- Verse 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in faith. Test yourselves...
When we live to honor Jesus, our lives should reflect Him and His glory. Does your life show evidence of Him? Are you living in sin? Are you constantly learning more about Jesus and realizing your sinful nature? Would others look at you and know you walk with God, or would they doubt? If they would doubt, what are you doing that does not abide in Jesus? Does your life look like different than the world's or does your life fit in well with the world? We are called to be like Jesus. And Jesus was different. He didn't follow the ways of man. He didn't do things to fit in with unbelievers. He didn't seek approval from people, but from God alone. He is our example. Lets follow that example.
~A sermon series is WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working by Craig Groeschel http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/weird/1
- Verse 11 Finally brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of peace will be with you.
There are a few exhortations here. The first, is to rejoice. What can you rejoice over today? Second, aim for restoration. Do you have a broken relationship that needs restoring? Third, comfort one another. Do you comfort those in need of it? Who do you know that needs comfort? Fourth, agree with one another. Yes, this means your spouse too! Do you always seem to disagree with everyone? Do you have a compromising spirit or are you stubborn and unteachable? Fifth, live in peace. Are you the type of person that like to get a rise out of people? Do you like disagreeance so you can argue your point?
If you are guilty of any of theses offenses, there is a way out. I was there. I used to always like to argue my way through conversation and would love talking about sensitive issues or even offensive issues, just so I could be strongly opinionated and stand firm in my opinion. I know that I can still work on comforting others. Naturally, I am not a empathizer or sympathizer. If you need to work on any of these, please pray with me.
Lord Jesus, You are the best example we have to live by. Holy Spirit, come change us to be more like Jesus. If we struggle with rejoicing, restoration, comforting one another, agreeing with people or living in peace, I ask that you teach us to perfect them. Give us opportunities to practice them. Let us be not of this world, but different. Let our lives show that we love Jesus and follow Him. Amen.
The thorn that was given in Paul's flesh is unknown- even to the most knowledgeable scholars. The four major thoughts of this "thorn" are:
1) psychological problems
2) persecution from his opponents
3) physical affliction such as poor eyesight, malaria fever, severe migranes etc.
4) demonic harassment
Whatever the "thorn in his flesh" actually is, I find it awesome that Paul is at peace with it. After begging God to take away this heavy burden, God said no. Regardless of your hard circumstance, God's grace is all you need. His grace can and will get you through hard times, whether it be an illness, disease, persecution etc. We need to realize that God's power is made perfect in weakness, and that is why God sometimes allows us to undergo persecution, suffering or pain. When we are weak, God's power and strength are better magnified. Paul, then, says he is "content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities." Can we say that? Notice, that Paul "pleaded with the Lord" for this burden to be lifted, THREE TIMES! Obviously, this "thorn" created much hardship in his life. But once God said to his that His grace was sufficient, Paul rested in that. Those words. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," are not only words to Paul, but to us also. Can we rest in that?
Lord You are good, and Your love endures forever. I pray God that if any of us have a "thorn in our flesh" that we would receive Your words and hold on to them. Lord, Your grace IS sufficient for me. And Your power IS made perfect in my weakness. I pray that I would be at peace with that, and for the sake of Jesus, endure. Thank you for Your grace that is unending and overflowing. Amen
It is so important that whatever you hear, whomever you listen to teach the Bible, make sure you test it with Scripture. For, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) If something you hear does not agree with Scripture, you should not receive it. Just because a man preaches, does not mean what he says comes from the Bible. Just because a man preaches something, does not mean you should assume it's teaching from God. It is your responsibility to study God's Word for yourselves, and not take everything you hear as truth. Think of how many people are being deceived by "preachers" if this is one way that Satan deceives people- even people intending to follow the one and only Jesus! There are some preachers who do not know even they are deceived- and so they think of themselves as true teachers of the Bible, leading their flock the wrong way. Then there are others, who know that what they teach, does not agree with the Bible and yet they continue on, deceiving the hearts of many and dragging them down the road of destruction.
First of all, what are strongholds? Strongholds are ways of thinking, or actions we default to, that are sinful and hold a person captive. A stronghold can be something someone deals with regularly and has a hard time turning away from. Strongholds can be a lie someone has believed for so long that it is hard to not believe it, it can be a habit that is hard to overcome, or a default action- like anger. I believe strongholds are created in and of the devil and it's in a sense a power that the devil has over you. He knows your weakness, and tries to hold you in it. I don't believe we have to have strongholds. If you are a child of God, we can break free from those strongholds with "weapons of warfare of divine power". These weapons are, but not limited to: prayer, the Word of God, faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are struggling with a stronghold, you don't have to. It can be a process, but repentance and getting right with God is your first step. Taking your stronghold to God in prayer, truly having faith that you don't have be enslaved to the stronghold, calling on the Holy Spirit to guide you and intervene on your behalf to God and memorizing, praying and quoting the Word of God. When we memorize Scripture, we can pray it back to God and hold on to His promises. We can also recite it when we are in the midst of our struggle. We can remind Satan of God's Word, just like Jesus did when He was tempted in Matthew 4 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%204&version=ESV ).
That sure takes me off my pedestal- how about you? How often do we commend ourselves? Even without obvious display- let me give you a quick example. So, you get the church newsletter and see the prayer requests from people within the church. That week you decide to pray for those people every day. That's awesome! The following Sunday, you see one of the people you prayed for and go up to them to see how they are doing. They exclaim, "Great! The Lord is good and faithful!" You say," Great news, I was praying for you all week!"
It is absolutely wonderful to pray for someone persistently. It's not even a bad thing to share that you had been praying for them. But what is your motive? Do you want an ounce of credit because you lifted them up to the Lord in prayer? Do you want a pat on the back? Are you leaning toward boasting in your 'powerful prayers' or boasting in the Lord's faithfulness?
How often are we quick to share the good thing we did for someone? Wouldn't it be so much better for that person to share that you blessed them rather than you telling people you blessed someone? It is similar with God. Unless it is God working in and through you, you might be spending your time and energy in vain. "Unless the Lord builds the house,those who build it labor in vain." Psalm 127:1.
The point of the matter is this: If you give generously, the Lord will be generous to you. Some people think if I give much, God will give me wealth. That is not necessarily so. God can bless you abundantly in many different ways other than monetarily. If you give to be blessed, then I would say that you aren't sowing bountifully- you may be giving a large amount, but with an empty heart. God loves when we realize that all that is has been given to us, has been given to us. As quick as it was given, it can also be taken away. God wants us to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us. So, let us give generously with a cheerful heart!
Paul writes about generosity in this chapter. Paul says that if you give to those who are undeserving, you are displaying the grace of God poured out on you. We are undeserving of God's grace, but He bestows His grace upon us regardless.
Sometimes, we look at our finances, and think- boy, we don't have any left to give. Giving should be sacrificial. The church Paul is talking about gave "in a wealth of generosity" when they were going through a major hardship and extreme poverty. They gave even though they themselves were suffering financially. Paul was also surprised at their giving because they first tithed to God, then after, they gave to Paul and his co-ministers to provide for their needs. Paul says in verse 3 that they, gave according to their means, and beyond- on their own accord. This means, they gave because they wanted to, not because they were obligated to.
Poor and rich in this verse do to refer to monetary status. Jesus, who was in heaven, came down from earth in humility, and experienced life and death on earth (poor), so that we might come to know Him and be filled with all the blessings of salvation and relationship with Him (rich).
Paul is not telling you to give money to someone if it provides for them but leaves you struggling. He is just suggesting that when you have more than you need, to help your fellow believers who are in need.
When we realize that all things come from the providing God, we also recognize that all the money we have is not really ours to begin with. When we come to the place in our hearts and minds that all that we have is not ours but God's, what we are given by Him- we can give generously and joyfully.
I know that if I disappoint God by my actions, I feel grief. The Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin, and I fall humbly before God and ask His forgiveness. My heart truly seeks repentance-not just forgiveness.
Our aim is to please God in all that we do.
What does it mean to receive the grace of God in vain? Well, we know that the grace of God comes only through the death Jesus Christ. To receive the grace of God in vain, then, means that you didn't sincerely accept that Jesus died for your sins. Have you turned your back on Jesus? Do you sincerely love Him?
Paul and his co-ministers of the gospel endured trials of many kinds. Let's look at them again:
WOW. Read through that list again. Can you imagine? Would you continue to run that race? Would you stay firm in your faith if you suffered all that he did? He says that he got through it all with:
Do you think you could get through his hardships if you you had the above strengthening you?
I love the following verse:
First I want to point out that Belial is another name for Satan. These verses can be very troubling, discouraging or even insulting to a believer if they are dating, or even married to, an unbeliever. According to Scripture, in a few places, followers of Christ are not to associate closely with unbelievers- this may be in a close friendship or dating relationship. The term "yoked" means to fasten two animals together, typically oxen, so they work together and move as one in the same direction. In these verses Paul is using the term "yoked" to define one person united with another- they move as one in the same direction. If we think again to the oxen- both binded together, and one animal moves left, the other is pulled in that direction. If one stops, while they are in motion, the other will either need to stop also or the one who stopped needs to start moving again. They are one driving force. The same is with a believer yoked to an unbeliever. Granted, we are not fastened to eachother by a physical harness- but we bound to one another in emotions and possibly a physical wedding ring. If a believer is yoked with an unbeliever, it is possible that the unbeliever would strongly influence the ways of the believer. This is dangerous, which is a reason Paul warns against such a thing here. God does not want for a believer who is married to divorce an unbeliever. Although you chose to marry an unbeliever, or you became a believer while already married, God is still in control of all things. I believe that if you surrender your marriage to God, that He, in His time, will call your spouse to Himself. As it says in 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
If you, a believer, are in a relationship with an unbeliever- that is not bound by marriage- I would strongly urge you to pray and ask God to show you how to deal with this. It is clear through Scripture that God does not want you in this relationship. If you love this person, you can still pray for their salvation while being separated. Would you risk your eternal life because of an earthly relationship? Other places in the Bible where this text is confirmed:
What an incredible chapter- I hope you feel the same. If you have any questions, please email me.
Wow. The first three verses I almost read without thinking them through- but after I read my study notes, they became life to me.
The first two questions are asked with a sense of sarcasm. Paul did not expect the church to answer yes. He goes on to explain that the salvation of the people he is ministering to is the proof that the Spirit of God is behind all that he does. He doesn't need a letter proving what he is doing- the changed lives of the people is the testimony. Instead of letters bring written by ink on a tablet, the testimonies are written with the Holy Spirit in the persons' heart.
Paul claims that he ministry they serve, isn't supported or done by them alone, but by God. They know that the work of salvation in those that choose to believe in Jesus is only by the work of the Holy Spirit and not of their own hands. The "new covenant" is in Jesus saving those who believe in His death, burial and resurrection.
The Lord spoke the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai and carved them on tablets of stone. (Exodus 20) After Moses had written the commandments on two new tablets (because Moses smashed the first two in anger toward the Israelites- Exodus 32), and after he came down from talking with God on Mount Sinai his face shone with glory (Exodus 34:29-35).
Paul's determines to advise the people that the law came to an end when Jesus died and rose again. If Moses was honored as he was by the people, Jesus should then be given more honor. The old testament law was temporary- in place until Jesus came and saved the world by his death and resurrection.
Do we not have the same hope as Paul? Why then are we so afraid to be bold?
In verses 13-18 Paul explains that when people stop living out the religious laws in the old testament, and believe in Jesus, those laws and traditions become meaningless. Once our faces are unveiled to see Jesus, we are transformed to be more like Him.
If you are a believer, this is a great verse to remember. Do you remember when you accepted Jesus, how much freedom came into your life? There was no freedom for those under the law, because the law bound them to man's laws and traditions. Through Christ, those laws are no longer necessary. We are freed not only from them, but also from the bondage of sin.
I just want to make mention that the letter written in much "affliction and anguish" is not the letter of 1 Corinthians, but one of the two letters that are not published in the Bible.
In verses 6-8, Paul is addressing a specific concern within the Corinth church regarding a man who had apparently done wrong, was punished, and now needed forgiveness and love.
Since we have been forgiven by Jesus, we also as Christians, must forgive. When we don't forgive and hold bitterness, anger, or resentment toward another believer, we are allowing Satan to break unity among the church body. Satan's design is to ruin relationships, love and unity between people and especially between a person and God.
The term "aroma of Christ" refers to the pleasing aroma arising from a sacrifice presented to God, practiced in the old testment. When someone burned a sacrifice to God, it would often say the aroma was pleasing. Since Christ is the ultimate sacrifice and Paul is 'sacrificing' his life in full time ministry for Christ, he is stating that his work presents the aroma of Christ- to all those whom he comes in contact with- believers and unbelievers.
Lover of Jesus, wife to a great husband, mother of 3 young children. I love to write, cook, and make greeting cards! Read more about me and my family here.