2 Corinthians, chapter 10

Chapter 10: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18, spiritual warfare

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for transformation, renewal, new insights, revelation, and anointing. We pray for understanding, insight, and application of difficult and controversial passages. We pray for spiritual eyes of faith to see into the spiritual world, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-2, 1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Paul was bold when he wrote letters to his audience but was meek, gentle, and lowly when he confronted them face to face.

But Paul was bold when he confronted the false apostles because he was not afraid of them .

VV 3-6, 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Our battle is not physical but spiritual. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. Since our battle is spiritual, our weapons of warfare are also spiritual. These are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. The first five are weapons of defend. The sixth, the sword of the Spirit, is a weapon of defend and attack. The sword of the spirit is the word of God and prayer. We defend ourselves with the word of God. We attack the enemy with prayer.

Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:14-17, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

VV 7-11, 7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed, 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.

Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. Paul urged his audience not to judge him by outward appearance. Paul boasted about his apostolic authority from Christ. The false apostles criticised Paul’s unremarkable oratory skills and unimpressive outward appearance although they acknowledged his exemplary writing skills.

VV 12-13, 12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us, a sphere which especially includes you.

Paul and his co-workers dared not judge or praise themselves. The false apostles however, did not hesitate to judge, praise, and elevate themselves excessively.

VV 14-18, 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ, 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

Paul and his co-workers imposed limits to their boastings and authority. Paul preached the gospel to places where no other apostles visited so as not to encroach into other apostle’s sphere of influence. Paul quoted Jeremiah 9:24.

Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord.”

Application:

Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. The spiritual weapons of our warfare are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. In order to win this battle, we must identify and know our enemy and we must use the correct spiritual weapons.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to understand that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Help us to protect and fight this battle using Your full spiritual armour, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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.