Category: 1st and 2nd Corinthians

Test yourselves!

Scripture reading for August 15th:  2nd Corinthians 13

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 13:2-5  “I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time.  I now repeat it while absent:  On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me.  He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.  For to be sure, He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power.  Likewise, we are weak in Him, yet by God’s power we will live with Him to serve you.  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test.”

Pastor Paul was concerned about those in the church that were still living in sin.  He had warned the church that this was dangerous and repeated the warning that these people should be dealt with.  He would come in Christ’s authority and power to deal with these people if necessary. But a better way was for them to do a healthy self-examination.  Each member must test themselves to see whether they were truly in the faith through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.  When we have Christ in us, we have the power to repent and live free from sin.

Observations for over-comers:  Regular self-examinations concerning Christ in us is a healthy form of discipline. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”  (Proverbs 12:1)

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Danger in failure to repent!

Scripture reading for August 12th:  2nd Corinthians 12

Key scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 12:19-21  “We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.  For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.  I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.  I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.”  

The pastor’s heart of the Apostle Paul was concerned about the spiritual state of the members of the church at Corinth.  He earnestly desired their strengthening in Christ and spiritual health so he wrote to them concerning sins that he knew were still prevalent there.  This list could still fit many or most church families today!  The sins he listed caused division and strife and would ultimately bring God’s judgment if not repented of!  The only way to deal with any sin is to turn from it, confessing responsibility for the sin and asking Christ for mercy through faith in His sacrifice.  Without repentance sinners will perish!  (Luke 13:3,5)

Observations for over-comers:  Self-examination and regular repentance when the Holy Spirit convicts us keeps our souls healthy and strong!  “Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me; if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be My spokesman. . . .”” (Jeremiah 15:19)

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Watch out for the serpent’s cunning!

Scripture reading for August 11th:  2nd Corinthians 11

Key scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-14  “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.  I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.  But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. . . . .For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

The apostle Paul was concerned for the church at Corinth.  Some fast-talking ‘super-apostles’ had come into the church and were preaching a ‘different gospel’ about a ‘different Jesus’ and ‘different spirit’ than the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.  They were out to deceive the believers and lead them astray and some of the church members were falling for it.  Paul was jealous for their souls and sought to expose Satan’s masquerade in these false ‘apostles’!  According to Jesus Christ, these ‘false’ apostles will mark the last days! (Matthew 24:4)

Observations for over-comers:  Believers must know the true Gospel of salvation by grace through faith and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit to avoid deception.  “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.”  (Proverbs 23:23)

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Divinely powerful weapons!

Scripture reading for August 10th:  2nd Corinthians 10

Key scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 10:3-5  “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  

Christians are living in a hostile world and are under daily attack from their enemy Satan and the temptations of the world and their yet to be crucified flesh.  These attacks often take the form of lies that entice us to go against what we know as true about God and His standard of holiness.  The mind becomes a battlefield when we entertain these arguments and pretensions.  But God has given His people powerful weapons to fight these wicked spiritual forces.  We have the truth of God’s holy Word that sets us free from the lies.  We have the Holy Spirit of Truth that reminds us of the words of Jesus and helps us to pray in the Spirit.  We have the Name of Jesus Christ that causes the forces of hell to retreat in terror!  Praise the Lord!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers know and use their God-given weapons to win battles in their minds against accusing and tempting spirits of darkness!  “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. . .”  (Isaiah 61:1-2)

 

 

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Sufficiency in all things, always!

Scripture reading for August 9th:  2nd Corinthians 9

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 9:6-8  “Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  Ans God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times having all you need, you will abound in every good work.”  

Being a farmer, I am well aware of the law of sowing and reaping.  You must sow before you reap.  You have to use enough seed to reap the maximum benefit.  The sower must also sow in faith, with a cheerful disposition and expectation of harvest.  You harvest more than you sowed because seed multiplies because of God’s amazing grace of design and His blessing for provision.   These principles also apply in giving of tithes and offerings to God for His work.  If we sow cheerfully and generously, we will reap abundantly!  God will shower His grace on us to enable us to continue giving and doing His work!

Observations for over-comers:  Believers are cheerful and generous people who give freely and enjoy sufficiency in all things at all times enabling good works to God’s glory!  “Praise the Lord.  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in His commands. . . .He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.”  (Psalm 112:1,9)

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The grace of giving!

Scripture reading for August 8th:  2nd Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 8:1-5  “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.  Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.  Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.  And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.”  

God is a generous giver!  His love compels Him to bless His creation and especially His people.  Paul cited the Macedonians as an example of what a committed relationship to God the Father produced in their lives.  Although the Macedonians went through severe testing and extreme poverty, they had overflowing joy and a desire to give towards God’s work and His people.  They gave willingly and generously and the result was super-natural!  God’s grace works extreme generosity in those who are cleansed and forgiven!

Observations for over-comers:  The grace of giving, even beyond natural ability, marks over-comers.  A relationship with Jesus Christ, faith in God’s provision and vision for His work produces the grace of giving.  “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?  Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from your hand.”  (1st Chronicles 29:14)

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Godly sorrow brings repentance!

Scripture reading for August 5th:  2nd Corinthians 7

Key scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 7:9-11  “. . .yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.  For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.  See what this godly sorrow has produced in you:  what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.  At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”  

Repentance is a word that is not always understood in the Christian community.  It is often associated with sorrow and sadness concerning something that has caused brokenness or harm to another or to us.  Sometimes, we feel that the sorrow is what God wants and continue to live under a spirit of oppression or depression because of what we have done.  But God wants to set us free from condemnation through conviction of sin which brings the ‘godly sorrow’ that leads us to Christ for His mercy and cleansing.  This delivers us from guilt and shame and enables us to change our action, attitudes and character to be more like Christ!

Observations for over-comers:  Repentance and cleansing are a part of normal growth in the lives of over-comers as we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and separate us from sin and its grip on our lives.  “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from Your Presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”  (Psalm 51:10-12)

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Holy Separation to God!

Scripture reading for August 4th:  2nd Corinthians 6

Key scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 6:14, 16-18 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  . . .For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and the will be My people.”  “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.  Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”  “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  

Paul warned the Corinthians to be careful in their relationships and close associations with people from the world. Unbelievers have nothing in common with believers, and are in fact spiritually hostile to God and His people.  God wants to live in each believer and be their God totally and for each believer to belong exclusively to Him.  This requires a separation of what is holy from that which is profane or worldly.  Our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit and are set apart to God for His use.  We are to separate from all that would defile God’s temple or tempt us to compromise our relationship with God!

Observations for over-comers:  Separation from evil influences, unbelievers, and sinful practices is mandatory for over-comers.  Separation to God for His purposes is the best approach, as all else will drop off.  “Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt.  Now make confession to the Lord, the God of you fathers, and do His will.  Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.”  (Ezra 10:10-11)

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Ambassadors for Christ!

Scripture reading for August 3rd:  2nd Corinthians 5

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 5:17-20 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.”

We are “new creations” in Christ Jesus!  This new life comes from having our sins forgiven through our repentance and trust in Christ’s sacrifice for us of His body and blood.  This grace gift reconciles us to God.  God is no longer angry with us and separated from us because of our sin. Now that we are again made righteous, we are given the ministry of reconciliation to take to those who are still separated from God.  We are God’s “ambassadors”, sent to those under the kingdom of Self, Sin, and Satan to offer God’s gracious gift to them.  We implore–plead earnestly–with those outside Christ to be reconciled to God!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers are ambassadors for the King of Kings.  We are sent to plead with lost sinners to be reconciled to God and become new creations!  “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  . . .”Woe to me! I cried.  “I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the king, the Lord Almighty.”  “Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs form the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?”  “And I said, “Here I am.  Send me.”  (Isaiah 6:1, 5-8)

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The knowledge of the glory of God!

Scripture reading for August 2nd:  2nd Corinthians 4

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 4:6-7  “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

God spoke over the formless and empty earth and the power in His Word created light out of the darkness!  Light is amazing, traveling at 186,000 miles per second.  It is pure energy that illumines our world.  The light from the sun, our closest star, takes about 9 minutes to get here from 93,000,000 miles away!  Paul quoted Genesis and used the ability of God to create light to show how He gives us the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!  The god of this world, Satan, blinds the minds of unbelievers (2nd Corinthians 4:4) and hides the gospel light of the glory of Christ.  Believers have this treasure, the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ, in earthen vessels or jars of clay.  We are only containers, not creators of this amazing treasure!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers are new creations of God who has illuminated their souls with the revelation of the glory of Jesus Christ.  We are humbled by God’s amazing grace and this light in our souls!  “Praise to You, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.” (1st Chronicles 29:10-11)

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