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Archive for May, 2014

Power Source

This is the kind of confidence we have in and through the Anointed toward our God. Don’t be mistaken; in and of ourselves we know we have little to offer, but any competence or value we have comes from God. Now God has equipped us to be capable servants of the new covenant, not by authority of the written law which only brings death, but by the Spirit who brings life.

Apparently Paul is responding to repeated questions from the church in Corinth requiring him to justify his actions and explain his words. But instead of addressing each separately, Paul suggests a new course of action: let my record be based on the fruit in your lives. The Corinthians had experienced the promised effects of the new covenant—transformed hearts through the Spirit—as prophesied by Jeremiah (31) and Ezekiel (36–37). If the Corinthians agree the Spirit is working in them, then they have to agree that Paul’s ministry to them is productive (vv. 4-6, The Voice).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul, power

You Are My Recommendation Letter!

Are we back to page one? Do we need to gather some recommendations to prove our validity to you? Or do we need to take your letter of commendation to others to gain credibilityYou are our letter, every word burned onto our hearts to be read by everyone. You are the living letter of the Anointed One, the Liberating King, nurtured by us and inscribed, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God—a letter too passionate to be chiseled onto stone tablets, butemblazoned upon the human heart (vv. 1-3, The Voice).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul

Outline of 2 Corinthians 3

  1. Paul sarcastically offers recommendation letters
  2. Our value comes from God
  3. Unlike Moses, we don’t need a veil to cover ourselves
Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul

The Fragrance of Love

When I arrived at Troas, bringing the good news of the Anointed, the Lord opened a door there for me. Yet my spirit was restless because I could not find my brother Titus. Eventually I told them good-bye and set out for Macedonia.

Yet I am so thankful to God, who always marches us to victory under the banner of the Anointed One; and through us He spreads the beautiful fragrance of His knowledge to every corner of the earth. In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our FatherTo those who are dying, they smell the stench of death in us. And to those being rescued, we are the unmistakable scent of life. Who is worthy of this calling? For we are nothing like the others who sell the word of God like a commodity. Do not be mistaken; our words come from God with the utmost sincerity, always spoken through the Anointed in the presence of God (vv. 12-17).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, love, paul

The Importance of Forgiveness

May 27, 2014 1 comment

Interpersonal relationships are often filled with disagreements and tensions. It’s common to hear someone long for the “good old days” of the New Testament when things were simpler and people were holier. But Paul’s ministry proves the first-century churches were no different. They were just as full of fights, tensions, and power plays as modern churches are. We should seek to be loving but also firm when the situation demands it. We should be quick to offer forgiveness to and seek reconciliation with those who turn back from their divisive actions. That’s what Paul did.

But if anyone has caused harm, he has not so much harmed me as he has—and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here—harmed all of you. In my view, the majority of you have punished him well enough. So instead of continuing to ostracize him, I encourage you to offer him the grace of forgiveness and the comfort of your acceptance. Otherwise, if he finds no welcome back to the community, I’m afraid he will be overwhelmed with extreme sorrow and lose all hope.So I urge you to demonstrate your love for him once again. I wrote these things to you with a clear purpose in mind: to test whether you are willing to live and abide by all my counselIf you forgive anyone, I forgive that one as well. Have no doubt, anything that I have forgiven—when I do forgive—is done ultimately for you in the presence of the Anointed One. It’s my duty to make sure that Satan does not win even a small victory over us, for we don’t want to be naïve and then fall prey to his schemes (vv. 5-11).

Paul’s Frustration

The believers in Corinth are exhausting Paul and one another with their negativity and criticism. Nothing destroys the beauty of Christian community more aggressively than these kinds of patterns.

I finally determined that I would not come to you again for yet another agonizing visit. If my visits create such pain and sorrow for you, who can cheer me up except for those I’ve caused such grief? This is exactly what I was writing to you about earlier so that when we are face-to-face I will not have to wallow in sadness in the presence of friends who should bring me the utmost joy. For I felt sure that my delight would also become your delight. My last letter to you was covered with tears, composed with great difficulty, and frankly, a broken heart. It wasn’t my intention to depress you or cause you pain; rather, I had hoped you would see it for what it was—a demonstration of the overwhelming love I have for all of you (vv. 1-4).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul

Outline of 2 Corinthians 2

  1. Fix your fights so I can stop feeling your pain
  2. Work toward restoration, not ostracism
  3. We represent death to the dying, life to the living
Categories: 2 Corinthians, outline

Staying Away

Sometimes the best way to prevent hurt is keeping your distance. Not always, just sometimes!

In this spirit of trust and confidence, I was intending to come your way first on my current journey. So that you might have a double dose of this grace and assurance, my plan was to visit you on my way to Macedonia and return to you again on the journey back so that you could assist me on the trip to Judea. But since this didn’t happen, was I just being indecisive? Were my plans made in the flesh rather than by God’s Spirit? How can I say “yes” and “no” in the same breath? Because our God is always faithful to His promises, our word to you was not both “yes” and “no”—“Yes, I’ll come,” and then, “No, I’ve changed my mind.” For the Son of God—Jesus the Anointed whom we (Silvanus, Timothy, and I) have preached to you—was not both “yes” and then “no.” With Him the answer is always “yes.” In Jesus we hear a resounding “yes” to all of God’s many promises. This is the reason we say “Amen” to and through Jesus when giving glory to God. Remember that God has established our relationship with you in the Anointed One, and He has anointedand commissioned us for this special missionHe has marked us with His seal and placed His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee, a down payment of the things to come.

If I were in court today, I’d call God as a witness to my soul. Here’s the truth: I decided not to come back to Corinth in order to spare you further pain and sorrowIt’s not that we want to coerce you in any matter of faith; we are coworkers called to increase your joy because you have stood firm in faith (vv.15-24).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul

Rely Upon God

My brothers and sisters, we have to tell you that when we were in Asia the troubles we faced were nearly more than we could handle. The burdens we bore nearly crushed us. Our strength dwindled to nothing. For a while, we weren’t sure we would make it through the whole ordeal. We thought we would have to serve out our death sentences right then and there. As a result, we realized that we could no longer rely on ourselves and that we must trust solely in God, who possesses the power to raise the dead. Miraculously God Himself delivered us from the cold hands of death. We again place our hope in Him alone, and we know He will deliver us. Join us in this work. Lend us a hand through prayer so that many will give thanks for the gift that comes to us when God answers the prayers of so many.

Some believe that prosperity and comfort are the markers of a faithful Christian; in order to believe that, you have to ignore completely the life and writings of Paul, the emissary. It is only when you suffer that you can meet God as your comforter. In these letters, and often in our own lives, it is when we seem to have come to the end of ourselves that we see and experience the fullness of God in entirely new ways. This is not to say that any of us should or would seek out the kind of suffering Paul experienced; we do not long to be imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, or hunted by authorities. But when our dark days come, we should be ready to learn, grow, and experience the fullness of God in the midst of our troubles.

We are proud of the fact that we have lived before the world and especially before you with clear consciences, living holy lives mixed with genuine sincerity before God. We have not relied on any human wisdom but on the grace and favor of God. We are not writing to you in anything resembling codes or riddles; we only write those lessons you are ready to read and understand. I hope you will study them, value them, and truly understand them until the end. You have already begun to grasp what we mean in part; but on the day when our Lord Jesus returns, we will be as proud of you as you are of us (vv. 8-14, The Voice).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, God

Verses 1-7

Paul, an emissary of Jesus the Anointed pressed into service by the will of God, and our brother Timothy to God’s church that gathers in Corinth and all the saints in the region of Achaia.

May grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, surround you.

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. For even as His suffering continues to flood over us, through the Anointed we experience the wealth of His comfort just the same. If we are afflicted with such trouble and pain, then know it is so that you might ultimately experience comfort and salvation. If we experience comfort, it is to encourage you so that you can hold up while you endure the same sufferings we all share. unshaken and unshakable. That’s because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so you will also share in our comfort (The Voice).

Categories: 2 Corinthians, paul
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