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.

2 Corinthians, Chapter 6

Chapter 6: 2 Corinthians 6:1-18, marks of true apostle

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we are gathered here today to listen to Your word, to learn more of You, to have a closer walk with You, and to have a relationship with You. We pray for the grace to know You more and more every day, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-2, 1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation.

Paul pleaded with his audience not to take God’s grace for granted by quoting God’s promise to Israel in Isaiah 49:8.

Isaiah 49:8, Thus says the Lord: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You.

I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages

VV 3-10, 3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fasting, 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live, as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Paul defended his ministry saying that he and his co-workers did not offend anyone and his ministry was blameless. Paul listed out the hallmarks of a true apostle. True apostles are ministers of God, in difficulties, sufferings, tribulations, trials, persecutions, distress, sleeplessness, etc, by purity, patience, kindness, love, power, honour, etc, as unknown yet known, as dying, yet alive, as poor, yet making others rich, as having nothing, yet possessing all things. Note, “in”, “by”, and “as”.

VV 11-13, 11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.

Greek for restricted is “stenochoreo”, which means, a closed heart. Paul and his co-workers opened their hearts to the Corinthian Christians but the Corinthian Christians closed their hearts to them. Paul pleaded with his audience to reciprocate by opening their hearts to him.

VV 14-16, 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them, and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

Paul warned his audience against forming partnerships with unbelievers in marriage, business partneship, or any other joint ventures. Paul warned his audience to reject the false apostles who peddled false theology and heretic doctrines. Paul asked 5 rhetorical questions. Paul considered the false apostles as unbelievers and unrighteous ministers of satan. They discredited Paul’s apostolic authority through slander, lies, and deception. Righteousness is not compatible with lawlessness. Light is not compatible with darkness, Christ is not compatible with satan. Idolatry is not compatible with Christianity as Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit. Paul quoted Ezekiel 37:27.

Ezekiel 37:27, “My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

VV 17-18, 17 Therefore, “ come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 18 “’ I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Paul warned his audience to reject the false apostles by quoting Isaiah 52:11. We should be holy because God is holy. God is our Father and we are His children through spiritual regeneration and new birth, John 1:12.

Isaiah 52:11, “Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing, go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.”

John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

Application:

Christians should not be unequally yoked with non-Christians in marriage, business partnership, or any other joint ventures. Christian values are not compatible with non-Christian values. Differences in objectives, opinions, perspectives, worldviews, and principles will lead to difficulties, complications, and failed relationships. Going against God’s advice will not be fruitful.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Help us not to take your grace for granted. Thank You that in an acceptable time, You heard us, and in the day of salvation, You saved us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Corinthians chapter 5

Chapter 5: 2 Corinthians 5:1-21,  judgment seat of Christ

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we commit this time to You to see, hear, feel, and learn from You. We pray for all distractions, obstructions, doubts, and hindrances to be divinely removed. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-5, 1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

The earthly house or tent is the physical body. If our physical bodies are destroyed through death, we will receive a resurrected body made by God that will last into eternity. This will happen to all Christians at a future event called the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. God’s promise of resurrection is guaranteed by the giving of the Holy Spirit as an earnest deposit. Greek for guarantee is “egguos”, which means an earnest deposit.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

VV 6-8, 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

When Christians are alive, they are absent from the Lord, but upon death, their spirits and souls will be united with the Lord. At death, our bodies will be either buried or cremated, but our spirits and souls live on with the Lord in heaven forever. Christians do not walk by physical sight but by spiritual eyes of faith.

VV 9-11, 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 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. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

Paul encouraged his audience to live worthy of their calling. After the rapture, Christians will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, Rev 4. The judgment seat of Christ is a judgment for rewards, not condemnation, 1 Cor 3: 14-15. Christians will be rewarded or rebuked for things they did, or did not do after salvation, but their salvation is secured. Christ had already paid the penalty of sins for the Christians on the cross. The judgment seat of Christ is not the same as the white throne judgment of Rev 20:11-15.

Romans 14:10, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Unfruitful believers will still be saved because they had built their foundation on Christ through faith.”

I Corinthians 3:14-15, “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Revelation 20:11, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.

“VV 12-14, 12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus, that if One died for all, then all died; 15 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.

Paul criticised the false apostles for boasting about their appearances without the sincerity of hearts. Paul might not have a stunning personality but his heart was sincere. Christ died for everyone. Christians should not live for themselves but live for Christ who died and resurrection from the dead for them.

VV 16-17, 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Therefore, connects us back to the previous verses. Since Christ died for everyone in the flesh, Paul would not appraise anyone according to the flesh. A born-again Christian is a new creation in Christ, regenerated by the Holy Spirit with the incorruptible seed of God’s words. The old man of the flesh is replaced by the spirit-man of the Holy Spirit. There is a change of world view, desire, appetite, gifting, insight, and ambition. There is a transformation of heart, renewal of mindset, and conformity to the image of God, Romans 12:2.”

Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

VV 18-19, 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Justification by faith reconciled Christians to God, Romans 5:10. God reconciled the world to Himself through the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Romans 5:10, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

VV 20-21, 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ with a mission to take the message of the gospel to the world. God made Jesus who is sinless and perfect to be sin for us so that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us through faith. Jesus took the sins of the whole upon Him as a substitutionary atonement on the cross of Calvary on Good Friday.

Application:

An ambassador is an official representative of one country to another country. As ambassadors of Christ, we must take the message of Christ’s gospel to the world on His behalf.

Jesus, the perfect and sinless man, took our sins for us on Good Friday, so that His righteousness is imputed to us by His death. Because of His amazing love, He did for us something that we could never do for ourselves.

Memorise 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we claim the promise that when our earthly house is destroyed, we will have a custom-designed eternal building in heaven built by You. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit now as a guarantee of our future resurrection life with You in heaven, in Jesus’ name, Amen.