Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson




Second Corinthians reveals Paul’s deep concern for a troubled Greek church. The Church at Corinth had great potential, but its history was marked by dissension, confusion in theology, distortions in worship, and apathy in moral concerns. Therefore, it is a letter of extreme relevance for churches in our day and age.

This is a unique letter with a writing style that is very personal, bold, at times sarcastic, and very defensive. It shares the concern, passion, intimate feelings and thoughts of an apostle who is defending his own apostleship and ministry in a church, which he founded. 2 Cor. gives the impression of a man who is on his feet fighting a battle with his feelings and personal biases clearly involved. It reads almost like a man who expresses freely his feelings about himself and his ministry in a journal.


If it weren’t for a tiny four-mile strip of land the southern part of Greece would be an island. That little strip of land joins the two parts of Greece together. The city of Corinth stood on that narrow neck of land. All of the land traffic from Athens and northern Greece to Sparta had to be routed through Corinth. Also the east to west traffic of the Mediterranean passed across this strip of land. The extreme southern tip of Greece, the Malea, was the most dangerous cape in the Mediterranean for shipping lanes. The Greek mariners said, "Let him who sails round Malea forget his home." Another said, "Let him who sails round Malea first make his will."

If the ships were small enough they were dragged out of the water, set on rollers, and hauled across the isthmus, and re-launched on the other side. "The isthmus was actually called the Diolkos, the place of dragging across." If the ship was too large to be dragged across the isthmus, the cargo was unloaded and carried by porters to the other side and re-embarked on another ship at the opposite side.

Corinth was a rich, thriving, commercial, cosmopolitan city of almost 700,000 people. It was located on the Isthmus of Corinth connecting northern and southern Greece. The city was one of the greatest trading and commercial centers in the Roman Empire. Farrar wrote, "Objects of luxury soon found their way to the markets which were visited by every nation in the civilized world. . ." It was also the place where the Isthmaian Games were held, which were second only to the Olympics.

But it also became a byword for its moral corruption. Corinth became synonymous with immorality. To live like a Corinthian meant to have extremely low moral standards and loose conduct. They used the word korinthiazesthai meant to live like a Corinthian (to Corinthianize), i.e., live a drunken, immoral, perverted life style.

If that life style wasn’t bad enough above the city was a hill called Acropolis, and on it stood the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Perhaps it would be more accurately named the goddess of lust. A thousand priestesses, or sacred prostitutes were attached to this temple. At night they came down from their temple to ply their trade upon the streets of Corinth.

From 350-250 B.C. Corinth was the most prominent city in Greece. Disaster fell upon Corinth in 146 B.C., and the city was completely destroyed when the Romans conquered Greece. After a century of ruins, in 46 B.C. Julius Caesar rebuilt her, and she became a Roman colony, and capital city of the Roman province of Achaea from 27 B. C. The merchants came back and she regained her commercial supremacy under the Romans. A large colony of displaced Jews grew in the city. Trades people from all over the world came to Corinth. "Roman Corinth quickly regained the prosperity of its predecessor. . . With the old prosperity, the old reputation for sexual laxity returned."

As a Gospel witness it was both a strategic and difficult city. The citizens enjoyed a diverse life-style. Many races and cultures greatly influenced the character of the city. Transients and tourists came to Corinth in search of pleasure, diversion, and commerce. It was a hotbed of crime and vice.


On his second missionary journey (c. A. D. 50), Paul established the church in Corinth (Acts 18:1-18). He came from Athens after an extremely difficult situation. One scholar suggests that Paul was in a dejected mood when he arrived.

He had been forced to flee from one Macedonian city after another leaving behind churches in Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea. He arrived in Corinth in a state of "weakness and in much fear and trembling" (I Cor. 2:3). According to Paul’s example it was a long ministry, eighteen-months, second only to his stay at Ephesus. In Corinth he lived with Aquilla and Priscilla, who until recently had resided in Rome, but were forced leave by Claudius’ edict expelling Jewish colony from Rome. This rather well–to–do couple followed Paul’s customary manner of tent-making and preaching in the synagogue. Timothy and Silas arrived from Macedonia to help. The term was characterized by continuing harassment by unbelieving Jews, and Paul was forced to leave the synagogue (Acts 18:6). Crispus was the ruler of the synagogue who became a believer. Titus Justus, a recent convert, opened his house for services and became the first meeting-place of the Corinthian church. The church grew rapidly and included both Jews and God–fearing pagans. When Paul left the city for Syria (A. D. 52) "there was a large and vigorous, though volatile, church there."

However, the young believers later met pressures from troublemakers and divisive forces from within.


Internal evidence suggests strongly that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians on his third missionary journey. Various dates between 55 A. D and 57 A. D. have been proposed. And approximate date of 55 A. D. for 1 Corinthians and 56-57 A. D. for 2 Corinthians would be acceptable.

The occasion for 2 Corinthians was the resurgence of hostility and antagonism toward Paul’s apostolic authority. Various allegations against Paul are scattered throughout the letter (1:15ff; 3:1ff; 10:1ff, 13ff; 11:7ff; 12:12).

The place of writing is Macedonia, a year or more after 1 Corinthians and before the writing of Romans (Acts 20:1-3; Rom. 16:1).

A chronology of the difficulty in determining these dates and occasion is given below.


1. Paul visited Corinth on his second missionary journey and established a church there about A.D. 50 Acts 18:1-17).

2. While in Ephesus (A.D. 55), Paul heard of moral problems within the Corinthian church from Chloe’s people and wrote a letter of instruction to them. He referred to this "previous letter" in 1 Cor. 5:9. This letter no longer exists; it was lost without trace. We will call it Paul’s "Corinthians A" letter after F. F. Bruce’s designation.

3. Paul received a letter from some of the members in the church concerning serious problems within the fellowship (I Cor. 7:1). They sought Paul’s counsel in dealing with the issues. The family of Chloe came with news of the church (I Cor. 1:11), and the visit of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus (I Cor. 16:17). On the basis of the letter and other information that reached him in Ephesus about problems in the church, Paul wrote what is now called 1 Corinthians in about A.D. 55 and sent it to Corinth via Timothy (I Cor. 4:17). We will call 1 Corinthians letter "Corinthians B".

4. The pastoral letter, 1 Corinthians, was not successful and the situation grows worse. In fact, it seems to have stimulated further rebellion against Paul’s authority. In response Paul probably made a brief visit across the Aegean Sea to Corinth in a personal attempt to resolve the crisis (2 Cor. 2:1; 12:14; 13:1-2). This is often referred to as the "painful visit" which breaks his heart. Paul was rebuffed by members of the church. The opposition comes to a head with one member in particular defying his authority. The leadership in the church took no effective action in Paul’s defense. Paul, deeply humiliated, left Corinth.

5. The "painful visit" didn’t accomplish its goal, therefore Paul returned to Ephesus and wrote a third letter to the Corinthians "out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears." It is referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4, 9, and 7:8, 12. This "exceedingly severe letter," delivered by Titus (2 Cor. 2:3f, 13; 7:13), is often called the stern or rebuking letter. This letter left Paul almost sorry that he had written it. We will call it letter "Corinthians C".

6. Titus visited Corinth with the "severe letter" in an attempt to reconcile the situation. Paul, in the mean time, was so anxious to hear from Titus that he left Ephesus traveling north to Troas seeking him (2 Cor. 2:13; 7:5, 13). Somewhere in Macedonia, probably Philippi, Paul received the good news from Titus of a change in attitude in the Corinthian church. The leader of rebellion had been rejected and disciplined. The church was once again open to Paul’s counsel and desirous of his friendship.

7. Paul responded by writing 2 Corinthians from Philippi around A.D. 56 or early A.D. 57. We will call this letter "Corinthians D."

8. Paul made a final visit to Corinth (Acts 20:1-3) during which he solidified his relationship with the church and received the mission offering for the Jerusalem church. On this stay in Corinth Paul probably wrote his letter to the Romans. He sends Titus back to them with two other friends.

F. F. Bruce is of the opinion that "this second visit of Titus to Corinth was not so happy as the former one. . . Paul was really putting them on the spot. . . . A new feeling of resentment showed itself among some members of the church, and it was fostered by certain visitors to Corinth who did their best to undermine Paul’s prestige in his converts’ eyes." He bases his theory on 2 Cor. 10-13.


False teachers who claimed to be apostles had infiltrated the Corinthian church with the goal of discrediting Paul’s ministry and apostleship. This letter was written with the purpose of refuting these intruders. Paul is defending his integrity.

1. Paul wrote to prepare the Corinthians for his visit and insure the restored relationship with them (chapter 1-7).

2. He wrote to remind the church of their commitment to the offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem (chapters 8-9).

3. Paul defended his apostolic authority (chapters 10-13).

4. "He wrote to reprimand the obstinate remnants of the ‘Cephas’ and ‘Christ’ factions for their persistent opposition" (Shepard, p. 273).


Paul did not sit down and write his letter to the church. He dictated them to a secretary and then wrote a personal note and his authenticating signature. At the end of I Corinthians he says: "This is my signature, my autograph, so that you can be sure this letter comes from me" (I Cor. 16:21; cf. Col. 4:18; II Thess. 3:17). In my mind’s eye I see Paul walking back and forth in a little room, pouring forth his heart and soul, while a secretary raced to get all the words down. In Paul’s mind were those whom he was addressing. In the letter to the Romans we know who the amanuensis was. His name was Tertius (Rom. 16:22). 

(Excerpted from Abide In Christ, Introduction to Second Corinthians by Wil Pounds (c) 2006,

Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson


2 Corinthians 1


1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


The second letter to the Corinthians was a letter from Paul while Timothy was with him.  Notice again that Paul reminds the Corinthian church that he is a foundational apostle who was commissioned by Jesus Christ, by God Himself.  Paul opens with this because there had been challenges to Paul’s authority since his first letter.  There were false apostles coming into the church at Corinth claiming the same authority as Paul. He will expand upon this idea later but it is important to note that his is probably the main purpose of this second letter.  Though Paul had planted the church in Corinth, he also reminds them that it is the church of God.  No Christian leader, even if a foundational apostle or church planting missionary, can claim that it is their church.  They are simply under-shepherds of God’s church. 


1Pe 5:2  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

1Ti 3:15  if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.


Sometimes church leaders forget that the Church belongs to Christ, not to the overseers.  This is too often the case today.  Certain men in leadership in the church of Corinth were assuming the church was their church and forgetting that it belongs to God and that Paul was the foundational apostle who planted it.  Finally Paul reminds them that as born again believers in Christ they already share in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in salvation (Rom. 5:15) and the peace that passes all understanding that comes from salvation (Php. 4:6)


The God of All Comfort


3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.


Paul was going through sufferings at the time he wrote this letter, and he also surmised that the Corinthian church was suffering because of some of the things they had allowed into their church.  Suffering is what happens when false teaching is allowed into churches.  But God is a God of compassion and if we continue to place our trust in Him he will comfort us in all our troubles.  Why does God do this?  It is for our own comfort but does not stop there.  It is so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  It is like the picture of a cup.  When water is poured into it eventually it will overflow.  The overflow of the comfort Christ brings to us is what will flow into the lives of others.  When God has helped us through our times of trouble many times He can use us to help others through similar circumstances.  God can turn very negative things in our lives into a way to empathize and understand the sufferings of others so that we can be a source of comfort and counsel for them. 


Col 3:12  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


Paul sets himself up as an example of this principle.  He wants them to realize and think through what he is doing in ministry.  He could have simply been a tent-maker.  But he is going through the trials and persecution so that others might have salvation and comfort.  There is purpose to the distress God has allowed Paul to suffer.  It is so that many might be saved, comforted and that they might learn “patient endurance” if they have to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.  Many would have to suffer at the hands of the Romans later and Paul was preparing them to have the right mindset to endure it but example.  Paul was already enduring suffering … their suffering was still to come.  But at this point they were not prepared for it.  They were focused on their own little church problems.  But Paul had hope for them, for those who loved Paul and shared in his sufferings because he knows that God is a God of comfort and would comfort them as well.  We can depend on God because when He allows sufferings to come our way He will also provide a way out.


1Co 10:13  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.


8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our[a] behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.


Paul was not just stressed out.  He and those with him had endured pressure from persecution beyond what he would normally have been able to bear.  So much so that they had almost given up on being able to continue living.  This does not mean they were suicidal but that they believed they were going to be killed.  But God allowed this terrible pressure on them so that it would strengthen their faith.


Jas 1:3  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Jas 1:12  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

2Th 3:3  But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.


Our reliance should be on God, the only One who can raise from the dead.  If we rely on our own strength we can be defeated.  But if we understand our own weaknesses and understand the strength of God we can come through even the sentence of death.  That means not only surviving death threats but even surviving death to come to eternal life.


Php 1:21  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.


Paul shows them that he believes that whatever God has in store for him that he will not lose his faith in God.  He believe that God will ALWAYS deliver him, whether in life our death.  But we need to uphold one another in prayer, especially when our brothers and sisters in Christ are going through struggles.  The faithful in Corinth were praying for Paul and he credits this as making a difference.  There were many times growing up on the mission field and in mission work where I know God delivered us by His grace and the prayers of faithful Christians.  Paul reveals one of the reasons God allows us to share in His Work of answering prayers. The reason is for people to understand the power and purpose of prayer so that many will give thanks for that the Lord is doing.  People can be persuaded to follow Christ or to be more faithful when they see prayers answered.  So God has given this to Christians as a tool for the spread of the Gospel and for the encouragement of the saints.  This is why it is a shame that so few churches are churches that spend a significant time in prayer.


Paul's Change of Plans


12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.


Paul now begins to explain the difference between him of some of the false teachers who had come to Corinth, both from outside and from inside.  First of all Paul states that he has been a man of integrity and truth.  He has not spoken to them out of his own wisdom but through God’s grace and His wisdom.  He does not use big words or hard to understand intellectual arguments in teaching them.  Because of these attributes in Paul they have ample basis upon which to follow his teachings and to boast about him to others.  This is in contrast to what false teachers do. 


Jude 1:8-13 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved for ever.

Eph 4:14  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.


But in contrast to false teachers Paul does not pollute his own body, does not reject authority, does not slander celestial beings, is not in ministry to feed himself either physically or spiritually, and does no use the cunning and craftiness of man to deceptively scheme.  He presents the truth plainly for the benefit of others with integrity.


15 Because I was confident of this, I planned to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, "Yes, yes" and "No, no"?


Paul wanted to do everything he could to help the church at Corinth deal with a number of issues.  So he planned to visit them twice to spend more time with them.   He is not like other false teachers who might come by twice to collect money, or to try to take more followers away from Christ by putting down Paul.  Paul was making great sacrifices for the Corinthian church but they were still fooling around and not taking his words seriously.  Paul was not a man to say “yes” when he meant “no” or vice versa.  He was a man of his word and was expecting them to be as all.


18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas[b] and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.


Paul does not go back on his word and neither does God.  Our promises to one another should also be firm.  We should not promise “yes” to people when we really mean “no”.  We need to be men and women whose word can be trusted, men and women of integrity.  Why?  Because if we are followers of Christ then we must do a Christ does.  Not only that but every time God promises something it is a “yes”.  God is a witness within Himself to His promises of “yes” and He is the one who says “Amen” (“Let it be”) to those promises.  This does not mean that God never says no.  Paul is talking about promises God has made and the answer is “yes, I will fulfill those promises just as I have spoken”.  But be careful about putting words in God’s mouth.  I know many so-called Christians who claim God has promised something when He has not.  The promises of God in His written Word are “yes”.  Those who claim to be hearing promises of God by other means we must test.  But when it comes to the promises Paul is referring to, Barnes says: The promises of God which are made through Christ, relate to the pardon of sin to the penitent; the sanctification of his people; support in temptation and trial; guidance in perplexity; peace in death, and eternal glory beyond the grave. All of these are made through a Redeemer, and none of these shall fail,  (Barnes Commentary) Those promises of God are a firm “yes”.  But we must be careful not to apply verse 20 to everything we desire like Word of Faith people do.  Not everything we request is “yes” from God.  Our requests must be in line with the following Biblical criteria in order for God to hear our requests:


MOTIVES RIGHT: Jas 4:3  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

ACCORDING TO HIS WILL: 1Jo 5:14  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us

ACCORDING TO HIS WORD: John 15:7  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

LIVING IN OBEDIENCE: 1 John 3:21-22  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.


God is the One who helps us stand firm in Him.  We can wander away from Him but if we have placed our trust in Him He will always bring us back.  The reason those who are true believers can be assured of God’s promise to see us through till the end is because of His indwelling Holy Spirit.  Only those who are born again are sealed with the Holy Spirit and the deposit of the Holy Spirit has been made in our hearts.  Therefore those who are born again can be confident the God will honor all His promises.  God guarantees what is to come both in suffering and in the glory of the resurrection.   We have been anointed with the Anointing of Jesus Christ; that is we have an inheritance in Jesus Christ as sons of the King.  That cannot be taken away from us.  What a great promise!


But we have a responsibility in this: we must hold firmly to our faith till the end.


Heb 3:14  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.


The test to know if we truly share in Christ is if we hold firmly till the end to our faith.


Heb 4:14  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, {Or gone into heaven} Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

1Co 15:2  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.


There are those who believe in vain.  But those who hold firmly to their faith will be found, in the end, to have been saved.


23 I call God as my witness that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.


Paul did not come back to Corinth because he wanted them to have time to work on the things he had warned them about.  It looks like Paul was afraid they would think he was “lording it over them” if he came back to remind them again about what he said.  This is something to remember in ministry and even in raising a family.  It is best to not continually harp on something that is being done that is wrong.  Pick your moment with God’s help and state the problem clearly.  Then allow the Lord time to work that situation out in their lives.  Nagging can often drive people further into rebellion.  God works in those who are His so we need to give Him time to work if we needed to apply rebuke.  It that person or church is in the true faith and standing firm, God will work.  If not there will be continued trouble and they may have to hear the same words of rebuke again.  There does come a time when we must let the situation go, however.   God has many ways of working and He will do His work using us or others in those who stand firm in the Faith.  We have to just trust and pray for His mercy in that case. 


Footnotes: 2 Corinthians 1:11 Many manuscripts your.2 Corinthians 1:19 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas


Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson
2 Corinthians 2


1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.


Sometimes it is better, as we started to look at last week, not to over-grieve those we wish to help.  We certainly know that as a principle when dealing with our children.


Eph 6:4  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Col 3:21  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.


Paul does not want to discourage his “children” in the Lord by rebuking them further even though they needed to heed Paul’s warnings to them.  So the principle that holds true for earthly fathers is also applicable to rebuke within the Church.  We have to be careful of rebuke to unbelievers because they cannot understand rebuke without the Holy Spirit.


Pr 9:8  Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

Mt 7:6  "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.


But we are called to employ rebuke where it is warranted in the Church.


Tit 1:13  This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith

Lu 17:3  So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.


We are to watch ourselves and the way in which we give rebuke to brothers in Christ.  We are to tell the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).  Then we also need to give the Lord time to work in the lives of born again believers as Paul was giving the Corinthian Christians.  We need to be careful to allow the Lord to lead us to when is the right time to rebuke people and when is the right time to wait and pray.  As teachers we can continue to teach them and train them, but the Lord will show us the right time to bring sharp rebuke.


Paul wrote to the church at Corinth with many tears, not in judgment but in love.  He was telling the truth in love.  True love for a fellow believer is to tell them the truth in love if they are wandering.  It is NOT love to let them continue on down a wrong road.  We may be the one person who can help them.  This is especially true today when we live in an age of a lack of Biblical discernment.


Forgiveness for the Sinner


5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.


This is evidently talking about the man who Paul commanded them to disfellowship for having a sexual affair with his mother. 


1 Cor. 5: 1- 6  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature {Or that his body; or that the flesh} may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?


Yeast is a picture of what a bad or good influence (most times in the Bible bad) can do to a church.  But time had passed and the man who was disfellowshipped and handed over to Satan had evidently repented and returned to Christ.  When someone who has sinned and been thrown out of fellowship we are to restore them just like we do not want to overly grieve someone by rebuking them over and over again.  We are to reaffirm our love for them if they have truly repented and accept them fully back into fellowship.  That does not mean we put them back into a position of leadership in the Church.  It means they are to be restored to fellowship and are to obey the Lord.  Paul gives the basis for forgiving someone a sin against us personally or against their brothers and sisters in the Church.  I covered this in my “Lessons In Forgiveness” Bible study.  The following is what I wrote about 2 Cor. 2:10.


We must be especially quick to forgive our brothers who repent (2 Cor. 2:7).  If others in the Church forgive people we are to also forgive them.  We are not to hold against them forever what they have done in the past.  We must lay that down and wipe the slate clean.  This usually means that person must be restored over time.  A person who has sinned must not be immediately put back into leadership in the Church.  He must be restored to fellowship, but they must also be discipled and observed over time to be sure they will not be falling back into a lifestyle sin.


We are to forgive because we do not want the enemy to gain a foothold in the churches and in individual Christians.  Some of the devices of Satan, of which we are to be aware, are these: he tempts to disobedience (Gen. 3:4-5), he wants saints to slander God (Job 1:9-11), he removes the good seed (13:19), he sows tares among the wheat (Matt. 13:38), he promotes lying, lust and murder (John 8:44), he produces false miracles (2 Thes 2:9) in order to deceive, he inflames unrelenting anger (Eph. 4:26-27) and he wants us to be unforgiving (2 Cor. 2:5-11).


Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col. 3:13)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:32)


Our model is Christ.  He forgave our sins when we were still sinners.  But when we repented of sin He forgave us.  Whenever we sin, if we confess our sins, He will forgive them.  We need to have the same attitude of forgiveness.  We need to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.   That is the pattern of a true believer.  If we harbor unforgiveness for our brothers in the Lord then we are not living a Christ-like life.  Our brother’s sins become a sin for us and may cause us to commit the sins of slander and gossip, which end in malice, revenge and hatred.


A good example from the Bible of forgiveness is found in the story of Joseph.  Joseph had been sinned against by his brothers yet he forgave them and restored them after testing them.  That is a good model for the church in the case of someone who sins against another believer or the whole church.


Ministers of the New Covenant


12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.


Paul was not a loner though he was not afraid to stand alone in his stand for the truth.  But we all need fellowship and Paul was the same as we are.  Paul worked with others to preach and teach.  He worked with Barnabas, John Mark and Silas.  Then Barnabas took John Mark and went to Cyprus (Acts 15:39) and Paul took Silas and went on to Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:41).  Later he worked with Timothy, Titus and many others.  Paul was not prepared to preach the Gospel in Troas without the aid of Titus so he moved on to Macedonia.  Paul likely had no peace of mind not only because of the absence of Titus but also because of the situation in Corinth.


14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.


Did you know you are a pleasing smell to God?  If you are truly serving Him you are like incense.  You are like the smell of a wonderful steak on the barbeque.  Not only that but the aroma, the presence of Christians, is a sweet smell to those who are dying in their sins and want to believe and repent.  You are the smell of death to a person who does not want to believe, but to another you are a wonderful smell.  One time I went to the dump here on Oahu.  I had some heavy stuff to dump so I had to get out of my van, carry the heavy stuff over to a pile of garbage, and throw it in.  When I threw it in I noticed a pile of rotten crabs had been dumped where I was standing.  That smell was so bad when I breathed it in that I almost fainted.  I closed nose and breathed through my mouth, which almost always works.  But the smell was so bad that it burned my throat and left a terrible taste in my mouth.  It took a number of hours for that smell to go away.  Anything dead is going to smell awful once it starts to decay.  Sometimes the life we have in Christ is very offensive to those who do not want to believe.  In fact they will do anything to get rid of that smell.  They will persecute and even kill people who talk about their relationship with Jesus Christ.  But there are others who have an open heart and welcome the fragrant life of freedom in Christ.  Those who think a true Christian living out his witness in the world stinks like death are very deceived.  But we cannot live out our life as a fragrance before God and men without the help of the Lord.  We are not equal to that task, only the Holy Spirit Who indwells us.  We are not selling a product to the world for money.  That is what is so hard for the world to understand.  We do what we do because of the free gift given to us, and we pass that along.  Those who are in “ministry” for money are an abomination.  We are to speak to men knowing God is watching what we say and what motives we have, and when we witness out of honesty we are not only a pleasing aroma to God but we are like men sent from God to those who are looking for an answer.

Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson


2 Corinthians 3


Letter of Recommendation

While working with Mr. Smith, I have always found him
working studiously and sincerely at his table without
gossiping with colleagues in the office. He seldom
wastes his time on useless things. Given a job, he always
finishes the given assignment in time. He is always
deeply engrossed in his official work, and can never be
found chitchatting in the canteen. He has absolutely no
vanity in spite of his high accomplishment and profound
knowledge of his field. I think he can easily be
classed as outstanding, and should on no account be
dispensed with. I strongly feel that Mr. Smith should be
pushed to accept promotion, and a proposal to management be
sent away as soon as possible.

Regards, Branch Manager

A second note followed the report:

Mr. Smith was present when I was writing the report mailed to you today. Kindly read only the odd numbered lines for my true assessment of him.

Regards, Branch Manager

1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.


There were apparently those who did not believe that Paul had the authority of an apostle. Yet he was the one who started the church at Corinth.  How easily people forget what happened in the past, especially when false teachers try to usurp the authority of the Lord and His apostles.  Paul does not need letters of recommendation from anyone.  That is because the Corinthian church witnessed the proof of Paul’s teaching and authority and Paul is simply reminding them of that.  The letter of recommendation is the stamp of approval from the Lord on Paul’s ministry and is written by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those Christians who are living in obedience to the Lord.  When Paul says: not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts this is also a reference to the fact that as a born again Spirit-filled believer we are no longer condemned by the law written on tablets of stone because Jesus Christ fulfilled the whole Law for us, but now Christ is writing His law, the law of grace which is love, on our hearts.


Ga 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." {Deut. 21:23}

Ro 8:2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Ro 10:4  Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Ga 6:2  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.

Joh 1:17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.


The law of Christ is being written on the hearts of those truly born again not by ink but by the Spirit, not on stone but on our hearts.  Because of that we have a witness within us as to who is a true teacher and who is a false teacher if we listen to our conscience guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word. 


4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


God gives us the ability to discern and to minister the new covenant of Jesus Christ.  We can be confident through of God’s promises not because we are competent in ourselves but because our competence, our ability to know the difference between right and wrong, false teachers and true teachers, comes from God Who’s Spirit lives within us.  Paul reminds them that it is not his own competence that commends him or authorizes him to do the apostolic work he has been doing, but God is the one who authorized him.  Paul is also addressing the fact that he did not come to them preaching the Law but grace.  The Law condemns, but grace gives life through the Spirit.  Paul had already stated to the Galatians that those who preach the Law, trying to add it on to the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, were an abomination.


Gal. 1:6-9  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!


The true Gospel of grace, which Paul preached, also testified to His calling from Jesus Christ.  A different gospel is one of the most obvious marks of a false teacher.  We will look at that later in this study.


2Co 11:4  For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.


The Glory of the New Covenant


7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!


The Ten Commandments came from the hand of God written in stone.


De 9:10  The LORD gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the LORD proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.

Ex 34:30  When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.


If the presence of God could make Moses’ face shine, will not the presence of the Lord by His Spirit in the Church and in individual Christians be even more glorious?  Why?  Because the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant and the new law of Christ supercedes the Mosaic Law.  The Law condemned men but the ministry of reconciliation through Christ that brings imputed righteousness to those who believe is even more glorious.  In fact the Law, in comparison to the Law of Christ, which is love through grace, is no glory at all.  The glory that comes with Christ will not fade away as the glory faded away from the face of Moses and he wore a veil because it was fading away.  There is no comparison between the Law, which only served to prove to men that they were sinners and the Gospel, which proves to men that, though they are sinners, Christ died in their place to fulfill the Law and pay our penalty for us … to glorify the Father, the Father glorifying the Son and the Son bringing all those who believe in Him to glory.


12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect[a] the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


This is such a profound truth.  Those who are true born again Christians have a glory that does not fade away as the glory eventually did from the face of Moses.  But those who continue in the Law, it is as if they have a veil over their understanding.  Only in Christ can they (1) understand what the Law means and (2) be set free from it.  The minds of those who still live under the Law has been made dull and the Law is of not use to them, particularly since they can never live up to the requirements of the Law. 


Ro 3:20  Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.


The Law today looks like Moses did when he wore a veil to hide the fading glory from his face.  The glory of the Law has faded with the coming of Christ Who is the glory, not just for the Jews, but for the Gentiles as well.  Only Christ can remove the veil from the hearts of the Jews who follow the Law.  The Jews must turn to the Lord, believe that He is the Messiah, in order for the veil of the Law to be taken away from their hearts.  Only then can they experience the freedom Christ gives those who are born again in the Spirit because where the Spirit of the Lord dwells there is true freedom.  Those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ are like Moses without his veil, but greater because the glory we have is from the indwelling Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher and we are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.


Joh 14:26  But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.


 That means we are being sanctified and in the process of being glorified.


Rom. 8:29-30  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


God’s glory shines through those who are committed to Him and to the law of Christ, which is love. The Lord is the Spirit.  When you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, you have the Lord.  As you walk with Him the glory increases and He is in the process of transforming you into His likeness, that is the likeness of His character, the likeness of His Spirit.



2 Corinthians 3:18 Or contemplate


Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson


2 Corinthians 4


An art connoisseur was walking by a butcher shop when he noticed a mangy little kitten lapping up milk from a saucer. The saucer, he realized with a start, was a rare and precious piece of pottery. He immediately entered the shop and offered the owner two dollars for the kitten. "Sorry, but it's not for sale," said the proprietor. "Look," said the collector, "that kitten is dirty and undesirable, but I'm eccentric. I like kittens that way. I'll raise my offer to ten dollars." "You've got a deal," said the proprietor, and pocketed the ten on the spot. "For that sum, I'm sure you won't mind throwing in the saucer," said the connoisseur. "The kitten seems so happy drinking from it." "Not a chance!" said the proprietor firmly. "That happens to be my lucky saucer. From that saucer, so far this week, I've sold 27 kittens!"


Doesn’t have anything to do with our lesson except Chapter 4 starts by talking about how Christians are fine pottery made by the Master Potter, and that our fragile bodies contain the Holy Spirit and though we go through many trials the Lord works with us in our weakness.  Have you ever seen a potter make a bowl or jar on a potter’s wheel?  It is an art to make good pottery and God is in the business of making you into a “rare and precious piece of pottery”. 


Isa 64:8  Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.


The picture of man being a pot made by the Master Potter is very appropriate since man was formed of dirt which is what clay pots are made of.


Ge 2:7  the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.


The Lord made us to begin with, but remade us when we were born again, and is still working on us to produce a beautiful and perfect result.  God breathed the breath of life into us and created our spirit.  When we were born again He added His Holy Spirit into our lives in our new nature, thus born again, the second birth.  He then works in us in our fragile finite human flesh and mind to mold us to be more and more like His Son.  We are truly treasures in jars of clay. 


Treasures in Jars of Clay


1 Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.


Paul compares himself, the Apostles and those sent out by the Apostles to plant churches against unbelievers and false brothers.  Paul did not lose heart when people persecuted him.  He does not lose heart because he had abandoned the sinful ways of unbelievers and being a false teacher himself.  Paul had persecuted the Church at one time, but God had changed him and he would never go back to that way of life.  Unbelievers and false teachers use secret and shameful ways to deceive people and they often do so by distorting the Word of God.  True Apostles taught from the Old Testament to prove to people that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.  They spoke the truth plainly, not in riddles, secrets and fables but plainly so that those who had a sharpened conscience would know that they were true and that the Gospel they preached was authentic.  They did not veil the Gospel in mysticism and myths but explained it simply and plainly from the Word.  The Gospel must be proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit from the Word of God in order for people to hear.  The minds of unbelievers are blinded and they cannot understand the Gospel without the conviction of the Holy Spirit whereby they come to understand that they are sinners in the hands of a God who will judge them.  The only way to truly proclaim the Gospel is to explain to people that Jesus Christ is God, that He is Lord.  If men do not realize fully that He is Lord they will not confess their sins and they cannot believe.  Most false teachers get the Gospel wrong.  They do not explain it clearly.  People cannot be saved if the Gospel is not presented.  God uses believers to present the Gospel to the world.  It is His job to convict and to save but it is our job to preach the Gospel plainly.  This is why it is the most important thing we do as believers.  When we finally believed God shed his Light into our hearts.  The things that were in darkness were revealed and it was then that our eyes were opened.  God gave us a choice whether to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, or not.  The Holy Spirit of God shined His light on the face of Jesus Christ so that we could see Him clearly.  The Holy Spirit always focuses our attention on Christ.


John 15:26  "When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 

John 16:13-16  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."


This is another way to test a church or teacher.  If their focus is always on the Holy Spirit then they have their focus in the wrong place or on the wrong spirit.  The Holy Spirit always focuses our attention on Christ and teaches us about Jesus.


7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.


God made us in His image, which means that we are body, soul and spirit like He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  But the first man was also formed out of the lowest thing on the earth, the dust.  That is where the saying “dust to dust, ashes to ashes” comes from.  God made our physical beings, and it is He who shaped us even when we were in our mother’s womb.


Ps 139:13  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.


He shaped our bodies and He blows the breath of life into us.  He made our spirits to be eternal, whether to be with Him or end up eternally in judgment if we do not believe.


Zec 12:1  This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares:

Mt 25:46  "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."


Our fragility in flesh and soul simply contrasts us with the Lord who is all-powerful and everlasting.  But when we are born again that jar of clay becomes a testimony to the glory of God.  It testifies that He made us, He sustains us, and He rescued us through His Son, Jesus Christ.


Isa 46:4  Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.


This is why we can go through any trial or hardship because it is the Lord who is guiding us, carrying us and rescuing us.  Paul reminds the Corinthian church that he is a perfect example of that principle.  Paul was hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  This is a great comfort to us as we go through life as Christians.  The Lord will not abandon us.  He is always there, knowing full well what is going on, and is ready to rescue us.  He teaches us through the hard times and blesses us, if we trust in Him and strengthen our faith. 


Heb 12:2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Pet. 1:5-8  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Our weakness in body, our surrender to Jesus Christ, putting to death sin in our body on the cross constantly reminds us that it is only through Jesus Christ that we also have life.


Lu 9:23  Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.


Any life that we have, true life, is because of Jesus Christ living in us.  If we think we have life without Him or can have life, we fool ourselves.  We need Him.  Death is always at work in the true believer.  Paul was an example of what should be happening in every believer.  We must be brought to death to sin by the Lord, following Him daily, in order for our lives to shine forth His life to others.  As we die to sin, and are made to die to sin by following the Lord, we are promised not death but life, abundant life.


Joh 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


But Christ death must be at work in us, not just once but everyday, to have both the life full and abundant, and eternal life.


Php 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.


13 It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."[b]With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.


Our confidence in abundant life is through the death of Jesus Christ.  Our confidence in eternal life is the resurrection of Christ.  David believed in God and spoke that belief to the people and in the Psalms (116:10).  It is that same faith we have when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and confess it.


Ro 10:9-10  That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.


Because of that belief and continuing belief that God the Father raised the Son from the dead, we have confidence that He will also raise us to be with Jesus and be in His presence at the Resurrection.


1 Thes. 4:16-18  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.


Paul reminds the Corinthian Christians that what Jesus Christ has done, and what Paul testified to with his own life, is for their benefit, not as a hindrance.  It is so that they might rejoice with Paul as the message of the Gospel reaches more and more people and be participants in that which is bringing glory to God.


16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


There is a book by C.S. Lewis called “The Weight Of Glory”.  If you get a chance to read it, it is one of the most wonderful books.  He talks about how God works miraculously in the life of the believer and brings glory to Himself in doing so.  The things of this world, as the song says, “grow strangely dim in the light of  His glory and grace.”




Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

His word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him, and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect Salvation to tell

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free


There is another song which says, we are just dust in the wind.  We are all destined to grow old and die, and many will die before old age.  Our bodies start out young and strong and end up old and used up.  But the difference for a believer is that inwardly, in our spirit, we are being renewed by the Lord day by day and remain just as fresh as we were when God gave us the breath of life.  Quite the opposite is true of unbelievers.  Not only are they growing old on the outside but they are also wasting away on the inside.


Eze 18:20  The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.


Notice that we all have to be judged for our own sins.  If you are in Christ you no longer stand condemned.  But the wicked are awaiting condemnation.


Ro 8:1  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Tit 3:11  You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.


We must always remember that the troubles we experience in this life are but a fleeting moment in the eternity we will spend where there is not longer sickness, crying, pain or death.


Re 21:4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


So we keep our eyes on God.  Our faith is not blind faith, but it is faith in the unseen.


Heb 11:1  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


Someday we will see Him and our faith and hope will be answered with eternal love.


1Co 13:13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


What we have now is temporary but we place out faith in the unseen God Who is eternal.


1Ti 1:17  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.



2 Corinthians 4:6 Gen. 1:3

2 Corinthians 4:13 Psalm 116:10


Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson


2 Corinthians 5


Our Heavenly Dwelling


1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.


God has prepared for us a new heavenly body that cannot die or be destroyed for eternity.


1 Pet. 1:3-5   Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.


The ultimate salvation is when we get our new bodies and join with the Lord forever, first in the Millennial Kingdom, then finally in the new heaven and new earth.  God has also promised those who are in His Son that He has already prepared a place for us in the new earth.


Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.


Where we live now, in our human bodies and in this time and space, is compared to a tent.  But in the eternal Kingdom we will not longer be in this tent (body) but in a building that lasts forever.  What we build with out human hands only lasts for a short time.  What God builds lasts forever.  Until that time when God takes us to be with Him, we groan inside longing to put on the new body. 


Ro 8:23  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.


We groan to be swallowed up in life, no longer living within the curse of sin and death.  We are set free of those things when we a born again, but we still live with the effects of sin while we are on this earth.  When Adam and Eve sinned it affected all of life on this planet.  Everything affected by sin is running down and someday this earth will have to be destroyed and the Lord will make a new heaven and earth.  Then everything will be as the Lord intended the earth to be in the Garden of Eden before sin came into the world.


God gave us the Holy Spirit in order to change our inner being, but He also gave His Spirit as a guarantee, a deposit, on His promise to bring us to eternal life.  If we have that mark in us, if we have that deposit, then we are guaranteed eternal life.  This is why, by the way, it is so despicable for certain people who call themselves Christians to say that you can be a Christian and not have the Holy Spirit.  If you don’t have the Holy Spirit you are not born again and you do not have eternal life.  God made us for the purpose of eternal life.  But may refuse to believe Jesus Christ.  In doing so they refuse the Holy Spirit and condemn themselves to hell.  God is not willing that any should perish, but He created us with free will and we can send ourselves to hell because we decide against God.  So it is not God sending anyone to hell, it is they themselves who condemn themselves.  The first act of sin in a human being (Satan was the first sinner) that brought sin into the lives of every person and thus condemnation to hell.


Ro 5:18  Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.


But it is also belief and commitment to Jesus Christ with repentance of sin that cancels that condemnation and gives us life.


Ro 8:1  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Ac 16:31  They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."

Ac 3:19  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,


6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


As long as we are here away from the Lord we can be confident that we will someday see Him face to face.


1Co 13:12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


Our faith is not in having seen Jesus Christ face to face while he was still on earth but it is based on His promises and on the indwelling Holy Spirit.  For now we must live by faith, not by sight.  We long for the day when we no longer have to deal with this old flesh, the sin nature and the devil but will be home with the Lord.   I long considered Palau to be my home.  We all have our earthly homes where we long to be.  But when you become a born again Christian your citizenship is in heaven, not on this earth.


Php 3:20  But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,


Now this does not mean that we can disobey the laws of the land and the authorities.  But is does mean that where there is a conflict our authority is to the Lord before the nations and leaders of this earth.  When we truly realize where our citizenship lies, we then begin to yearn to be at home with the Lord.  Because we know that our home is with the Lord, we then will be motivated to please Him and do what He asks of us here.  No matter what circumstance we are in we will find a way for it to bring glory to God.  Someday we will all appear before the Lord and answer for what we have done and how we have lived in Him.  The judgment seat of Christ is not the Great White Throne Judgment.  We have already been saved so we are not longer condemned to hell.  But we all will face the Lord to answer for what we have done and our motives.  The Lord will then give rewards for what was truly done in obedience to His Will.  The gold and silver will be separated from the useless materials.


1 Cor. 3:12-15  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.


So the Judgment Seat of Christ is not about salvation.  All who go there are born again and that can never be taken away.  But apparently some will receive a reward, and some till not.  We know this as various crowns, which we do not know the true significance of now but someday we will.  There seem to be rewards given to all who overcome set forth in the letters to the churches.


Re 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Re 2:11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Re 2:17  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Re 2:26  To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—

Re 3:5  He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

Re 3:12  Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Re 3:21  To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Re 21:7  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.


Rev. 21:7 indicates that anyone who overcomes will be given all the benefits due to every overcoming believer.  But there are also special rewards given, some of which are listed as crowns.  There is the crown of life (James 1:12, Rev. 2:10), which is likely given to all believers, but also the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8) and the crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4) which may be rewards for those who have gold and silver left over when all their other post-salvation works are burned away. 


The Ministry of Reconciliation


11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.


So because of the fact that Christ will judge our post-salvation works we ought to be busy persuading men to come to Christ.  God knows what we are doing and what we are not doing.  Our job while we are in the flesh is to spread the Gospel and then disciple those who have believed.  Paul says that he is not try to brag about what they are doing but that what they are doing for the Lord is evident and they should take pride in what he is doing and follow his example.  If it seems like Paul is out of his mind it is because of his radical stand for the Gospel and for Truth.  If Paul seems composed and sane it is because he wants to help those who have already believed.  Paul’s whole existence is taken up with convincing people of Christ’s love through His death and resurrection.  Because of what Christ did all those who truly believe have died to sin and are alive for Christ and in Christ.  Those who are truly dead to sin in Christ no longer live for themselves but live for Christ.  We live for our Savior and Lord.


16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


True believers do not regard people from a worldly point of view.  This lets out many false teachers who focus on gathering followers through becoming more like the world.  This is what the Emerging Church is all about in bringing in pagan practices into the Churches in order to win over followers.  But when we are truly believers we not longer look at things from a worldly point of view.  We don’t view the world or Christ from a worldly perspective anymore because we now have the Holy Spirit as our teacher through the written Word.  There are false teachers who live in the old creation instead of the new one.  Only God knows if they even have a new creation within them, but I suspect they do not.  Otherwise they would know the difference between truth and error. 


God reconciled us and therefore He passed on this ministry to us as well.  We are to bring people to the Lord.  Only Jesus Christ can reconcile a man to the Father, but we can preach the Gospel and give men the opportunity to respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  God did not count our sins against us when He accepted our faith and placed our sins beneath the blood of Christ.  Therefore we need to be careful to reconcile people to God regardless of their sins.  Sometimes great sins may cause Christians to shy away from presenting the Gospel to certain people, but since God gives everyone an opportunity regardless of past sins when they are repented of we must follow Jesus’ example in this.  The amazing thing is that God has given every believer the ministry of reconciliation and that is the way God makes his appeal to sinners.  Those who claim salvation apart from being witnessed to by a believer may be in error.  I am not saying a person cannot come to salvation by reading the Bible but God’s primary method of reconciliation is through a born again believer witnessing to a sinner.  This is why it is so important to be about the business of reconciliation through the preaching of the Gospel and not get off onto some waste of time like taking over the world for Christ, trying top gain spiritual formation through the use of occult prayer techniques, etc.  Paul reminds the Corinthian church of what is the main thing, which is what we have a tendency to lose track of in our daily lives.


It is not a light thing to remember that God made Him who was not a sinner to be sin for us.  In that light we ought to be eager to spread the Good News.  The Good News includes the message that because Jesus Christ paid for our sin by taking our sins on Himself, we can become the righteousness of God.


Mr 16:15  He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Ro 10:15  And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" {Isaiah 52:7}



2 Corinthians 5:21 Or be a sin offering


Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson


2 Corinthians 6


1 As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you."[a] I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.


Since we received such a great gift from God, then we need to prove that we have not believed in the gift in vain.  God heard our cries and he helped us even while were yet sinners.


Ro 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


There is no better time than now to be saved.  We do not know the day of Christ’s return, and after He has returned there will be not more opportunity for salvation.


Heb 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Heb 3:15  As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." {Psalm 95:#7,8}


If we truly remember that today is the day of salvation this ought to make us bold in proclaiming the Gospel, first to our families and friends, then to others.


Paul's Hardships


3 We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.


We should, like Paul, not put stumbling blocks between people and their coming to Christ.  We should also not put stumbling blocks between believers and their path to maturity in Christ.  Paul reminds the Corinthians that what he has been doing for them, both in ministry to them directly, in his letters and his stand for the Truth, that he is not putting stumbling blocks in their way but rather doing what he does as a reconciler.  He goes on to tell them the unvarnished facts.  When we read about the Apostles endured in order to tell people about the gift of eternal life through Christ it ought to make us humble and inspire us through our hard times.  I don’t think our hard times can even come close to what was happening to Paul and the other Apostles.  But notice that all the bad things that happened to them did not decrease their character in the Spirit: understanding, patience, kindness, sincere love, truthful speech and all in the power of God.  These things ought to be what define us as believers rather than the hardships.  But notice that all the good attributes of Paul came out because he had equipped himself with the armor of God … the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left.


Eph. 6:11-18  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


The devil had a lot of schemes to try to ruin Paul’s character and ministry.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that after you become a believer the devil cannot oppress you.  Satan cannot fully possess a Christian, I do not believe, but apart from that the devil make all kinds of trouble for a believer from within and without.  He can put thoughts in your mind, he can cause sickness, he can try to make you fear, he can bring about circumstances that make you almost despair, as did Paul. 


2Co 1:8  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.


But when we go through very difficult circumstances and temptation we put on the armor and depend of God to carry us through.  We fully trust in the Lord to bring us through, not relying on our own intellectual or physical ability, but on the grace of the Lord.  We rely on Him through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.  We do everything for the glory of God not relying on our own glory, or good report, or fame, or health, or riches.  We do this because we know that when we are content in the Lord He takes care of us and we not longer have to struggle to make something of our lives by our own methods and abilities.


1Ti 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.


We may have nothing but in Christ we have it all!


11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.


Paul had opened his heart to the Christians at Corinth but some there had taken what he said with offense and closed their hearts to Paul.  But when they did that they also closed their hearts to the Lord because Paul was the Lord’s appointed Apostle to the Gentiles.  Paul asks them, as his children in the Lord, to open their hearts to him as he has for them.


Do Not Be Yoked With Unbelievers


14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[b]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[c] 17"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."[d] 18"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."[e]


Apparently part of the problem, and a big one in Corinth was that fact the believers were continuing in fellowship and in the practices of the heathen.  This is, for instance, what caused the incest problem Paul addressed earlier.  That kind of sexual perversion was par for the course in Corinth and had not entirely been thrown out of the church or out of the lives of the Christians there.  This is why Paul have to explain the difference between a believer and an unbeliever earlier in this chapter and the previous chapter.  Paul now can explain what must be done keeping in mind the fact that we must put off the old self and put on the new.


Eph 4:22-24  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.


How do we put off the old self?  One important way is to not be yoked together with unbelievers.  This is not just talking about marriage.  It is talking about having deep fellowship with unbelievers and false teachers.  Of course there are situations where we have to mingle with unbelievers at work and in our communities.  But we don’t “hang out” with them and get involved with them in a united way.  We will always be alienated from them by virtue of the fact that they are unregenerate.  We may and should witness to them but we must not allow them to influence us toward the world since they are still in it.  We are in the world but not of the world.


Joh 17:16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Jas 4:4  You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.


Righteousness and wickedness have nothing in common.  Light and darkness have nothing in common.  God and Satan have nothing in common.  Therefore we need to have nothing in common with the world and those who are still of the world.  Believers have nothing in common with unbelievers.  That does not mean we are not both human and even related, but it does mean that our spirit is heading two different directions.  The unbeliever is still living in unrepentant sin.  The believer is not longer practicing sin but practicing righteousness.  A temple full of idols and the worship of the true God have nothing in common.  Be sure not to be fooled by those who say we can go back to our old cultural ways and worship the true God.  That is impossible.  That is because God must be worshipped in Spirit (by way of the indwelling Spirit) and in truth (you cannot worship God Who is Truth with a lie).


Joh 4:24  God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."


The Church as a whole and each individual Christ is a temple where God lives.  He lives in us.


Ro 8:11  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.


Therefore we must not and should not have fellowship with those whose body is a temple to themselves and they are given over to serving their own wicked nature and the devil.


To come out of the world we must come our “from among them”.  That means sinful people.  We must no longer hang out with them as we did before but witness to them.  We must avoid the associations we had with them before and demonstrate to them that we are a changed people who walk with God.  When we do that God will walk with us and we will truly be His sons and daughters.


The issue of being separate from the world is more important today than ever with the world encroaching on all our activities every hour of our lives.  We must come out from among them and be a people wholly devoted to God.



2 Corinthians 6:2 Isaiah 49:8

2 Corinthians 6:15 Greek Beliar, a variant of Belial

2 Corinthians 6:16 Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27

2 Corinthians 6:17 Isaiah 52:11; Ezek. 20:34,41

2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Samuel 7:14; 7:8

Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson


2 Corinthians 7


After a violent storm one night, a large tree, which over the years had become a stately giant, was found lying across the pathway in a park. Nothing but a splintered stump was left. Closer examination showed that is was rotten at the core because thousands of tiny insects had eaten away at its heart. The weakness of that tree was not brought on by the sudden storm; it began the very moment the first insect nested within its bark. With the Holy Spirit's help, let's be very careful to guard our purity. (Our Daily Bread)


If we allow worldly ideas and actions to find a home in us like the insects in the large tree, someday the winds will blow and we will not stand against them.  In the day of testing we will not stand because we allowed impure things a home in our lives.  We must rid ourselves of those things, with God’s help.  We must pursue righteousness instead of pursuing sin.  The reason we should do this is twofold: the first being that we demonstrate our reverence for God by putting off the old self and because we do not want sin to ruin us.


1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.


The promises in the last chapter were that if you come out of the world he will receive you." and also "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." So with that in mind our part is to set ourselves apart for God by being careful not to be polluted by the world, the flesh and the devil but to be pure as He is pure.  We show our reverence, our worship for God, by allowing the Lord to prefect His holiness in us day by day.  People talk a lot about worshipping the Lord in churches today, but or true reverence is to purify ourselves because we worship our Father.


Paul's Joy


2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.


Again Paul is making a case for the Corinthians to open their hearts to him.  He wants them to love him as he has demonstrated his love for them.  Paul not only did no wrong to anyone; he righted them, if you will.  He tried to set them on the right path.  He corrupted no one; rather he tried to keep them from corruption by asking them to commit themselves to God through purity.  He exploited no one; in fact he was very careful, as we have already studied, to not be a burden to their church by supporting himself.  He made a special note of not collecting money for himself, but rather asking them to support the work of the Apostles in Jerusalem.  His words in his two letters are not there to condemn but to warn them of dangerous actions and ideas they were involved in.  The job of the watchman is to warn the people when danger is coming.


Heb 13:17  Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.


Paul and the others with him loved them so much that he said he would “love or die with you”.  He reiterates that he has confidence that they will continue to grow in Christ and that he takes pride in them.  Paul knew that they were going through troubles and he wanted them to know that he was encouraged rather than discouraged.  We also need to be sure that when we have to speak words of reproof or rebuke that it is out of love and for the benefit of those we have spoken.  This is how to speak the truth in love.


2Ti 4:2  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.


5 For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.


Paul had been struggling in Macedonia.  He was being harassed by some and fearing, likely for his safety, from within.  This shows that Paul was a regular human being with human emotions.  But he relied on God and He sent Titus to comfort Paul in his hard time.  The coming of Titus brought good news to Paul, both that they had treated Titus well but that they had sent a message with Titus that they were longing to have him come again.  They also expressed their sorrow, likely at the fact that Paul had to teach them a number of hard things.  But I am sure Paul was encouraged by the fact that they were concerned for him.  Again, we need to encourage one another in the Faith.  When a fellow brother or sister in Christ is going through a hard time we need to stand by them.


1Th 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Heb 3:13  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.


8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. 14 I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. 15 And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. 16 I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.


Paul did not regret the things he wrote in his first letter.  He only regretted the fact that it hurt their feelings for a while but since he heard from Titus that they had repented of the things Paul had to rebuke them for he was happy.  The intention of his first letter was not to harm them but to help them, and they finally saw that the things Paul wrote about were true and they showed Godly sorrow that brings repentance.  God’s intention in disciplining us is not to harm us but to give us hope and a future.


Jer 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


With so much talk about the joy of the Lord today we often forget that there is a sorrow that leads to repentance and turning from sin that is from God.  Worldly sorrow is usually only self-pity.  Godly sorrow is not only feeling sorry and repenting but taking action to make things right.  That is often where people stop, at the point of making things right.  But the Corinthians finally saw the problems and they had earnestness and eagerness to clear themselves and forgive one another, indignation and alarm at what they had been doing or allowed to take place, longing and concern to solve those problems and a readiness to see justice done.  Paul had written to them about the man who was committing incest, but his main concern, apart from disfellowshipping the man in order to bring him to repentance was to help them to see that they were devoted to God and to Paul.  Going back to his first letter we read:


1Co 7:35  I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.


If we see the importance of our undivided devotion to Christ we will be quick to obey the Lord in everything.  Titus was very happy about how the situation was handled and Titus had related to Paul how refreshed he was when he had seen that the Corinthians were taking what Paul had said in the right way.  When Paul heard the report from Titus he could respond and say that he now had complete confidence in them.  They were obedient to the Lord and obeyed Paul, receiving Titus with fear and trembling. 


Ps 2:11  Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.


There is a bad kind of fear and a good kind.  This is the good kind.  It is a fear that produces wisdom, life, good works and repentance. 


Pr 9:10  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Pr 10:27  The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Pr 14:27  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.

Ac 9:31  Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.


Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson

2 Corinthians 8

There were once two young men working their way through Leland Stanford University. Their funds got desperately low, and the idea came to one of them to engage Paderewski for a piano recital and devote the profits to their board and tuition. The great pianist's manager asked for a guarantee of two thousand dollars. The students, undaunted, proceeded to stage the concert. They worked hard, only to find that the concert had raised only sixteen hundred dollars. After the concert, the students sought the great artist and told him of their efforts and results. They gave him the entire sixteen hundred dollars, and accompanied it with a promissory note for four hundred dollars, explaining that they would earn the amount at the earliest possible moment and send the money to him. "No," replied Paderewski, "that won't do." Then tearing the note to shreds, he returned the money and said to them: "Now, take out of this sixteen hundred dollars all of your expenses, and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work, and let me have the rest." The years rolled by--years of fortune and destiny. Paderewski had become premier of Poland. The devastating war came, and Paderewski was striving with might and main to feed the starving thousands of his beloved Poland. There was only one man in the world who could help Paderewski and his people. Thousands of tons of food began to come into Poland for distribution by the Polish premier.

After the starving people were fed, Paderewski journeyed to Paris to thank Herbert Hoover for the relief sent him. "That's all right, Mr. Paderewski," was Mr. Hoover's reply. "Besides, you don't remember it, but you helped me once when I was a student at college and I was in a hole." (Edward W. Bok, Perhaps I Am.)

Generosity should be the mark of true believers.  It is interesting how sometimes the most generous people are those who are in great need themselves.
Generosity Encouraged

1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. 6So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.


Paul wanted to share what the churches in Macedonia were doing to encourage and stimulate the church at Corinth to similar action.  The Christians in Macedonia had me with ill treatment from the world and also from some Jews and had become poor because of it.  Yet out of these trials they had learned the joy of the Lord and the joy of generosity.  They had learned to be joyous givers beyond their own ability to give.


2Co 9:7  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.


To be a cheerful giver you have to have the freedom to give.  This is why tithes were not commanded in the early church.  Christians were to give according to their conviction to do so because God does not love a giver who is forced to give but a cheerful giver.  Paul made it clear that the churches were to take up collections, as we studied earlier, but he did not stress how much and was not going to tell them to give money to him, even though if they helped him he accepted it.  The Macedonians, on their own, asked Paul to be allowed to share in the ministry he and others were doing.  They were eager to do so.  I do not see this eagerness in many churches today.  When missionaries come to churches today they are often met with indifference.  But the Church needs to support the ministries God has call people to.


Paul tasked Titus with talking to the Corinthians about giving.  Paul says that they already excelled i in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us but that they needed to excel in giving as well.  Notice that there is a grace of giving.  In fact giving is listed as a spiritual gift.


1Co 12:28  And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Eph 4:11-12 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up


Paul, as an Apostle, was carrying out the duty of a Christian leader to “prepare God’s people for works of service” which include giving.

8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Again, the message from Paul about generosity is not a command; otherwise the people would not be giving cheerfully to the work of the Lord and to the poor.  His goal was to get them to test their sincerity and love by comparing it to the Macedonian church.  He wanted to challenge them to become more like the Macedonian Christians in this regard.  Our example is Jesus Christ.  He was rich in the sense of leaving His Father’s glory in heaven to come to earth to have nothing, no place to lay His head, but that through this act of leaving His riches in glory He would make many rich by dying for their sins and being raised from the dead.

Eph. 2:6-7  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

10And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

Apparently the year previous the Corinthians had made a plan to give.  This is a good thing but it needs to be carried through.  Many churches make big plans but are unable or unwilling to carry through on their commitment.  Paul says that the willingness to give is the most important thing.  As long as that remains strong the amount of the gift is not as important. 

13Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."[b]

Paul wants the churches to give so that they can share each other’s burdens.  This is important especially in times of need.  We may be coming to that soon in our world and the true churches will need to help each other.  If one church is blessed with goods and money then they should be helping the churches that are struggling.  This does not mean we help churches that are not obeying the Lord or heretical churches.  But it does mean that we help those who are truly doing the Lord’s work.  The meaning of the saying: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little" is that when a church has been blessed with much the don’t hoard it but share it so they do not have “too much”, which those who are going through struggles should rely on the Lord and not complain about their circumstance.
Heb 13:5  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." {Deut. 31:6}
The point is that we as believers are to share what we have with one another, particularly with those in need.  We should follow the example of the early church.
Ac 2:44  All the believers were together and had everything in common.
This is harder to do today that it used to be.  In island cultures, and many other cultures around the world, no one person could own everything to be self-sufficient so in the community everyone could use what any one person had.  But today this principle applies to giving.  If there is a missionary, a pastor, a poor person, a church in need that we can fellowship with, then the Lord will show us what we need to do to help.
Titus Sent to Corinth

16I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.


So Paul was going to send Titus back to Corinth because Titus had an enthusiasm to help that church.  Barnes says this about the unnamed person:


It has been generally supposed that this anonymous brother was Luke. Some have supposed, however, that it was Mark; others that it was Silas or Barnabas. It is impossible to determine with certainty who it was; nor is it material to know. Whoever it was, it was some one well known, in whom the church at Corinth could have entire confidence. It is remarkable that though Paul mentions him again, 2 Cor. 12:18, he does it also in the same manner, without specifying his name. (Barnes Commentary)


It seems that Luke was likely the person Paul was referring to and those at Corinth already knew him.  I don’t know why Paul did not mention his name.  Perhaps he had asked Paul not to write down his name because it was acknowledged by Peter, though likely about 10 years later, that Paul’s letters were Scripture.


2Pe 3:16  He (Paul) writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


Paul’s letters were already being understood to be Scripture at the time of this letter.  The churches were treating Paul’s letters along with the Gospels and Acts as Scripture, and the only ones to be added later were John and Revelation (according to Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary).  So Luke did possibly not want to intrude his name in Scripture this way.  Another possibility is that it was Mark and since John Mark had gone with Barnabas after he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work, perhaps Paul was still testing Mark to be sure he would be faithful, as he later proved himself to be.


2Ti 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.


In any case it doesn’t really matter who this person was except for the fact that the churches had chosen him to carry their offerings to Jerusalem, so he apparently was a trustworthy person for them.  Paul was, again, going to be careful not to involve himself with carrying money so that no one could accuse him of wrongdoing.  It is important to be a good example before God and before men.  We must avoid evil but also even the appearance of evil.


1Th 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil. (KJV)


This is a principle that should be applied by all Christians, but particularly Christian leaders.  They are to be a good example to the Church and a representative of Christianity to the world.

22In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. 23As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 24Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

Not only Titus had confidence in the Corinthian Christians but the other man Paul was going to send also had confidence in them.  It would not be good to send people to minister to the Corinthians at this time who were critical of them because they had just come back to the Truth and made things right.  You don’t need further rebuke at a time like that.  The Corinthian Church still needed to learn some things and stop doing some things they were doing, but they were now headed down the right road and Paul want them to continue.  Paul urged the church at Corinth to show the men he was sending to them love and the reason why Paul was proud of them.  This is because he wanted them to be a good example to the churches from which these men came.  Paul had already given a challenge to the Corinthian church by way of citing the example of the Macedonian churches and their generosity.  He also wanted the Corinthian church to shine in the eyes of the Macedonians when Paul’s fellow workers returned home to their churches.

Footnotes: 2 Corinthians 8:7 Some manuscripts in our love for you. 2 Corinthians 8:15 Exodus 16:18

Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson

2 Corinthians 9

According to a story in the Grand Rapids Press, the owner of a small foreign car had begun to irritate his friends by bragging incessantly about his gas mileage. So they decided on a way to get some humor out of his tireless boasting, as well as bring it to an end. Every day one of them would sneak into the parking lot where the man kept his car and pour a few gallons of gas into the tank. Soon the braggart was recording absolutely phenomenal mileage. He was boasting of getting as much as 90 miles per gallon, and the pranksters took secret delight in his exasperation as he tried to convince people of the truthfulness of his claims. It was even more fun to watch his reaction when they stopped refilling the tank. The poor fellow couldn't figure out what had happened to his car. (Grand Rapids Press)


This is a funny story about the bad type of boasting.  But there is a good type of boasting.


Jas 4:16  As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

Ps 34:2  My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Ps 44:8  In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name for ever. Selah


So boasting about yourself or human accomplishment is usually evil.  But boasting about the Lord and in what He is doing in the Church is a good thing.  As long as God is the One who gets the glory, then your boasting about Him is not in vain.

1There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. 2For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

Paul is talking about the collection of money by the church at Corinth to be taken to Jerusalem, to the elders, so that they could distribute it as needs arose for the Church, both Jew and Gentile.  I think that Paul wanted to prove to the Jews that the Gentile church would give generously to the cause of Christ wherever that was taking place.  This a always a good practice for churches.  As I stated before a strong church will look to support the work of the Lord beyond its own four walls.  Paul want them to take up their collections before the brethren from Macedonia even arrived to that there would be no pressure to give so that the gifts would be spontaneous and given with a cheerful spirit.  I believe this is a good practice for today.  I often speak at a church and they do take up a love offering for me.  But they have already written a check to me before they even take up that offering.  That to me shows their commitment to support mission work and speakers who come to their church.  I think it is a good idea to plan ahead so that there is no pressure put on people to give.  People should give because of their own convictions, not because someone has told them to or they give because a speaker or a plea for money stirred up their emotions.  Paul also wanted the Corinthian church to be able to say that their gift was from their heart instead of waiting for the Macedonians to get there.  Then it would look like a gift that was coerced.  Instead they should have the gift ready in advance so there would be no question about their motive for giving. 

 Sowing Generously

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."[a] 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.


The basic principle of giving is that you reap what you sow.  This does not mean if you give $100. you will get $100. back.  You may get some other blessing from the Lord, or simply the joy of having given.   God has many ways of blessing.  But this does not take away from the Biblical principle of sowing.


Ho 10:12  Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unploughed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

Ps 126:5  Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.

Ga 6:8-9  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Job 4:8  As I have observed, those who plough evil and those who sow trouble reap it.


So the principle works both ways.  If you sow evil you reap evil.  If you sow good in the Lord you reap good in the Lord.


As I have taught before God wants cheerful givers.  Under the New Covenant He wants people to give freely, not out of compulsion.  Compulsion means someone either feels direct or indirect pressure to give and is secretly unhappy about it.  Many people in churches today a secretly unhappy about giving because their leaders have taken the principle of giving tithes and laid it on their congregations as a guilt trip.  It is fine to decide to tithe, but is it not a mandatory thing in the New Testament.  We do not see that command given in the New Testament.  Instead we see the principle of the cheerful giver.  There were two churches.  One said they had a vision from God and built a huge church facility.  I will not go into details but they went into debt and the pastor began a series of messages on tithing to try to get more money in.  That church is deeply in debt today.  A second church also had to move and build a brand new building.  But instead the pastor simply reminded the church members of the need for money and where they were at financially.  He did no messages on giving or tithing, since he does not believe that tithing is a New Testament command.  The money took longer to come it but it eventually did.  That church is not in huge debt and they continue to add on as the Lord provides.  Which church do you think went about collecting money in the right way?


God is able to provide all the needs of any church or individual Christian.  When we are working for the Lord, obeying His will and His word God will provide our needs.  He may not provide everything we want, but He will provide our needs.  God has always provided our needs as a family as we have been in the Lord’s work even though sometimes we were living in a state of near poverty.  But God always provides and will continue to provide for His children.  God also enlarges the harvest for those who plant according to His will.  This does not mean that just because a church is big it is doing the Lord’s will.  The harvest is talking about people who commit to the Lord because they have heard and understood the Gospel.  Many people can build large congregations and churches by virtue of their personality.  But that means nothing in the harvest of the Lord.  God sees true results.  There are many big, huge churches today that are not obeying the Word of God, thus the Lord is not blessing them.  Their apparent blessings are the blessings of the wicked.  Solomon wondered that sometimes the wicked prosper while the righteous perish.  But the righteous never truly perish.  They have eternal life, thus for them to live and Christ and to die is gain.  The wicked may have earthly riches but that will all be lost in the Judgment.  The blessings of the harvest go to those who obey the Lord and His Word, not to false teachers and their large group of followers.  Someday we will see the true picture of the harvest and many will be amazed. 


If the Lord gives you or your church money, it is so that you can be generous to others with it.  The thing that always amazes me about mission work, for instance, is that most of the supporters of missionaries today are usually missionaries themselves.  Somehow that money gets passed around and, like the story of the oil in Elisha’s day, seems to increase and never run out while paying the bills of those who are in the ministry.


2 Kings 4:1-7  The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves." Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." Elisha said, "Go round and ask all your neighbours for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." She left him and afterwards shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."


This miracle of God that we might call “The Elisha Principle” is what Paul is talking about.  God gives so that we can give to others our of our own abundance and help them make it financially, especially those in the Lord’s work.  Somehow God multiplies what seems like nowhere near enough in order that we might not only share with others, but that thanksgiving will be given to God, praising Him for His faithfulness.

12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

We don’t know what happens when we help God’s people financially.  For sure we will be the cause of many thanks to God.  We have a wonderful opportunity to make others praise God for our obedience to the Lord and the Gospel.  We can cause others to be in a tighter unity by sharing.  They will in turn pray for us and uphold us in our time of need.  Most of all we will cause others to thank God for the greatest gift of all, that of His Son and the salvation we have because He gave us that gift when we least deserved it.

The Old Lady

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.  Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away.  But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.  So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice.  I could hear something being dragged across the floor.  After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.  By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.  There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.  In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.  "Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.  She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.  She kept thanking me for my kindness.  "It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated".  "Oh, you're such a good boy", she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"  "It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.  "Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".  I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.  "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don’t have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.  For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.  We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.  Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.  As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I’m tired. Let's go now."  We drove in silence to the address she had given me.  It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.  Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.  I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.  The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.  "How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.  "Nothing," I said.  "You have to make a living," she answered.  "There are other passengers," I responded.  Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.  "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.   "Thank you."  I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.  Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.  I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.  What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?  On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.  We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.  But great moments often catch us unaware--beautifully wrapped in what > others may consider a small one.  PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT 'YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.  (

The Unspeakable Gift

Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, 'I am your king!" The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn't. Instead he said, 'You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!"

The King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave himself to you and me. The Bible calls Him, 'the unspeakable gift!"  (Source unknown)

Value of God's Gift

Who can estimate the value of God's gift, when He gave to the world His only begotten Son! It is something unspeakable and incomprehensible. It passes man's understanding. Two things there are which man has no arithmetic to reckon, and no line to measure. One of these things is the extent of that man's loss who loses his own soul. The other is the extent of God's gift when he gave Christ to sinners...Sin must indeed be exceeding sinful, when the Father must needs give His only Son to be the sinner's Friend! (J.C. Ryle in Foundations of Faith)


Footnotes: 2 Corinthians 9:9 Psalm 112:9

Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson

2 Corinthians 10

Paul's Defense of His Ministry
Paul makes another defense of his ministry.  He wants to be sure that he does not lose the church at Corinth to false teachers and people who call themselves Christians but are living and promoting worldly lives.

1By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away! 2I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.


Paul does not want to have to come on forcefully when he visits them.  So he tries to warn them ahead of time to get some things straightened out before he comes.  There were people there who thought that Christians could live by the standards of the world.  But Paul had already talked about the weight of glory we carry because of God’s gift to us and relationship to us in Christ through the indwelling Spirit.  Paul reminds them that we do not use worldly methods in our fight.  We cannot be in the world and of the world and fight the effects of sin.  The weapons we are to fight with are not from the world.  They are the weapons of spiritual warfare.


Eph. 6:11-18  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


We have looked at this passage before but let’s look at it this time in view of fighting with offensive weapons in order to demolish strongholds.  First of all our enemy is not people it is demonic powers.  We are to stand our ground in fighting the enemy in the power of the Lord.  Some take that to mean we are passive while God does all the work for us.  But standing our ground means not backing away from the fight, not sitting down, not becoming complacent.  Some of the armor of the Lord is for defensive purposes just as the armor of any soldier such as the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of Faith.  But there are also weapons in this armor that are used to attack.  Those would be the sword of the Spirit or the word of God, prayer that is used to both defend and attack, and feet fitted with the readiness to spread the Gospel.  The Gospel is the most effective attack against the world, the flesh and the devil.  With these weapons, both defensive and offensive, we have Divine power to demolish strongholds.  These strongholds are the hold the enemy has on people.  Paul is mainly addressing the offensive weapons we have because he goes on to say that we demolish arguments against the truth.  We so that with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  This is why it is so important to be a student of the Word and hide His Word in our hearts so that when we are confronted by those who do not believe we can effectively demolish their arguments, leaving them with no real resistance to the Gospel.  We can never forget that spreading the Gospel involves arguing for the truth and it is a real fight against strongholds of unbelief and even demonic devices. 


Ps 119:11  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

2Ti 2:15  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

1Ti 6:12  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


Fighting the good fight means that we also take captive every thought.  This is because our minds are also a battleground for the enemy.  He can put thoughts in your mind as temptations to sin.  The first place you need to take control with the help of the Lord is in your thoughts.  If you are not fighting for control of your thoughts they can soon become outward actions.  So when an evil, sinful thought comes into your head, whether from yourself of the enemy, you need to renounce that immediately and ask the Lord for help not to have those thoughts.  The more you stand against those thought the less the enemy can use them against you.  He will move on to other tactics, but just like on a battlefield we have to take ground in order to eventually win the battle and finally the war.  If we give up ground the enemy becomes stronger and gains control over our lives.  But we have the power within us to stand against those attacks.  We have Divine power to accomplish victory and let us never forget that. 


Paul reminds them to obey the Lord and so that when he comes he will not have to convince them to obey but will only have to deal with those who are disobedient.

7You are looking only on the surface of things.[a] If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as he. 8For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing." 11Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

Our problem as human beings is that we tend to look at things on the surface.

1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

The Corinthians needed to understand the authority Paul had as an Apostle.  God gave him the authority to build up the Corinthian church.  Paul’s warnings to that church were not intended by himself or the Lord to pull people down.  Nonetheless Paul would not be ashamed of the authority the Lord gave him.  He would not be cowed into submitting to people who did not have the authority in the Lord.  Paul’s purpose was not to frighten people with his letters but to warn them in order to build them up.  Paul wrote forcefully but in person he was meek.  Yet people were taking that truth a step further and spreading talk that he was an unimpressive person and his speaking amounted to nothing.  This was untrue.  His speaking was what planted the church and why so many have been saved.  His speaking taught them about the Word of God and began to bring them to maturity in Christ.  So Paul warns them that he may have to be just a straightforward when he comes to them face to face as he has been in his letter.  But the reason he was straight with them in his letters is so that when he came to them he could deal with other issues rather then spend all his time rebuking them.  Nonetheless he was prepared to rebuke them face to face if they needed it.

12We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you. 14We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others.[b] Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, 16so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man's territory. 17But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."[c] 18For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Paul does not rely on himself of men to commend his ministry.  Others would blow their own trumpets about themselves, so to speak, but Paul calls this “no wise”.  It is never a good idea to boast about yourself in order to establish your reputation.  Better to have others do that, and best to let the Lord do that.  Paul’s boasts would not be about himself but his boasting would be about the work that the Lord was doing in the places God had sent him to.  Paul was hoping that as the faith of the Corinithian Christians continued to grow then so would their area of influence.  Paul wanted them to fully support what Paul was doing so that he would be able to reach further with the Gospel.  Other good teachers had established churches in other places and Paul was careful not to take credit for or boast about their work.  But the main point is that our boasts about the expansion of the church and people being saved needs to be credited to the Lord.  The Lord is ultimately the One who gives His stamp of approval on Gospel outreach because it is the one who the Lord commends that is truly commended, not the one who brags about himself. 

Boasting: Why The Frog Fell

Two geese, when about to start southwards on their annual autumn migration, were asked by a frog to take him with them. The geese expressed their willingness to do so if a way of carrying the frog could be devised. The frog produced a stalk of long grass, got the two geese to take it one by each end, while he clung to it by his mouth in the middle. In this way the three were making their journey successfully when they were noticed from below by some men, who loudly expressed their admiration of the device, and wondered who had been clever enough to discover it. The frog, opened his mouth to say, "It was me," lost his hold, fell to the earth and was dashed to pieces. --J. Gilmour

Sometimes when we open our own mouths to boast about ourselves it can be the beginning of a fall.


Pr 16:18  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.


Footnotes: 2 Corinthians 10:7 Or Look at the obvious facts. 2 Corinthians 10:15 Or 13 We, however, will not boast about things that cannot be measured, but we will boast according to the standard of measurement that the God of measure has assigned us—a measurement that relates even to you. 14 ... 15 Neither do we boast about things that cannot be measured in regard to the work done by others. 2 Corinthians 10:17 Jer. 9:24

Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson

2 Corinthians 11

Now we come to a very important passage for today.  There are many who call themselves apostles today but are not qualified to say they are equal to the foundational apostles.  The same was true in Paul’s day.  The only difference is that today we have thousands of false apostles.  The New Apostolic Reformation goes around the world doing slain in the spirit claiming they are making apostles by imparting the Holy Spirit to them.  The problem is that they are making apostles out of young kids, teenagers, women, etc.  The foundational apostles were men who were called directly by Jesus Christ.  There are no more foundational apostles today.  There are church planting missionaries, but they are not on the same level as the Apostles.

Paul and the False Apostles

1I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. 2I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles." 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.


Paul had come to Corinth to preach the Gospel so that he could present more and more people to Christ just as a father would present his daughter to her husband.  Christ is the bridegroom, and the Church is His bride.


Re 19:7  Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.


Today we as believers are engaged to the groom.  Someday we will be married to Him and live with Him forever. 


But Paul was apprehensive that somehow the enemy would lead them astray from their sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  The devil led Eve astray from her devotion to the Lord and there is a very real possibility that the enemy can lead professing Christians astray.  How are we led astray?  Eve was led astray by her feelings but ultimately by her mind, by the decisions she made.  When your emotions are led astray you are in great danger, but if your mind follows then you have fallen into deception. 


There were those who were coming to the church at Corinth, just as the serpent came to Eve, preaching another Jesus, a different Spirit, a different gospel.  This is exactly the problem today.  A list of many false teachers is on my web site, but it is very long and I can’t keep up with those who are preaching false doctrines, making false prophecies, claiming they are end-time apostles equal to the true foundation apostles, etc.  Here are just a few quotes by those who claim they are equal to or greater than the foundational apostles.



Apostles and prophets the foundation of the Church and, um, I identify as James an apostle as my function as a horizontal apostle to bring together the people of the body of Christ not only can I do it, I love to do it. Yesterday I was the apostle with a group of about 15-20 prophets we met all day long, and these prophets many of whom are going to be speakers in this conference come under my guidance, coordination and leadership as an apostle. They each have apostles in their own networks but I mean they are under spiritually.  But I’m the one that brings them together and when I bring them together things happen. (C. Peter Wagner, National School of the Prophets - Mobilizing the Prophetic Office, Colorado Springs, CO, May 11, 2002, Tape #1)

In Wagner's new book, APOSTLES OF THE CITY: HOW TO MOBILIZE THE TERRITORIAL APOSTLES FOR CITY TRANSFORMATION, he attempts to describe what the local role of these apostles might be.  He defines Apostles to the City as those "whom the Holy Spirit gives an anointing for extraordinary authority in spiritual matters over the other Christian leaders in the same city." While not excluding others, Wagner hypothesizes that the most extensive pool for identifying apostles of the city is among the mega churches. (The Apostles Are Coming To Your City, Ready or Not by Orell Steinkamp, The Plumbline, Vol. 6, No. 2, March/April 2001)

In the brochure that I received, advertising C. Peter Wagner's conference in Brisbane, the following was written: "The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit that is changing the shape of Christianity globally. It is truly a new day! The Church is changing. New names! New methods! New worship expressions! The Lord is establishing the foundations of the Church for the new millennium. This foundation is built upon apostles and prophets. Apostles execute and establish God's plan on the earth. The time to convene a conference of the different apostolic prophetic streams across this nation is now! This conference will cause the Body to understand God's 'new' order for this coming era. We look forward to having you with us in Brisbane in Feb 2000."  It was signed by Peter Wagner and Ben Gray. (Brochure For Brisbane 2000, as cited in Jumping On The Bandwagon - Australian Christian Churches Seduced by the Beat of a Different Drummer?, Hughie Seaborn, 1999,


"It is time for the apostolic leaders of nations to rise up and proclaim into the heavenlies of the nations where they have apostolic voice and authority to speak and legislate in the heavenlies." (Tommi Femrite (9-12-01), cited in September 14th, 2001, Open Memorandum Addressing the Twin Towers War, From: C. Peter Wagner, Presiding Apostle, International Coalition of Apostles, P.O. Box 63060, Colorado Springs, CO 80962-3060)


"We are no longer to ask God to do what he put us here to do. Rather, it is a time to make clear declarations that will change the atmosphere of our nation." (Marty Cassady (9-12-01), cited in September 14th, 2001, Open Memorandum Addressing the Twin Towers War, From: C. Peter Wagner, Presiding Apostle, International Coalition of Apostles, P.O. Box 63060, Colorado Springs, CO 80962-3060)


A National Symposium on the Post-Denominational Church was convened by Dr. C. Peter Wagner at Fuller Seminary, May 21-23, 1996. Bill Hamon said that "this was a historical occasion in God's annals of Church history. It was prophetically orchestrated by the Holy Spirit to fulfill God's progressive purposes of bringing His church to its ultimate destiny. . . the consensus of the panelists was that there are still apostles and prophets in the Church, and there is an emerging Apostolic Movement that will revolutionize the 21st Century Church. (Streams, Rivers, Floods, Avalanches, cited by Jewel van der Merwe, Dsicernment Ministries Newsletter,


"No prophet or apostle who ever lived equaled the power of these individuals in this great army of the Lord in these last days. No one ever had it, not even Elijah or Peter or Paul, or anyone else enjoyed the power that is gong to rest on this great army." (Bob Jones and Paul Cain. "Selections from the Kansas City Prophets," audiotape (tape: 155C)

"...Every time God ever planned to do anything, the devil would get wind of it and he'd go out there are try to head it off...When he knew Moses was coming, what did he do to stop him...He killed all the babies. What did he do when he figured that Jesus was going to be born at a certain time? He released a decree through the wicked ruler to kill all the babies. Don't you see? And what's he doing now?...Abortions on every hand. So, you must know something's coming up greater than Moses, greater than...Even in Jesus' day, because the devil is trying to kill off the New Breed. He's trying to kill off the bride of Christ and trying to kill the whole thing off, but the Lord has well planted this seed and the New Bride and the New Breed...He's about to open the womb and He's about to give birth to this New Thing...When the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us we beheld the glories of the only begotten of the Father and when you begin to become that Word I want you to know. The world will behold the glory of the Father and that's what we're waiting to see...I want you to know that we're going to have some channeling one of these days, but it's going to be channeled right out of the throne room of Heaven." (Paul Cain, "You Can Become the Word!", 1989, Vineyard Prophetic Conference)

It was Paul Cain who was part of the Vineyard movement that some claim is the most anointed prophet in the world today. Cain in turn said William Branham is the greatest prophet that ever lived. Think about that, this means he is greater than Moses or Jeremiah, Isaiah who wrote about the 2nd coming more than any other prophet. Greater than even Jesus who also was a prophet. It was Jesus himself who said John the Baptist was the greatest prophet who ever lived.  Matt.11:11-13   "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Greater in position not as a prophet). " And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." (Paul Cain, cited in "Unity at the end of the Age - Hearing the word of the new prophets", Mike Oppenhiemer,


Jack Deere says that with the third wave would come endtime apostles and prophets who would "do greater works than the apostles, than Jesus, or any other Old Testament prophets." (Jack Deere, "Intimacy With God and the End Time Church," Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Denver, CO, 1989, audiotape (session 2A)


"The anointing of the endtime prophets and apostles will be ten times the anointing of Moses." (Bob Jones, "An Interview With Bob Jones by Mike Bickle," Kansas City Prophets, Kansas City, MO 1989, audtiotape)


On the program, Parsley appealed to the Hicks “prophecy” and added the twist that we are not to look to the Book of Acts, but to a far greater, future day of miracles. Parsley’s claim is that there is an end-time Church coming greater than the Church of the Apostles, which will routinely heal the sick and raise the dead. (ROD PARSLEY: THE RAGING PROPHET “BREAKING THROUGH” HIS UNORTHODOX DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE, by G. Richard Fisher,


“We are called for this day and this hour. Born for it. Destined for it. It is a time greater than the Day of Pentecost. Greater than the period of the first-century church. The end time. The time of the culmination of all things. The day of fulfillment. The day that the Apostles longed to see. The day that we are not only seeing, but the day we are experiencing. ... Angelic hosts assist us. Signs, wonders, healings and miracles confirm us. All that has happened through the centuries has been geared for this hour.” (Ruth Heflin, Glory Harvest, p. 406)


Hinn started out by establishing his credentials as a prophet of God. He called upon TBN's fellow guests for help in interpreting a disturbing dream he had had. "I do not fully understand it," he lamented, "but I really believe it deals with what God is about to do in the world." He gave a long narrative of his mystical dream that he said was "more of a vision of the night" than a dream. "In this dream, I did not see his face," Hinn began. "Everything in me knew it was the prophet Elijah . . .I walked up to him and he was turning water into blood." Hinn continued, "As I came to him, he said to me, 'Take this!' I took the rod from him.".  When he finished, fellow guest Mark Chirona, offered the interpretation. "The formless essence of Elijah is the spirit of Elijah that God promised to pour out on the last days' company of seasoned ministry...."And when Elijah handed you the rod, God was putting in your hand a new level of apostolic authority for the nations. . . You are entering into a new age of the miraculous. There will be a sharpening, for the spirit of Elijah rests on you.""... (Benny Hinn & Mark Chirona, TBN, Jan. 7, 2000)



The Church will do even greater things than even the Early Church did. It will have greater power, signs, and wonders than were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. (Word Of The Lord Through Brother Kenneth Hagin, Saint Louis, July 1997


Rick Joyner on the subject of the latter-day apostles and prophets who will be greater than the apostles and prophets of Biblical times: "In the near future we will not be looking back at the early church with envy because of the great exploits of those days, but all will be saying that He certainly did save His best wine for last. The most glorious times in all of history have not come upon us. You, who have dreamed of one day being able to talk with Peter, John and Paul, are going to be surprised to find that they have all been waiting to talk to you." (Rick Joyner, The Harvest (Pineville, NC, MorningStar, 1990, 9)

Paul’s use of the word “super-apostles” is not a term for himself but a derogatory term for those who claim to be equal or greater than the true apostles.  Paul does not brag about himself being a foundational Apostle but has made it plain how the Lord called him by his zeal for the Gospel and signs and wonders that God gave through his ministry to be a sign of his Apostleship.  In fact it is very likely that Paul was God’s choice to be the twelfth disciple to replace Judas instead of Matthias who the eleven apostles chose.  This is not to diminish Matthias in any way but it was Jesus Himself who chose the 12 disciples and it was only Jesus who could choose a replacement.  Paul was God’s unlikely choice as the disciple to the Gentiles as he had persecuted the church, but God often chooses unlikely people to be His representatives.  All you have to do is to look at the life of many missionaries to see that.

1 Cor. 2:3-5  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.


Paul states that he is not a trained speaker, though he was the most highly trained of all the Apostles under Gameliel.  But his Jewish training was useless in the face of preaching the Gospel effectively, which only God can teach.  But what Paul did have was knowledge of the Scriptures and revelation knowledge from Jesus Christ Himself.  So he was the most qualified to teach on Christian things.

7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Paul wanted to remind them that he never made himself a burden to the church at Corinth.  What he did he did out of pure love.  In fact other churches supported Paul so he could minister to Corinth.  He did not literally rob the church of Macedonia, but he took the support they desperately needed because they were poor but had offered to Paul cheerfully and used it to reach out to Corinth.  When Paul was at Corinth he made sure that he was not a burden to anyone there.  In fact people came all the way from Macedonia to provide his needs in Corinth.  I would think this would have been an embarrassment to Corinth but they apparently took it as a matter of course without really thinking what their obligation to Paul was.  Even then nothing could stop Paul boasting about the Corinthian church because he loved them.

One of the reasons Paul was so concerned about the church at Corinth were the false apostles trying to lead people astray there because they were claiming they were foundational apostles like Paul, or had a superior revelation from Jesus Christ.  This is the only place where the words “false apostles” appear together in the New Testament.  This is the definition by the Apostle Paul of what a false apostle is.

The teachings of the foundational Apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20) are what the Church is built upon, Christ being the chief Cornerstone and Foundation (1 Cor. 3:10-11).  The Apostles were those who saw the Lord while He was on earth before he ascended into heaven (1 Cor. 9:1) and the Lord did true signs, wonders and miracles through them to authenticate their ministries (2 Cor. 12:12). They wrote Scriptures (Matthew, John, Peter, Paul, etc.). They were persecuted and all but one (John) were martyred for the Faith (1 Cor. 4:9 and the Pre Nicene Fathers writings). Finally, Paul said that he was the last, in sequence, of the original foundational Apostles (1 Cor. 15:7-8).  We are to use the Word of God, through Jesus Christ, taught to us by the Apostles and prophets, as the basis for our Christian life (2 Peter 3:2, Jude 17).

There is no one today who can meet the biblical criteria to be a foundational Apostle.  But there are "apostles" in the Church today, "sent out" ones, messengers, mainly church planting missionaries, but they are not foundational to the Church.

The underlying authority for false apostles is not God but Satan.  Satan is using those who teach lies and try to usurp authority from true leaders in the church.  They are masquerading, putting on a mask.  Jesus warned us of the mask they wear in the churches.

Mt 7:15  "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Ac 20:29  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

False prophets and false prophets wear a disguise to make them look like they are sheep.  But if you test them you will find that they are really wolves who want to use the sheep for their own purposes and they are not being driven by the Holy Spirit but by another spirit.  Paul is quite blunt about that spirit.  It is the spirit the devil.  Remember that the devil disguises himself most often as an angel of light, which is what his former nature was.  But since he was thrown out of heaven for sinning against God he can only make himself look like and angel of light, but inside he is pure evil.  His servants, whether knowing or unknowing, are carrying out his kingdom of darkness plans on the earth.  We know that Satan’s kingdom will not succeed but it will look like it for a short time.  Another masquerade.  We are to test those who are raised up from within our churches and those who come from the outside who want authority because some of them are wolves who have made themselves to look like sheep in order to abuse and destroy the faith of believers.

2 Tim. 2:17-18  Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.

The teaching of false apostles will spread like gangrene, which is the infection that causes so many people to have amputations.  It is better to get rid of the gangrene of false teaching early rather than suffer the lose of toes, or a foot, or a leg or you life.

Paul Boasts About His Sufferings

16I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. 21To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!


Paul asks them why they will apparently accept false teachers when it is clear they have the wrong motives.  They try to enslave, exploit, take advantage, push themselves forward in the church and slap people in the face while calling them names behind their backs.  Even Paul said that he was too weak to confront these false apostles last time he was in Corinth.  But now he is writing about the problem and will deal with it when he goes to Corinth.

What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

The false apostles apparently were Jews who were coming in with another Gospel, likely adding Jewish requirements on to salvation by grace alone.  So Paul reminds them that he is also a Jew but that he is the one who worked hard to establish churches that these false apostles are now using for their own benefit. This is what I see going on in the islands today.  Good mission organizations established the churches but many second or third generation agencies and individuals have now come in and are taking over the direction of the churches and taking them into false doctrines because the leadership and people in those churches are being passive.  To prove his love for the churches and his authority he lists for them some of the things he has been through in the spread of the Gospel.  Paul says:  I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.   This was a very severe punishment from which people sometimes died.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned.

Acts 14:19-20  Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered round him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.

2Ti 4:14  Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.

27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

Sometimes we don’t know the pressure of church leaders.  This is why we are told not to make their job mor difficult than it already is.

Heb 13:17  Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Paul had proven himself to be the Apostle who was doing more than anyone else to reach the Gentiles.  This is why when victories came he was quick to boast about what the Lord was doing.

30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

But Paul, though quick to boast about others, did not want to boast about himself.  He related what he had gone through not to show how strong he was but to show how, in his weakness, God had taken care of him.  Paul had many stories to tell.  God had saved him from many situations and Paul relates the fact that in Damascus they tried to arrest him but someone there lowered him in a basket from a window in the wall to the city so that he might escape.  Remember the spies Israel sent to Jericho where Rahab lowered the spies with a rope from a window on the wall?


Jos 2:15  So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.


God takes care of those he has sent, whether the spies for Israel or Paul as an ambassador for the Gospel to the Gentiles.  When we are doing God’s work He rescues us and takes care of our needs.  That does not mean that sometimes we will go through hard times as Paul did, but God will work out the details to His glory and our eternal reward.




Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson

2 Corinthians 12

Paul's Vision and His Thorn

1I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.


A number of issues come up in this first section.  First, God does give visions and revelations even today.  But any vision or revelation needs to be tested against the written Word of God.  This is because we need to test whether they are true or false.  One way you can tell this vision was real was that the man was not permitted to tell what he saw in the third heaven or Paradise.  Daniel was told to seal up what he saw about the future and what he read in the scroll.  Sometimes God gave visions to the prophets that were meant to be told to warn the people of Israel.  There are things in heaven that must not be revealed at this time or are incomprehensible now.  Someday we will understand those things.


1Co 13:12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


People who have written books claiming to go to heaven and go into great detail describing what they allegedly have seen there are not telling the truth.  There are things in heaven we don’t understand and could never describe.


Job 36:26  How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.


Beside this, John states that no one has gone to heaven physically except Jesus Christ. 


Joh 3:13  No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

There have been many who had visions of heaven including Paul and John.  There were two instances in the Old Testament where Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven without dying.  But no one has “come” from heaven except Jesus Christ Who came from heaven, returned to heaven, and will come again.  No man makes trips to heaven and back.

Many commentators believe that Paul is talking about himself and his Damascus road experience.  The Dmascus experience occurred around 37AD and when he wrote this letter was about 50AD.  So this is surely talking about Paul’s vision.  Now Paul reveals that in this vision he saw what was in heaven but was not allowed to speak of it.  This is why he did not speak of seeing heaven until he reveals this information about “I knew a man”.  He then reveals that he was not permitted to tell what he saw there.

A third issue is that fact the when Jesus told the thief at his Crucifixion that he would be with him that day in Paradise, he was talking about the third heaven.  Christians when they die go to be with the Lord.

2Co 5:8  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Lu 23:43  Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

 When we leave this body as born again Christians our spirits will be at home with Christ.  Christ is in heaven, the third heaven, Paradise.  So we know that when the word “Paradise” is used it means the third heave, the place where God dwells.  The first heaven is our sky, the second heaven is the universe, the third heaven is outside the universe in a spiritual dimension.

Paul refrains from boasting about himself even while talking about his own experience.  But Paul was always careful not to exaggerate or tell fantastic stories of heavenly visions even though he could.  Bragging about visions you claim are from God is one of the marks of a false teacher. 

7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Verse 7 makes an even stronger case that he was talking about himself because he states “to keep me from becoming conceited”.  God knows that the devil often uses things God has done through us to try to puff us up and make us conceited.  So God allowed a thorn in Paul’s flesh to keep him humble.  What was this thorn?

Barnes says that his vision at Damascus may have caused a paralytic disorder that made it difficult for him to speak publicly and the devil used this to try to make him give up.  Some suggested it was lust, some headaches, and some earaches.  Since Paul was ill from time to time it is suggested that it might have been a reoccurring illness.  Some suggest he was talking about someone like Alexander the Coppersmith and the campaign he was on to try to ruin Paul’s ministry.  In any case it doesn’t matter what the devil was using to torment Paul.  God was allowing it and it was for Paul’s spiritual benefit.   The point is that God does allow the enemy to torment us and test us from without and from within.  We cannot be possessed as Christians, but we can be sorely oppressed to a very deep level.  The argument that the Holy Spirit cannot share space with a demon or the devil is ludicrous.  Satan even went to heaven to ask God to allow him to torture Job.  This is why when God allows the enemy to test us we can ask God to tell the enemy to stop but He may just be allowing it to test our faith.  God says to us: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  God did not way Paul to rely on his learning, on his own strength, but solely on the Lord.  When we are weak in the face of the enemy, God’s strength shines through.  Were we are weak, He is strong.

1Co 1:27  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

We need to come to the point, with Paul, where we actually delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For then we will know when I am weak, then I am strong.  This is hard to do unless you have faith.  True faith in the Lord helps us to have the right attitude and perspective through the hard times.  The perspective is we give glory to the Lord when we are weak and put down.  The Lord will save us in due season.

Ga 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Ps 72:13  He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.

Ps 12:5  "Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the LORD. "I will protect them from those who malign them."


Paul's Concern for the Corinthians


11I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing. 12The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance. 13How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!


Again, Paul makes a crack about those who consider themselves to be “super-apostles”.  These were the early Gnostics and Jews who came around the churches claiming they had equal or higher authority than Paul.  The Gnostics were teaching that Jesus Christ was a spirit and not a real physical human being.  They also taught that they had special revelation knowledge different than Paul’s.  Some Jews who claimed to be Christians were saying that Gentiles had to be circumcised or observe the Mosaic Law.  But these things Paul refuted and condemned.  Not only that but the Lord had validated Paul’s ministry with real signs and wonders, unlike the lying signs and wonders of people like Simon the Sorcerer.  Simon drew big crowds with his magic tricks but when he tried to buy the ability to impart the Holy Spirit and do miracles like the Apostles he was rebuked for having the wrong motives and told to repent.  As a historical fact we know that Simon, later known was Simon Magus, did not repent and was one of the early Gnostics.

Simon was a famous Magician who lived during the reign of Claudius Caesar which places him at the time of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The book of ACTS refers to him in Chapter Eight. Simon taught that he was the Son of God, destined to appear among the Jews. He claimed he would descend in Samaria as the Father, and among the other nations as the Holy Ghost. He said he was one with the Father. He was always accompanied by his consort Helen, a converted prostitute from Tyre (as Bishop Irenaeus tells it). Simon claimed she was his first-born creation from his holy mind, the Mother of all. Helen first gave Father Simon the idea to create angels. She brought Simon's will to the lower planes of material existence, and made the world. She was held captive by the lower forces, who refused to let her leave. They had no knowledge of Simon, and enclosed her in a female human body, and she re-incarnated as female for centuries. She claimed she was the same Helen of the Trojan War. She continued to degrade over time, until she finally became a prostitute. She was the Lost Sheep spoken of in LUKE 15:6, it was claimed. Simon, Son of God, came down to earth to rescue her, and while he was on earth he would offer men his Gnosis (knowledge) for their salvation. Simon claimed he was never really a man, though, and though he appeared to suffer in Judea, he never really suffered. He stated that to believe in Simon is enough for salvation, and no further duties were required of his believers to be saved (as in EPHESIANS 2:8). Simon announced the world would eventually be destroyed, but his believers would be saved from the dark forces which govern these lower planes. The followers of Simon cast out demons, handled snakes, laid on hands for healing, and performed all sorts of magical rituals. (

Simon had a big following for awhile and filled large public arenas with people looking for healing and signs and wonders.  This is very much the same are false teachers today such as Benny Hinn and others.  Hinn clamed that he and every Christian are the “I Am” and that he was a little messiah.  Hinn regularly gets special revelation knowledge from his god that always seems to make him look super spiritual.  I have a DVD I made a number of years ago with many false teachings, false visions, false prophecies and demonic episodes.  These types of men are Gnostics, not true Christians.  They cannot do real Divine miracles, only tricks done by magicians who don’t claim any Divine assistance.

14Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 16Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! 17Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you? 18I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course?

Paul is unlike the schemers and rip-off artists who were traveling around trying to deceive believers at that time.  He did not want anything from them but their love.  He had already shown them and reminded them of what he had gone through for their benefit.  Like a parent he had saved up for their benefit and was not expecting anything in return except their love.  False teachers exploit people while making themselves look super spiritual.  Paul admits he is not perfect and that he is weak and asks them to produce any evidence that he has been trying to trick them or exploit them in any way, either himself or Titus or any of the other men he had sent.  The men who were approved and sent by Paul treated the Corinthian church the same way Paul treated them.

19Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

Paul did what he did in the full sight of God and with His approval.  Everything Paul and the others were doing was in order to strengthen the Corinthian Christians.  Paul wanted to avoid any bad feelings by the time he came to them again.  The list of things that Paul did not want to see if a good list to test your church with: be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.  Ever had those in your church or after church?  Apparently this had happened at Corinth and Paul wanted to avoid that situation.  He wanted to be sure that the people who had engaged in impurity, sexual sin and debauchery would have already truly repented as he had heard.  He did not want to go back and have to confront people again for the same things he had rebuked them for in the past.  Paul, rather than the type of person who would get angry about their lack of repentance would feel humbled by having to use his time there to correct wrongs, to stop the quarreling, to confront jealous factions, to rebuke outbursts of anger, to refute again slander and gossip about himself and others, put those who were arrogant in their place, and bring disorder into order.  Can you imagine having to confront a situation like that and still do the ministry the Lord had called you to do?  Paul did not want to be the bearer of bad news yet again.  He wanted to be sure they had put their house in order before he came to them.

If we put off repentance another day, we have a day more to repent of, and a day less to repent in. (Source Unknown)


Study In 2 Corinthians

by Sandy Simpson

2 Corinthians 13

On September 21, 1938, a hurricane of monstrous proportions struck the East Coast of the United States. William Manchester, writing about it his book The Glory and the Dream, says that "the great wall of brine struck the beach between Babylon and Patchogue (Long Island, New York) at 2:30 p.m. So mighty was the power of that first storm wave that its impact registered on a seismograph in Sitka, Alaska, while the spray, carried northward at well over a hundred miles an hour, whitened windows in Montpelier, Vermont.  As the torrential 40-foot wave approached, some Long Islanders jumped into cars and raced inland. No one knows precisely how many lost that race for their lives, but the survivors later estimated that they had to keep the speedometer over 50 mph all the way." 

For some reason the meteorologists--who should have known what was coming and should have warned the public--seemed strangely blind to the impending disaster. Either they ignored their instruments or simply couldn't believe them. And, of course, if the forecasters were blind, the public was too.

"Among the striking stories which later came to light," says Manchester, "was the experience of a Long Islander who had bought a barometer a few days earlier in a New York store. It arrived in the morning post September 21, and to his annoyance the needle pointed below 29, where the dial read, 'Hurricanes and Tornadoes.'  He shook it and banged it against the wall; the needle wouldn't budge. Indignant, he repacked it, drove to the post office, and mailed it back. While he was gone, his house blew away." That's the way we are. If we can't cope with the forecast, we blame the barometer. Or ignore it. Or throw it away!  (Source Unknown)

This story illustrates what people often do.  It is what some at Corinth were doing with Paul.  They blamed him when they should have been testing themselves and listening to Paul’s warnings.  As it says in the story, when people cannot cope with the warning, they blame the person that warned them.  There is another saying: if you can’t kill the message, kill the messenger”.  I run into this all the time.  People do not want to deal with facts these days so instead they try to destroy the character of the messenger.  This is what is happening right now in politics with the protests over Obamacare.  Instead of truly listening to the concerns of people the politicians are acting like those protesting are crazy or being paid to go out and protest. 
Final Warnings

1This will be my third visit to you. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses."[a] 2I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you.


Paul was going to visit the Corinthian church for the third time.  He quotes Jesus in Matt. 18:16 where Jesus was referring to Deut. 19.15 where it states:


Deut. 19:15  One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offence he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.


This is still part of the law of many countries in court.  You cannot just take the word of one person against another to establish the truth in a matter.  If you have two or three witnesses then you much more assurance that the truth is being told.  There were many witnesses to what Paul had written and told the church at Corinth in person.  In this final chapter he tells them that he is going to warn them again just as he did on his second visit.  He wants to repeat his warning to them before he comes so that, if at all possible, he will not have to rebuke them in person.  When he comes he warns them that he will rebuke those who have sinned and not repented.  It is likely he would tell them to leave the church.  Paul was Christ’s representative and he was demonstrating the principle that he wrote them in his first letter; that God judges those outside the church, we are to judge those inside. 


1 Cor. 5:12-13  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."


This principle harkens back to the Old Testament also in Deut. 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21,24; 24:7.  Israel was to take responsibility for purging the evil in their nation.  God would take care of judging the heathen, but the Jews were to clean their own house.  This is a principle that has been all but lost today.  This is why so many churches are weak and open to being deceived.  God is not weak but is powerful in the true churches.  Though Jesus Christ was crucified in weakness He is alive in the power of God.  In the same way we are weak but He is strong.  We live in that power.  Paul was living in that power in order to server the early churches.


5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. 10This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.


It is not a bad thing to examine ourselves to be sure we are in the Faith.  If we continue to sin and disobey the Lord we may not be in the Faith.  Those who continue to practice sin while calling themselves followers of Christ are not following Christ.


1 John 2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

1 John 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;

1 John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.


The reason I like the NASB translation in 1 John is that it makes clear the difference between a Christians sinning, which we do, and a person who practices sin.  As a Christian our new goal is to practice righteousness.  Our direction is toward righteousness, not back to sin.  As an unbeliever we practiced, rehearsed sin.  But when we were born again God changes our hearts and we began to obey Him and practice righteousness.  If a person who claims to be a Christians continues to live in sin, particularly what I call lifestyle sin, then they are likely not born again.  This is what Paul is talking about when he told certain Corinthian Christians that if they continued in unrepentant sin they had better check to see if they were born again Christians and not just playing at Christianity.  Unfortunately I am afraid that many people today who go to church and tell people they are Christians are not really born again.  Why?  Because they continue practicing sin.


Some Corinthian were questioning Paul’s status in Christ because he had come down on them so hard.  But the fact was the Paul was being obedient while many of them were not.  They needed to pass the test of Faith.  Paul could not do anything other than speak the truth to them and he had proven that he obeyed the Lord in this even though some were offended.  When you speak the truth sometimes people will be offended.  True believers will not but false brethren will take offence. 


The Lord gave Paul his authority.  With that authority Paul’s purpose, which was very evident, was to build up the Church on tear it down.  The fact that some in Corinth had forgotten that shows that they were off track.  Paul was hoping that they would get back on track before he came a third time.

Final Greetings

11Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13All the saints send their greetings. 14May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Paul gives his final greetings.  His goal for them was to spur them on to perfection.  He hoped that he would not have to discipline them again but that they would take matters into their own hands and deal with the problems he had already laid out on 1 Corinthians.  So he asks them a final time to listen to his appeal.  The way to work toward perfection is to be of one mind.  They had allowed themselves to have factions and this is not a good thing in a church.  They needed to learn to live in peace with one another and follow what Paul was saying, what the Lord was saying to them.  If they did this then the God of love and peace would be with them.  Poole comments on the “greet one another with a holy kiss” this way:


It was an ancient custom and of common use, when friends met, for them (as a token of mutual love and friendship) to kiss each other: the Christians used it also at their ecclesiastical assemblings. It must not be looked upon as a precept, obliging all Christians to do the like; but only as directing those that then did use it, to use it innocently, chastely, sincerely, and holily. (Poole Commentary)


The last part is what is called the benediction.  Many pastors through the ages have used this sentence as a benediction for their services.  This is an affirmation of the doctrine of the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are mentioned.  Jesus Christ gave us the gift of salvation by grace alone.


Ro 5:15  But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!


God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us.


Joh 3:16  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


The Holy Spirit is God with us and in us.


1Jo 4:13  We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit

1Jo 3:24  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us


Footnotes:  2 Corinthians 13:1 Deut. 19:15