Ministry of reconciliation; appeal for separation from unbelievers; suffering of Paul; the grace of giving.
For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart (II Cor. 5:12).
Although the church at Corinth was known for its many outstanding teachers, spiritual gifts, and talents, it seems they were also known for their debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings (II Cor. 12:20). Many of the Corinthian Christians seemed satisfied with outward performance, but unconcerned about true spiritual growth. Many churches today have fallen into this same pattern. Their unacceptable contribution to the Kingdom of God is in the great cathedrals they have built. It is in their great numbers, their professional choirs and their huge bank accounts.
This is not to say all large churches are like this. Many still hold true to the challenges Christ and Paul gave to the Church. However, many have chosen the ways and doctrines that are an abomination to God. They have lost their way just like Laodicea. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth (Rev. 3:16).
Often a Christian begins serving the Lord with a right motive. But as God blesses his effort, he is tempted to become proud over his achievements. If his motive for serving God becomes one of self-recognition, he loses his usefulness to God. He becomes so full of self that he loses sight of God. Often they begin to be more concerned with the rules of the church or denomination more so than the guidelines for life set forth by the Bible. They begin to be bound in legalism and traditionalism. Many times these people will become very judgmental of those who don't live by their rules and practices. The spirit of the pharisee is alive in them. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican (Luke 18:11).
As we read the Scriptures for the purpose of letting Christ help us overcome whatever is of self, He will enable and strengthen us to glorify the Father even as He did. We must remember that no matter how far we fall that we are never outside of grace's reach. Just as Christ is waiting on the drunkard, the thief and the prostitute, He is waiting on the proud, the religious and the legalistic.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1).
Thought for Today:
Count it joy when you suffer for righteousness.
For II Cor. 9:9: See Ps. 112:9. II Cor. 10:17: See Jer. 9:24. II Cor. 13:1: See Deut. 19:15.
9:2 forwardness, readiness; 9:5 bounty, gift; 9:7 of necessity, under compulsion; 9:13 experiment, experience, proof, evidence; 10:13 without, beyond; 11:2 espoused, betrothed, engaged; 11:3 beguiled, deceived, seduced; simplicity, sincere faithfulness; 11:5 a whit behind, at all inferior to; 11:6 rude in speech, unskilled as an orator; 12:7 buffet, discipline; 12:17 make a gain of you, take advantage of or exploit you; 12:20 swellings, pride; self-assertion; 12:21 lasciviousness, lustfulness; 13:6 reprobates, rejected, not genuine Christians.
Pray for Internet Radio: sponsored Joe & Betty Crawford • Government Officials: Sen. Richard Burr (NC), Rep. Jim McGovern (MA), and Rep.-at-Large Kristi Noem (SD) • Country: Guinea-Bissau (1 million) on the western coast of Africa • Major languages: Portuguese and Criolo • Religious freedom • 51% animist; 42% Muslim; 6% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Call unto the Lord and He will give you strength to overcome (Jer. 33:3).
Memory Verse for the Week: Titus 2:14