We will continue to study how the flock cares for itself and is instructed by grace in 2 Corinthians 8:4-6.
The word “grace” begins this section in verse 1 and also appears as “favor” and “gracious” in this passage. Since God’s Word is unchanging, grace teaches every believer how to give in the same way through the Spirit of God. The verb “gave” reverberates through descriptions of intention, motivation, and methodology of how the Macedonians gave.
Growing deeper in understanding our faith naturally leads to living it out in a meaningful way.
Observe any living thing, and you will see that God designs His creatures to partner with others. They are not created to exist alone. Birds are always in a flock. Marriage was instituted because "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). A singer's performance is greatly enhanced by a good accompanist. Those in the trades or any career seek to replicate themselves in an apprentice. Living things do not function well alone.
We live in a culture of self-indulgence. Because of the pervasive influence of sin, humanity can't help but ruin ourselves even if we intend to do right. Titus 1:10-16 illustrates that Paul was writing to a pastor ministering in a similar society. False religious teachers in Crete had head knowledge of God without true heart knowledge, so their actions were ungodly. Both religious and irreligious people miss the mark because they seek to do things their own way.
Humanity left to itself always brings its own ruin personally and corporately. Paul's letter to Titus presents the solution: a body of true believers led by a good pastor-shepherd and sound doctrine taught by older examples.
Pop culture is filled with voices talking about love. Our culture is obsessed with the concept, but their understanding of love is greatly limited because they don't know the truth. Mere interest in a subject doesn't make one an authoritative voice on it. Who will you listen to when determining the character of true love?
Last week we learned from 2 John that the truth makes true love possible. Outside truth, there is no love. This week, 3 John teaches us that actions make true love identifiable.
Understanding the minutiae of Timothy’s life will help us understand the letters Paul wrote to help him oversee the pastor-shepherds of Ephesus. Timothy knew the Scriptures and came to Christ early in his life (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15). From what we see in Scripture, Timothy was always a timid man. But his life teaches us that timidity is never an excuse not to minister. Everyone experiences a degree of fear when giving the Gospel or ministering publically. We must not let it keep us from obeying God.
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