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Sunday, October 29 2017
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Last week, we learnt what our attitudes to service should be as ministers and co-workers in the vineyard, through the life of Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Church in Chapter 6. With the help of the Holy Spirit, Apostle Paul was able to maintain a winning and godly attitude in all tribulations, distresses, tumults and imprisonments. Remember, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philipians 4:13).
This week, we will continue our study of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthian Church in chapter 7.
Vs 1: It is our responsibility and not God’s
The promises of God about His dwelling among His people (Chp.6:16b) are the basis for Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians, and to us, to put off all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Special attention to the following;
Vs 2-4: Attributes of a Godly Leader
Vs 5-7: Maintain Joy In The Midst of Affliction
Vs 8-12: A Time for Every Purpose
Conclusion: Vs 13-16: Rejoicing over Good Reports
Most of this teaching is culled from bible.org
Sunday, October 29 2017
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
INTRODUCTION: Last week, from our study in the concluding part of 2 Corint.5:11-20, we saw the importance of the major ministry committed to every believer; the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corint.5:20 “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”. This is the most important assignment of believers on earth. We must daily see ourselves as Christ ambassadors on earth with the sole assignment of preaching the gospel to every creature.
This week, we are studying chapter 6 of the 2nd book of Paul to the Corinthian Church
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 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.
We are co-workers on earth with God and He has given every one of us His abilities or grace to get the work done. Paul is appealing to the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain. ‘In vain’ means without a proper purpose, or without a worthwhile result. In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul said that God’s grace towards him was not in vain. He explained this by reference to his special work for God, and the way that God’s grace worked through him.
In vs 2, Paul was referring to Isa.49:8-9 “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; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
This is a prophetic scripture referring to this period that God offers to save people. That is, to rescue them from their real enemies: their sin (wrong and evil thoughts, words and deeds), the devil and hell. He has heard and helped us in this day of salvation, we are His messengers to deliver and restore the creature back to Him.
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.
This is the same as saying, do not even give the appearance of evil. Paul, a faithful ambassador of Christ does nothing to discredit his ministry, but did everything he can to protect his integrity, the gospel’s integrity, and God’s integrity.
In vs 4a, commend means “introduce,” with the connotation of proving oneself.
Paul could have chosen to live a more comfortable life. However, as God’s servant, he recognised the importance of his ministry, his work for God. He knew that God had given him an extremely important message to declare (2 Corinth. 5:18 to 6:1). Therefore, Paul accepted the most severe troubles as he carried out his work for God. Paul would not allow even the worst troubles to stop his work for God. Paul did not want any weakness of his own to be a reason why someone could not trust God.
in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 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 honour and dishonour, 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.
*In vs 4b, Paul served God in patience, in afflictions, in necessities and in distresses. Patience in the face of afflictions, necessities and distresses. Patience was an enduring character in the life of Paul. In time of troubles, we should allow the Spirit of God within us to take over and guild us through them.
*In vs 5, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watching, in fastings. These are severe hardships and pains that brought pressures on the flesh. Paul faithfully endured hardship like he recommended in 2 Tim.2:3.
*In vs 6, By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost and by love unfeigned. This is the standard that we should endure these problems with. We should never stop loving, even the enemy. It is not how many problems we have that are important, but how we handle those problems. Heb.13:5.
*In vs7, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the Armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.
We know that every temptation Satan brought to Jesus, He answered "It is written". This is a guide to us. We must face each problem, or temptation, with "It is written". The answers to all of life's problems are found in the Bible
Paul never operated beyond the boundaries of the direction and guidance of divine revelation. Nor did he rely on his own strength when he ministered. He did not fight Satan’s kingdom with human resources, but with spiritual virtue such as the sword of the Spirit, and defensive tools, such as the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. Eph.6:12
*In vs 8, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and [yet] true. Paul is just saying, that it does not matter where the accusations are coming from. It really does not matter whether they are even true or not. They are still overcome by the Word of God and righteousness.
*In vs 9, As unknown, and [yet] well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed. Wherever Paul went, people were trying to kill him. In some places, vast crowds gathered to oppose him. People were constantly demanding Paul’s death. In time, even Paul thought that he must die soon (2 Corinth. 1:8-9). It astonished him that he was still alive. ‘Look!’, he said to Corinth’s Christians in 2 Corinthians 6:9. ‘We live!’
*In vs 10, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and [yet] possessing all things. Circumstances around you may be sorrowful, yet unexplainable, joy in the face of these bad circumstances is in Jesus. Paul said that he had learned to be satisfied in times when he had plenty and in times of want. Whatever state he found himself in, he was content. The spiritual wealth Paul possessed and imparted did much to make his hearers spiritually wealthy Phil.4:11.
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.
The evidence of Paul’s genuine love for the Corinthians was that no matter how some of them had mistreated him, he still loved them and had room for them in his heart. Their limitation was their lack of love in response to his fatherly love 1 Corinth. 4:14-15. He only demand that they open their hearts to him in love.
CONCLUSION; Our Call to Holiness: 2 Cor.6:14-18
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." 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."
To be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers is for Christians not to be bound together with non-Christians in any spiritual enterprise or relationship that would be detrimental to the Christian’s testimony within the body of Christ. This command does not mean believers should end all associations with unbelievers; that would defy the purpose for which God saved believers and left them on earth. The implausibility of such religious alliances is made clear (in verses 14b-17)
God said to the believers, "Be ye holy, for I am holy". We are like an island surrounded by water. We are the island, and the world is the water. We have a hedge of the blood of Jesus which protects us from the world coming too close. We are separated unto God. In other words, we have come over to God's side. We have left the evil of the world behind. As a result of separating themselves from false doctrine and practice, believers will know the full richness of what it means to be children of God.
Parts of this study was culled from bible-styds.org
Sunday, October 29 2017
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In last week’s study, we looked at the first ten verses of this chapter under a title – “Living by Faith”. In the study, we learnt how Christians should handle death; knowing that when this earthly body is destroyed, there is another body: “a building from God, a house not made with hands". Emphasis was placed on knowledge and not guess work as to what happens to us when we leave this world. We concluded by saying that if we want to face death the way Paul faced it, we should make it our aim to please the Lord. Today, we continue from Paul’s last statement.
“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.” So, having that in mind, he and the apostles work hard to win others (persuading them) but all with a pure heart and clear conscience
VERSES 11-12: “It is because of this solemn fear of the Lord, which is ever present in our minds, that we work so hard to win others. God knows our hearts, that they are pure in this matter, and I hope that, deep within, you really know it too. Are we trying to pat ourselves on the back again? No, I am giving you some good ammunition! You can use this on those preachers of yours who brag about how well they look and preach but don’t have true and honest hearts. You can boast about us that we, at least, are well intentioned and honest.”
You can sense from this verse that Paul was having great difficulty dealing with the Corinthians! If he did not respond to what they were saying about him, his silence might be interpreted as guilt and confusion. If he defended himself, he would be accused of vanity, self-commendation, and folly. That is why he was always giving instances to show that his whole carriage was upon principles far above all worldly considerations; and tells them here, once for all, that the account which he gives of himself is only to furnish them who are his friends, and adhered to him, with matter to justify themselves in their esteem of him, and to reply to those who opposed him.
VERSES 13-15: Are we insane to say such things about ourselves? If so, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Whatever we do, it is certainly not for our own profit but because Christ’s love controls us now. Since we believe that Christ died for all of us, we should also believe that we have died to the old life we used to live. 15 He died for all so that all who live—having received eternal life from him—might live no longer for themselves, to please themselves, but to spend their lives pleasing Christ who died and rose again for them.
No doubt some of the people at Corinth did not like Paul’s methods and would have referred to Paul’s speaking of his visions and revelations, his speaking with tongues as in ecstasy, his prophecies of future judgment, as so many signs of madness. Like what Agrippa said in Acts 26:24. So Paul responds in verse 13; if you see us as mad men, it is all because of you! Whatever he practised was not for himself, but for them, to win them to Christ, remove difficulties, and strengthen them in the faith. He goes further to explain his drive; in verse 14: “Christ’s love controls us now” the KJV says “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” The love he has for Christ was acting as a constraining power, directing every act of every spiritual state to the good of others, restraining him from every self-seeking purpose.
If we say we believe that Christ died for all of us, then the only true and normal position of each member of the body of Christ should therefore be one that ceases to live for himself or herself and lives for Christ. See Ephesians 2:5 and Romans 6:9-11
VERSES 16-19: “So stop evaluating Christians by what the world thinks about them or by what they seem to be like on the outside. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, merely as a human being like myself. How differently I feel now! 17 When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! 18 All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favour and be reconciled to him. 19 For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.”
Paul continues from the last statement in verse 15 by saying . . . “Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. (MSG); or by what the world thinks about them or by what they seem to be like on the outside. (LB) . . .. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.
Paul ceased judging men by those standards. And we should cease from it too. Because we can be very easily wrong! Judging from what we see or other people’s opinion without knowing for sure the person’s relationship with God is erroneous. And then he links it up with Verse 17: To be in Christ, in St. Paul’s language, is for a man to be united with him by faith and by baptism (Romans 6:3-4), to claim personally what had been secured to him as a member of the Body for whom Christ died. In such a case the man is born again (Titus 3:5)—there is a new creation; the man, as the result of that work, is a new creature. The old things of his life, Jewish expectations of a Jewish kingdom, chiliastic dreams, heathen philosophies, lower aims, earthly standards—these things, in idea at least, passed away from him at the time when he was united with Christ. All these things are of God (Verse 18) ... being completely changed; no longer the old person but a brand-new creation inside! It was God who did the work Himself through what Jesus did on the cross and if we are called to preach this good news, we should count it as a privilege! And more importantly, when we do, we should focus on the truth that God has blotted out our sins; not counting their sins against them anymore!
Conclusion Verses 20-21
20 We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God. 21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!
We are ambassadors for Christ. This implies that you, I, and preachers of the Word are acting on behalf of Christ. God used the apostles and wants to use us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter God’s work of making things right between them. And just in case you want to know how this became possible with us sinners, Paul answers in verse 21 “. . . In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.”
Sunday, October 29 2017
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week’s study saw us looking at the life of a Christian as it pertains to facing challenges. We learnt that because of the treasure of God inside of us; we become targets of attack. We may be pressured in every way, but we are not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; because the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us! In today’s study titled “Living by Faith” we will be considering some interested terminologies. Paul used an interesting phrase in the first chapter of this second letter to the Corinthians: “…the sufferings of Christ abound in us,” as we see in 2 Cor.1v5).
He describes the suffering he and his companions endured as they lived and preached the gospel of Christ. He uses words like “tribulation, trouble, afflictions, burdened, sorrow, anguish” and “many tears.” Paul’s purpose in these reports in 2 Corinthians is not to create gloom and doom. Because, scattered throughout his report of suffering there are intense statements affirming the comfort of faith. God “comforts us,” (1:4), “…for as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ,” (1:5). Paul acknowledges: our hope is steadfast (1:7); God is faithful (1:18); and we are fellow-workers for your joy (1:24).
So, the apostle objectively reports the suffering they endured as ambassadors of Christ, but not to promote despair; rather, to stress the endurance possible by faith. As Paul describes their suffering, more than once he speaks of death! He said, “We had the sentence of death in ourselves,” (1:9), and he speaks with joy of deliverance “from so great a death,” (1:10). He uses the poetic expression, “the aroma of death leading to death,” (2:16). Then he says: “For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So, then death is working in us, but life in you.”
How do you go through something that can best be described by the terminology of death? How do you go through something that can best be described as death? The more direct question for us today is: How do we face death? Now that we have that as a backdrop, let’s step into 2 Cor. 5.
VERSE 1: “For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
This is how Christians handle death; in fact, this is the only way to face it; knowing that when this earthly body is destroyed, there is another body: “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” A close look at the details reveals The Importance of Knowledge. This verse is introduced by that simple phrase that is filled with meaning: “we know!” Guessing affords no power in facing death. The philosophical speculation of men supplies no strength. Paul writes of that which we can know here in 2 Cor. 5:1. This is the knowledge enjoyed by those who walk by faith, not by sight.
Now to the essence of the verse, two bodies are mentioned. One we have now; another we will have then. One is earthly, the other is “eternal in the heavens.” The present body is called a “tent,” while the future body is called a “building.” A tent is a temporary habitation of a traveller. A building is the permanent habitation of a resident. The tent is the body we now occupy; the building is the glorious body we are destined to occupy, so long as we walk by faith (see Phil. 3:20,21).
VERSE 2: “For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling,” The LB says: “How weary we grow of our present bodies. That is why we look forward eagerly to the day when we shall have heavenly bodies that we shall put on like new clothes.”
Paul continues with this statement: “In this we groan…” We know what it means to groan, but Paul was talking about something beyond the ordinary groaning we do. He defined it as: “Earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.” This is the groaning of wanting to occupy that other body – that eternal building from God, prepared for those who walk by faith! This may be this is easier to grasp through the years of experience. Or more meaningful to us, as we grow older. That is why it is common for aged Christians to long for that eternal body they will occupy in heaven. And it may also be, the more you suffer, the deeper your appreciation of that which is eternal. (There is a legitimate, commendable mood that seeks death, see Phil. 1:23). “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;”
This was written by a suffering man. An inspired apostle – Yes. But do not rule out his experience of suffering – which is the background of the text. He said this, expressing his hope and the hope of all – who walk by faith: “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. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.”
VERSES 3 & 4: “so that by putting it on we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection].”
Here, Paul further explains this groaning. It is not just the thought to get out of suffering; or just the emotion or longing of pure escape, but – “that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”
The body we will have in eternity will be free of the diseases, pains and burdens of earthly existence. It is about living in a glorious body prepared by God (Phil. 3:20,21), in a place prepared by God (heaven), for those who walk by faith. As we struggle in “this tent,” we long for this eternally clothed existence (not naked, but eternally clothed, immortally clothed.)
VERSE 5: “Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfilment of His promise].
Paul was not merely guessing or speculating here! Remember verse 1 begins with, “For we know…” How did Paul know? “By revelation,” (see Eph. 3:1-6). The Holy Spirit has revealed it; Paul wrote it and we can know it, and take our confidence in it. As we walk by faith, God is preparing us for better things. Amen!
VERSES 6 - 8: “So then, being always filled with good courage and confident hope, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises] - we are [as I was saying] of good courage and confident hope, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
These verses express both obligation (obedience) and ground of confidence (trust). It is our ground of confidence – as we live by faith – that when these bodies are destroyed – “we have a building from God, eternal in the heavens.” That’s our ground of confidence. Those with this confidence walk (active mobility) by faith.
What does that mean in practice? It means hearing, believing and doing as God directs. It means not living according to what you see in the temporal world. It means even in the face of death, maintaining your obedience of heart to God. As we walk by faith. verse 8 says, “we are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from body and to be present with the Lord.”
CONCLUSION (VERSES 9 & 10)
“Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth] or away from home [and with Him], it is our [constant] ambition to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].”
If you want to face death the way Paul faced it, make it your aim to please the Lord. If you want hope to strengthen you and get you through the struggles on earth – make it your aim to please the Lord. As you please the Lord – though the body may deteriorate, your spirit will soar to great heights. You will be strong and courageous. And you will be ready
“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.” It is important to note the movement in the text from hope to accountability in 2 Cor. 4:16-5:10. As we accept the promises of the gospel, by the activity of our faith (walking by faith, not sight), we personally embrace the necessary accountability to stand before “the judgment seat of Christ.”
Parts of this study was culled from http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-2-corinthians-5-1-10.htm
Sunday, October 29 2017
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