The Saints Which Are In All Achaia
In previous missions, Paul preached the Gospel throughout Greece. Corinth was the capital of the district of Achaia. Achaia referred to most of Greece in general, but specifically the territory between Thessaly (Eastern Greece) and the Peloponnesus (Western Greece). Almost certainly, there were Christians scattered throughout Greece, and Paul intended this Second Epistle from him and his associate, Timothy, to be circulated among them all.
2 Corinthians 1:1 - "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia."
God Our Father, And The Lord Jesus Christ
"God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Too often, a mere statement such as this is given as proof that God is more than one person. God is an eternal Spirit. Jesus is His only begotten Son, born of a woman in the fulness of TIME - not eternity. God is in Christ. So the statement refers to ONE and the same. Two natures - diety and human; one person. Emmanuel: "God with us." The LORD our God is ONE LORD (Deuteronomy 6:4).
2 Corinthians 1:2 - "Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
Grace Be To You And Peace From God Our Father
In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul greeted the saints with a blessing. "Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." He made His prayer to God, and our intercessor, Jesus Christ, Son of Man. Previous to his conversion, Paul prayed to God, but since Jesus appeared to him in the way, he knew that the crucified Christ is now standing at the right hand of the Majesty making intercession for us.
2 Corinthians 1:3 - "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies."
The God Of All Comfort
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter. Since the Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary and conceived Jesus (Luke 1:35), the Holy Ghost is His Father. "The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" is "the God of all comfort." There is only one Comforter: God! God is only ONE Spirit, not two or three. Furthermore, God is IN Christ, so Jesus is also our Comforter (Matthew 9:22; Mark 10:49).
2 Corinthians 1:4 - "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
As You Suffer For Christ, He Will Console You
"As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." Paul emphasized that God ordained his sufferings, to encourage and console his disciples. "We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life." The same principle transposed to them. "As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation."
2 Corinthians 1:9-10 - "We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver."
You Helped Many By Praying For Us
In an intimate confession, Paul described some of the great hardships he had recently faced in the ministry, "insomuch that we despaired even of life." But he believed that "whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer." He credited their prayers for helping him endure many afflictions. He knew that many saints would be thankful that he had survived his afflictions.
2 Corinthians 1:11 - "Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that ...thanks may be given by many on our behalf."
We Are Your Rejoicing, And You Are Ours
Every soul-winner prays for the sacred opportunity to preach the Gospel to someone who is open-hearted and willing to receive it. Paul said, "our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, ...not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward." When God answers that prayer, the preacher and his convert become a cause for joy and great rejoicing for each other.
2 Corinthians 1:14 "We are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus."
Don't Settle For "Yes Or No" - Wait Till God Says "Yes"
The Corinthian Church was very dear to Paul. He wanted to visit them frequently. But he carefully weighed the will of God first. "When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? ...do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?" Paul refused uncertainty. We should resist ambiguous "yes or no" actions. Wait until God gives a definite "yes." God may want you to be somewhere else.
2 Corinthians 1:20 - "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God."
The Earnest Of The Spirit - God's Security Pledge
A large purchase, such as a home or business, often requires an earnest payment to hold the property until the entire legal transaction can be consummated. The earnest is a small percentage of the total purchase price given to "seal the deal." The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the earnest of our eternal reward. Paul called it, "the earnest of our inheritance," (Ephesians 1:14). The Holy Ghost is our first taste of the world to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 - "He which stablisheth us ....is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."
I Call God For A Record Upon My Soul
Obviously, Paul took his calling and ministry very seriously. I pray that ministers around the world will experience a sobering realization that every move they make has an eternal effect, good or bad, on those they serve. Paul felt keenly self-conscious about when and how he should visit Corinth. Despite his zeal, Paul refrained from visiting the Church in an untimely fashion. Remember that God is a witness to every move you make. Welcome His oversight.
2 Corinthians 1:23-24 - "I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth."
Punishment Produced Sorrow, Repentance, Forgiveness
In Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, he excommunicated one who committed incest. In his second epistle, he attempted to restore the man. "I would not come again to you in heaviness. ...out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; ...Sufficient to such a man is this punishment." He apparently "sorrowed unto repentance" (7:9), so Paul urged everyone to forgive.
2 Corinthians 2:7,10 - "Ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. ...To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also."
Satan's Devices - The Devil's Mind
Forgiveness. Paul urged the saints to forgive one who had sinned, "lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." The Greek source-word is elsewhere translated "mind," or "thought." We are not ignorant of the way Satan thinks. He will turn unforgiveness into hurt, hurt into bitterness, bitterness into rebellion, and finally rebellion into deception. Unforgiveness leads to deception. Once deceived, we reject God. That is why we must ALWAYS forgive!
2 Corinthians 2:11 - "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices [mind, thoughts]."
The Savour Of Life Unto Life, Death Unto Death
A savour is a fragrance or an odour. Paul said that when we have the true knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a savour, an odour, a fragrance. Our knowledge of Jesus is a sweet fragrance to God. But our fragance affects people variously. Those who love God also think we have a sweet smell of life. But those who hate God hate our smell. We smell like death to them.
2 Corinthians 2:16 - "To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life."
Many Which Corrupt The Word Of God
The universe is fabricated by the Word of God. The pure, unadulterated Word of God is the building-block of life. The Word is the superstructure of all things existing. Jesus' parable showed that the Word is also the seed of the spiritual Kingdom of God. Anyone who corrupts the Word of God is a malignant agent of death. Paul juxtaposed himself against such kind.
2 Corinthians 2:17 - "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."
Saints: Epistles From Christ, Read And Known Of Men
An epistle is a writing sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal letter. Paul did not think he needed letters of commendation to present himself to the Ephesians, because "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men." Real saints of God are letters from God to the world.
2 Corinthians 3:3 - "Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."
A New Ministry - Serving The Testament Of The Spirit
"[God] hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." Those who served the Old Testament ceremonies administered death, because the Law rendered everyone sinful. But we who serve the New Covenant administer grace via the Gospel plan of salvation (John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38). When we preach the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we administer life to those who will have it.
2 Corinthians 3:9 - "For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory."
The Law Was Glorious, But Grace Is More Glorious
When Moses came down from visiting God in the mountain, he shined so brightly that the people could not look upon him. The Law Moses received was a glorious platform on which the nation of Israel (and most of western civilization) was built. The Law was glorious. But it never saved one soul. It only rendered every man a sinner. But Jesus Christ paid the debt of sin, opening the door for every man to enter into the presence of God.
2 Corinthians 3:11 - "If that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious."
The Veil Shall Be Taken Away From The Jews
At the moment when Jesus drew His last breath on the Cross, the Veil in the Temple was rent in twain. The Holy of Holies was opened for all to go in. Because Jesus' blood purchased our redemption, we no longer need the ceremony of the Law to approach the Throne. Unfortunately, however, the unbelieving Jews were blinded to that great revelation. Nevertheless, this prophecy stands: When Jesus returns, the veil will be taken away from the Jews, too. They will believe.
2 Corinthians 3:16 - "Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away."
The Lord Is That Spirit Who Removes The Veil
Not one factor in the New Testament Church is more essential than the presence and infilling of the Holy Spirit. Without being filled with the Holy Ghost, you are an outsider looking in. Without the Holy Ghost, the veil remains between you and God. The Holy Ghost removes the veil.
2 Corinthians 3:15-17 - "Unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
We Are Changed Into His Image By His Spirit
The Church is not the product of psychology, psychiatry, sociology or any other human agency of behavior modification. The Church is molded and made by the supernatural workings of the Holy Ghost. Divine change must be divinely choreographed. Nothing but His Spirit can change me. Not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. You must be filled with the Holy Ghost.
2 Corinthians 3:18 - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
We Have Renounced The Hidden Things Of Dishonesty
You cannot be what God wants you to be while living a lie. God will not tolerate a hypocrite or a double-agent. If you are phony, rest assured that God knows it right now. You can deceive a lot of people, but you will never deceive God. Renounce your deceptive ways and never go back. God called you to be a manifestation of Truth.
2 Corinthians 4:1-2 - "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully."
Our Gospel Is Hid To Those Who Are Lost
An unbelieving mind is Satan's playground. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Believe the Gospel, and truth will appear with great clearness!
2 Corinthians 4:6 - "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
The Life Of Jesus - Treasure In Earthen Vessels
"We have this treasure in earthen vessels." The weak, suffering human vessel adds nothing to the treasure, but the treasure - the life of Jesus - gives us eternal life. "We are troubled ...yet not distressed; ...perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."
2 Corinthians 4:11 - "We which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
He Who Raised Up Jesus Shall Also Raise Us
Eternal life. Many religions teach it, but none other than Jesus Christ demonstrated that life after death is really possible. Jesus rose from the dead. No other religious teacher did. The power of our Creator was manifest and proven in Christ, giving us more than enough reason to believe that we, too, may live again - and forever! Because Jesus lives, we can be assured that God is also able to raise us from the dead.
2 Corinthians 4:14 - "Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you."
We Believe, Therefore We Speak
In Psalms 116, David considered his many afflictions, but determined to reaffirm his faith in God. "I believed, therefore have I spoken." Paul also considered his many afflictions, and agreed with David. "We having the same spirit of faith, ...we also believe, and therefore speak." Few things in life are more beneficial for saints than to keep the word of faith on our lips. After all, God is always working for our good.
2 Corinthians 4:15 - "For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God."
Job is famous for having endured his affliction. In the end he prospered above and beyond everything he lost. But those were only the temporal rewards. In eternity, the saints of God will be rewarded infinitely. Just one hour in God's heaven will instantly convince us that every single difficulty we ever faced was more than worth the cost. But we will have far more than one hour -- all eternity!
2 Corinthians 4:17 - "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Our Light Affliction Works An Eternal Weight In Glory
No matter how great the hardships a child of God must endure, the grace of God will "redound (superabundantly compensate for those afflictions) to the glory of God." "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Your eternal rewards in His majestic Kingdom will infinitely exceed everything you have ever suffered for Him.
2 Corinthians 4:18 - "For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Another Reality Than Time
There is another reality than time. Our world is material. It is temporal, and will someday end. There is a parallel universe, eternal, where God and angels dwell. It is not a million miles away, but right next door, instantly through a threshold of faith in Jesus Christ - the Door. Someday that invisible world will become clearly visible, and all saints will dwell there forever.
2 Corinthians 5:1 - "...if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
We Groan To Be Clothed With Our Heavenly Bodies
Mortality is burdensome. Pain, sickness and suffering eventually infect our mortal bodies. But saints of God have hope that when this body expires, we will have a heavenly body in paradise with Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:1-4 - "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: ...For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, ...that mortality might be swallowed up of life."
We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight
Your natural senses can only discern the things of nature. Your eyes see the material world around you. Your nose discerns its smells. Your ears discern its sounds. Your tongue discerns its tastes. But the things of God can only be discerned by your spirit. Your natural man cannot discern the things of God. Physical senses do not detect spirit. Your spirit must reach out in faith to His Spirit. Only by faith, can you see and hear what is going on in God's world. Have faith in God.
2 Corinthians 5:7 - "For we walk by faith, not by sight."
Dying Saints Go Straight To Heaven To Be With Jesus
Does the soul sleep? No. Only the body sleeps. Jesus told the thief at Calvary, "today, thou shalt be with me in paradise." Only the mortal body will sleep in death. What about the sinner? The rich man of Jesus' story in Luke 16 died and woke up immediately in hell. Meanwhile, the poor man, Lazarus, was immediately carried by the angels into Abraham's company in paradise. The angels of God come to escort born-again saints directly into heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:8 - "...willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
We Must All Appear Before The Judgment Seat Of Christ
Every human being on earth desperately needs to hear this announcement: "You have an appointment with Jesus Christ." People from every nation, tribe and tongue will one day stand face-to-face with Jesus Christ on His White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15). Everyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.
2 Corinthians 5:10 - "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
Old Things Are Passed Away, All Things Are Become New
The "earnest" (down-payment) of the Spirit (the baptism of the Holy Ghost) is a token of eternal life. The old man must die, but the new man, born of the Holy Ghost, will never die. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." We must abandon our living for mortal gratification, and die to self. Live for the cause of Christ, unto everlasting life!
2 Corinthians 5:15 - "They which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them."
The Ministry Of Reconciliation
At the beginning, Paul commended himself and his fellow ministers, "that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance." Vainglorious, insincere ministers are exposed and shamed by truly godly and humble ministers. Real men of God restore men's faith in God. Their task is to reconcile them; to re-establish the relationship with God that was estranged by sin.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 - "[God] hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, ...and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
God Was In Christ
There is a God. He is an eternal, infinite, invisible, indivisible Spirit. In eternity past, our Father had no body. But He begat a human son in the womb of Mary, and incarnated Himself in that body. The Father dwells in - inhabits - the human Son. God is in Christ. Not one-third of God. Not one member of a fictional three-member Godhead. Not merely "God the Son" (an unscriptural title). The fullness of God is in Jesus. The Father is in the Son.
2 Corinthians 5:19 - "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself."
Saints Are Ambassadors For Christ
Worldly-minded people resist contemplating the terrors of divine judgment. Most men flee from the suggestion that they will face Almighty God in a sobering judgment, after which they will either enter into the Presence of the Lord, or be condemned forever to Hell. But saints of God are Ambassadors of Heaven, sent to declare the truth to all men. "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."
2 Corinthians 5:20 - "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."
Jesus Became Sin
Paul said (in Greek), "for him who knew no sin, he hath made sin." Certainly, Jesus is not sin incarnate, because He is exactly the opposite - GOD incarnate! Neither was Jesus a sinner. He never once transgressed any law of God, so was NEVER GUILTY. What did Paul mean? God made the man Jesus vicariously bear judgment for sin for all who would be reconciled to God, freeing them from sin and death.
2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
I Have Heard Thee In A Time Accepted
In Moses' day, the Lord delivered the children of Israel because (He said), "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry," Exodus 3:7. Centuries later, Isaiah said, "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee."
God also heard your cry. This is your acceptable time; the day of your salvation. Walk worthily of it.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 - "We then, ...beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted..."
Watchings And Fastings
If you are a minister of the Gospel, Paul instructs you not to give offense in any thing, "that the ministry be not blamed: but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God." We must be exemplary in all matters, especially in enduring trials; and we must show ourselves approved in watchings (staying awake in prayerfulness) and fastings (skipping meals) for the good of the ministry. If you will be a great man of God, you must be adept in prayer and fasting.
2 Corinthians 6:4-5 - "In much patience, ...afflictions, ...necessities, ...distresses, ...stripes, ...imprisonments, ...tumults, ..labours, ...watchings, ...fastings."
The Approved Minister Of God
Along with the various virtues that pertain to enduring hardness, Paul laid down certain other qualities that should be found in the minister of God: Pureness. Knowledge. Longsuffering. Kindness. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Unfeigned Love. The Word of Truth. The Power of God. The Armour of Righteousness. Honor. Dishonour (from detractors). Good Report. Evil Report (from detractors). Accused as a deceiver, yet true. Unknown, yet well known. Dying, yet alive. Chastened, but not killed.
2 Corinthians 6:10 - "As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
Be Ye Not Unequally Yoked Together With Unbelievers
Jesus was a friend to publicans and sinners. But they were not His brethren. "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother," Matthew 12:50. Your spiritual family consists of those who are born again by the water and the Spirit. If you bond with people who are not saints of God, you are in for big trouble. Heed this warning!
2 Corinthians 6:14 - "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
I Will Dwell In Them, And Walk In Them
The most persuasive reason why we should not be yoked together with unbelievers is that our bodies are the temple of the living God, and must be kept holy and sanctified. There is no agreement between the temple of God and idols or other worldly entities. Vast numbers of professing Christians seem completely unaware that the reason God saves us is to INHABIT us by the Holy Ghost. Empty yourself of everything but God.
2 Corinthians 6:16 - "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
Come Out, Be Separate, I Will Receive You
How many ways does God have to tell us to leave the world alone? "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" "What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" "What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" God says, "Come out, ...Be separate, ...and I will receive you." What if you do not?
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 - "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
Let Us Cleanse Ourselves, Perfecting Holiness
Inasmuch as God promised, "..come out from among them, and be ye separate, ...touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you," Paul enlarged upon the theme. Only a tiny percentage of Christian preachers even speak of this anymore. "Let us CLEANSE OURSELVES from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting HOLINESS in the fear of God."
Holiness is separation from forbidden things.
2 Corinthians 7:1 - "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
I Rejoice That Ye Sorrowed Unto Repentance
During his three years in Ephesus, Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, in which he had to excommunicate a man who was guilty of incest. His second epistle was written after leaving Ephesus. He reflected, "for though I made you sorry with a letter, ...I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner." The censure of a man of God should inspire anyone to repent. Repentance enables restoration and salvation.
2 Corinthians 7:10 - "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of."
You Have Approved Yourselves To Be Clear In This Matter
When a preacher expends himself trying to convince people to confess their sins and humble themselves in repentance, it can be emotionally depleting. Many a preacher has left the scene entirely exhausted, even discouraged. No wonder, then, that Paul rejoiced when the Corinthians "sorrowed after a godly sort," and exhibited many characteristics of genuine contrition: "what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!"
2 Corinthians 7:11 - "In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter."
Titus' was Paul's "partner and fellowhelper" in the ministry (2 Corinthians 8:23). Titus was Paul's moral support while handling a difficult disciplinary matter in the Corinthian Church. On several stressful occasions, Paul relied heavily on Titus' assistance. Titus ministered in Corinth, Jerusalem, Dalmatia, and many other cities, and played a major role in establishing the Church in Crete.
2 Corinthians 7:14-15 - "If I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; ...our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you."
The Churches Of Macedonia
The Churches of Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and others in the region) were inspiring examples to all other Churches. "In a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality." True saints help others even when their resources are limited.
2 Corinthians 8:3-5 - "Beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. ...gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
He Became Poor, That Ye Might Be Rich
"Labour not to be rich," Proverbs 23:4. The so-called "prosperity preachers" are covetous, greedy imposters who skillfully make merchandise (2 Peter 2:3) of naive men and women who seek to know God. Anyone who knows the scriptures well can plainly see that Jesus taught sacrificial living, against the accumulation of earthly wealth. "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" Luke 18:24. He has prepared incorruptible wealth for us in Heaven.
2 Corinthians 8:9 - "Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
Share Your Abundance With Those Who Have Not
When God sent manna in the wilderness, He commanded the children of Israel, "Gather of it every man according to his eating." Each man was told to gather manna for those in his tents. Ultimately, "he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack," Exodus 16:18. God intends for every person to have his needs supplied. Those who have should help those who have not.
2 Corinthians 8:14 - "Your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality."
Thank God For Your Ministers
In behalf of the saints at Corinth, Paul thanked God for the coming of Titus and another brother. Thank God for your ministers. You would not be a believer if you had not heard; if the minister had not come to preach.
2 Corinthians 8:16-17 - "Thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches."
Key to a Bountiful Harvest
The law of the harvest says that you reap what you sow. You also reap in proportion to what you sow. Sow nothing, reap nothing. Sow much, reap much. It is true of sin and of righteousness. We are watching an evil generation reaping a whirlwind of trouble. Do you want to see a flood-tide of goodness and blessings? Sow goodness and righteousness profusely, everywhere you go.
2 Corinthians 9:6 - "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
A Prayer For Those Who Support The Ministry
Paul spoke highly of the Church at Macedonia for their generous liberality to the ministry. He did so partly to urge the Corinthian Church to learn to support the ministry. He taught that God loves a cheerful giver, and prayed that they would see God's blessing on their benevolence. Every Christian should recognize the great need to support the ministry.
2 Corinthians 9:10-11 - "Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness. Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness."
They Pray For You And Long After You For Your Grace
Paul commended the Corinthians in advance of their giving to support the ministry to the Church. "Your zeal hath provoked very many." By giving, they supplied the needs of many saints. (Some scholars think these donations were going to the Church in Judea.) Their experiment of giving glorified God by showing themselves subject to the Gospel of Christ. They inspired "many thanksgivings unto God, ...for your liberal distribution unto them." Be generous! Be an inspiring example to everyone!
2 Corinthians 9:14 - "And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you."
We Do Not War After The Flesh
People often make quick judgments about a minister, based on his physical appearance or demeanor. Judging by his outward appearance, some thought that Paul was cowardly, humble or of low self-esteem. But his writings were bold and confident, and he was ready to revenge sin in the Church. Spiritual warfare is not conducted by brute force. A man of God declares and decrees a thing by the authority of God's Word, and that deploys the supernatural power of God, which overthrows adversaries.
2 Corinthians 10:3 - "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh."
The Weapons Of Our Warfare
If the weapons of our spiritual warfare are not carnal, then what are they? How do we defeat unclean spirits and pull down strongholds? 1) "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God." 2) "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 3) Revenge disobedience, while practicing obedience to Christ. Satan cannot defeat anyone who wields holy thoughts, obedience to Christ, and opposition to sin. So, cast down evil imaginations, force your thoughts to obey Christ, and rebuke disobedience.
2 Corinthians 10:6 - "Having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."
Weighty And Powerful Letters
The early Church was supported in very large part by the letters of the Apostle Paul. Without Paul's writings (usually transcribed by his companions) the world might never know the Gospel as we do today. He unashamedly exercised the authority that the Lord gave him. His powerful letters were written to edify (build up) the Church.
2 Corinthians 10:10 - "His letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. ...as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present."
A Measure To Reach Even Unto You
How do you measure yourself? Do you measure yourself against other people? Paul said that is not wise. (You may do better or worse than someone else, but only God knows the truth.) He mentioned a "measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us." Stop measuring yourself against other people. The only measure that really matters is God's measure - "a measure to reach even unto you." Do you measure up to Him?
2 Corinthians 10:17 - "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."
Would To God Ye Could Bear With Me In My Folly
This prayer request seems curious to me, because Paul wanted God to help the Corinthians bear with him in his folly. However, there is no obvious folly in the words that follow. "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Only the beguiled Corinthians would have called his concern "folly."
2 Corinthians 11:3 - "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
False Preachers In The Church
A true man of God has a responsibility to expose false doctrines and false ministers. Paul said, "I fear, ...as the serpent beguiled Eve ...your minds should be corrupted." When real saints tolerate doctrinal error, apostasy soon follows. Most professing Christians are doctrinally illiterate. The Church desperately needs strong preachers of true doctrine to save the Church from self-destruction.
2 Corinthians 11:4 - "If he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
Another Jesus, Another Spirit, Another Gospel
Not one in a million professing Christians demonstrates any serious concern that the doctrine of Jesus, or the doctrine of the Spirit, or the Gospel itself has been corrupted by false theologies. Third-Century Roman Catholic
heresies permeate Evangelical Christianity without so much as an alarm being sounded. Jesus is not one-third of a triune god. He is God (Father)
manifest in the flesh (Son). The
Spirit of Christ is the Holy Ghost.
2 Corinthians 11:4 - "If he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, ...or if ye receive another spirit, ...or another gospel, ...ye might well bear with him."
Satan As An Angel Of Light, Imposters In The Ministry
Paul was jealous to preserve the Church as a chaste virgin unto Christ. He zealously "cut off occasion from them which desire occasion... For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." Even today, Satan and many false ministers delude multitudes, appearing as great men of God, although they are evil through and through. Resist!
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 - "No marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
False Ministers' End Shall Be According To Their Works
It was prophesied that in these last days, there will "a great falling away," (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Paul warned of false apostles and deceitful workers who would appear to be ministers of righteousness. That has never been more true than it is today. Multitudes of professing Christians are being misled and deluded by phony ministers. God is angry with the wicked every day. God will judge these frauds harshly for preaching lies in the name of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 11:15 - "...[Satan's] ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
People Often Fail To Recognize A Great Man Of God
Some people discredit a preacher if he appears to be poor or uneducated. Paul faced scorn because they could not perceive his mighty calling. "I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. ...I have preached to you the gospel of God freely. ...I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. ...I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren ...from Macedonia supplied: ...I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you."
2 Corinthians 11:16 - "Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me."
Doing The Will Of God Can Be Extremely Perilous
Christians who live in beautiful homes, drive luxurious cars, wear nice clothes and eat in fine restaurants should remember that from the beginning, it was not so. Like Paul, we must willingly suffer anything God requires.
2 Corinthians 11:23-27 - "labours, ...stripes, ...prisons, ...deaths, ...five times received I forty stripes save one. ...Thrice ...beaten with rods, ...stoned, ...shipwreck, ...night and a day...in the deep; ...journeyings often, in perils of waters, ...robbers, ...perils by mine own countrymen, ...by the heathen, ...in the city, ...in the wilderness, ...in the sea, ...among false brethren; ...weariness ...painfulness, ...watchings, ...hunger and thirst, ...fastings, ...cold ...nakedness."
In Watchings (Night Prayers) And Fastings Often
Paul's credentials in the ministry included every kind of labor and suffering: stripes, imprisonments, stonings, shipwrecks, being robbed, threatened by friends, foes and false brethren, and on and on. No one outside the ministry can comprehend the price that a man has to pay to preach the Gospel. Every effort must be accompanied with fervent prayer and much fasting.
2 Corinthians 11:27-28 - "In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."
I Will Glory Of The Things Which Concern My Infirmities
Paul took note that people naively "suffer fools gladly." An unscrupulous preacher may bind you, devour you, or attack you, while exalting himself. Paul set himself apart from disreputable preachers, pleading his own sincerity and sacrificial ministry. "Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? ...I am more."
2 Corinthians 11:29-30 - "Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities."
I Will Come To Visions And Revelations Of The Lord
Never believe any "Christian" minister who says that signs, wonders and miracles have ceased. There simply is no Biblical Christianity without supernatural elements. God always has, and always will, reveal Himself to His people in supernatural ways: signs, wonders, miracles, dreams, visions, angelic visitations and more. The stories of every major character in the Bible concretely reinforce that fact.
2 Corinthians 12:1,12 - "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. ...Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."
If God Denies Your Prayer Request, He Has A Reason
"There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." Paul asked God to remove the thorn. But the thorn was serving a divinely beneficial purpose. God denied his request. If God denies your prayer request, consider that He has a good reason for leaving things as they are.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 - "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
Praying About A Thorn In The Flesh
His many amazing supernatural experiences could have made Paul proud, but God gave him a thorn in the flesh. He called it, "the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." He asked God to remove it, but God said, "My grace is sufficient..." If God gives you a thorn - YOU NEED IT! It will glorify you.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake."
Suffer Gladly, That The Power Of Christ May Rest On You
Moses preferred to suffer affliction as an Israelite rather than inherit Egypt's luxuries. He must have believed that the power of God that is manifested while we do His will is worth more than all the world's wealth. Paul understood that. He actually rejoiced about the infirmities he suffered as he did the will of God. He saw how God works mightily in behalf of those who suffer for Him. Thank God for your infirmities! Rejoice!
2 Corinthians 12:9: "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
I Will Very Gladly Spend And Be Spent For You
An Apostle is a rare breed. (Count all the Apostles you know.) But ANY truly consecrated Christian is a rare breed. Paul exemplified both. He was willing to pay any price, even willing to die, to get the Gospel message to as many as possible. "I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children." Are you willing to be totally spent? Totally?
2 Corinthians 12:15 - "I will very gladly spend and be spent for you."
Backsliding Saints Are A Preacher's Prayer Burden
Not a few ministers of the Gospel have shared Paul's exasperation with saints who fall into sin. "For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, ...lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults." The preacher desperately prays for the day when you will pray through.
2 Corinthians 12:21 - "And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed."
Two Or Three Witnesses Establish Every Word
Prophetic ministry must not be handled recklessly, or by self-guided men. Peter taught that we should take heed to "a more sure word of prophecy," (2 Peter 1:10), and warned that "...no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." Paul taught that prophesying in the Church should be validated by two or three (1 Corinthians 14:29). Moses, in Deuteronomy 19:15, stipulated than two or three witnesses were required to validate an accusation against a person. Truth can be verified.
2 Corinthians 13:1 - "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."
I Pray To God That Ye Do No Evil
We suppose that ministers of the Gospel should be consumed with converting sinners unto salvation. But there is another aspect of ministry just as important as making converts - namely, KEEPING them. Paul spent a huge portion of his ministry making intercession for those who seemed to be in trouble. He wrote, "Being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, ...Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith..."
2 Corinthians 13:7 - "Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest."
Somebody Must Tend To Church Discipline
Paul felt it necessary to forward some Church discipline by letter to the Corinthians ahead of his arrival. He wanted to tend to some needed rebukes without having to do it face-to-face. Hopefully, they would respond to the letter, and would receive him openly when he arrived. The modern Church could benefit from some timely, well-written disciplinary epistles from true men of God.
2 Corinthians 13:10 - "I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction."
A Wish And A Prayer
The word "wish" appears three times in the KJV Bible. Paul wished he could be accursed for the saving of his Jewish brethren (Romans 9:3). He also wished that the saints at Corinth would be made perfect (2 Corinthians 13:9). John wished that the saints would prosper and be in health as their souls prospered (3 John 1:2). Elsewhere, the Hebrew root of "wish" is translated "prayer." Wishing is praying.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."
The Second Epistle To The Corinthians
In a few of the New Testament epistles, the manuscript closes with a subscription in which certain historical details may be contained. These subscriptions are missing in most manuscripts and are of no divine authority. They were added AFTER the letters were written, usually by copyists. In some cases, the accuracy of such subscriptions are questionable. Here, it is generally acknowledged by most scholars that Paul's epistle was most likely written from Philippi by Titus and Luke.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - "The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas."
I am continually writing new content for this site.
Please return often for more material,
and tell your friends about
And God bless you!