The Source Of Our Comfort

– Second Corinthians One –


   Second Corinthians chapter one gives us a look at how God had helped Paul through some very difficult struggles. This chapter provides a contrast between our troubles and God's goodness. Prayerful thanksgiving is needed in our heart as we appreciate the working of God in the various situations in our life. Our only reason for boasting is what God has done for us. Timothy joined in sending this letter to Corinth and Achaia.


   Paul told the brethren that their prayers were instrumental in delivering him in Asia. This is likely a reference to the events in connection with the goddess Diana found in Acts 19:23-41. Paul wanted the brethren to understand the integrity with which he and his fellow laborers had approached the work of God. Paul had changed his plans about a visit and evidently some there were questioning his sincerity. He explained carefully why these changes of plans were necessary. He said his change of plans was an effort to spare them. He did not desire any dominion over them. His desire was to share joy and not sorrow with them.  


   God comforts His people – 2 Corinthians 1:1-6: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and his co-worker  Timothy  joined  together in  sending  this epistle. They wrote to God's church in Corinth and to all of God's people in Achaia. This letter was actually the result of Paul's first letter. It provided much comfort and some correction to the church. We must never forget the meaning of the expression "the church." According to the Bible there is one church and the pattern for this church is laid out in the New Testament. Paul prayed that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ would bless these brethren with peace. 


   God was described as "the God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3) God the Father is a merciful God, who always gives His people comfort. The nature of God is seen along with His character. The Father and the Son cannot be the same person. God is declared to be the Father of Christ. So the "Jesus Only" idea many is simply not true. There is Father, Son and Holy Ghost.


   Many Christians have faced sever persecution. However, God comforts His people when they are in trouble. He does that so that they might share that same comfort with others when they are in trouble. These brethren shared both in the horrible sufferings of Christ and in the amazing comfort given by God.  Paul found hope and strength in suffering. The assurance that Paul could find consolation in spite of his suffering would result in consolation for the Corinthian brethren. They could know that they would be comforted and saved even in troubled times.


God will deliver us – 2 Corinthians 1:7-11: Paul was not disappointed in the spiritual strength of the Corinthian brethren. They had remained steadfast in much suffering and he wanted them to have the assurance that the comfort of God would be theirs. After receiving the first letter from Paul these brethren had worked to correct the problems that were in the church there. Now they are encouraged to continue faithful even in spite of great tribulations that would come upon them. Paul reminded them of how God had delivered him and others out of sufferings that were so unbearable that death seemed certain. God delivered him and He would deliver these brethren also.


   Paul had feared death. Things did not turn out that way. God saved Him from the threat of death. This gave Paul a renewed faith in the power of God. He knew that God would do that again and again. We should take heart in the truth that God will deliver us from those things that threaten us. Paul saw the value of prayer when facing trials. He asked the brethren to pray for him to stay strong in the face of trials. This would encourage many others to thank God for blessing of answered prayers.


    Paul's Change of Plans – 2 Corinthians 1:12-18: Paul could rejoice because he had a clear conscience. He lived a simple, honest life with godly sincerity. His desire in all things was to be controlled by the will of God. Paul wanted to live godly before people of the world and especially before the Corinthian brethren where he had worked so hard. He wrote to the brethren concerning these things in a very simple and understandable way. He hoped they would read and understand completely what he had written. The reaction of the brethren to Paul's first letter showed that they had largely understood and accepted his message as truth.


   The confidence that Paul felt in these brethren had to do with the fact that he knew they would and had accepted the truth that he had previously written to them. He felt he could be even more helpful to them in imparting spiritual gifts if he was able to make two visits instead of only one. The two visits Paul had hoped to make included a brief stop at Corinth on his way to Macedonia and then a longer visit on his return. He would then go to Judea and he hoped that these brethren might help him on his way. Paul did not want these brethren to think that he was fickled because he did not follow through on these plans. He was neither flighty nor was he trying to please men. Paul wanted the brethren to understand that God can be trusted to keep His promises and so can he.


   A desire to spare them – 2 Corinthians 1:19-24: The promises of Jesus and His commandments left no doubt. Therefore, those that preach Him cannot mani­fest a fickle spirit in their preaching either. Jesus, the Son, is to be accepted as reliable because He is working in harmony with God, the Father. God's promises are backed by the authority of heaven. Each command and promise from heaven is related to God's glory. Paul told the Corinthians, "God makes it possible for you and us to stand firmly together with Christ." Paul gave God credit for what was done at Corinth. It was also God that had anointed them with the miraculous spiritual gifts. Paul said that, "God put His Spirit in our hearts to show that we belong only to Him." God gave the Holy Spirit as an earnest or guarantee of the promised inheritance of the faithful.


   Paul called God as a witness to affirm that he had stayed away from Corinth to keep from being to hard on them. He had changed his plans about an earlier visit to Corinth. This would allow them more time for study of the first epistle and more opportunity to make the necessary corrections to be right with God. If these things were not corrected the congregation would face severe chastisement. Paul was not a tyrant over the faith of these brethren but he would insist on these brethren changing their conduct to conform to the will of God.


   Will you appreciate Jesus enough that you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After baptism be spiritual in your daily living!


Satan Takes Advantage Of Some

– 2 Corinthians Two –


   Paul had a strong desire to visit Corinth. However, he did not want it to be a sorrowful visit. He knew that if he visited Corinth and the problems were not corrected that it would be a sorrowful time for him and for the brethren there also. If Paul had visited Corinth and found them in a state of confusion and unfaithfulness he would have felt himself called on to exercise the severity of discipline. He wanted to avoid that if at all possible.


   Paul wanted to help the church to understand how they should treat the brother that had been immoral. Church discipline had worked and it had its desired effect. The church had carried out proper discipline against this sinning brother and he had repented of his wickedness. Now they must be careful to forgive him and to be an encouragement to him. Paul wanted the brother forgiven so that he would not become discouraged and then Satan could easily take advantage of the situation again. Satan is always busy looking for those that he can gain some advantage over.


   Paul expressed a deep concern for Titus. He left Troas where there was a great "open door" to go on to Macedonia to search for him. In 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 we learn that Paul did find Titus and that he was safe. “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia,  our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.” Paul was so thankful for how, (1) God had blessed his work, (2) delivered Titus to him safely, and (3) proven that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. He said, "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." He viewed himself and his work as "a sweet savour of Christ."


   Trying to avoid sorrow – 2 Corinthians 2:1-4: Paul so much wanted to visit Corinth again. However he did not want it to be a painful visit. Just the writing of First Corinthians had caused Paul pain in writing and it caused these brethren pain in being brought face to face with sin and error. Paul would be so sad to have to come to Corinth if the brethren did not correct the wrongs that were going on there. He would feel sad but the brethren would also be saddened by the severity of corrective apostolic discipline.


   Paul wanted the brethren to have ample time to profit from the first letter. There is sorrow in wrong doing. Both the evil doer and the one doing the rebuking feel a deep sadness. The only way for the one that is rebuking the wrong to find joy is for the sinful person to repent. That is why Paul delayed in going to Corinth. He wanted them to have time to meditate on his letter and to correct their sinful situations. He did not desire to make them feel sad when they brought him so much joy. Like a loving parent Paul wrote to show his concern and love with reference to their spiritual welfare.


   Lest Satan get an advantage – 2 Corinthians 2:5-11: Paul realized that he was not the only one that had been made to feel bad by the fornicator in the church. Here Paul does not mention specifically the man or the sin because the brother had repented. Even part of the brethren at Corinth had brought Paul grief by endorsing the fornicator. Paul did not want to make this too big of an issue because the man had repented and the church had largely accepted the first epistle and corrected their actions.


  Paul now exhorted the brethren to receive this brother back into the fellowship of the church. They had pointed out the wrong he did; he repented and therefore that was punishment enough for what he had done. The entire church was involved in the discipline process and the entire church must be involved in the forgiveness. When Christians sin and then repent the church should forgive and comfort them, so they will not give up in despair. The brother must have no doubt of the love of the church for him and that he has been forgiven.


   Paul desired the Corinthians to follow the instructions he had written. He, as an apostle, had the authority of Christ. Both by that authority and by his own hearts desire he had forgiven the penitent brother. If the brother was not received back by the church it might push him back into the world and that would give Satan an advantage over the church. Satan has all kinds of plans, purposes and schemes to get people back into the world. Beware!


   Paul's search for Titus – 2 Corinthians 2:12-13: When Paul reached Troas he found a great open door for evangelism. Troas was an important port city along the Aegean Sea. It was situated in northwestern Asia Minor. Paul traveled through Troas several times. It was during a night vision there that a man pleaded with him to come to Macedonia to help them. Paul was disappointed that he did not find Titus at Troas. He had expected to meet him there and receive a report of how the brethren at Corinth had reacted to the first epistle.


   The disappointment that Paul felt caused him to cut his visit short and go to Macedonia. In they faced all kinds of obstacles. He said "we Macedonia there was no chance to rest. There were troubled by enemies and troubled by fears." God encouraged and cheered Paul by sending Titus to him. Paul was cheered by seeing Titus. He was cheered even more when Titus reported to him how sorry Corinth was over the mess they had made in the church. He was also blessed when he found out how concerned they were for him personally. Even the most faithful need encouragement.


  Christians triumph in Christ – 2 Corinthians 2:14-17: Paul was very discouraged at not finding Titus. However he did not allow this to turn him away. He was always grateful that God makes it possible for Christ to lead to victory. God helped Paul spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere. This knowledge was like the pleasingly fragrant smell of perfume. Those that are being saved inhale the aroma of the gospel and they are saved. Sadly, some inhale the gospel and to them it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death.


   Paul was sufficient for the work of preaching the gospel because he was an inspired apostle of Jesus Christ. Many, in order to get rich, corrupt the word of God by preaching some other message. Paul was fit to do this work because he and those with him were God's sincere messengers. He is not one that corrupts the word of God. Paul delivered God's pure message to the people. He did not preach it mixed with human tradition. He spoke by the power of Christ and he spoke the message with God as witness.


  Are you a faithful member of the church of Christ? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) The new life in Christ is a glorious hopeful and useful helpful life. The Christian life is a life where Christ is reflected in every thought and action. (Galatians 2:20).


Epistles Known And Read Of All Men

– Second Corinthians Three –


   The theme of Paul's sincerity continues to be contrasted with the conduct of some that corrupted the word of God. God had blessed Paul's labors because of his faithful service to the Master. Paul was not just bragging on himself to gain the favor of men. Possibly the false teachers had been introduced with letters from elsewhere. Paul had no need of letters of recommendation to them because they were his epistles know and read of all men.


   The Corinthians themselves were the best evidence of Paul zeal and faithfulness to the word of truth. Paul's successful work had nothing to do with his own strength or skill. His work was blessed because of what God had done through him. (2 Corinthians 3:6) Paul used this occasion to show how the New Testament Gospel excelled the laws and institutions of Moses. The Law of Moses was a ministration of death that was done away. The gospel is a glorious ministration of righteousness that remains.


   Sadly the Jews did not profit as they should have from the Law of Moses. They were blinded by it. Just as Moses put a veil over his face the  Jews  had a veil  over their  heart  when the Law was read. They did not understand what God was saying to them through Scripture. Through the New Testament Christians have been permitted to behold the glory of the Lord and to be changed into that same image.   


   Epistles written in our hearts – 2 Corinthians 3:1-5: At the close of 2 Corinthians two Paul said some good things about himself. "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 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? 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. (2 Corinthians 2:15-17) These things were not said with a boastful spirit. His work was so well known in Corinth that he did not need any commendation from some outside source. Some people needed letters like that because they were unknown to the church.


   Paul said the Corinthians were his letter. They were in his heart for everyone to read and understand. The life of these brethren was an open letter for others to observe. It was not a letter written with pen and ink or on tablets made of stone. They were Paul's letter written in his heart by the Spirit of the living God. "In contrast with the law of Moses that was written on tables of stone, this epistle was written on the human heart or mind of Paul and of the Corinthians."


   Christ gave Paul the assurance that these things that he had spoken were correct. Paul gave God the honor and glory for any good that he had done. He said that he did not have the right to claim that he had done anything on his own. He said, "Our sufficiency is of God" or "God gives us what it takes to do all that we do."


   Ministers of the New Testament – 2 Corinthians 3:6-11: Paul was made an able minister of the New Testament. The term "Testament" refers to a covenant or an agreement. "New" has reference to being made superior to what it succeeds. In this text the New Testament is contrasted with the Mosaic covenant. The contrast was made with the words "letter" and "spirit." Both the Old Testament and the New Testament were expressed in languages that used letter. Of the Old it was said, "The Letter killeth."  This was the case because it was a "law of sin and death." The Law identified sin but provided no eternal forgiveness. The Law of Moses brought only the promise of death. It was given in a glorious way in that it was carved on stone. The shinning of Moses' face was a fading glory just as the glory of the Law was to be done away or to fade away.


   The Old Covenant played as important role in God's arrangement of things. However, we must recognize the superiority of the New Covenant as contrasted with the Old. The covenant written on stone was to be done away. It was a useful covenant but the New Covenant is even more wonderful. The New Covenant makes us acceptable to God. It is in the New Covenant that "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." (Romans 1:17) When compared to the New Covenant the Old Covenant has no glory at all. The glory of the First is nothing when compared with the glory of the Second. We do well to remember that the Laws that faded away were those Laws that were written on stone!


   The veil is done away in Christ – 2 Corinthians 3:12-15: The hope of the perpetual nature of the New Testament gave Paul the courage to speak freely or with boldness. Just as the veil covered Moses' face to hide the glory so the fact that the Old Covenant was to be done away was hidden to the minds of many Jews. Sometimes the people were so stubborn that they did not see the truth even when the Law was read. 


   The Jews were guilty of unbelief concerning the temporary nature of the Old Law under Moses and the permanent nature of the New Covenant under Christ. Only Christ could take away the covering that kept them from seeing this truth. We must understand that the glory of the Old Law was to be ended under Christ. Paul said, "When the Law of Moses is read, they have their minds covered over." (2 Corinthians 3:15) Observe that Paul used the idea of their mind being veiled and then in the next verse the veil is said to be upon their heart.


   Changed into the same image – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18: The veil that Paul spoke of was taken away from the hearts of those that turned to Christ. During the early days of Christianity many of the Jews finally gave up their rejection of Christ and accepted Him as the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. The New Covenant was given through the Spirit of God by inspired apostles. Whoever is obedient under that covenant is set free or had liberty from the Old Law.


   Our faces are not covered. We behold "as in a glass the glory of the Lord." Through surrender to the New Covenant the Lord's Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord. When we look into the New Covenant we see the Lord's glory reflected. The more we look into the perfect law of liberty with an honest and obedient heart the more our character will become like the Lord Jesus. Why not gaze into the New Testament and become like its main character?


            Will you appreciate Jesus enough that you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) The new life in Christ is a glorious and hopeful life!


Preaching Christ Jesus The Lord

 – Second Corinthians Four –


   In Second Corinthians Four Paul continued to explain about his work and service for God. He went through tough times but he did not allow himself to get discouraged because he knew that he was working for God. There was a very obvious contrast between Paul and some other people. He openly and boldly proclaimed the truth while others were blinded to the obvious paths of right. The gospel is hidden only to those that Satan has blinded.


   Paul looked upon himself as simply a servant of God. The result of such thinking was two fold. First, he preached Christ Jesus as Lord. He knew that the treasure of the gospel was in "earthen vessels." Second, he was willing to endure the temporary sufferings of this life in order to receive the eternal weight of glory! While this was difficult for his outward person he did not loses heart because, his "inward man was being renewed day by day." The focus of Paul's life was on the unseen or eternal things that were so powerfully revealed in the New Covenant.


   Blinded to the truth – 2 Corinthians 4:1-4: Paul felt that God had been kind in entrusting him with the work of preaching the gospel.  His concept was that what he was doing was a ministry. The ministry of Christ was so much more glorious than that under the Law of Moses. Therefore Paul would not allow himself to become discouraged and to faint with weariness. Paul did not do shameful things that had to be hidden. He only spoke the truth and he did that with simplicity and boldness. The gospel of Christ sustained him. It preserved him and kept him from fainting. This wonderful gospel made him open and honest and kept him from deceit.


   If there is anything hidden about the gospel it is hidden only to those that are lost. These are people that could be saved except for the fact that they were blinded to the truth of God's salvation. The god of this world has blinded the unbelievers' minds preventing them from seeing the saving light of the gospel of Christ. Satan is the god of this world. He causes people to be spiritually blind. This spiritual blindness or unbelief causes people to remain in a lost state. They will perish and will be condemned because they refuse to see the truth because it condemns their sins.


   Preaching Christ as Lord – 2 Corinthians 4:5-7: In Paul's preaching he preached Jesus Christ as Lord and he did not exalt himself. The subject of all his preaching was Christ as Lord and Paul as servant. Christ was the head of the one church and Paul was a servant in the one body! Our Creator God was able to dispel the physically darkness in the beginning. "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Genesis 1:2-3) Now God is shining in our hearts to let us know the glory of salvation that is seen in Jesus Christ.


   Paul said the precious and powerful gospel is stored in frail human vessels. These preachers of the gospel are weak and feeble. They have bodies that are decaying and dying. They are altogether unworthy to hold a treasure so invaluable. This is proof that the real power of the gospel comes from God and not from us. The divine Light of the Gospel is a precious treasure that came form Jehovah. Man is able neither to produce nor give power to the gospel. This could have only been accomplished by God.


   Overcoming many troubles – 2 Corinthians 4:8-15: Bad things come to good people. Paul mentions four bad things that had come his way and four ways that those things could be worse. He said, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) He did not allow his troubles to do even worse things to him. With the help of God Paul did not allow his troubles to destroy him. He stayed strong in the Lord. He never gave up in despair. Paul faced death every day because of Jesus. He was willing to face threats of death in order to show people how to have life in Christ. We can be sure that God will intervene with His mercy and grace and save His people from absolute despair and ruin.


   As an evangelist Paul was constantly faced with death. The Corinthians did not face death like he but the dangers he faced helped them to have spiritual life. Paul said it is written in Scriptures saying, "I believed, therefore have I spoken." (Psalm 116:10) Paul affirmed that he had the same kind of faith that David had when faced with enemies that might take his life. Paul was willing to face death for the cause of Christ because of his faith in the resurrection. He endured all the things that he did that more and more people might be thankful to God and praise and honor Him.


   An eternal weight of glory – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: Paul would never give up. He did not just become exhausted and wearied and faint. There was resistance to his message, but he would not faint. He simply did his duty, and committed the result to God. He realized that his body was progressively decaying, yet his inner self was being renewed day after day. Paul understood that man is made up of two parts, body and soul. Though the flesh was getting weaker the real person was being made stronger each day. One part of man is perishing, and the other is part is being renewed. It should be our goal to do all that we can to allow our souls to grow stronger and stronger daily. The things of this life are momentary affliction when compared to the eternal weight of glory in eternity. These little troubles are getting us ready for heaven. Heaven will make all our earthly troubles seem like nothing. 


   Our focus must be on heaven, not on the temporal things that are so brief and fleeting. We must keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen because they are everlasting. The contrast is between the present physical things that are temporary and the things that cannot be seen that are eternal. Our attention must be on the spiritual reward in the next world. It is an eternal reward that will never end. Our bodies will grow old. They will become weak and feeble under the many trials and hardships of this life. Our bodies and all that pertain to this life will perish. The things that are not seen are eternal and that must be our life's focus! Those that go to heaven have the assurance that their joys will endure.


   Jesus died so that you can go to heaven. Will you obey Him NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After baptism use your life to glorify God!


A New Creature In Christ

– Second Corinthians Five –


   Second Corinthians five opens with Paul comparing a believer's body to an earthly tent. This earthly body will die and be dissolved. It is not designed to last forever. Our more important part, the soul, will be rewarded in heaven if we will serve God faithfully. The faithful of God go immediately to a place called "Paradise" when they die. (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, Revelation 2:7) It is the will of God that we all spend a little time on earth, encased in a physical body. Sometimes this time in the body may be short. If somehow a precious, sweet, beautiful, helpless and innocent baby dies it can only go to one place and that is to heaven.


   There are only two options, (1) To live till the Lord comes again, or (2) To die. We will die because sin brought physical death into the world. (Romans 5:12) The wicked die and the righteous also die. "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come." (Isaiah 57:1) Paul anticipated death because he was looking forward to heaven, and to seeing the Lord! Paul was groaning with sufferings here, yet he earnestly desired his heavenly home. We too should long for heaven because (1) This life has many troubles (John 16:33), (2) We have already had a  brief taste of  heaven the  day that we were baptized into Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and (3) There is a groaning in the heart of the faithful for heaven. (Romans 8:23)


   Paul wanted at all times to be found clothed with righteousness, holiness, and grace. He desired to be set apart from the world and constantly cleansed by Jesus' precious blood. It was for the sake of the hope of heaven that Paul labored on through all kinds of difficulties. He knew that while he was at home in the body he was absent from the Lord. It was his desire to be present with the Lord and pleasing to Him. Paul groaned under the attack of Satan. This groaning caused him to long for heaven.


   Judgment is coming and it is necessary. All the people that have ever lived will stand before God at judgment. We will be rewarded or punished based on the things done in our bodies. Paul had the love of Christ in him. He had enough of the love of God in him to want to work for the salvation of all people everywhere. As Christians we must not live for ourselves but for others, for their welfare and benefit. Paul recognized that apart from Jesus all are sinners. It does not matter about physical background or even if they had seen Jesus in the flesh. It was whether a man had been redeemed from sin that was most important to Paul, and whether he was living for the one that had bought him back from sin and death. Christ makes you a new creation, gives you hope, regenerates you and reconciles you to God.


   A house not made with hands – 2 Corinthians 5:1-5: Death will come to all because this life is only temporary. However, there will be happiness in eternity for those that will walk with God. Heaven is (1) A building of God, (2) A house not made with hands, (3) An eternal reward, and (4) A place of true life. Our Father's house will be the eternal home of those that are faithful to God. “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2.) When our soul leaves this earthly tent it will return unto God who gave it. Those that have walked with God down here will dwell with Him in eternity. This body of flesh that we dwell in causes many burdens. God's faithful servant is willing to die and be with Him in eternity instead of living on earth in the flesh. In the world to come God's people will not be naked; they will be clothed in robes of righteousness. The present indwelling of the Spirit is an "earnest" of the everlasting reward in heaven. 


   A walk with God by faith – 2 Corinthians 5:6-10: The state of being in this earthly body means that we are "absent from the Lord." In one sense we are with God but not in the same way we long to be and hope to be with Him. Here we walk by faith; in eternity it will be sight. Our heavenly hope fills our heart with comfort even through the worst of struggles and through death. (2 Corinthians 5:8) Our desire to be present with the Lord makes us labor in a most ambitious way in the Lord's kingdom. The most important thing in this life is to so live that we are acceptable with the Lord. Judgment is coming; we should therefore be faithful to the Almighty. We learn that (1) Judgment is certain (we must appear), (2) Judgment is universal (we must "all" appear), (3) Christ is judge (It is His judgment seat), (4) Judgment will be according to that we have done in our body, and, (5) We will be rewarded according to what we have done (whether good or bad).


   The Love of Christ constrains us – 2 Corinthians 5:11-15: Judgment is pictured as the "terror of the Lord." Certainly coming judgment should cause us to persuade men to repent and to live righteous lives. Paul did not speak of his work to commend himself or to seek the approval of men. Paul was not the villain that some wanted to make him; the fruit of his labor proved that he had been faithful to the word of God. He did not work to his own glory. His goal was to help the church and to glorify God. Christ's sacrificial love, that took us from spiritual death to eternal life, compels us to labor in His kingdom. Now that Christ has died for all we must live for Him. Those that love Christ and consecrate their lives to Him will live in such as manner as to glorify the Lord. “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15.)


   A new creature in Christ – 2 Corinthians 5:16-21: Regeneration and reconciliation are both necessary if we are to be with God in heaven. Both regeneration and reconciliation are in Christ and by Christ. Regeneration is being made new in Christ. Even the bodily presence of Christ is not as important as the spiritual change of heart brought about by Him. A great change takes place as one becomes a Christian. He becomes a new creature. Old things are passed away. Through Jesus we are not only regenerated we are also reconciled to God. Sin had separated but reconciliation is in Christ. Peace with God is made possible by the blood of Jesus' cross. To go to heaven we must be reconciled to God and we must plead with others to be reconciled to God. This reconciliation is only through Jesus. He took our sins that we might have his righteousness. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21.)


   Will you appreciate Jesus and His sacrifice enough that you will prepare for eternity NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30, confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After your baptism use your life as an honor to God and to help build up the church.


Now Is The Day Of Salvation
– Second Corinthians Six –


   Paul used a beautiful idea for Christians as being "workers together." He felt that each Christian was a partner and should be helping in God's work. He pleaded with the brethren at Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain. Grace alone does not save. It must produce the correct actions on our part. "In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee" is a quote from Isaiah 49:8. Now is the time of salvation. There may not be a more convenient time than this. (Acts 24:25) Paul tried to do his work for God in such a way as not to offend or cause anyone to stumble. He did not want the work of the Lord to be discredited in any way. Our actions are a reflection upon the Lord, either good or bad.


   Our life, in everything, must prove that we are a servant of the Lord. Others should see that we are true Christians, serving God with our hearts. In all kinds of situations we must be God's faithful ministers, even through persecution and hardships. When Paul spoke of being a minister of Christ the first thing on his list was "patience." Patience is needed both in dealing with people and in dealing with afflictions. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12) Christ controlled Paul's life. He would not allow circumstances to be in control. Victory in Christ kept Paul from being distressed in life. He faced prison and all kinds of difficulties for the sake of Christ. He often faced stripes, imprisonments, tumults, beatings, sleeplessness and fastings in his ministry.


   Paul's ministry was with love that was genuine, sincere, and without hypocrisy. He realized that his righteousness and his defense came from the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 Paul used nine pairs of contrasting terms to describe his ministry. He possessed all spiritual blessings as a minister of Christ. He wanted the Corinthians to know that he had opened his heart to them. The Corinthians had caused many of their own problems because of where their hearts were. They blamed Paul but he was not at fault. He wanted them to open their hearts to him and the message he was sending.


   Paul taught these brethren to shun any relationship that would influence then in a negative way toward Christianity. Christians must not align themselves with those that are unfaithful, faithless, unbelieving and that cannot be trusted. Christians are the Temple of God both as individuals and as the church. He wants to make his abode with us. God's promise is that He will receive us if we separate ourselves from the pollution of the world.


   Workers together for God – 2 Corinthians 6:1-5: Let us make good use of the opportunities that are ours by the grace of God as we labor together in the kingdom of Christ. Our salvation and the salvation of others depends upon what we do with these opportunities. Paul quoted from Isaiah 49:8 to show the Corinthians that now is the time for salvation. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) One must never pass up the opportunity to be saved and to serve in the kingdom. Paul realized that preachers and others that call themselves Christians should never set such bad examples that they cause others to stumble. Those that wear the name of Christ must live in such a way that others are able to see that they are true ministers and servants of God. God's ministers must patiently serve through all the difficulties and perplexities of this life. Paul was forced to undergo many difficulties, yet his desire was to be a faithful minister of God. 


   Conduct that brings glory to God – 2 Corinthians 6:6-10: The statements in these verses show what Paul had done to have God's approval as a faithful minister of Christ. Paul lived a holy life. He consecrated himself to the cause of God. His life was devoted to being an honor to the Creator. He endeavored to lead a life unspotted from the world, marked by patience, kindness and gentleness. His heart and life was filled with genuine love that was not pretended. His actions were guided by the word of truth. Paul's work was a great success because of the power of God. He armed himself with the righteousness of God and stood firm in the faith. With nine contrasting expressions Paul showed that he had made wise choices in his ministry. "By honour and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." (2 Corinthians 6:8-10) The desire of Paul was that his conduct would bring glory to God.


   An open heart of love – 2 Corinthians 6:11-13: Paul and his fellow preachers had freely spoken the gospel to the Corinthians. He had used the same kind of openness and freedom as he discussed problems that needed to be corrected at Corinth. Paul's heart was enlarged to love, encourage, embrace and help all the brethren at Corinth, even those that had opposed his work. He had deep feeling of love for these brethren as he had taught many of them the gospel and had lived among them. Paul wanted it understood that if there was any lack of love or affection it was not on his part toward them. His heart was large and filled with love for them. If there was any lack of love it was because somehow the hearts of the Corinthians were restricted by their own choice. Paul desired that these brethren love him as he had loved them. There was no lack of love form Paul toward the Corinthians.


   Be not unequally yoked – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18: Obviously it is a very unwise choice for a Christian to marry a non-Christian. But the thing that Paul forbids here is for Christians to have close association with idolaters. Christians cannot take on teachings or practices that would fall into the category of unrighteousness. “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” In spiritual matters truth and error simply cannot go together. Paul asked five questions to prove that Christians cannot be unequally joined to idolaters. He asked, (1) what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteous-ness? (2) What communion hath light with darkness? (3) What concord hath Christ with Belial? (4) What part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And (5) what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? Christians are to come out of idolatry or any unscriptural religion. God promised, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." (2 Corinthians 6:17) Those that come out from the ungodly world become sons and daughters of God, His Temple!


   Will you allow Jesus to control you life whether things are easy or difficult? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (Mark 16:16) After baptism be devoted to God in your daily living!


Understanding True Repentance

– Second Corinthians Seven –


   God has made wonderful promises to His people. He said, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) God made these promises to us also. We must stay away from everything that keeps our bodies and spirits from being clean. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1) This appeal of God is simply an appeal for spiritual purity and godliness among Christians everywhere.


   In this chapter Paul returned to talk about his search for Titus, the joy he had when he was found and of his thankfulness for how the Corinthians had received and treated Titus and of their reaction to his letter. He said, "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me;  so that I rejoiced the more." (2 Corinthians 7:6-7)


   Paul's earlier letter had caused much sorrow at Corinth. However, it was a good kind of sorrow in that it brought about repentance. Out of deep concern for them Paul wrote that first letter knowing that, "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (2 Corinthians 7:10) At Corinth Titus observed how the brethren obeyed God with fear and trembling. Paul had much confidence that the obedience of these brethren would continue.  


   Perfect holiness in the fear of God – 2 Corinthians 7:1-3: Since God has given us His great promises we should stay away from everything that contaminates and defiles either our body or our spirit. Peter wrote, "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." (2 Peter 1:4) We should honor God in reverential fear. Our goal should be to be completely like Him. The possibility of God's blessings in our life should motivate us to purity of life in Christ. Our bodies are made in the image of God and we must likewise be in His image form the standpoint of godliness. Any "defilement" must be left behind because it is unChrist-like! Paul said, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2) 


   Paul asked the Corinthians to open their hearts again to him and his fellow workers. He had given these brethren severe rebukes. He did not do this in any way to mistreat them, wrong them or cheat them. He rebuked their sins because he cared about them. He said nothing to condemn these brethren. Whether he lived or died he wanted them to know that they were in his heart and that he cared about their eternal welfare. He trusted them completely and was very proud of them. In all his trouble he was still very happy.


   God comforted Paul by sending Titus – 2 Corinthians 7:5-8: When Paul and his companions came to Macedonia they were faced with all kinds of problems. They had no opportunity to rest. They were troubled by enemies and troubled by fears. There were real, visible enemies to be dealt with in Macedonia and there was also deep concern over the situation with the church in Corinth. God uses many ways to cheer and bless his faithful people. He sent Titus to bless and encourage Paul. It was good for Paul to know that Titus was safe and it was especially good for him to hear the good news from Corinth. The brethren had responded in a wonderful way to Paul's first letter. Titus delivered the message concerning how sorry the brethren at Corinth were over the mess that they had made in the church. He also let Paul know how concerned they were about him personally.   


   Paul had rebuked these brethren sharply and it had made both him and they feel bad. His letter hurt them for a while but it caused them to be genuinely sorry for their sins. Paul felt bad writing the letter like a parent regrets having to discipline a child.


   Godly sorrow works repentance – 2 Corinthians 7:9-11: Paul rejoiced because their sorrow and hurt feelings caused them to turn back to God. He had no desire to harm or damage them in any way. He only wanted to help. His hard letter had benefited the church at Corinth. These people were sorry for their sins because they had offended God. This led to true repentance. Godly sorrow produces repentance that leads to spiritual life. Worldly sorrow only brings physical and spiritual death.


   Godly sorrow caused the brethren to be concerned about their duty to God. "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (2 Corinthians 7:10) When they did their duty before God then they could speak in their own defense. They felt indig-nation when they faced the guilt of tolerating the fornicating brother in their fellowship. These brethren became pure when they practiced the discipline required by God. Once that was done they were no longer guilty.


   Paul's joy and confidence in the Corinthians – 2 Corinthians 7:12-16: Paul did not write to Corinth to hurt or take up for anyone. He wrote so that they could understand how much God cared about the church there. The entire church was hurting because of the fornication that was being practiced. The church must do its duty when situations like that arise in order to preserve the church and to save the sinning brother. Paul rejoiced because (1) Titus was safe, happy and refreshed, and (2) The brethren at Corinth did what was right before God.


   Paul had spoken encouraging words to Titus about the church at Corinth. Now what he had said had proven to be true. Therefore he had no regrets for the praise he had given them. He said, the brethren were friendly toward Titus for having brought the message and they were obedient in their duty toward God.  Paul gained strength and joy from the fact that he could depend upon the Corinthians. "I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things." (2 Corinthians 7:16) Can God depend on you?


   Will you allow Jesus to control you life completely? Will you love Him and serve Him with your whole heart? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (Mark 16:16) After baptism be devoted to God in your daily living! (1 Corinthians 15:58)


Give Yourself To The Lord

– Second Corinthians Eight –


    Paul wrote about churches in Macedonia and their example in giving. The churches of Macedonia included Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Paul was raising money to help the Christians in Jerusalem. Many of them were very poor at this time. The brethren of Macedonia gave to their ability and then they went far beyond their ability in their giving. Paul did not have to beg them to give; rather they begged him to accept their gift. These brethren saw giving as a privilege. They gave beyond what Paul had ever hoped for. “And this they did not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:5)


   Titus was to be sure that these brethren did in fact follow through on what they had promised to do earlier. It was time for the Corinthians to act on what they had promised concerning giving to help the poor. Paul spoke of giving as "a grace." By giving we prove the sincerity of our love. We should be like Jesus in our giving. He gave and we should give also. God judges our giving based on what resources we have.


   Paul wanted to be sure that there was no question about honesty in handling this money. He avoided any  gossip  about  his  role  in  the collection by sending Titus and his companion to collect it, and accompany Paul in carrying it to Jerusalem. He also sent a third brother that had great concern for the brethren and for this work to help make sure that things were done correctly. This offering was a great proof of Christian love from many standpoints. 


   First gave themselves to the Lord – 2 Corinthians 8:1-6: Paul made known to these brethren that he considered both the opportunity to give and their willingness to give to be of the grace of God. Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea were very poor church yet they practiced great liberality. They were very poor and facing difficult times, yet they were glad to give generously. The Macedonians begged Paul for the privilege of giving. He did not beg them for money. Observe their joy at being given the privilege of giving to help the needy.


   The Macedonian Christians did not have much to give, but they did have a very generous spirit. They gave far beyond what Paul was hoping for. They gave what they could afford and even more and they did this willing of themselves. Paul said they, "first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God." They first trusted God and also trusted Paul and his companions. The Corinthians had likewise promised to give. Now Paul urged Titus to collect the gifts they had promised.


There must be a willing mind – 2 Corinthians 8:7-12: The Corinthian brethren seemed to have thought of themselves as abounding in faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence, and in love. Paul now encouraged them to abound in the grace of giving also. He said, "Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also." (2 Corinthians 8:7) The ability to give and the heart to give come from God and from His grace. Grace shines in our giving more than in others aspects of Christian living. You cannot love without giving. God loved and He gave. (John 3:16) Our giving tests the sincerity of our love. Do you loved like others loved? This is proven by your giving.


   Jesus gave up heaven for outward earthly poverty in order to save us from sin. We can have a share in Jesus' heavenly wealth, because He came and took a share in our earthly poverty. A year before, the Corinthians were the first ones to make a commitment to give to help the needy at Jerusalem. Now it was time to actually follow through and do it. They must finish what they had started. When we give God looks for a readiness on our part and He wants us to give with a willing mind. The size of the gift is to be based on what you have but it must also be given with a willing mind.


   That there may be equality – 2 Corinthians 8:13-18: The spiritual abundance of Jerusalem had blessed Corinth. It was only fair that Corinth share some physical blessing with Jerusalem during their poverty. The equality that Paul spoke of was neither communism nor any form of it. It was an "equality where nobody starves and nobody hordes his abundance at another's expense." Generous giving is not when each person gives the same in dollar amounts. That kind of giving would cause the wealthy to be eased and the poorer would be burdened. Each person is to give in proportion to the blessings they have received. You share with the needy now and if you are needy later they and others will share with you. Paul taught a great lesson by referring to Exodus 16:18. Everyone gathered manna, some more and some less; but they all shared from what was gathered. None suffered lack.


   Paul recommended Titus to them to collect their gifts. It was in his heart to glorify God and to do what was right. There was also another brother that was to accompany Titus in this matter. We do not know who the brother was. Possibly it was Luke, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy or someone else. It really does not matter who the brother was. He was a brother with a good reputation among the churches. This would remove any suspicion that the funds might be misused.


   Providing for honest things – 2 Corinthians 8:19-24: The churches chose this brother to help administer their gifts. It was Paul's goal to avoid any blame in this matter. He did not want anyone to find fault with the way they handle their generous gift. Paul took the necessary steps so that no one could blame him with financial impropriety. He said that he was, "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (2 Corinthians 8:21) Paul even sent a third brother with Titus and the other brother. This brother had shown many times that he was helpful in the Lord's work. He wanted to help now even more than ever because he trusted the Corinthians so much. He knew they would do what they promised.


   Paul said that Titus was his partner that worked with him to serve the church at Corinth. He identified Titus as his fellow helper concerning Corinth. He said the other brethren are "the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ." Paul wanted the church at Corinth to give in such a way that the churches would see the proof of their love and would understand why Paul had boasted about the gift to be given by the Corinthians.


   Jesus died so that you can go to heaven. Will you obey Him NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6), repent of sins (Acts 3:19), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized to be saved. (Acts 22:16) After baptism use your life to glorify God!  


God Loves A Cheerful Giver

– Second Corinthians Nine –


   Paul did not feel that the church at Corinth really needed all the teaching he was giving them about giving. He was well aware of the promise that they had already made concerning a generous contribution to be given. Paul had boasted to the churches in Macedonia about how Corinth planned to give. He did not want his having boasted so much about these people to have been in vain! Therefore he sent Titus and the other brothers to help collect their bounty. Paul felt that they should be ashamed if they had pledged to do something and then did not do it.


   The bounty or blessing from Corinth would bless many in Jerusalem. In our church giving we can only give to the church of our Lord. If you give your money to any other church, you will be supporting LIES and your worship would be in VAIN! When you give to the cause of Christ you should give with a spirit of gladness about being able to share what you have. When you consider the amount that you will give count the number of ways that God can bless you and give accordingly.


   Sufficiency is a key word when it comes to giving. God has blessed us with sufficient for our needs and to share with others. We should give accordingly. Paul's statements concerning giving sound very much like Psalm 112:9.  "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour." God does give "seed to the sower, and bread to the eater." (Isaiah 55:10) The sower is the one that gives of whatever he has to help other people. God promised to provide (1) Bread for your food, (2) He will multiply your seed sown, and (3) He will increase the fruits of your righteousness. God often increases out wealth so that we can go out and meet the needs of people even more.  


   Think of all the good that would be done if the church at Corinth gave the generous offering they had promised: (1) Needs of the Jerusalem church would be supplied, (2) Thanksgivings would go up to God in many places, (3) The Corinthians would have supplied proof of their love, and (4) The Christians at Jerusalem would begin to pray for the church at Corinth as soon as they heard from them. Thankfulness for God's unspeakable gift of Jesus and His gospel was all the motivation that was needed to insure that the proper gift would be given by the Corinthians.


   Be prepared to keep your word – 2 Corinthians 9:1-4: Paul felt that it was really unnecessary, because of the present state of mind of these brethren, to write to them about the money they planned to give. He knew that their hearts were set on doing what was right before God. He had all confidence that they would give to help God's people in Judea that were in need. They had been ready to give for a year and Paul had boasted about them. Their zeal had stirred up many others to give. Paul said, “Achaia was ready a year ago." Achaia is another name for Greece where Corinth was located.


   Paul sent Titus and the two other brothers on ahead to see that the contribution was waiting when he and the brethren from Macedoina reached there. He did not want his boasting about them to be in vain. It should not be that way, but it is easy to forget about what we have promised to do. If they failed to have their gifts ready Paul would be embarrassed because he had boasted so much about them and they would be embarrassed even more for failing to keep their promise.


   Sow bountifully and reap also bountifully – 2 Corinthians 9:5-7: God’s desire for our giving is that it be both willing and bountiful. Christians should give because they want to, and not because they feel forced to give. Giving should show love and never show the giver to be covetous. Remember this, A few seeds sown will make only a small harvest, but a lot of seeds sown make a big harvest. Paul; said, "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."  The harvest from our giving is (1) the good that is done, (2) God is glorified, and (3) our love is proven.


   Each person must make up his own mind about how much to give. You cannot feel sorry that you must give. Neither should you give reluctantly or under compulsion. God loves people that love to give. God loves a cheerful giver. A person must meditate on what he will give and give generously and with a cheerful heart. Both the amount and the attitude are important in our giving. After a person has decided the amount that he should give, it should not be painful to him when he gives. It must be done with a cheerful heart.


   God will multiply the seed you sow – 2 Corinthians 9:8-12: Give as God has prospered you with a cheerful spirit. When you do give generously God will bless you with everything you need. You will always have enough to do good things to bless others. God will make His grace abound in your life as you bless others. God freely gives to the poor, "His righteousness endures forever." Put God first and He will provide every necessity for you. 'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) The faithful giver will receive food and also seed for sowing. God will increase your harvest so that you can give even more to those in need.


   The Christian that practices liber­ality will be blessed in every way. He will be able to keep on being generous. Paul also knew that many people would thank God when the generous gift was delivered to those famine stricken brethren. What they were doing was an act that would cause much thanksgiving to God from many.


   The experiment of this ministration – 2 Corinthians 9:13-15: The way the Corinthians had conducted themselves in the matter of giving would be an experiment that would prove effective. They believed in Christ and obeyed His will by sharing generously with God's people and with everyone else. Generous giving would be a carrying out of the profession of the gospel of Christ. This contribution would bless Christians and non Christians alike. Giving God glory was the main purpose of this experiment.


   The disciples in Judea prayed for the Corinthians and had a deep interest in them. God had used these brethren to bless Judea and they were ever so grateful. "Thank God for his gift that is too wonderful for words!" This inexpressible or unspeakable gift is the gospel of the Son of God. The gospel of Christ and what it does in the lives of people can never be fully described. 


            Will you appreciate Jesus enough that you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After your baptism will you follow Jesus faithfully so that He can lead you home to heaven? (Revelation 2:10)


Bringing Thoughts Into
Captivity To Christ

– Second Corinthians Ten –


   There were some at Corinth that did not value Paul and his apostleship. However, "the meek-ness and gentleness of Christ" saw him through their attacks. With his apostolic power Paul could have inflicted punishment upon his attackers. He did not do so because he maintained the disposition of Jesus Christ. The false teacher were saying that when "Paul is present he is humble and lowly. When he is not here look how he boasts and brags!" They accused Paul of having some fleshly goal in mind. However, that was not the case. Paul had a righteous cause, an excellent Leader, in the Lord Jesus Christ and of course, he had been blessed of his King with all kinds of courage and strength.  


   The Devil works to get just a small entrance and then he can take over. At Corinth he found a way in by convincing some that Paul was not an apostle. Paul's opinion was that those people should have at least acknowledged that he was an apostle! He had proven by his preaching and by his miracles that he was an apostle. He also had apostolic power that he had never shown these brethren. These false teachers said that Paul's letters were powerful, but that his presence among them was  weak,  and his  speech was contemptible. However, try as they might, they could not find one single thing in Paul's conduct or character to support their charges against him.


   As long as a man only compares himself to himself and to his peers and not to the Christ there can be no limit on his high opinion of himself.  What we must realize is that no man is indispensable. The world does not revolve around us or depend on us for its continuation. Paul wrote, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (Romans 12:3) Some want to brag about what they have done even if they are building on another man's foundation. Paul's view was that he would speak only of that work that God was able to do through him. Paul's prayer for the brethren at Corinth was that they would be granted by God the freedom to be able to speak the Gospel plainly to anybody and everybody that wanted to hear it! 


   Paul stated his apostolic authority – 2 Corinthians 10:1-6: False teachers at Corinth accused Paul of being a coward when he was with them and brave when he was far away from them. Paul wanted it understood that he wanted to be humble and gentle like Christ Himself. He faced the charges of the Judaizing teachers at Corinth with the strength of his apostolic authority. He met the charges of these false brethren with some very strong language. Paul admitted that he was mild in his outward appearance. However, he could be bold and if necessary he would be bold when he came to Corinth by making use of his apostolic authority. He begged the brethren not to make him treat them in a firm and forceful manner. These brethren also charged Paul of acting out of some fleshly interest.


   In answer to the charge that Paul was acting out of some fleshly desire he wanted it known that he lived in the world, but that he did not act like people of the world. His activities were spiritual instead of being after the flesh. The battle Paul was fighting was not with carnal weapons of this world. He used the word of God given to him by divine power to destroy strongholds. We must likewise use the word of God to attack sin and pull down the strong holds of Satan. Every argument and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God must be destroyed and brought into captivity to Christ. In this spiritual battle we must capture people's thoughts with the gospel and bring then into obedience to Christ.


  Paul reasoned with the Corinthians – 2 Corinthians 10:7-11: Paul's critics were saying that you could just see that they belonged to Christ. He wanted it understood that he belonged to Christ just as much as any of them. He could even boast about his apostolic authority. He wanted to use this authority for their edification and not for their chastisement. His motive in writing was to bless the people and not just frighten them in some way. The critics attempted to belittle Paul by saying, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account."


  Paul wanted these critics to understand that what he promised he would do. These people should know that when Paul was with them that he would do exactly what he said in his letters. His teaching and dealing with error would be the same whether present or absent. This was true because as an apostle he spoke as the Spirit guided him. It was not his message but he spoke for God.


  Seeking the glory of God – 2 Corinthians 10:12-14: Those that criticized Paul were inclined to think highly of themselves and praise themselves. He said, "But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding." Their standard of conduct was other people and they were content if they were as good as others. They should have measured themselves by God's word instead.


  Paul would never brag about himself or about anything that he had no right to brag about. He would only brag about God and the work that He sent him to do. All of the brethren at Corinth were a part of that work. This was especially true because Paul's mission was to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. He had a right to boast because he did share the gospel of Christ with these people.


   Seeking to be approved of God – 2 Corinthians 10:15-18: Paul did not brag about the work others had done in the kingdom. He did not try to take credit for their work. His desire was that these brethren increase in the faith in order that both he and they might influence others with the gospel. Paul's attitude was that he wanted to preach the gospel in other lands also. However, he would not take credit for work someone else had already done.


   Paul said, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." That is the way it should be, "If you want to brag, then brag about the Lord." Give the Lord credit for any and all good works that might be accomplished. We should never be happy unless what we are doing glorifies God and brings honor to His name. "You may brag about yourself, but the only approval that counts is the Lord's approval."


   Will you allow Jesus to control your thinking and thus control your life completely? Will you love Him and serve Him with your whole heart? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (Mark 16:16) Will you follow Jesus as He leads you to your heavenly home? (Revelation 2:10)


Paul, A True Apostle

– Second Corinthians Eleven –


    The self appointed apostles at Corinth wanted to be apostles like Paul but they were not. The false apostles had even managed to gain some followers there. Paul felt that it was folly for him to have to defend his apostleship. He could have used his time in a much better way. However, he felt responsible to see that the church at Corinth was sound in the faith. Brethren must not be lured away from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ.


    What was happening at Corinth was a very serious matter. The false teachers were preaching another Jesus and a totally different gospel. The false apostles felt superior to Paul, especially in the matter of preaching style. Paul was not concerned about an entertaining preaching style, but his concern was the faithful proclamation of the gospel of Christ. The false apostles were saying that Paul was not worth hearing because he preached for free. Paul had taken money from other church so that he could preach freely at Corinth.


    Satan is responsible for every false doctrine. It was not surprising to Paul that there were false apostles because "Satan himself is transformed  into  an  angel  of  light." Through the years Satan has taken on many forms in his work of deception. Paul's concern was that the Corinthians might not be able to discern the false teachers and their false teachings.


       Paul continued his self-defense -- 2 Corinthians 11:1-4: Paul's concern for the Corinthians was tremendous. Therefore, he desired that they would bear with him as he explained and defended his apostleship. He asked them to "bear with me in a little foolishness." Paul was concerned about the church at Corinth just as a man is concerned about his daughter being a virgin on her wedding day. He was concerned that Satan might deceive the Corinthians just like he used that tricky snake to deceive Eve. 


       Paul had preached the gospel of Christ that was revealed by the Holy Ghost. Now these same people were ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message. False teachers can do an amazing amount of harm. Paul showed them that the church must not tolerate false teachers nor accept their false teachings.


       False apostles and deceitful workers -- 2 Corinthians 11:5-15: There was no way in which Paul was inferior to these false apostles. In fact he was not a whit behind the chiefest apostles. His speech may not have been as good as these false apostles, but his knowledge was greater. Did he commit some sin because he humbled himself by preaching God's gospel to them free of charge? Paul said, "I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you." Paul called upon other churches to support him while he preached the gospel at Corinth.


       Paul was in need at Corinth but he did not ask these brethren to help him. Some of the Christians from Macedonia brought Paul what he needed. Paul did not want to be a burden to the Corinthians either in the past nor in the future. God knew that it was not for any lack of love that Paul was dealing with these false apostles. His work would show that none of the false apostles could do the things that he could do. They did not have the power of an apostle. These people were false apostles and dishonest workers. They only pretend to be apostles of the Christ. Such conduct is not surprising because even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light. Recognizing that Satan is so deceptive should cause us not to be shocked that his servants only pretend to do what is right. The end for Satan and for all false teachers will be destruction. 


       Boasting done with great reluctance -- 2 Corinthians 11:16-21: Paul did not want these brethren to think he was a fool. But even if they did accept him as a fool he needed to boast a little. Paul used his personal liberty to describe his life and his authority as an apostle. The false apostles were bragging about what they had done and Paul decided that he, as a fool, would do a little boasting himself. Many things in Paul's life were unpleasant but he endured them for the sake of the gospel. Paul described what the false apostles were doing and what the faithful brethren were doing. "And since you are so smart, you will gladly put up with a fool. In fact, you let people make slaves of you and cheat you and steal from you. Why, you even let them strut around and slap you in the face."


       Paul showed that it was foolish to do so, but that he could boast about anything the false prophets could boast about. Paul admitted boldly weakness but he possessed many qualifications that helped him serve as an apostle. He boasted about enduring many physical hardships for the gospel.


       Qualities of the true apostleship -- 2 Corinthians 11:22-33: None of Paul's critics could boast of any advantage over him in a physical sense. He said, "Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Jews? So am I. Are they from the family of Abraham? Well, so am I." He also said he served the Christ better than they ever did. He had worked harder and had been put in jail more often than they. He had been beaten with whips and had been in danger of death more often than any of these false prophets.


       On five different occasions the Jews had given Paul 39 lashes. Deuteronomy 25:3 said that 40 lashes was the maximum. The Jews always stopped one short just to be safe.  Paul said, "Three times the Romans beat me with a big stick, and once my enemies stoned me. I have been shipwrecked three times, and I even had to spend a night and a day in the sea. (Acts 14:19, Acts 16:22-23, Acts 27:44) As Paul traveled about preaching the gospel he was "in danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, and foreigners." Paul worked and struggled, spending many sleepless nights, sometimes in hunger and cold in order that the gospel might be preached.


       Paul's heart was burdened down daily, as he was concerned about the spiritual condition of the congregations that he had labored with. He sympathized with them and was angry when brethren were tricked into sin. He understood human weakness, but he knew what would happen to the unfaithful. The Christian life had not been easy for Paul. Early in his Christian life, the governor of Damascus had the city gates guarded, so that he could capture Paul. However, he escaped by being let down in a basket through a window in the city wall. He faced such struggles from the start of his service for Christ. But, He never gave up and he never stopped working.


    To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) The new life in Christ is a glorious, hopeful, useful and helpful life!


Love And Concern For Corinth
– Second Corinthians Twelve –


   Paul described what he did in 2 Corinthians 11 as foolish boasting. Now in 2 Corinthians 12 he wrote about a man that was caught up into the third heaven. The third heaven is called Paradise. There this man heard "unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." This took place about 14 years before. Most assume that this man was Paul himself. Likely Paul did not name himself as the man because he did not want people to think that he thought too much of himself.


   Paul received a "thorn in the flesh," a "messenger of Satan" to buffet him or to keep him humble. He prayed to the Lord three times for it to be removed but it was not the Lord's will to do so. Instead of removing the thorn God said, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Paul's strength was made perfect in this weakness. Those that recognize their own weakness can find strength in Christ.


   It should never have been necessary for Paul to do the foolish boasting because he had the "signs of an apostle." He said that his only wrong against these brethren was that he had not accepted support from them like he had from other churches.  Paul closed this chapter by saying to these brethren, "I will very gladly spend and be spent for you." (2 Corinthians 12:15) He had a deep love for these brethren and he wanted to find love, faithfulness and commitment to God at Corinth.                               


   A vision of paradise – 2 Corinthians 12:1-6: Paul felt that there was nothing to be gained by his boasting. He said that he would only tell them about the visions and revelations that he had received from God. The Lord, by means of revelation, gave Paul truths that he would have never known otherwise. Paul told about a man that was taken up into the third heaven fourteen years ago. He did not know whether the man was in the body or not. He did not know but he knew that God knew. He was marvelously and swiftly taken or transferred from one place to another. The first heaven is the region where the birds fly. (Genesis 1:20) The second heaven is that where the sun, stars and moon are located. (Genesis 22:17) The third heaven is where God's throne is located. (Hebrews 12:2.)


   Paul told us that the man was taken up into paradise. In paradise he saw things that were too wonderful to tell. The third heaven was called paradise. The word paradise literally means "pleasure gardens." Paul said, "On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses." Paul would not be so foolish as to boast too much. He did not want anyone to think more highly of him than they should.


   A thorn in the flesh – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10: Paul said that one of Satan's angels was sent to make him suffer terribly. He felt that the purpose of this was to keep him from becoming conceited. This messenger of Satan brought a thorn in the flesh to torment Paul. The throne is described as "something that excites severe and constant pain, probably some bodily infirmity." Paul begged the Lord three times to take the thorn in the flesh away. God's reply was, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." God power is best seen when we are weak.


   Paul realized that his strength came through his weakness. Therefore, he said that he was glad to be weak, insulted, mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for the sake of Christ. Paul endured this suffering with the desire that good would come to his own soul and to the kingdom of God. He found strength in his own weakness.


   Signs of an apostle – 2 Corinthians 12:11-13: Paul felt that he had been forced to make a fool of himself. He knew that he was nothing. He also knew that he was not at all inferior to these super-apostles at Corinth. Paul felt that the Christians at Corinth should have been speaking up for him instead of putting him down. These brethren seemed to have taken Paul's kindness for granted, and as a result had failed to recognize the greatness of this apostle. Paul had the evidence of an apostle and he gave all glory to God. He had worked all the powerful miracles and signs and wonders of a true apostle.


   Both as an apostle and as a preacher Paul worked at Corinth with all patience. He felt that the only wrong that he had done at Corinth was by not allowing them to support him as he preached there. The Lord's plan is that preachers should be supported by the churches with which they share the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:14) Concerning this he said, "Forgive me for doing you wrong."


   Paul's concern for Corinth – 2 Corinthians 12:14-21: Paul planned a third visit to Corinth. Even then he did not want to be a burden to them. He said, "What I really want is you, and not what you have." He used this illustration to help them understand. He said, “Children are not supposed to save up for their parents, but parents are supposed to take care of their children.” Paul told these brethren that he would gladly spend and be spent for their souls. He would not allow the indifference or lack of love from the Corinthians stand in the way of his love for them. Paul would keep on loving them with his time, talents and heart.


   Some at Corinth were saying that it was true that Paul had not been a burden to them in their having to support him. However, they were saying that he some how tricked them so that he could make a gain of them. He wrote, "But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit." If they felt Paul had cheated them to taken advantage of them he asked them to identify the person that he used to accomplish this. Paul specifically asked if Titus or the brother that was with him had cheated them. Paul, Titus and all the brethren had behaved approximately at Corinth.


   Paul did not speak the things that he did to defend himself. He did not need that. He spoke the truth for Christ and he desired to encourage these brethren. Paul did not want to come and find the brethren arguing or jealous or angry or selfish or gossiping or insulting each other. If he came and found them that way he would feel much sorrow because that would mean that they never gave up their old sins. How sad it would be for Paul if they were still doing things that were immoral, indecent, and shameful. His desire was to find the Christians loving each other and conducting themselves decently and orderly.


   Will you appreciate Christ and His church enough that you will prepare to meet God NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30, confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After your baptism follow Jesus faithfully and He will lead you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10)


Are You In The Faith?

– Second Corinthians Thirteen –


   It was Paul's plan that he would soon make a third visit to Corinth. His intention was that when he came to Corinth he would confront his critics face to face. Paul intended to prove that Christ was speaking through him. What the Corinthians thought about Paul meant nothing. Their view of the Christ meant everything. If the people properly understood the Lord they would not talk and behave as they did. These people reasoned that if Jesus was God it would reveal weakness that He was killed by humans. But they forgot that it is the resurrection that proves Jesus' power. 


   God power is not seen in our physical strength but in the spiritual life that we receive through Christ. We are raised from baptism to a new and very powerful life in Christ. Christ living in you is what makes you a godly person. It was Paul's desire to constantly lift up the Christ in his life. He wanted to do what was right in his own life and to encourage these brethren to not do wrong. Our life must be focused on "truth." What a wonderful thing if all in the church would simply conform to "the truth." Let us think, talk and live like Jesus would have us do.


   We must put ourselves to the test to make sure that Christ is in us. Paul said, "Be perfect." Our goal must be to be complete in Christ. As God's people we must focus on the things we have in common and live in peace. If we do these things "the God of love and peace shall be with us." There must be love, respect and a brotherhood among fellow Christians. Paul closed the book with three great foundation principles: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, The love of God, and The communion of the Holy Ghost.


   Living by the power of God – 2 Corinthians 13:1-4: Paul warned these brethren that he was coming to Corinth for a third time. He was concerned that he might come and find the spiritual condition unfavorable at Corinth. If Paul came to Corinth and things were not as they should be he would still treat them fairly. He cited Deuteronomy 19:15 as the fair and right way to deal with such matters. "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established." During his second visit when he was with them Paul warned them that anyone that did not stop sinning would be punished. Even though he was now a far distance from them he gave them that same warning concerning what would happen on this third visit.


            Paul said that if he came and had to do so with discipline that it should prove that it was Christ speaking in him. Christ is not weak in dealing with His children, but is powerful among us. Christ was never weak when it came to dealing with wrong. It is true that Christ was crucified in weakness. This has reference to the physical body that Jesus took upon Himself. However He now lives by the power of God. Paul said, "We are weak, just as Christ was. But you will see that we will live by the power of God, just as Christ does."


   Are you true to your faith – 2 Corinthians 13:5-7: Each Christian should test himself to make sure that he is really true to the faith. We need to know whether we can pass this test. As you examine your faith will you find Christ living in you? If Christ is not living in you then you have failed the test spiritually. The purpose of this examination by the Corinthians was to see if they were still in the faith or if they could still be regarded as faithful Christians. Sadly, some Christians will not stand the test!


   Paul said, "I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test." Paul was concerned over the attitudes and actions of many of the Corinthian brethren. His concerned was justified because some at Corinth looked upon him as "an enemy." The main desire of Paul was that these brethren stop doing evil things. Paul could come and corrected their evils with the authority of an apostle. This would prove that he had been true. He had rather that they do right even if he still appeared to be a weak failure.


   Do nothing against the truth – 2 Corinthians 13:8-10: Paul's one desire was to follow the truth and not fight against it. Let us develop that same attitude that says, "We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth." If the brethren corrected their spiritual path and Paul did not have the opportunity to prove that he was a true apostle he would still be happy. He would be happy for them to be strong spiritually and to do even better in their relationship with the Lord Jesus. Christian maturity was the thing that Paul desired for these brethren. Christian maturity is also the tremendous need for our lives today.


   Paul wrote these things before he reached Corinth. He was praying that he would not have to be hard on them when he got there. He did not want to use the authority for corrective discipline that the Lord had given him. Sometimes Christian duty is unpleasant. But it was Paul's desire to help these brethren, not destroy them. We remember the events that took place with Ananias and Sapphira his wife. (Acts 5) If these brethren would make the necessary changes a similar event could be avoided at Corinth. 


   Final greetings for the Corinthians – 2 Corinthians 13:11-14: Second Corinthians closes with some very tender words of encouragement. "Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." Paul wanted them to do better spiritually and to pay attention to the message that came from God. "A man can be at peace with God only by living in peace with his brethren according to the in­structions of inspiration."


   "Greet one another with a holy kiss." This means that they should give each other a warm greeting. They were to use every means by which a good understanding among brethren could be brought about. Friendship and love was to be promoted by every friendly action. All the saints or brethren that were associated with Paul at that time joined the apostle in the salutation to the brethren at Corinth. He closed the book by focusing on the three members of the Godhead and on three bed rock truths of Christianity. He spoke of (1) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, (2) The love of God, and (3) The communion of the Holy Ghost. Let these be with us also!


            Will you appreciate Jesus enough that you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After your bap­tism will you follow Jesus faithfully so that He can lead you home to heaven? (Revelation 2:10)