Hebrews – Chapter 10

Verse 1 – For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Verse 2 – For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

Verse 3 – But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

When the people gathered to offer sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, they were reminded of their sins, and undoubtedly felt guilty all over again. This practice was only a shadow of the good things to come.

If these sacrifices had removed their sins and freed their consciousness of all guilt, then they wouldn’t have had to continue with them. The very fact that they did this year after year showed that their conscience had no peace.

Verse 4 – For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

So why did they do it? First of all because, God commanded it; second, it was a shadow and pointed to the coming Messiah, which pointed to the once and for all perfect sacrifice made by Him.

Verse 5 – Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.

Verse 6 – In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.

Verse 7 – Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me  – to do Your will, O God.’ ”

(Verse 5) Since it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin, Christs’ coming into the world was a better sacrifice. The Messiah came to render obedience of the highest order, even to such an extent that He was willing to lay down His own life. (Verse 6) The idea is that God had no pleasure in the sacrifices compared to obedience. (Verse 7) “In the volume of the book,” is the five books of Moses in a scroll. Referring to the time would come through the Messiah to take the place of those sacrifices, and by His obedience unto death would accomplish what they could not do.

Verse 8 – Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),

Verse 9 – Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

Verse 10 – By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Setting aside the first system in order to establish a far better, meant doing away with the sacrifices contained in the ceremonial law. It did not mean doing away with God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments. As we, as Christians, can fulfill the ceremonial law by receiving Christ living in us.

Verse 11 – And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

Verse 12 – But this Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

Verse 13 – from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Christs’ work is contrasted with the work of the priest. The priests’ work was never finished. Christs’ work and sacrifice (dying in our place) is finished, therefore He is seated! Christs’ sacrifice effectively cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

Verse 14 – For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Verse 15 – And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

Verse 16 – “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds I will write them: (Jeremiah 31:33, 34)

verse 17 – Then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds, I will remember no more.”

Verse 18 – Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Our sin cannot be paid for by us. This is where many Christians disagree. Christ paid the penalty in full for the world’s sin, past present and future. However, one has to believe in Him, and receive Him, as our Redeemer and Savior, in order for our sins to be forgiven. There is no more offering, no more sacrifice, and certainly, no more penalty for sin to the Christian, Jesus paid this  penalty with His death, in full!

Some don’t realize that even their future sin is forgiven and paid for. We better hope it is, because all of our sin was future when He died. We weren’t even born yet when He died for us, so all of our sin was future!”

Are we perfect? Only in our spirits, not our conduct and behavior, as of yet. This attitude of forgiveness does not mean that we live anyway we choose because we are forgiven . If a person is truly born-again, they don’t have a desire to sin anymore. When we do mess-up though, we can admit it to ourselves and another if you hurt them, and then try, through the power that lives in us, not to do it again.

Hold Fast he Confession of Faith

Verse 19 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Verse 20 – by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

Verse 21 – and having a High Priest over the house of God,

Verse 22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies wash with pure water.

When Jesus died on that cross, the veil that divided the Holiest of Holies was torn, done away with, because Jesus became our High Priest, making it possible, through His blood that was shed, to walk in the presence of God. Christians now, can go boldly before the throne of grace, without fear. Christ’s blood gave us access to our heavenly Father.

“Full assurance of faith” – unwavering confidence, such a fullness of faith in God which leaves no room for doubt.

“Sprinkled from an evil conscience” – by the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice, gives every believer a clean conscience of guilt, it gives us peace. Being baptized with water is the symbol of holiness – pure water.

Verse 23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

The apostle encourages Christians to hold fast to their faith, even in trials, or by the arguments of others. Because God is faithful, we in turn are faithful to Christ.

Verse 24 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

Verse 25 – not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fourth Warning: Danger of Drawing Back

Verse 26 – For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin,

Verse 27 – but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

The point is that there is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin than the death of Christ on the cross. If someone deliberately rejects the sacrifice of Christ after clearly understanding the gospel teaching about it, then there is no way for that person to be saved, because God has not provided any other Name under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

Verse 28 – Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

This does not mean in all cases the offender against the Law of Moses died without mercy, but only those offenses that were punishable by death.

Verse 29 – Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing,and insulted the Spirit of grace?

He who renounces Christianity ought to be regarded as deserving a much more severe punishment than the person who apostatized from the Jewish religion. There are some who have denounced Christianity for another religion and their punishment will be severe. That is trampling the Son of God underfoot by despising the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are we Christians narrow-minded about what is acceptable to God? Yes! The gospel, the true gospel, is the only way to Jesus Christ. Not by works; not by ceremonies; not by rituals; and certainly not by any other Name! All other religions are false. Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Verse 30 – For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. and again, “The LORD will judge His people.”

This is quoted from Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19. It is quoted to show we do not avenge ourselves. It is God who will give punishment to whom it is due.

Then from Deuteronomy 32:36, He will judge them when they deserve it and correct His own children when they need it. This truth was abundantly clear in the history of the Israelites; and the same great principle would be applied should any sincere Christian apostatize from their faith.

Verse 31 – It is a fearful things to fall into the hands of the living God.

For the purpose of punishment – which is the idea here – fear. God is strictly just, and will inflict the punishment which ought to be inflicted.

Verse 32 – But recall the former days in which after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings;

Verse 33 – partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;

Verse 34 – for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

For the scholars not to know who wrote this book, it sure sounds like it was the Apostle Paul. He says because “You had compassion on me in my chains,: that was Paul.

These Christians, had went through many trials and persecutions, as some do today. The apostle reminds us, those trials are not our focus, Christ is. There are rewards for those who endure to the end.

Verse 35 – Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

Verse 36 – For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Verse 37 – “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Verse 38 – Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

Verse 39 – But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

The apostle encourages us all not to disregard our confidence in God, even when trials seem to become unbearable. We have to look to our eternal future when hardships come, because our trials are but a little while. Jesus is coming for us.

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Titus – chapter 3

Maintain Good Works

Verse 1 – Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

Verse 2 – to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle showing all humility to all men.

As Christians, we as well as what Paul was telling the Christians back then, are to obey laws that are not contrary to the word of God. And a Christian should not have to be coaxed, or persuaded to do good to others.

“Speak no evil of no one” – we are not supposed to make a person’s bad traits more prominent, and pass over all that is good. I suppose, we should stick to that old saying, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” (I would be wise to follow that advice.)

Verse 3 – For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in, malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

When a person becomes a true believer, yes, their personality and character will change. When the Holy Spirit places a new heart into that person at conversion, you will see a change. If you don’t and that person continues in a hateful, deceitful, sinful life-style, I doubt they were truly ever born-again. There must be a transformation.

Verse 4 – But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

Verse 5 – not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Verse 6 – whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Verse 7 – that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God’s mercy saved us, not our works. His mercy came when He sent Jesus to take our sins upon Himself. And after the cleansing of God’s Holy Spirit, we have the hope of eternal life with Christ.

Verse 8 – This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

This verse not only means to be kind and charitable, but to live a holy life.

Verse 9 – But avoid foolish disputes; genealogies, contentions, and striving about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

Paul didn’t want Titus to get into arguments about petty things that amounted to nothing. Some of the false teachers were basing their heresies on genealogies and speculations about the law.

Verse 10 – Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,

Verse 11 – knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

A person who is causing division in the church should be corrected. If they do not repent and change after confronting them, they are to be cut off from the fellowship of others.

Verse 12 – When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

Verse 13 – Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing.

Verse 14 – and let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

Verse 15 – All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Good works and charitable acts are stressed throughout Scripture.

 

 

 

1 Thessalonians – Chapter 4

Directions For Growth

Verse 1 – Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;

verse 2 – for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Verse 3 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality;

Verse 4 – that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,

Verse 5 – not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

Verse 6 – that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.

Why do you think Paul felt the need to bring up sexual immorality to each church? I haven’t heard a sermon on this subject by a pastor in years. Has everyone forgotten how important this subject is, especially to the young teenager? I think it’s because people have grown so sensitive to correction, they would leave the church all together.

And here lies the problem with sexual immorality: First of all this is more than just sex outside of marriage, it also includes incest, homosexuality, bestiality, and adultery.

No one in our society wants to talk about any of these mentioned. However, the Christian is held to a higher standard, and that standard is set by God throughout Scripture. We are to be sanctified, made holy, by the process of living the Christian’s life according to the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit, conforming us into the image of Christ.

Verse 7 – For God did not call us to uncleanness, but into holiness.

Verse 8 – Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

Paul makes these commands and principles very clear: If you reject what he just said about sexual immorality, then you reject God!

Verse 9 – But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

Verse 10 – and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;

Verse 11 – that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,

Our lives, as Christians, should be peaceful, I said should be. We are not to gather as others do as gathering a “mob,” would be involved in. We don’t gather in the streets, shouting insults or causing destruction just because we disagree with others. We in America let our voices be heard at the voting box. And as far as working with our own hands, every person should have a vocation that earns a decent living. And yes, there are some who are not able , but there are many more who are able, but choose not to work and live off the government.

Verse 12 – that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.

Did you catch that? If you lead a quiet life, working with your own hands, then you will lack nothing!

Revelation Concerning the Dead in Christ

Verse 13 – But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

The term “fallen asleep” in this context is a metaphorical reference to Christians who have died. Paul wanted to reassure the brethren, Christian, that those Christians that had died, were merely at peace and have a hope of one day rising again when the Lord Jesus comes. However, those who were not Christians when they died had no hope, so their sorrow over a loved one was and is great.

Verse 14 – For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

So where does the Christian’s spirit go when they die? They are with Christ!

Verse 15 – For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means proceed those who are asleep.

Verse 16 – For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Did you ever wonder where the phrase “Loud enough to wake the dead” came from? When Christ returns to call His saints, it will be powerful enough to wake the dead and raise them up!

Verse 17 – Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Verse 18 – Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Paul wants all believers to know that there is no reason to fear death. In verse 14, Paul says, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus !” Because we are in Jesus and Jesus in us, we will rise from the dead to be with Him forever more! You must believe to receive!

 

 

Colossians – Chapter 4

Verse 1 – Masters, give your servants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Verse 2 – Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Verse 3 – meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,

Verse 4 – that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

When we pray, we are to pray with an expectation and a thankful heart. We don’t stop praying just because an answer might be delayed.

Verse 5 – Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.

As a Christian, our conduct should be appropriate dealing honestly with those that are not born-again. Show integrity, so that they don’t have any reason to call you a hypocrite about your faith. and we should always look for an”open door” to tell them about Jesus who loves them.

Verse 6 – Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each other.

Verse 7 – Tychicus, who is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.

Verse 8 – I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,

Verse 9 – with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.

Tychicus, a native of Asia, first joined Paul in Acts 20:4 and continued to serve alongside him. He may also have been the person who delivered this letter to the Colossians as well as the letter to the Laodiceans. Onesimus, a native of Colosse and was a runaway slave.

Verse 10 – Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him),

Verse 11 – and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.

Verse 12 – Epahras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Verse 13 – For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.

Verse 14 – Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.

Verse 15 – Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.

This is the only place in the New Testament where Luke’s profession is identified. Demas, one of Paul’s companions, later abandoned the gospel ministry because of his love for the world (2 Timothy 4:10).

Verse 16 – Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

Verse 17 – And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

Verse 18 – This salutation by my own hand – Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

To understand the letter to the Colossians, we must keep in mind they were also being pressured by false teachers who were preaching heresy that promised deeper spiritual life through secret knowledge (Gnosticism). The false teachers were destroying faith in Christ by undermining Christ’s humanity and divinity.

Paul makes it clear in Colossians that Christ alone is the source of our spiritual life, the Head of the body of believers. Christ is Lord of both the physical and the spiritual world. The way to a more spiritual life is a closer relationship with Jesus Christ!

2 Corinthians – Chapter 13

Paul’s Warning to Examine Yourselves

Verse 1 – This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.

This quote is from Deuteronomy 19:15 – the testimony of two or three witnesses established a pattern for verifying the truth of accusation. Jesus reaffirmed this in Matthew 18:16 as a principle for church discipline. If the Corinthians sinners did not repent before Paul got there, he would expose the evildoers.

Verse 2 – I have told you before, and foretold as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare –

Verse 3 – since you seek a proof of Christ speaking to me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.

The Corinthians had called in question Paul’s authority. Paul was about to show them by whose authority if they did not repent before he got there.

Verse 4 – For though He was crucified in weakness yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

Verse 5 – Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.

Should we not examine ourselves – spiritual check-up, to see if we truly are who we say we are? Are we taking steps to grow closer to God? You have to be a true believer yourself in order to know an impostor.

Verse 6 – But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

Verse 7 – Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.

Profession of faith and possession of faith are two different matters. There is assurance of those who are in Christ: (1) believing the truth about Jesus Christ, (2) living according to Christ’s commands, (3) and the love test – love for God and all those in God’s family. We will show this love in how we treat others.

Verse 8 – For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Verse 9 – For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.

Verse 10 – Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.

Paul’s intention was to build up the body of believers, not tear them down.

Verse 11 – Finally, brethren farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Verse 12 – Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Verse 13 – All the saints greet you.

Verse 14 – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Love means that sometimes we have to confront those we care about. Paul cared deeply for the Corinthians, enough to correct them. Too often, people don’t want to confront because they know how the other person is going to react. Why can’t people just admit when they have wronged another? Christians should do so without having to be told by another to do so. We are to confront in love, wanting to restore, not destroy!

2 Corinthians – Chapter 11

Verse 1 – Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly – and indeed you do bear with me.

Folly in boasting. The idea here seems to be boasting is generally foolish, and not to be indulged in, but tolerate him just a little.

Verse 2 – For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Paul had taught the Corinthians to prepare themselves for the Redeemer, Christ, as a virgin bride is presented to the bridegroom.

Verse 3 – But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupt from the simplicity that is in Christ.

The Corinthians sincere devotion to Christ was being threatened by false teachers. Just as Eve lost her focus by listening to the serpent, we too can get side-tracked with our devotion.

Verse 4 – For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it.

Every preacher, teacher, or prophet, has to be proven by God’s Holy Word. Scripture is your authoritative guide. If they contradict God’s Word, they are false teachers. There is no other Messiah but One – Jesus Christ! People get led astray because they don’t know the Original!

Verse 5 – For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.

Paul had given them proof in the miracles which he had performed and the abundance of labor in teaching them, and didn’t want false teachers getting their affection that they should have for him. Paul had also proven to them that he was sent by God.

Verse 6 – Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.

Paul was a brilliant thinker, but was not good at public-speaking. Evidently, these false teachers were great public speakers, because they were getting the Corinthian’s attention enough to question Paul’s authority.

Verse 7 – Did I commit sin in abasing myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?

The false preachers may have suggested that Paul was an amateur because he didn’t charge for his preaching.

Verse 8 – I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.

Jesus Himself, taught that those who minister for God should be supported by the people to whom they minister. But Paul thought that by asking support in Corinth, it might be misunderstood, so he supported himself.

Verse 9 – And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what was lacking to me the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.

Verse 10 – As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

Verse 11 – Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!

Verse 12 – But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.

In other words: Paul will continue to preach at no charge, which was a contrast between him and the false teachers.

Verse 13 – For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

They pretend to be apostles, but they had no divine commission from God.

Verse 14 – And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

Verse 15 – Therefore it is no great thing is his (Satan’s) ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

I don’t know why false teachers, false prophets, and false preachers think that they can pretend to be speaking the gospel and really are doing it to get rich. They think that their motives will escape God in the Day of Judgment. It won’t!

Verse 16 – I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me a fool, that I also may boast a little.

Verse 17 – What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

Verse 18 – Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.

Verse 19 – For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!

Paul was being sarcastic.

Verse 20 – For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.

You bear patiently with people who impose on you in every way, and those who are constantly defrauding you, though you claim to be so wise.

Verse 21 – To our shame, I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold – I speak foolishly – I am bold also.

Verse 22 – Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

Verse 23 – Are they ministers of Christ? – I speak as a fool – I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

Paul presented his credentials to contradict the charges that the false teachers were making against him.

Verse 24 – From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

Verse 25 – Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

Paul was sacrificing his life to bring them the gospel, something the false teachers would never do.

Verse 26 – in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

Verse 27 – in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness –

Verse 28 – besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Verse 29 – Who is weak, and I not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

Paul was identifying with the converts.

Verse 30 – If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

Verse 31 – The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

Verse 32 – In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to apprehend me;

Verse 33  – but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

Paul wanted the Corinthians and all who read this letter to know what he endured in order to bring the gospel. We may not ever go hungry, get beat, or thrown in prison for preaching the gospel, but we will be mocked and ridiculed. Can you handle it?

 

2 Corinthians – Chapter 8

Verse 1 – Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:

Verse 2 – that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberty.

The church in Macedonia were in poverty themselves, but yet they gave in abundance out of their poverty. The gift is measured by what it cost you. It seems like those which have the least to give, give the most.

Verse 3 – For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,

Verse 4 – imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Verse 5 – And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

Verse 6 – So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

It’s not going to do any good to just give money without first giving yourself to God.

Verse 7 – But as you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in grace also.

Paul tells the Corinthians that they are abounding in everything including their giving. When love is sincere, it will cause you to give.

Verse 8 – I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.

Verse 9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Verse 10 – And in this I give my advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;

The giving had been interrupted by the divisions within the church at Corinth. Paul was telling them to “Get back to what they were doing before they started quarreling!”

Verse 11 – but now you also must complete the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

The need to help the poor was still there. They were not released from their obligation to give just because they had paused a while.

Verse 12 – For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

A willing heart in giving is acceptable to God, whether large or small. However, giving grudgingly, selfishly, or out of obligation, is a waste of time. Always keep this in mind when giving: If God has given you much, then give much. He doesn’t bless us for us to be hoarders.

Verse 13 – For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;

Verse 14 – but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack – that there may be equality.

Verse 15 – As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

This quotation comes from Exodus 16:18, when the Israelites gathered their daily manna. The rich Christians at Corinth should give freely to the poor brethren. They had gathered more wealth than was necessary for their families.

The one who gathered much were to give much, therefore having nothing left. And the one’s who gathered little, did not go without. Paul is talking about giving to the sick, disabled, or too old to gather. He’s not taking about those who are able to work but won’t!

Verse 16 – But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.

Verse 17 – For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord.

Verse 18 – And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,

This brother is not named, but it may have been Luke.

Verse 19 – and not only that but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,

Verse 20 – avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us –

Verse 21 – providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Paul explained that by these three traveling together, there could be no suspicions and that the gift would be handled honestly.

verse 22 – And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you.

Verse 23 – If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.

Verse 24 – Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.

We as Christians, are to have a heart for the needs of others. Maybe more churches ought to preach on this chapter for the sake of letting people know that the offerings and gifts collected are not just for themselves.

One time, I needed help and went to my church pastors and asked for help. Did I get it? Nope! The answer I got was, “If we do that for you, it will open a can of worms, and we will have to do it for everyone else who asks. That was horrible! Here’s the result though: Find a loving and  giving church to attend that cares for the welfare of others to give your gifts to. Watch closely whom you support.