Verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus"
Part 42 - PAULS SECOND LETTER to the CORINTHIANS
SOME OF THE CHALLENGES PAUL HAS FACED
42.1 GREETINGS; AS GOD COMFORTS US THROUGH CHRIST SO WE CAN COMFORT OTHERS
2 Corinthians 1:1-7 - This letter comes to you from Paul, God's messenger for Jesus Christ by the will of God, and from brother Timothy, and is addressed to the church of God in Corinth and all Christians throughout Achaia.
May grace and peace come to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
God's encouragements are adequate for all life's troubles
Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For he gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs. Indeed, experience shows that the more we share Christ's suffering the more we are able to give of his encouragement. This means that if we experience trouble we can pass on to you comfort and spiritual help; for if we ourselves have been comforted we know how to encourage you to endure patiently the same sort of troubles that we have ourselves endured. We are quite confident that if you have to suffer troubles as we have done, then, like us, you will find the comfort and encouragement of God.
THE WAY OF THE TRUE APOSTLE OF CHRIST
42.2 AS CHRIST'S POWER IS GREATER THAN THE LAW OF MOSES SO IS THE POWER OF THE APOSTLES
2 Corinthians 3:7-18 - The administration of the Law which was engraved in stone (and which led in fact to spiritual death) was so magnificent that the Israelites were unable to look unflinchingly at Moses' face, for it was alight with heavenly splendour (after his meeting with God on Mount Sinai, Exodus 34:29). Now if the old administration held such heavenly, even though transitory, splendour, can we not see what a much more glorious thing is the new administration of the Spirit of life? If to administer a system which is to end in condemning men was a splendid task, how infinitely more splendid is it to administer a system which ends in making men good! And while it is true that the former temporary glory has been completely eclipsed by the latter, we do well to remember that is is eclipsed simply because the present permanent plan is such a very much more glorious thing then the old.
Our ministry is an open and splendid thing
With this hope in our hearts we are quite frank and open in our ministry. We are not like Moses, who veiled his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing its fading glory (Exodus 34:32-35). But it was their minds really which were blinded, for even today when the old agreement (or covenant, the Law of Moses or first five books of the Old Testament) is read to them there is still a veil over their minds - though the veil has actually been lifted by Christ. Yes, alas, even to this day there is still a veil over their hearts when the writings of Moses are read. Yet if they "turned to the Lord" the veil would disappear. For the Lord to whom they could turn is the spirit of the new agreement, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, men's souls are set free.
But all of us who are Christians have no veils on our faces, but reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord. We are transfigured by the Spirit of the Lord in ever-increasing splendour into his own image.
42.3 THE APOSTLES PREACH CHRIST'S GOSPEL PLAINLY, BUT MANY, INCLUDING THE FALSE TEACHERS, CANNOT SEE IT
2 Corinthians 4:1-6 - This is the ministry of the new agreement (... the Gospel of Christ) which God in his mercy has given us and nothing can daunt us. We use no hocus-pocus, no clever tricks, no dishonest manipulation of the Word of God. We speak the plain truth and so commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. If our Gospel is "veiled", the veil must be in the minds of those who are spiritually dying. The spirit of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, the image of God, from shining on them. For it is Christ Jesus the Lord whom we preach, not ourselves; we are your servants for his sake. God, who first ordered
'light to shine in darkness' (Genesis 1:3),
has flooded our hearts with his light. We now can enlighten men only because we can give them knowledge of the glory of God, as we see it in the face of Jesus Christ.
42.4 THE APOSTLE'S SUCCESS IN SPITE OF THEIR APPARENT WEAKNESS IS TO DEMONSTRATE THE POWER OF GOD
2 Corinthians 4:7-14 - This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in a common earthenware jar - to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us (apostles). We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down but we are never knocked out! Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours. Yes, we who are living are always being exposed to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in our mortal lives. We are always facing death, but this means that you know more and more of life. Our faith is like that mentioned in the scripture:
'I believed and therefore I spoke' (Psalm 116:10).
For we too speak because we believe, and we know for certain that he who raised the Lord Jesus from death shall also by him raise us. We shall all stand together before him.
42.5 THE APOSTLES MAY SEEM DEFEATED BUT THEY KNOW THEY HAVE ETERNAL GLORY WITH GOD
2 Corinthians 4:15-18 - We wish you could see how all this is working out for your benefit, and how the more grace God gives, the more thanksgiving will redound to his glory. This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.
42.6 THE APOSTLE'S CONFIDENCE IN IMMORTALITY AND THEIR READINESS FOR DEATH
2 Corinthians 5:1-10 - We know, for instance, that if our earthly dwelling were taken down, like a tent, we have a permanent house in Heaven, made, not by man, but by God. In this present frame we sigh with deep longing for the heavenly house, for we do not want to face utter nakedness when death destroys our present dwelling - these bodies of ours. So long as we are clothed in this temporary dwelling we have a painful longing, not because we want just to get rid of these "clothes" but because we want to know the full cover of the permanent house that will be ours. We want our transitory life to be absorbed into the life that is eternal.
Death can have no terrors, for it means being with God
Now the power that has planned this experience for us is God, and he has given us his Spirit as a guarantee of its truth. This makes us confident, whatever happens. We realise that being "at home" (... alive) in the body means that to some extent we are "away" from the Lord, for we have to live by trusting him without seeing him. We are so sure of this that we would really rather be "away" from the body (in death) and be "at home" with the Lord.
It is our aim, therefore, to please him, whether we are "at home" or "away". For every one of us will have to stand without pretence before Christ our judge, and we shall be rewarded for what we did when we lived in our bodies, whether it was good or bad.
42.7 CHRIST'S LOVE FOR THE APOSTLES COMPELS THEM TO SERVE THE CHRISTIANS OF CORINTH
2 Corinthians 5:11-15 - All our persuading of men, then, is with this solemn fear of God in our minds. What we are is utterly plain to God - and I hope to your consciences as well. (No, we are not recommending ourselves to you again, but we can give you grounds for legitimate pride in us - if that is what you need to meet those who are so proud of the outward rather than the inward qualification). If we have been "mad" it was for God's glory; if we are perfectly sane it is for your benefit. At any rate there has been no selfish motive. The very spring of our actions is the love of Christ. We look at it like this: if one died for all men then, in a sense, they all died, and his purpose in dying for them is that their lives should now be no longer lived for themselves but for him who died and rose again for them.
42.8 THE APOSTLE'S SPIRITUAL MINISTRY IS TO RECONCILE MAN TO GOD; SUCH MEN ARE NEW CREATIONS
2 Corinthians 5:16-6.2 - This means that our knowledge of men can no longer be based on their outward lives (indeed, even though we knew Christ as a man we do not know him like that any longer). For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether - the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. All this is God's doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ; and he has made us agents of the reconciliation. God was in Christ personally reconciling the world to himself - not counting their sins against them - and has commissioned us with the message of reconciliation. We are now Christ's ambassadors, as though God were appealing direct to you through us. As his personal representatives we say, "Make your peace with God." For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God.
(Chapter 6 ....) As co-operators with God himself we beg, you then, not to fail to use the grace of God. For God's word is-
'In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you' (Isaiah 49:8)
Now is the "acceptable time", and this very day is the "day of salvation".
to Contents List
continuing preaching the "Gospel of Jesus", on to Part 43, Galatians OR back to Harmony of Jesus & Early Church