C.H. Spurgeon wrote in Lectures to My Students, "Cautious hesitancy is, in 9 cases out of 10, cowardly betrayal. The best policy is never to be diplomatic but to proclaim every atom of the truth of God's Word so far as God has taught it to you."
Paul continues to protect the Corinthian church with humility and transparency, pouring himself out so they will avoid spiritual relapse. He does not want them to entertain those seeking to pull them away from the sufficiency of Christ.
God uses broken people and makes us strong in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). Though they were still spiritually rehabilitating, the Corinthians were enlisted by Paul to join in protecting their Gospel future.
The primary application of this chapter is not an individual giving to their local church, but local churches helping one another meet needs for Gospel purposes.
A vulnerable person is defined as someone in need of special care, support, or protection because of innate disability or risk of abuse. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians addressed issues of sin and carnality in the church and prescribed corrective paths. The believers there received this rebuke and began to change. Then came another threat to their growth: false ones within the church. In this second letter, Paul has redirected their hearts to the comfort of God, his own integrity and love for them, intentional gospel ministry, and the greater glory of New Covenant. Next he rehearses how wonderful God’s transforming grace is to them on a personal level.
Paul's discussion of ministry with integrity permeates 2 Corinthians through chapter 7. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 can be divided into 5 sections which we will study over a couple weeks.
Christians minister and serve because of Christ is resurrected and assures us of our own.
Our theme for the year is not just a slogan; it is a practice of our faith. Our church's One Legacy goals for the year are things we have to do together, because that is how God designed the body of Christ to work.
Psalm 12 expresses how David felt when he had been abandoned by godly friends. In Psalm 13, David is so alone, he feels he has been abandoned by God Himself. This feeling is prompted by the length of his suffering. Perseverance in a long time of difficulty is perhaps the most trying to our minds and hearts.
David's struggle will feel familiar to many people of God. In a marathon of trust, we often ask similar questions. Is God one who abandons? Through David's wrestling, we will learn that God's character and work confessed in prayer sustains us during long, drawn-out periods of suffering.
In the first century, names were given with significant thought. In the longest list of names found in Paul's epistles, however, it is not the names themselves that are the most important. It is the fact that these people are "in Christ" and "in the Lord," which is repeated 11 times in 23 verses. Some of the people in this list were slaves with no formal names aside from the household they served. Slave or free, when they were saved, these believers were given a greater identity in their Savior.
We have been studying the love Christians should have within the body of Christ (Romans 12:9-16). The pointed commands beginning in verse 13 seem random, but they do flow from what Paul wrote in the verses just before. Love that is holy, relational, passionate in serving and persevering, will be aware in these ways.
We are studying the third section of Romans 12. When people are transformed by grace (Romans 12:1-2) and functioning well in the body of Christ (Romans 12:3-8), we are able to love each other as God intends.
As a child, were you fascinated by small wonders like lightning bugs? G.K. Chesterton said, "What is wonderful about childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. It was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world.”
As Christians, God has placed us in a miraculous world of wonder. He calls it Christ's body, the church. As we move into the practical portion of the book, Romans 12:3-8 gives us the first practical aspect of our salvation.
Every true worshiper feels this tension at some point: We are doing the right thing as best we can, yet instead of blessing us, God allows difficult and even harmful things into our lives. Why does God allow bad things to happen to people who are trying to be faithful? God's people have struggled with this question through the ages. The book of Job and Psalm 44 are two examples of wrestling with the circumstances God has allowed.
What can possibly settle our hearts when God does not act as we expect? This question cannot be worked out in academic theological discussion. The only safe place to approach it is humbly bowed before God in prayer.
The Christian life is a battle for the mind. Many minds in our culture seek to convince people to think like them. But there is no mind that can compare to the mind of Christ. Every Christian who has made Christ their Lord and Savior has the mind of Christ! We are commanded to let His mind continually be operational in us.
A pastoral candidate was asked, “What do you have to offer our church?” His answer was only, “my weakness.” It’s an excellent answer. We only minister by God’s strength and His grace. Supernatural humility helps us overcome natural timidity. Someone once said, “Anxiety is the absence of humility, and humility is the absence of anxiety.”
Theme: The enjoyment of unseen spiritual realities prepares our hearts for unified daily living in God’s glorious church. This week, we finish up the doctrinal teaching portion of Ephesians. Paul’s main point can be summarized in 1 sentence: God desires to take every soul on the globe, from various cultures and backgrounds, and blend them into one family in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This pinnacle passage takes the form of a prayer, preparing us for the practical instructions to come in chapters 4-6. Last week we discussed God’s Enablement and Indwelling. Remember that these four aspects flow into one another as a natural Spirit-given progression. If we’re governed by the Spirit, Christ will feel at home in our hearts. As Christ is at home in our hearts, we will know the infinite measure of love God has given to us in His Son Jesus Christ. As we know that love, we will know increasing maturity over time.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Paul continues discussing the resources available to Christians in service of the “mystery.” What was not formerly understood by everyone is now revealed: God offers the Gospel to all the world. Paul’s focus shifts back to his person for these verses – but he is also describing you! All members of the new, unified Christian family have a responsibility to carry out the mission.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Just as a soldier’s backpack contains everything they need for survival and execution of their mission, Christians have been given adequate resources by God Himself. As God’s soldiers, we are properly prepared to survive in the field of Christian service.
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