2 Corinthians, chapter 9

Chapter 9: 2 Corinthians 9: 1-15, sowing and reaping

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for spiritual ears to hear, spiritual eyes to see, spiritual minds to understand, spiritual hearts to receive, and divine enablement to obey. We permit You to perform radical surgery, to conform, transform, and renew us from inside out, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-3, 1 Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; 2 for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. 3 Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready,

Ancient Achaia was a province of the Roman Empire and Corinth was its capital. Achaia had already started the collection for the mother church in Jerusalem 1 year ago but the collection might have slowed down.

Paul sent Titus and 2 other brothers ahead of him to them to encourage them to continue and complete the collection. Paul boasted about the Corinthian Christian’s zeal to the Macedonian Christians.

VV 4-5, 4 lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.

If Paul came to Corinth with some Macedonian Christians and found them unprepared with the offering it would not be edifying. Therefore, Paul took the liberty to send Titus and the two other brothers to them ahead of him to prepare their generous gift beforehand.

VV 6-9, 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”

Paul explained the principle of sowing and reaping. In planting, whoever sows a lot of seeds will reap a plentiful harvest. Whoever sows a few seeds will reap only a meagre harvest. The same principle applies to giving to the Lord’s work. Whoever givea lot to the Lord’s work will reap a bountiful reward from the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:10. We should not give grudgingly because God loves a cheerful giver. Paul quoted Psalm 112:2.

Paul quoted, Psalm 112:9, “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor.”

2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

VV 10-11, 10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

The principle of sowing and reaping also applies to evangelism. God is the gardener. He supplies us with the seed of the gospel. Our job is to sow the seeds far and wide to increase the fruits of our labour. Whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully. Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly.

VV 12-15, 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

The collection of the offering would supply the needs of the famine and poverty-stricken Judean Christians of the mother church. Their generous offering would be proof of their obedience, glorify God, and answered the prayers of the Judean Christians. Paul thanked God for their generous and indescribable gift.

Application:

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 should be committed to memory. “But this I say, He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Whoever sows generouly to the Lord’s work will reap a generous reward from the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:10. Sowing into God’s kingdom on earth translates to depositing into our heavenly bank accounts. Whatever is deposited into our accounts in heaven lasts into eternity.

Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians chapter 8

Chapter 8: 2 Corinthians 8: 1-24, collection for the saints

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for daily bread, to nurture our weary souls and spirits. We pray for sanctification by Your Word of truth. We pray for growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-4, 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Paul initiated a collection of offering from the churches in Asia Minor to the poverty-stricken mother church in Judea, who was facing financial hardship due to famine.

Paul commended the Macedonian churches for their joy, willingness, and enthusiasm in giving. Even during times of affliction and poverty, they freely and urgently gave beyond their ability.

VV 5-7, 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us, see that you abound in this grace also.

Before the Macedonian Christians gave their offerings to Paul’s initiative, they gave themselves fully to Christ in submission to God’s will. Paul entrusted Titus to be in charge of the collection. Paul did not handle the collection to prevent any conflict of interest. Paul urged his audience to give freely out of love and grace.

VV 8-9, 8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, became poor for our sake, to make us rich. He gave up the glory of heaven when He became a man. He humbled Himself on the cross to become the substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world, Philippians 2:5-8.

Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

VV 10-12, 10 And in this I give advice. It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago, 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

The Corinthian Corinthians started the collection 1 year ago. Paul encouraged them to continue and complete the collection.

VV 13-15, 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack, that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Paul quoted Exodus 16:18. God miraculously provided manna from heaven to the Jews of the Exodus.

The Jews who were greedy collected more manna than they needed but the extra manna turned bad the next day. Those who collected less manna they needed did not experience any lack because God supplied the balance.

Exodus 16:18, “So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.’’

VV 16-21, 16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this, that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us, 21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.

Titus willingly accepted the duty of overseeing the collection. In addition to Titus, Paul also entrusted another brother chosen by the churches to minister and oversee the collection of the offering. Paul did not want to be accused of mishandling the funds for personal gain.

VV 22-24, 22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.

In addition to Titus and the other brother, Paul entrusted one more brother to co-administer and oversee the collection of the offering. Paul confirmed the credentials of Titus and the other two brothers as his partners and fellow workers of the gospel. Paul encouraged his audience to give generously to this worthy project as proof of their love and obedience.

Application:

Before giving your offering to the Lord’s work, you should give yourself fully to the Lord first, and submit yourself to His will. You should give generously to the work of the Lord. God loves a cheerful giver. You cannot never out-give God. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

 

 

 

Prayer:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that even though He was rich, yet became poor for our sakes, so that through His poverty, we might become rich. Thank You for the gift of salvation, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 7

Chapter 7: 2 Corinthians 7:1-16, godly repentance

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for You to minister to us by the living Word of eternal life and feed our weary souls with the Bread of Life. We pray for You to quench our thirst with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

V 1, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Paul admonished his audience not to walk in the flesh but encouraged them to walk in the Spirit and manifest the fruit of the Spirit.

VV 2-4, 2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

Paul urged his audience to open their hearts to him and his co-workers. They were honest with them. They had not wronged, corrupted, or cheated them. Paul loved (agape) them and was willing even to die for them. Paul minced no words. He was exceedingly joyful even when under intense persecutions and tribulations.

VV 5-7, 5 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. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 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.

When Paul and his co-workers arrived at Corinth from Macedonia, they encountered troubles, conflicts, and fear. Paul was comforted, encouraged, and edified when he met Titus in Macedonia, and received favourable news regarding the Corinthians Christians.

VV 8-10, 8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Paul apologised to his audience for his strongly worded letter. He was vindicated when this resulted in repentance, obedience, and change of hearts by his audience towards him. Godly sorrow resulted in godly repentance and salvation but worldly sorrow ends in death.

VV 11-12, 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner. What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.

Paul commended the Corinthians Christians for their godly repentance in response to his strongly worded letter.

Paul’s letter was for the benefit of the Corinthian Christians, not for the false apostles and not for himself.

VV 13-16, 13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

Paul and Titus were comforted, encouraged, refreshed, and edified by the Corinthians Christian’s godly repentance and obedience. Speaking the truth in love, Paul commended Titus for his zeal, confidence, and boldness.

Application:

Memorise 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

If we sinned, we should confess, repent, and claim the promise of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to remove all filthiness and works of the flesh. We pray for divine empowerment and grace to walk in the Spirit. We pray for the fruit of the Spirit to be displayed in us. You are the God of all comfort who comforts and rescues us out of difficult circumstances, so that we can comfort others in similar circumstances, in Jesus’ name, Amen.