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Bible Pathways 11/29/2002

November 29

Read II Corinthians 5 -- 8

In Today’s Reading:

Living by faith; ministry of reconciliation; believers not to be unequally joined with unbelievers; Paul's ministry; the grace of giving.

No one would deny that we are living in a day of deception and compromise, and Christians often search for satisfaction through what the world has to offer. To provide answers for this problem, Paul asked five questions that deserve our prayerful consideration because they have eternal consequences for us: What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial (the devil)? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? . . . What agreement has (can there be between) the Temple of God with idols? For you are the Temple of the living God (II Corinthians 6:14-16).

Since there is a very real danger of being caught up with the world views that press upon us daily, James was led to warn us that whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4). Through Paul, God said: You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight (Colossians 1:21-22). Since the Christian goal in life should not be material gain or worldly pleasures, Paul was led to write: If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (3:1-2). This is of utmost importance to consider, since the believer and the unbeliever each have a different master.

The believer should also be separated in heart and practice from the world which crucified Jesus and still hates Him. This is one of many reasons why we must not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14). The Christian call is to come out from among them (unbelievers), and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (6:17-18). To come out from among them means, among other things, that we should avoid becoming involved with unbelieving friends or joining in activities that keep us from being our best for Christ.

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 (7:1). This cleansing can only be lived out individually as we face each day.

Many people are prone to base their daily decisions on feelings, peer pressure, or human reasoning. Satan, who is the prince of this world, seeks to control the minds of believers. Jesus had warned Peter: Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat (Luke 22:31). Consequently, we must prayerfully consider what God has said about friendships, secular associations, and fellowship with the unsaved, or about making time-consuming alliances that would draw us away from church or other ministries. Peter was also led by our Creator to write: As He who called you is Holy, so be Holy in all (your conduct and) manner of living (I Peter 1:15; compare Leviticus 11:44).

Thought for Today: It is only by the grace of God that we are anything or can do anything of eternal value.

Word Studies:

5:5 wrought = prepared; 5:13 beside ourselves = insane; sober = of sound mind; 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin = Christ was without sin, but took the guilt of our sins upon Himself; 6:5 in stripes = in having been beaten; tumults = riots; 6:6 unfeigned = sincere; 6:11 our heart is enlarged = we love you with all our heart; 6:12 Ye are not straitened in us = our love toward you is not restricted; bowels = affections; 6:13 a recompence in the same = fair return; be ye also enlarged = let your heart be open; 7:9 that ye might receive damage by us in nothing = that you were not in any way the losers through what we had said; 7:10 not to be repented of = without regret; 7:11 carefulness = diligence, seriousness; 8:1 we do you to wit of the grace of God = we want you to know what the grace of God has accomplished; 8:4 intreaty = most urgently; 8:7 abound = excel; 8:8 forwardness = earnestness.

Cross References:

For II Corinthians 6:2: See Isa. 49:8. II Cor. 6:16: See Lev. 26:11-12. II Cor. 6:17: See Isa. 52:11. II Cor. 8:15: See Ex. 16:18.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Williams Jenkins (TN) · Pray for the President · Country: Estonia (2 million) in northeastern Europe · Major languages: Estonian and Russian · Religious freedom · 38% Protestant; 20% Estonian Orthodox; 1% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Seek God in prayer continually and depend on His strength (I Chronicles 16:11).

Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 6:11

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