters into our bodies made of earth, our earthen vessels.

These earthen vessels are weak and worthless until it houses the presence of God.

The power to sustain every Pastor comes from within, because that is where the presence of God dwells!

**This power will convert and transform us into new creatures!

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. 

**This power makes us new everyday.

Eph 4:24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

**This is the power of the divine nature of God.

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

**This is the power to give us abundant life here and throughout eternity.

Joh 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 

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. 

It is God and God alone that is the strength of every child of God.

It is God that lives within each Pastor, and this is his true sustaining strength!

Sometimes our Pastor’s troubles come from every direction!

*****2Co 4:8  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 
2Co 4:9  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 
2Co 4:10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 

It is a fact that our Pastors and even each believer will face all sorts of troubles and difficult situations in this life but it is also a fact that the answer to the relief of these things lies within each of us by the Holy Spirit.

Our Pastors face many outward distresses but as only humans they face the same inward distresses that affect us all.

That word “Troubles” refer to the present situations.

That word “Perplexity” refers to the future.

When Jesus Christ was on the cross, He was forsaken by God and Man.

Mat 27:46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 

But Jesus says though this happened to Him, it would never happen to those who believed upon Him.

Sure man will eventually forsake every Christian, but the Lord will never forsake us and He is the right hand of the power of God.

Heb 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 

Heb 1:1  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 
Heb 1:2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 
Heb 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 

Many Christians are exposed to death every day and many die but before that last breath leaves that body, they already present with the Lord.

We will certainly be a corpse in this world one way or another, unless the “Rapture” takes place before our death but we will be a corpse that shares the life-giving power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ gave His life for no one could take it from Him. Just as He had the power to give His life, He also had the power to take back His life.

Joh 10:17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 
Joh 10:18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 

This is the power of Christ that lies within each of us.

When we go to sleep in this world we will wake up in the glories of Heaven!

But, We should wake up every day willing to die for Jesus Christ!

And, We must die to ourselves to be that one who can serve the Lord!

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 
Luk 9:24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 

Remember the cross is not a sign of life, it is a sign of “death”!

We may be cast down by this world but we are indestructible at the hands of this world!

Every Pastor will spend the rest of his life wrestling with the forces of evil but the strength that comes from the indwelling Spirit will sustain him if he clings to the Lord!

*****2Co 4:11  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 
2Co 4:12  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We have a tendency to forget sometimes that while Christ was and is the Almighty God, He also poured Himself into a body of flesh and physically, Jesus was dying to Himself daily.

It took every fiber of the physical body of Jesus to deliver His message to this lost world.

It is this great message of the Lord that brings life to all those who were once lost!

1Co 6:11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Jesus Christ set the example for all those that would follow in His footsteps.

The Apostles clearly understood this and all but John were martyrs for the faith.

The Apostle Paul clearly understood these things and lost his head in the end simply for preaching the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.

Every minister of the “Gospel” is to die daily.

Every minister of the “Gospel” is to die until they reach that point of eternal life.

Paul said he was alive only because the power of Christ’s “life” is manifested in each and everyone that knows the Lord in a personal relationship!

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.

No matter what we are going through as a child of God, we are never facing death if we have already died to our selves, we are facing a glorious life of eternity with our Lord.

So why do we cling to these lifeless, earthly vessels like they are so special when the true treasure of life lies within and can never die!

Php 3:7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 
Php 3:8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 
Php 3:9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 

The truth is, that every new “Born Again” child of God begins to live in a peace that they could have never known without the Lord, but that Pastor, or that Preacher must continue to die daily in order for others to come to know the Savior.

This is what Paul is saying to all those who are called of God to take His(Jesus) message to all the world.

Both these things happen because of the same “faith”.

*****2Co 4:13  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 

When God poured Himself into the flesh of Jesus, He spent all His time bringing the truth of the Word of God.

Jesus Christ sacrificed His body in order that His message reach as many Jews as possible and even some Gentiles.

Jesus Christ died daily that all the world might have 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. 

Every true minister of God is to die daily!

Col 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

And it must be the “Spirit of faith” that sustains each Pastor and all those that minister the Word of God!

When the “Body of Christ” has “faith” and the Pastor has “faith” and they are the same “faith” in the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”, then we can have church.

We must speak as we believe!

Psa 116:9  I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. 
Psa 116:10  “I believed, therefore have I spoken”: I was greatly afflicted: 

A Pastor can never speak properly if he does not believe the things he says!
The more “faith” in his heart the more energy in his speech!
When a Pastor believes, he is bound to speak that truth!

Politicians speak because they are expected to say something.

God’s chosen men speak because they have something to say!

God’s truths are the most important message to speak in this world far above all other speech!

God will sustain those He has called upon.

Psa 41:11  By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. 
Psa 41:12  And as for me, “thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever”. 

We should never forget there is no amount of work that get us closer to God but there is one work that we must do and the more the better.

Joh 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 
Joh 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, “that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”. 

The only work required of God is the work of “believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ”!

*****2Co 4:14  Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 
2Co 4:15  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

The Pastor that cannot believe in the “Rapture” of the Church then is not a true Pastor!

Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by His own power. Though there are those who reject this thing it is a proven fact, established by the things that happened.

The truth of each Pastor and of each believer is that we will be raised up also!

Once this raising has taken place we will all be presented by the Lord to our Father in Heaven.

Joh 5:23  That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 
Joh 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 
Joh 5:25  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 

All the struggles the Lord Jesus had, all the struggles Paul had, and all the struggles that God’s Pastors and Preachers have, are for one purpose, that each believer can taste the “abundant Grace of God”.

It is only these things that can bring our soul to the rest that God has promised!

Heb 4:9  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 
Heb 4:10  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 
Heb 4:11  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 

Each Pastor then, is to meet the spiritual needs of each believer and lead these that believe to praise and glorify God!

Paul said this was a serious job.

*****2Co 4:16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 

What is the duality of man?

There is the outward man the flesh, and the inward man, the soul!

The inward man is renewed every day by the power of God through the Holy Spirit and “faith” in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And no matter what we do, the outward man perishes a little everyday and some days allot.

The truth of the Pastor who understands these things is that he will never quit on God!

He will allow nothing to drive him from the ministry God has called him to do!

He feels the presence of God.
He has the “Spirit of faith”.
He has the hope of the resurrection.
He knows the needs of the people.
He know his work is for the glory of God!

The outward man is that earthen vessel, that house made of earth, the human flesh, the human body and it will age, wear out, deteriorate, corrupt and die!

The true Pastor knows that his inner man is renewed day by day.

He has been “Born Again”.
He has been made alive by Christ Jesus.
He is a new creature.
He is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
He knows this new hidden man of the heart is not corruptible.

1Pe 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 

He knows that it is the presence and the power of God that lives within him that sustains him in all things!

Psa 34:19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. 

And above all, it is the hope of glory that sustains the true man of God!

*****2Co 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 
2Co 4:18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The truth is everything we go through while living in these decaying bodies of flesh is light when compared to the eternal weight of our future glory.

In fact many of our afflictions have made us a better persons, we may not want to go back through them again but sometimes we are glad we went through some of these things.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 

So even our Pastor, who struggles day by day with afflictions, they to are light when compared to the glory that is coming to them if they remain faithful.

1Pe 5:4  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

The things that are seen are earthly things whether good or bad, whether refreshing or afflicting, for they are only temporary and of this lifetime.

We must concentrate on the unseen things that only get clearer as we near our end!

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 

Those that have the mind of Christ, can brightly behold what the eye cannot see!

Our goal is to spend eternity with God in the New Heavens and the New Earth and see the New City of Jerusalem!

Rev 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 
Rev 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 
Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 
Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 

When we wrap our minds around the “Grace” of God, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”, then the things of this earth have no real meaning!

It is the “Work” of God, and the “Purpose” of God that is the only real thing in this life! Amen

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Caring For The Lord’s Church, True Freedom

Liberty No One Can Take Away

Book of 2 Corinthians 3

Today the Christian is considered more of a legalist than a believer.

Christians are looked on as just a people trying to force their will upon others.

These things are simply not true of the true Christian!

We can be sure that there are certainly legalist who may or may not be Christians but the commandments of God are not about legalism the Word of God is about proclaiming “freedom”!

We may be loosing our freedoms here in America but the freedom gained from loving the Lord is a freedom that we cannot lose.

This is a freedom that “No One Can Take Away”!

*****2Co 3:1  Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 

We know that from time to time a church must seek a new Pastor and in doing so they will have to consider the credentials of that person.

Paul says that a new minister’s first credentials should never be letters of commendation from himself or from others.

We should remember:
Paul had been accused of arrogance.
Paul had been accused of making himself better than others.
Paul had been accused of distorting the Word of God.
Paul had been accused of saying that it was only he who preached the truth.

Remember Paul had already said his ministry was based on a true calling of God!
And Paul had already said the main credential for a Pastor was what he “preached” the Word of God!

2Co 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 

1) Then the first qualification of the Pastor is that he preach the whole council of God and never corrupt the Word of God.

There had been some men who had come to the church at Corinth with great letters of recommendation but all they done was to dispute the Apostle Paul.

No one is qualified for the ministry of God just because someone else says they are!

There are many things that mean so much more than that!

2) The next qualification of the Pastor is, “does does he really care for God’s Church”.

*****2Co 3:2  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 

An epistle is essentially a letter. Paul considered these “born again” Corinthians as his personal letter of recommendation.

These people were written on the heart of the Apostle Paul.

Anyone who knew Paul, knew how much he cared for this church. They were very dear to him!

So we also see that people who have changed lives, are far more important than letters!

It was these people who were the proof that Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

3) The greatest accomplishment for any Pastor is that his ministry bears fruit!

The greatest commendation for Paul was the changes lives of the people in Corinth and their testimony.

The testimony of this church before the world was Paul’s greatest letter of commendation.

1Co 1:6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 
1Co 1:7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 

1Co 9:2  If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 

Each believer that steps outside the doors of the church and witnesses for the Lord is a special letter of recommendation for his Pastor!

The public and those who knew him, will see the difference of that changed life!

*****2Co 3:3  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

When we accept the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, then His words are written in the fleshy tables of our heart, by the Holy Spirit.

Remember it is the Holy Spirit that inspired all the Word of God!

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 
2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

It is the Holy Spirit who is then the writer of all Scripture!

It is the Holy Spirit who writes the words of Christ in our hearts!

1Co_6:11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Apostle Paul is saying it is this process of salvation that is much more important than any letter of recommendation by any human!

These are the things that should matter to any church seeking a Pastor!

These are the things that should stand out when a Christian walks out into the world!

A Pastor’s greatest recommendation is the changed lives of people he has led to the Lord!

Every believer is said to be read of all men and this is all our challenge that Jesus is our example of how to walk in this world.

1Pe_2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Being led by the Holy Spirit!

Rom_8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

And then walk in “faith”!

*****2Co 3:4  And “such trust” have we through Christ to God-ward: 
2Co 3:5  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 

Another recommendation that should be recognized is that Pastor will hold himself accountable to God.

If that person is looking to man for his help and his reward, then he is not a true Pastor called of God!

If he is called by Christ then Christ will provide his needs. His sufficiency is of God!

He knows he has no power to change the heart of a believer.
He knows he does not have the power to give life to any person.
He knows that the assurance and security and the care of that person, these things are of God.
He knows that he cannot impart the Holy Spirit to anyone, the Holy Spirit does His own work!
He knows that salvation comes at the expense of Jesus Christ.

Only Christ can qualify any Pastor, Preacher or Missionary to share the Word of God!

The phrase “God-ward” means that this man knows that he serves God, he serves before God, and God will certainly inspect his work!

John the Baptist also clearly understood these facts!

Joh 3:27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 

It is God that enables us all!

*****2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 

We must remember what Jesus said at the Lord’s Supper.

Mat 26:26  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 
Mat 26:27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 
Mat 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 

Every can called of God is to be a minister of this New Testament, this New Covenant.

The Old Covenant was written on tables of stone.

**The New Covenant must be written of the fleshy tables of the heart of each individual!

The Old Covenant brought death. The “wages of sin are death”.

**The New Covenant brings life. The “gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ”.

A covenant is an agreement made between two parties, a contract drawn up between two people.

In the Old Testament God dealt with man through the law, but now God deals with each of us through the Holy Spirit.

In other words, today God deals with each individual in a personal relationship.

No one can share God’s presence by God’s Spirit unless God allows this to happen!

It is God who has allowed this to happen, which is why the New Covenant is far superior to the Old Covenant!

A personal relationship is far better than any relationship from a distance!

Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 

The laws of man and the Laws of the Old Covenant were written of paper, stone, or wood
and therefore external.

The New Covenant is written on the heart of the believer and is therefore internal!

The Holy Spirit gives life and returns us to the relationship of mankind before the sin of Adam.

Col 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 
Col 3:11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 

The Believer is therefore “innocent” just as Adam was “innocent” before sin entered into him.

We are again wrapped up in God and the things of God!

Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

If the Old Covenant is considered glorious by some, then the New Covenant must be considered even more glorious by all!

*****2Co 3:7  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 
2Co 3:8  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 

There is no doubt that those 10 commandments written on stone tablets let all of us know what God considers to be sin and the “wages of sin is death” which means a complete separation from God throughout eternity.

The actual intent of those commandments were then to teach us repentance!

**Those laws have some glory because they were given to Moses and actually written the first time by the hand of God.

God’s glory shone in the face of Moses.

Exo 33:20  And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 
Exo 33:21  And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 
Exo 33:22  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 
Exo 33:23  And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

**Those commandments were glorious in that they revealed the nature of a Holy and Righteous God.

We can only approach God in this same way!

Exo 34:6  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 
Exo 34:7  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

**Those laws are glorious because they show all the world the great need of salvation!

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 

The glory of God was so bright upon Moses face, that the children of Israel could not look upon his face but this glory was to be done away with because it was only temporary.

The glory on the face of Moses faded in a short time!

The glory of the Old Covenant was only a temporary arrangement between God and man!

No one could keep all the law, all their lifetime and with just one failure came the sentence of death!

The New Covenant is much more glorious because of the ministration of the Holy Spirit!

Joh_6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Rom_8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Gal 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 

The Old Covenant brought only condemnation.

*****2Co 3:9  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 
2Co 3:10  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 

The Old Covenant brought “condemnation”!

The New Covenant brings “righteousness”!

These things are as far apart as the East is to the West.

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

By comparing the New Covenant to the Old Covenant we see that in actuality the Old Covenant really had no glory at all!

The Old Covenant then actually brings a curse to all who try to live by it!

Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

There is no one who has ever lived that have obeyed all the law all the time of their life!

So God had made these things to be only temporary!

*****2Co 3:11  For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 

The truth of the perfect relationship with God is that if we desire to have a personal relationship with our God we must invite God’s Spirit into our hearts and our lives and that can only be done by asking the Lord Jesus Christ in believing faith.

BUT, Those that cannot trust in the Triune God can have no part of Him!

This is the God of the Bible!

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. 

Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 
Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

All those seeking some other way to reach our Father in Heaven will never find one!

The point of all these Scriptures of the Apostle Paul is to prove that a true Pastor will not serve the Old Covenant but he will serve the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.

Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 
Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
Eph 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 
Eph 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 

It is the knowledge of these things that give us the hope that in truth is reality!

*****2Co 3:12  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 
2Co 3:13  And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 
2Co 3:14  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 

Many people ask, well what was the “spiritual” of the vail on Moses face.

The Old Covenant spoke with a veiled meaning but the New Covenant speaks clearly, is bold, and is plain in it’s meaning, because the New Covenant is given by the Holy Spirit!

1Co 2:12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 
1Co 2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

We must notice that the people withdrew from the glory of God until Moses placed that veil upon his face. “They could not look to the end of that which is abolished”.

Even today all those who are lost and even many of those who say they are Christian cannot look to the end of that which God abolished!

Some of these are certainly legalist.

Many still work and work to keep the law, believing all the time that they are earning the favor and the acceptance of God, but this is impossible!

We all at one time were blinded to the intent of the Law and many still are today, including most all Jews.

The Law was given to show us that man will always come up short of the “Glory” of God.
The Law was given to show us that man will always come up short of the “perfection” of God!
The Law was given to show the world that no one, absolutely no one, could keep those laws all their lifetime and that we all desperately are in need of a Savior who could keep the Law!
The Law was given to reveal the nature of God’s Glory and God’s Perfection!

In truth that veil was not covering their eyes, “it was covering their hearts”!

*****2Co 3:15  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 
2Co 3:16  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 

Not just in Moses time. Not just in Paul’s time, but even today when the Old Testament is read, those that still follow the law are still blinded to the truth.

The true purpose of the Law is still hidden!

In fact the purpose of the entire Old Testament is to point this world toward Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament still holds great importance to everyone:

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 
2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 

We just cannot linger in the Old Testament but we must move on into the New Testament. Notice the message of Jesus:

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.

The Catholic Church say that it was established by the Apostle Peter and what does Peter say?

Why then do they add to the “Doctrine of Peter”?

Act 10:43  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 
Act 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 

Peter said the Old Testament was a witness for Jesus Christ and whoever placed their “faith” in Jesus Christ would be relieved of the burden of all those old Laws!

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament!

The New Testament is written in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit!

If your heart is occupied by God, it will be noticed by all others!

This is where the freedom of the Christian comes from!

Joh 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Our “freedom” and our “liberty” come from the Holy Trinity, the Triune God!

*****2Co 3:17  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 

We should be clear, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not the same they are two of the persons in the God-Head with our Father in Heaven being the third.

There is no liberty without the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is Jesus Christ who freed us all from the burden of the Old Testament Laws.
It is the Holy Spirit who writes the New Testament Law into our hearts.
It is our Father in Heaven who forgives our sin!

Gal 4:6  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 
Gal 4:7  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

Eph 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 
Eph 2:22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. 

We must never doubt the intention of the Word of God, it is the entire Word of God that will lead us to perfection!

*****2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We are being changed gradually and we will be changed, this is a continuous operation until we meet the Lord!

We must not be impatient if this process seems slow.
We must not be complacent over our partial transformation which we may feel.
We must never turn our gaze away from the Lord.

Remember Peter walked on the water as it was pavement, until he took his eyes off the Lord!

If the likeness of Jesus Christ is not your intention, then you only have religion but not salvation!

We must be changed into the same image, “from glory to glory” and that can only happen by the Spirit of the Lord!

Free from sin.
Free from the Law.
Free from the bondage of sin.
Free from the power of Satan, which is the fear of death.
Free from corruption.

Free to stand face to face with Jesus Christ!

1Jn_3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

When we stand before the Lord, that is when our own knowledge will increase and we will know all things.

1Co 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 
1Co 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 

This is the goal of each and every believer and this is why we are looking for the day we will meet our Lord in the air!

Tit 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 
Tit 2:12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 
Tit 2:13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 
Tit 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Forgiveness Brings Blessings

Blessings Through Forgiveness

2 Corinthians 2

We know our Churches face the challenges of this world just to survive and that is bad enough, but when there is internal turmoil and divisiveness inside the Church body, then that is even worse.

Satan will try His best to make the power of the Church go away in this world and he has in many places already.

In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul had addressed many issues that had divided the Church in Corinth.

By ignoring blatant sin among its members, the Corinthian church was further contributing to division and weakness in the members of this Church.

The Apostle Paul had given practical instructions from the Word of God on for how to deal with immorality in the church.

Today we are reading why Paul could not return to this Church at this time and why he wrote the second epistle to this Church at Corinth.

The biggest reason the Church faces so many challenges is because even though we are a saved people, we are still human and we still live in these sinful bodies of flesh!

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

The Apostle Paul understood these things better than most other Church leaders.

One lesson we should learn is, that our Pastor should not be the cause of pain in Church discipline, this is the responsibility of the church body.

It is the “Body of Christ”, the Church members that should bear the pain of Church discipline, guided by the Pastor and sticking to the Word of God in every step!

*****2Co 2:1  But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 
2Co 2:2  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 

We can actually see the love that Paul had for this church.

We need to clearly understand the purpose of Church discipline!

The purpose of Church discipline is:
(1) To bring glory to God and enhance the testimony of the “body of Christ”.
(2) To restore, heal, and build up sinning believers.
(3) To show the need for sound doctrine.
(4) To win a soul to Christ, if the sinning person is only a professing Christian.
(5) To silence false teachers and their influence in the church.
(6) To set an example for the rest of the body of Christ and promote godly fear.
(7) To protect the church against the destructive consequences that occur when churches fail to carry out church discipline.

Until the Church in Corinth had done these things it was not so important that Paul made another appearance to this Church.

It is never so important for a Pastor to pour his heart out to people who reject the Word of God, his time is better spent on those with receptive ears and open hearts!

Paul was committed to the purity of the Church and he would have been even more severe if he had come and none of his directions had been followed.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

These things had brought much ridicule to the Apostle Paul and it would be best if if he was not attacked again.

Our Pastors do not deserve to be attacked for preaching the whole council of God!

AND, The “Body of Christ” must stand up and insist on the truth of God coming from the pulpits.

*****2Co 2:3  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 

Paul’s reason for writing was that if those in sin would repent, then there could be joy to all when he returned instead of more sadness on the part of Paul himself.

We can be sure that Paul was following the lead of the Holy Spirit in this case and had not done this thing on his own.

It is also best that the Church put the Lord first, for He is the foundation of the Church and put an end to all controversy.

We would be foolish to believe that everyone in the Church is saved but we cannot allow our Pastor to be the center of any controversy by undisciplined members!

*****2Co 2:4  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

Paul had shed many tears over the things that were going on in this Church.

SO, Paul was writing this time to show his love for them all.

The purpose of the Pastor is to reach out to this lost world, lead the lost to Christ and then disciple them to give them strength!

This must be the goal for every Pastor!

This must be the exact same purpose for all the “Body of Christ”!

Just as Paul wanted no part of controversy, the same then should go for the Church.

Paul had only one desire for his children in the Lord.

Rom 1:11  For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, “to the end ye may be established”; 
Rom 1:12  That is, that I may be comforted together with you “by the mutual faith” both of you and me. 

We must realize that it only takes one person to stir up trouble in any Church.

*****2Co 2:5  But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 
2Co 2:6  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

We must never forget, Church discipline has only one goal and that is to restore that one who has fell from “Grace”.

Church discipline is not to run people off that we simply do not like!

There was a single person who had caused grief for this whole church.

It could have been that one who been so immoral but we also know that there were those in this church who had become opposed to the Apostle Paul and there is always a ring leader and some think this is the one because immorality is not mentioned in these Scriptures.

The truth is there was some one in this Church that was attacking God’s man and causing much grief and pain and bringing this Church near to collapse.

**This thing had to be dealt with.

1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 

**This man had to be stopped so God’s man (Paul) could do what he was called to do.

Rom 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 

We are not called to judge a man called of God to preach.

Many today are Mama called and Daddy sent!

If God is his master, then God will cause him to stand or he will fall.

**This Church at Corinth had many problems like all Churches do but this controversy could cause this Church to fail.

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. 

We know we have a good Pastor here at Gethsemane and we simply cannot allow anyone here in our church to stir up any controversy because of the message he preaches.

But we also must be willing to forgive everyone who repents of their evil doings!

Remember it is not the Pastor who disciplines, it is the Church, the “Body Of Christ”.

Paul had insisted this Church deal with this problem before he would return and they had.

But it was just as important that if this person repent that he also be forgiven and welcomed back into the family of God.

BUT, Some now felt that this should not happen and this person never be allowed back into the church.

We must first understand that church discipline is never to be about legal matters because church discipline is to only be about the will of God for His Church. The Church belongs to God!

The government disciplines those who break those laws

There will always be different opinions about church discipline and just like everything else we must depend on the Word of God to know what to do in these things.

What we know:

1) There was a man causing controversy in this church, in fact so much controversy that the Pastor had to ask this church to deal with it.

2) This church followed the advice of the Pastor and dealt with this problem.

3) Not everyone agreed that discipline was needed.

Not everyone agreed with the amount of discipline.

Some even believed that it was never to responsibility of the Church to do such things.

The pure fact is, that church discipline should have taken place before this controversy was allowed to fester and divide this church but also according to the Word of God.

AND, If this church had not done the right thing then the Apostle Paul would have stepped in and remember Paul had all the powers of the Apostles just as Peter and John and the other 9.

We know that the 11 Apostles had chosen a 12th and this is no slight on another good man but Jesus chose His own Apostles.

Paul cautioned this church:

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”: 

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.

This church had forgotten the purpose of church discipline as most have today!

*****2Co 2:7  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 
2Co 2:8  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 

The Lord Jesus made these things pretty simple for us all:

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. 

First: any believer who attacks God’s church and God’s preachers must be corrected most of all, for his own sake.

Second: this person must be restored to a point that he loves God and all the people of God.

**There must be “forgiveness”, if this person repented!

Luk 17:4  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. 

**There must be comfort and encouragement given to this person, if he repented!

It would be shame and embarrassment to be told to repent or to leave the church.

1Th 5:11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Th 5:12  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 
1Th 5:13  And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 
1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 
1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 

**There must be repentance from that offender! Once he had repented and demonstrated godly sorrow then the purpose of the discipline had been achieved!

If this person is not accepted back into the fold, these things could be more destructive instead of correcting, if “he be swallowed up in much sorrow”.

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. 

**The church must go out of it’s way to assure this person of the love of the church!

One of the greatest testimonies of the church is love. This is always notable to visitors. If we cannot show that same love for each other we are failing as a church.

If the mess has been straightened out, its time to get back to the work of God, the quicker the better.

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 
Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 
Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 
Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

It is this love that shows the proof of each and every church!

*****2Co 2:9  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 

Most of us when we think about Church discipline, we always forget the purpose of the Church.

As long as any church knowingly compromises with those who commit the sins of the world, then the church cannot focus on it’s mission and it’s ministry.

Any church that is being disobedient to the Word of God will allow controversy and division to rule in the church rather than God.

Remember the Church was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior!

Rev_1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and “washed us from our sins in his own blood”,

Eph_1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

These things being true, if that person or persons repent of their evil ways, then that same merciful love of God is to be shown to them!

The same condition of pardon and life that we have been given from the Lord, is that we believe that person or persons and offer that same mercy and love to them.

The Church is to be obedient in all things!

The Bible says: Let our conversation be as it becometh the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.

We are always to love one another!

We associate sin with the soul but we are to hate the sin but never show hatred to the soul which is of great value to the Lord!

The Church is in the business of saving souls!

We can only be the fishers of men and only the Lord can save!

*****2Co 2:10  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 
2Co 2:11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

**Notice the Apostle Paul forgave this man in order to help this church but also to help himself.

The entire nature of the Lord’s Church is based upon forgiveness!

The Church exists only because God has forgiven our sins because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ!

When the Church is unforgiving it is denying it’s purpose of existing!

The church that does not forgive and restore after repentance, needs to close the doors because it has no reason to exist!

This is when the true Pastor of that church should take the lead, as did Paul.

**Paul also forgave this person for the sake of Jesus Christ (“in the person of Christ”).

We must remember that Our Lord is so displeased with an unforgiving spirit that He will refuse to forgive anyone who is not forgiving themselves!

Jesus Christ expects us all to be just as forgiving as He is!

**Paul also forgave this man for another great reason, to keep Satan from taking advantage.

1) Satan would take advantage with that man if the church had not forgiven him and he would become a witness against the church and remain out in the world.

He may also have fallen into depression and despair and be swallowed up in sorrow.

2) Satan would take advantage on the Pastor. The ministry of that Pastor or church leader would have become ineffective. God would no longer bless the ministry of such an unforgiving man of God!

3) Satan would get a foothold in the church for the same reason. God will never bless the ministry of an unforgiving church!

Just as Paul states we must always be aware of Satan’s techniques!

We should always consider that Satan has never had to change the way he does things, because his ways have worked for several thousand years, because we fall into his traps so easily.

Satan’s mission is to tempt and destroy people and we must never help him because we will be betraying the reason Jesus Christ went to the cross, which was to save people!

We must remember the Word of God, our enemy is never our fellow man.

Eph 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 
Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
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. 

Satan is always determined to cause the church to fail in it’s mission!

1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 
1Pe 5:9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 

AND, We should never question Paul’s love for this church nor any church.

As men we can only be at one place at a time. Paul was lead by the Holy Spirit as it should be!

Besides, if Paul had spent all his time running from church to church at every little problem, his own ministry would have failed!

For this reason, God chose to give us these wonderful epistles to teach us the truths of God!

We need to listen as Paul describes what God had called him to do and in these things we can learn about our own Pastor.

*****2Co 2:12  Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 
2Co 2:13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. 

A true pastor will always be gripped with passion to answer God’s call!

Every man called to preach, is called to preach “Christ’s Gospel”!

We see Paul as a pastor who was gripped by passion to preach the full council of God.

We see that Paul still had a deep concern for a troubled church but Paul also had to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit!

Paul had planned to go to Corinth but God had other plans and those attacks on Paul’s person had also made it an unwise thing to do.

Paul instead had sent his first epistle by Titus to this church but Paul’s passion to preach could not be quenched and he answered what we know of as the Macedonian call, but Paul was saddened because he had not heard back form Titus.

Notice Paul could not sit still while waiting on Titus!

We know that our own Pastor simply cannot sit still when he knows that there is another soul that could be reached for the Lord!

Notice when God’s called men are faithful to follow His lead, God will always open up another door for them.

What had God said?

Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 

How did Paul feel about his calling?

1Co 9:16  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 
1Co 9:17  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 
1Co 9:18  What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 

No matter what Paul was doing or where he was preaching or what church he was staring, he still had a great concern for troubled churches and we know for certain that every church has it’s own problems.

Paul said “he had no rest for his spirit”.

Here again we can see our own Pastor and see that no matter what he is doing or how busy he is, he has a great concern for his church!

Paul also had great “faith” in the Word of God as does our own Pastor!

*****2Co 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 

You see no matter what the world brings to hinder the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” if we follow in the will of God, and go through the doors that He opens there will always be victory!

The thing we need to remember is, just as Paul said the triumph was Christ’s, Paul may not have felt a great victory for himself in Corinth but he knew Christ was victorious in Macedonia!

When Jesus Christ has triumphed over us, we will certainly have victory in our lives. Paul felt this victory even in his sadness for Corinth.

We can all be apart of this same victory of Paul when we yield to the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ!

You see no matter who that Pastor or that missionary is, there can be no triumph without the Lord Jesus Christ!

Our one job is to make known the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ wherever Christ has placed us. This is our missionary field until God opens some other door!

As ambassadors for Christ, we must believe in Christ, trust in Christ, be called of Christ, serve in Christ, minister in Christ, live in Christ, move in Christ, and be in Christ!

It is never about us because it must always be about Christ!

When we do these things then we become a sweet savour to Christ.

*****2Co 2:15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 
2Co 2:16  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 

It is obvious that not everyone will respond to the “Gospel” but that is not our calling. Our calling is to make known the “Gospel” to all people.

We are not to pick and choose who we witness to!

Everyone who is a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ is very precious to Him!

The message of the “Gospel” is either life or death to that one that hears it!

The the unsaved lost,”those who perish”, the “Gospel” we will then be the minister of death.

This is why the Christian is so hated!

The fact that they do not believe the Word of God is there own death sentence and all those who are dead to Christ now will remain dead to Christ throughout eternity!

This is another reason Christians are hated so, it is this message, but it is the Word of God.

AND, this is also the reason the world is trying to silence our true Pastors!

Joh 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 
Joh 3:20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 

All those who accept the truth of God and believe, will pass from life to life. These can live now and then live eternity with God!

Joh 3:21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. 

The Pastor who holds to the complete Word of God without compromise, is being sincere to his calling.

*****2Co 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 

Without a doubt even in Paul’s day, he knew that there were many more who corrupted the Word of God than who preach the truth.

The true Pastor and the true Christian will always speak in communion and fellowship with the Lord!

The true Pastor and the true Christian will always have motives that are pure!

Our ministry is to serve God and help people.

Tit 2:7  In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 
Tit 2:8  Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 

The true Pastor always speaks in the power of God and the presence of Christ Jesus and is therefore able to share that fellowship with others!

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. 

Was Paul perfect absolutely not.

Is our Pastor perfect, he cannot be.

Are there any perfect pastors, preachers, missionaries? No

Our job is not to be perfect, our only job is to be true to the Word of God as best we can!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

God Provides Comfort When We Suffer

Comfort In Suffering

Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 1

In this epistle we get to see some of the personal side of the Apostle Paul. Paul may have been the greatest Christian that ever lived but Paul was just a human and a servant of the Lord.

Paul underwent the strain and the stress of his ministry just as every minister of the “faith”.

Troubles within any of the churches troubled the Apostle Paul and the troubles in this church at Corinth nearly crushed him.

The message of this wonderful book of the Bible is to endure the trials and tribulations of being a Christian and proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ even more than before!

So lets begin:

*****2Co 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
2Co 1:2  Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

It’s important for us to realize that God has a will and a purpose for each of us. Therefore God has an intelligent and free personality.

God’s will is the “Force” behind all forces.
God’s will is the “Law” behind all laws.
God has a will in relation to each of us and it is on an individual level!

In other words God has a purpose in relation to our existence!
God has a purpose in relation to our mission in life!
God has a purpose in relation to our conduct in this life!

It is God’s will that we live without immorality in our lives!

We must consider that immorality is anything that goes against the commandments of our Holy God.

Injustice, dishonesty, fraud, slander, intemperance(which is due restraint), lewdness(which is indulgence in lust; fornication or adultery and other such things), idolatry and all crimes are immoralities!

We also see that God is the source of the believer’s call!

Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 
Joh 15:17  These things I command you, that ye love one another. 

Paul was called to be an Apostle (messenger) sent from God.

Paul was called to be an ambassador, a witness, a teacher, a preacher, a missionary, a minister of the Word of God.

We as believers do not serve because we choose to serve the Lord.

We serve God when we answer His call, then God will provide us with the necessary tools for His purpose to be fulfilled!

God is the source of all things and God is the source of our brotherhood and sisterhood in the Church because He is our Abba Father!

We should also clearly understand that the call of God does not make us superior to any other person, lost or saved, it just makes us “one who has answered the call “of God!

We serve not because we are better persons, we serve simply because God has a work for us to do. If He did not have this work then He would take us all home the moment that He saved us!

God gives us opportunities, to reach out to our loved ones, our friends, and anyone who crosses our paths!

This is because of His “Amazing Grace”!

So then God is the source of the Church!

It is brothers and sisters, all called of God, all on equal standing, all with individual gifts of God’s choosing, all called the “Saints” of God, who make up the Church!

Because it is only God who is the source of “Grace” and “Peace”!

1Co 1:4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 
1Co 1:5  That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 

It is this wonderful God of Grace, that we owe our blessings!

*****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. 

You see God does not just call us and provide the things we need to serve but God knows being a Christian is not always an easy thing to do.

God then is also the “Father” of Mercy, and Compassion, and the God of Comfort!

These are the Scriptures from which we get the title of our lesson today.

We should understand the gifts and the tools God gives us for His service are not a one time thing and if we use those things wisely God will continue to provide.

Our blessings come from the Ones we bless!

After all, a stream flows from the fountain!
A beam of light, emits from the Sun.
Our blessings, come from the One who is our Blessor!

Mat 13:12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 

God is the “Father of Mercies” because His nature toward us is as a “Father” and not as a God!

And mercies is plural because God’s mercies will be continuous throughout all our lives.

God is truly the God of “Comfort”.

In our Scripture the Greek word used for “comfort” is “parakleseos”.

In Bible Study we know that the Holy Spirit(Holy Ghost) is the “paraklete” which is the same word as “parakleseos”.

What does the Lord Jesus say to us?

Joh 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 
Joh 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; “whom the world cannot receive”, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 
Joh 14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 

Here we have the Lord Jesus speaking of the Father, and the Comforter which is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is always involved in our comfort.

Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 

This is why He is the God of Comfort!

From the “Comforter” comes the strength, the relief, the support, the solace, the consolation, and the encouragement, among all the power of a Holy God.

How do we know these things are true?

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. 

Rom 5:8  But God “commendeth his love toward us”, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
Rom 5:9  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

God gave His Son to die for His enemies, no greater sign of mercy is known to man!

It is God’s nature to be as a “Father” more than a God!

The word “tribulation” means to be weighed down and eventually pressed and crushed.

This is a picture of a burden being much to heavy for us to carry.

God knows all these things and as Creator, The Holy Spirit can create “Comfort” out of nothing!

God does not ever ask us to bear His burden alone!

God does not keep us from “tribulation” but He comforts us in that tribulation!

God is never off in the distance, or some place far from us, but is actually walking along side of us as we go through this life, if we will walk with Him!

Here again we have Jesus Christ as our example!

*****2Co 1:5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 

Many people read this Scripture and do not take it very serious!

The truth is there is no one that suffered more than Jesus Christ. Some may suffered some things the same but no one has suffered all the things that Jesus suffered in His short life time.

What we know about Jesus?

**Jesus was born to an unwed mother who never one time thought about aborting Him, even though she was uncertain about her future husband.

**Jesus was born in a smelly stable, in unsanitary conditions.

**Jesus was born to parents who where very poor.

**Just as soon as Jesus was born, an evil government searched for Him to destroy Him.

**Because baby Jesus escaped by His parents, babies in a whole region were slaughtered, He had mental anguish all His life beginning with this thing.

**Jesus could not be settled in a safe home until there was a change in the leaders of government.

**Jesus was finally raised in a place that the entire world despised.

**Jesus lost His earthly adopting father at an early age and was raised by a single mother.

**Jesus had to support his entire family until they grew able to support themselves.

**Jesus began His ministry having no home, not even a place to lay His head.

**Jesus was hated and opposed by all religionist.

**Jesus was considered insane.

**Jesus was considered to be demon possessed.

**Jesus was opposed by His own family.

**Jesus was rejected, hated, and opposed by most all who heard His message.

**Jesus was betrayed by a friend.

**Jesus was forsaken by all His friends.

**Jesus was tried and convicted of treason even though He was innocent of all charges.

**Jesus was executed by crucifixion, the worst possible death.

**How about the mental anguish of know all these things would happen to Him all His days.

These are just some of the things we know about!

Jesus Christ knows exactly how we feel at any given moment because He personally experienced every situation!

The cross we bear in this life cannot compare to the cross that Jesus bore yet we are still to bear our own cross.

The sufferings we suffer are not the same as Christ’s, yet we will certainly suffer.

God takes great pains in teaching us His salvation plan.

We truly do not have a careless Father!

The truth is, in the Book of Ephesians God tells us to put on our armor. Having once been a soldier I know that when I put on my armor I am preparing for war!

Before we buckle on our Christian armor, we need to understand some of the things we will face.

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, “that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”. 

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.

The Lord Jesus Christ designed the armor we are to wear and without it we will fall to the enemy!

*****2Co 1:6  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

We must remember we carry the most important message that this world needs to hear and the enemies of God will do all they can to stop us from doing this!

This is not for our own good but for theirs!

AND, God has a specific purpose for allowing our suffering.

In this Scripture we see that suffering and being comforted serve the same purpose. They are both for consolation and salvation!

God uses these things because they work, they are effective in the work that God has called us to do!

Salvation is freely given and only requires our faith. Even that faith is provided by the Lord!

Just as Jesus Christ suffered and died to be raised to new life, then we must realize we will go through some of these same things.

Being “Born Again” also means we will suffer in many of the same ways Jesus suffered.

Paul also wrote:

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. 

Certainly it will bring some fear to see how our Lord suffer and knowing we will also, but the benefits of our salvation far out weigh our suffering.

Remember it is because God is working in us for His own pleasure!

Paul explains that he also has suffered.

*****2Co 1:7  And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. 
2Co 1:8  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

As Christians we will not go through the 7 year Tribulation Period but that does not mean we will not suffer some tribulation in our own life time.

We should clearly understand God uses our suffering to see if we have made a real confession of faith!
Our suffering unites us in fellowship with all other Saints of God who are also suffering.
Our suffering will mold us more and more into the character of Christ Jesus.
Our suffering will stir up other believers.
Our suffering will encourage other believers who are also suffering.

The Apostle Paul explained this to the Philippians:

Php 1:29  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 
Php 1:30  Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

God uses our suffering to stir up “consolation”!

We as Christians certainly cannot bless God for our salvation and then curse God when things are going against us.

As true believers, we must “trust” the Lord no matter our circumstances!

Jesus said part of the work of the Holy Spirit(Holy Ghost) was for our “consolation”.

It is the Holy Spirit that brings “spiritual refreshment” when it is needed!

Rom 15:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. 

God will never forsake us, He will be with us in good times and bad times!

He will be with us in our suffering and in good health.
He will be with us when we are rejected and when we are accepted.
He will be with us through our tribulations as well as when we are honored.

Rom 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 
Rom 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 

When others see us endure our suffering it can be a great encouragement to them!

When all these things are considered, God insist that we suffer with the right attitude.

As the “Body of Christ” we are all to be busy in sharing God’s comfort with each other

Php 2:1  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 
Php 2:2  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 

What is a lifetime of suffering compared to an eternity of joy!

And we should understand, when our pastor just cannot seem to be everywhere we think he needs to be, we should understand that it is not really his fault, as like Paul, he is sometimes “pressed out of measure”.

The Apostle Paul suffered even times thinking he would die before his work was finished.

*****2Co 1:9  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 
2Co 1:10  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 

We know that God is not the cause of our suffering but sometimes God does allow great suffering but never more than we can handle or He will provide a means of escape.

There truly are some great missionaries today and we have been blessed by those that come from our own church but the Apostle Paul was also a great missionary.

BUT, It is wrong for us to measure greatness as only God would know such things!

When we look at the life of the Apostle Paul we see a man who suffered greatly just because he preached the Word of God!

We may ask why does God allow these things to happen but one thing is sure. When we understand the need of salvation we also understand that we cannot save ourselves.

Suffering is the proof of that. None of us would suffer if we could somehow avoid it but we cannot!

Suffering teaches us all that we are helpless to save ourselves!

Just as Paul said, we all have the sentence of death within ourselves because “the wages of sin is death” and there is only death when we trust only in ourselves for our salvation!

We must have the presence and the help of God if we want to conquer our sufferings. God has already given us the victory!

The Lord Jesus proved that He and only He, had the power to raise the dead. If we think back to the time of Abraham and Isaac, this is the only reason that Abraham even considered killing his own son because God had made such a promise that He would have had to raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill that promise. Isaac was Abraham’s only son.

Gen 15:3  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 
Gen 15:4  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 
Gen 15:5  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 
Gen 15:6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 

You see if we do not have the “faith” of Abraham then we will worry to much about our own suffering and be useless to God, but knowing that even if we perish in our suffering our God has the power to raise us back to new life our suffering can be overcome!

You our suffering allows us to trust daily in God’s deliverance!

Read again verse 10:

2Co 1:10  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 

There is another great thing that our suffering accomplishes.

It shows our need to pray for each other!

*****2Co 1:11  Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. 

There is no doubt that our “closet prayers” in “faith” are the most powerful tools we have as Christians but the second most powerful tool maybe “corporate prayer”.

Corporate prayer is when the “Body Of Christ” is united in prayer!

The Apostle Paul stated “by the means of many persons” thanks may be given on our behalf.

God is well pleased when He sees His church praying but He is also well pleased when He sees those that have received His help acknowledge that fact.

The greatest result of all these things is the fact that the message of God continues to be preached in our world!

*****2Co 1:12  For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 

We should remember that the Apostle had been criticized and accused of many things and he will address most of those things in this and the following Scriptures.

Many had said that Paul was not an Apostle at all.
Many had said that Paul damaged the image of the church to much to be a part of the church.
Many had said that Paul only preached for money.

There are a long list of accusations of the Apostle Paul.

BUT, Paul said because of all these things, he could rejoice!

The Apostle Paul had kept the “Gospel” simple!

He had preached the “Gospel” in sincerity and not as some Bible scholar, even though Paul possessed much knowledge for he was also a Bible scholar!
He had preached the “Gospel” consistently no matter where he had been.
Paul had preached the whole council of God and not some butchered up version of the “Gospel”!

There can be no doubt that Jesus Christ had chosen Paul to be an example for all those that would follow him in the ministry!

Jesus explained these things to another servant Ananias.

Act 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 
Act 9:16  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 

What is the truth of all those that are called into the ministry of the Lord?

They are called by the “Grace” of God.
They should realize to be in the ministry, is their duty.
They can live the happiest of life above all others in this world.
They must never be afraid to do their duty in serving the Lord.
They are to realize that God is well aware of their shortcomings and imperfections!
They should know that they will be hated, and accused by most of this world.

Who are those who are called?

1Pe 2:3  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 
1Pe 2:4  To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 
1Pe 2:5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

These things are all our duty!

Ecc 12:13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 
Ecc 12:14  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. 

And Paul continues:

*****2Co 1:13  For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; 
2Co 1:14  As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

The Apostle Paul had a pure conscience.
The Apostle Paul was not nagged by the guilt of sin.
Paul lived a simple life, he was not a hypocrite.
Paul wrote the truth of God and not some fable nor some made up doctrine.
Paul was just as much an Apostle as the other 11.
Paul knew it was by the “Grace” of God that we are saved and then shown how we must live righteously!

God’s Word teaches us how to live!

God sent His Son, Christ Jesus, to show us a living example of how we are to live!

Paul lived by these things and Paul knew all our joy would be fully realized at the return of Jesus Christ!

*****2Co 1:15  And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; 
2Co 1:16  And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. 
2Co 1:17  When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? 

Paul did not say one thing and mean another. Paul had written a harsh letter to answer some questions in what we call 1 Corinthians.

Paul had intended to go to Corinth to appear in person rather than write 2 Corinthians but as we all know God by the Holy Spirit is to be our Guide and Paul spent more than 2 years in Ephesus.

We should clearly understand, we must guard against making promises that we cannot keep. When we do not do what we say we will do, we will be looked upon as being indecisive, wavering, and untrustworthy which will certainly harm our testimony.

James wrote: “Jas 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. 

This is the way the world will look upon us when we do not do as we say or as the Word of God says.

This may be the one of the main faults of Christianity today, we do not walk the talk!

*****2Co 1:18  But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 
2Co 1:19  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 
2Co 1:20  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 

None of us can do everything we say! We say things in the flesh, meaning well but we do not know what tomorrow will bring.

The one thing Paul was most consistent in, was his preaching and in God’s message.

This is an absolute must for us all!

The truth is the Lord Jesus Christ was always consistent throughout His life time on this earth.

Joh 19:6  When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

The Word of God is consistent through it’s entirety!

Rom 3:4  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 

The Lord Jesus Christ was and is the absolute truth!

All the promises of God are sure!

All the promises of God are “Amen” because “Amen” glorifies God! Amen means “yes indeed”!

Paul was just as much in Christ as all the other Apostles!

*****2Co 1:21  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 
2Co 1:22  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 
2Co 1:23  Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 
2Co 1:24  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. 

What are the facts?

1) We are “saved” by God’s Grace!

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. 

2) We are also “established” by God’s Grace!

Php_1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

The truth is we are saved by “faith” and we must live everyday in “faith” because we must depend on God for protection and strength,

God accomplishes this when we fills and seals us with His Holy Spirit!

In most every case an anointing means consecrated with oil, set apart for God’s use.

The Book of Revelation speaks of those that wear the number 666 but once saved, we will wear the seal of the Holy Spirit and that seal can never change!

The oil used in the Temple was set apart for God’s use!

Pure olive oil was used in the lamps of the Temple and it was obtained by “beating” the oil out of the olives.

BUT, The Holy Spirit can be grieved:

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 

AND, The Holy Spirit can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities:

Heb 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

AND, The Holy Spirit can be vexed by our rebellion:

Isa 63:10  But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. 

BUT, the Holy Spirit will always remain the Oil of our own light!

Exo 27:20  And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.

The Holy Spirit is our anointing and He will guide us in this life and He will always lead us to Jesus!

Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, “and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”. 

That word “earnest” means this is our guarantee, our down payment, our security deposit, our first installment, on the promises of God!

The Holy Spirit, (Holy Ghost), they are the same, is our personal guarantee from God of eternal life!

Paul had been under a personal attack by this church and he was the center of the controversy that had been going on in this church.

It had broken Paul’s heart to inflict such censure to this church so he knew he stood no chance of ministering to this church in person and instead wrote this great epistle.

You see a good preacher is a helper of people and not a lord over them. He is also not a substitute for their pain!

You see it must be the Church, “the Body of Christ” that must be the enforcer of God’s discipline but only according to the Word of God.

This church was not to take a stand because of Paul, they were to take a stand by their “faith” in the Word of God!

Paul was saying unless this Church stood firm in the “faith” then he could not be a minister to this church.

No pastor or preacher can do their job in a church that ignores the Word of God!

We as Christians are to seek the “joy of 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? 

Our Pastor is our “helper of joy” not our helper in salvation!

Jesus Christ is the only Savior and He does not allow helpers!

Pastors are helpers in the application of salvation and helpers of our joy in Jesus Christ, by unfolding the Word of God to us all!

Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 
Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 
Rom 9:24  Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Questions?

Lets Pray!