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2nd Corithians 1:1-7
2 Corinthians 1:1-14
2nd Corinthians 1:15-24
2nd Corinthians 3:1-18
2nd Corinthians 4
2nd Corinthians 5:12-21
2nd Corinthians 6:4-18
2 Corinthians 7:1-16
2 Corinthians 8:16-24
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
2 Corinthians 11:1-33
2 Corinthian 12:1-21
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2nd Corinthians 7:1-16

 

“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. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless, God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. For if I had boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.”

 

Holiness Is A Direction, Not A State

 

“Well, 2nd Corinthians chapter 7. If you’re visiting with us this evening, as we are, believe it or not, we’re journeying through the Bible. We, these chapters 7, 8 and 9 deal with the “g” word, which we don’t like to talk about in church, “giving.” [he laughs] Don’t leave here and say, ‘Ah, I knew that’s all they talked about up there.’ No, it took us years to get to this chapter, you just walked in at the right time. Maybe God is trying to speak to you, I don’t know. Chapter 7 really begins in verse 2. People who, at different junctures in Church history, in the 13th century, 15th century, even earlier, who divided our Bible up into chapters, and then several centuries later into verses, actually made things much easier for us, in general, just so we can refer to a verse, so that we can go to a chapter, we can do this. But there are certain places were you kind of wonder why they divided the way they did. And this is one of them, there aren’t many. But chapter 7, I mean, verse 1 of chapter 7 belongs with the end of chapter 6. “Having therefore these promises” what promises? The promises of course where God said ‘I will receive you, I will be a Father unto you,’ he’s asking them to separate themselves. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness” and that’s progressive in the tenses, “in the fear of the God” (verse 1). So, again, it’s not talking about salvation, you don’t cleanse yourself in regards to salvation, this is in regards to your walk. This is in regards to separation, this is in regards to being yielded more and more to the Lord as we go on, and of course that has to be borne out of love [i.e. God’s agape-love]. All you have to do is watch, you know, I can tell when someone’s dating around here. They’re on the only diet that works, the love-diet, they really loose weight on that diet, you can see them getting in shape, trimming down. And, ah, they spend money on each other, and walk in holding hands, sometimes even wearing the same shirts. Yiy! Kind of oblivious to all that is around them. And you know, you just pray for them [laughter]. But it isn’t any sacrifice for them to give up other friends and relationships to be with each other, because they’re in love. They’re a little bit out of their minds, but they’re in love. And that’s the secret of separation, it isn’t what we’re separated from, it’s who we’re separated unto. When we talk about separation, living a separate life, if you measure that in context of ‘Well that means I can’t do this, that means I can’t go to R-rated movies,’ and these days you can’t go to PG-13 movies, ‘And that means I can’t listen to this music, that means I can’t drink one of these [the Bible teaches alcohol consumption is to be in extreme moderation, and if that’s not possible, then not at all], and that means I can’t do this…’ If that’s the way you’re measuring separation, you’re a goner. Because basically what you’re saying is, ‘How close can I get to the edge, without falling off?’ You know, ‘I want to be as worldly as I can and still be saved. I want fire insurance.’ [You know what Paul said to that? Read Galatians 5:19-21. But what Pastor Joe is saying is that our separation from the world must go beyond legalistic obedience, it must be driven by our love for God, Christ.] But separation for us should be that we set our eyes on Jesus Christ, and that we’re so overwhelmed with what he’s done for us, that we are willing, because we love him, to yield our lives, and to let him have more of us, because we realize, no one has ever loved us the way that he loves us. No one has ever sacrificed for us the way he has sacrificed for us, and letting that be real, and being able to say ‘Lord, with all my imperfections, I give myself to you. Lord, I’m going to bungle things along the way, I’m going to falter, but I know that you are committed to continue that good work that you have begun within me, until That Day.’ In that sense, the exhortation “cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh”, activity, “all filthiness of the spirit”, attitude, those things that need to soften and go away, “perfecting ourselves in holiness.” Again, holiness is a direction, it’s not a state that you reach in this world, it’s a direction. I mean, even it says in the ages to come, we’ll still be learning. So we will always be approaching, and never arriving in a sense. So holiness is a direction, separate from this world.

 

Paul Sees Great Change In The Corinthian Church

 

Now, Paul then in verse 2 breaks into something that he’s going to talk to these Corinthians about, because when he had been there and when he had written the first Epistle, Paul was taking an offering for the church in Jerusalem. That will become more clear as we get into chapter 8. And they hadn’t kept, evidently, their promise to make that offering become a reality. He’s not laying any blame on them for that, he was dealing more with those that were saying ‘I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos, I’m of Cephas,’ of the drunkenness, of the sin in the church, exhorting them, the letter was vastly corrective, the first Epistle. And now he’s coming back to something that they’re familiar with. Verses 2-3, he said, “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.” i.e. ‘We’ve never been there for gain, to get in your wallets.’ “I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.” You’re in our hearts, Paul said, this is not a matter of wanting to condemn this church. Remember, with all the trouble this Corinthian church was, Paul remembers that the Lord has said to him in the Book of Acts, ‘Go back into the city, I have much people there.’ And again, it’s a good thing the Lord said that, because Paul would have wondered by this time. And Paul will say in the end of this letter ‘that he wants to present the Corinthian church as a chaste virgin to Christ in That Day.’ So he has high hopes for them, and evidently is seeing great change in the church. So, Paul is saying that he doesn’t desire to condemn any of them, his heart is with them. Verses 4-5, “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.” Does my heart good to hear Paul the apostle say that. ‘We’ve got trouble without, trouble within. Without were fightings, we had no rest,’ ever feel like that? Come on. Wake up. ‘No rest,’ ever feel like that? ‘Trouble without, fears within,’ you ever feel like that? [cf, 2nd Corinthians 4:8-12 and 2nd Corinthians 10:3, for though we walk in he flesh, we do not war after the flesh…” Ephesians 6:5, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood…”] Paul was saying that his own faith was still in the process of being stretched, that God was still placing him in circumstances where he had to step where he hadn’t stepped before. God will do that to us, he’ll put into a situation where we say ‘Lord, this is deeper water than I’ve ever been in. You know, I’ve exercised faith, I’ve memorized Scripture up to the present time, Lord, that has been a strength to me, you presence, your promises. But now Lord, you’re taking me someplace I’ve never been before. And Lord, you have to deepen then, my insight into the Scripture, my ability by faith to take hold of those promises you make, Lord, my ability to hear your Spirit speaking to my heart.’ And Paul was much the same as us, human, and here troubled. Troubled without, fears within, but of course. Now we can just stay there and idle there, for months on end…Look, there’s another verse, Paul didn’t stop there, that’s not his autobiographical statement. The next verse he says, “Nevertheless…” because you know some people. You see them coming, and you don’t want to say ‘How you doing?’ because they might tell you, [laughter] for about three weeks. You’ve gotta pack a lunch first before you ask, you know, because some…

 

Who Is Your Titus?

 

Paul says “Nevertheless” and he gives an answer to that. “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down…Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down…” All you folks out there that are depressed about anything, “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;” (verse 6) That’s how he started the Epistle, ‘The God of all comfort, the Father of all mercy, comforteth us in our affliction, that we might be able to comfort others in their affliction with the same comfort that we were comforted with,’ (2nd Corinthians 1:4) he’s back to that, speaking of the way God had comforted him. Now look, in this situation, it’s not just some nebulous thing. Paul said we were troubled, we’re fearful, we’re struggling with things, ‘but nevertheless God, who comforteth us,’ he says, ‘and those that are cast down, he comforted us by the coming of Titus.’ We need to pray sometimes I think, ‘Lord, show me if there’s a Titus in my life.’ Because Paul could have said, ‘Oh, it’s you Titus, hey, I’m depressed, how are you?’ You know, look at Jesus praying in Gethsemane, it says God the Father sent an angel to strengthen him. Jesus could have said, ‘An angel? I’m more powerful than you are. You’re going to comfort me?’ Remember Mary Magdalene, at the tomb, supposing that Jesus was the gardener. There was comfort standing right in front of her, and she didn’t realize that it was Jesus. You remember the two guys on the road to Emmaus, telling Jesus all day how bummed out they were. ‘What’s wrong with you guys, walking along here, you look so sad?’ ‘You kidding, you the only guy in Jerusalem that doesn’t know what’s going on?’ Jesus said, ‘No, why don’t you tell me about it. I didn’t see it in the newspaper, what’s going on?’ There’s gotta be some Divine humor there. ‘Oh, Jesus of Nazareth, man, great in word and deed, prophet, we had hoped’ past tense, ‘that he had been the One who would have delivered Israel…dead, crucified, if that wasn’t bad enough, some crazy women runnin’ around telling people they’ve seen him alive again.’ You can image Jesus going, ‘Huh? Isn’t that something.’ [laughter] There was their Titus standing right next to them, and they weren’t recognizing. Of course as the day went on, when he broke bread they realized. Then they said, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us when he walked with us along the way and spoke the Word to us?’ God hasn’t changed. You know, we get distressed out, we get fearful, Christmas is coming, we’re looking at our checkbook [or for us that don’t celebrate Christmas, ‘Christmas is coming, now we gotta face the wrath of all our relatives.’] There’s nothing there, the cupboard is bare. We get a report from the doctor, the stock market is going down, and ‘Lord, I need comfort, about $100,000 worth.’ [laughter] ‘Lord…’ “Nevertheless God, who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus…” Open your eyes, say, ‘Lord, show me where your comfort is. Who is it that you’ve sent to speak to me? Lord Jesus, what person are you talking through?’ My wife is telling me, you know, consider the sparrows, and I’m yelling at her, ‘Don’t tell me that, I’m a pastor, I know that verse!’ ‘Is that you speaking through her, Lord?’ ‘Or my husband? Or my brother? Or my daughter?’ Titus, Paul cast down, cast out, fearful, and the coming of another servant, one of his “sons” like Timothy, in the faith. He said God used him to comfort him. And I can guarantee you Titus probably didn’t realize how much God has used him to comfort Paul. How many times, people walk up and say a kind word, just say something and it can set the course of a day, it can set just the tenor of things, you know, just, and sometimes you don’t realize how God might use you to encourage someone, to speak to someone, just a Titus speaking to an apostle, an angel to Jesus, just, you know, you don’t have to be as spiritually mature as someone else to be an encouragement to them when they’re struggling. To remind them of a truth that they think they know so well, but they’ve forgotten about in that hour. ‘Titus came, was a comfort to us.’ “And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.” (verse 7) You know, it was just one of those days for Paul. Now Titus didn’t fax Paul and say ‘I’ll be there,’ didn’t call him on his cell phone. See this is the thing, Titus showed up, and said, however the conversation went, and Titus said ‘you know, the Corinthians really have changed, they took your Epistle to heart, there’s mourning, there’s repentance there, and some of them are saying how sorry they are that they had bad-mouthed you, they sowed discord, they really do love you.’ And Paul said, ‘That was inserted into a very difficult time in our lives, and we were comforted by it, our hearts were lifted up by the coming of Titus and the things that he had to say about you.’

 

Godly Sorrow Works Repentance Not To Be Repented Of

 

Verse 8, “For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.” Now he sounds as double-minded as I am here. “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing” (verse 9). Paul says, ‘You know, I wrote the letter, after I wrote the letter I thought, ‘Oh, was it too harsh, I wish I could go down to the corner with a can-opener and open the mailbox and get it back,’ and I’m not repentant that I wrote you the letter, I did repent,’ he was second-guessing himself. Jeremiah said, ‘The LORD spoke to me, told me ‘Your cousin Hannaniel is going to come and buy this parcel of ground, offer it to you, buy it from him. Because after 70 years I’m going to bring you back from captivity.’ Jeremiah says, ‘Then my relative Hannaniel came,’ and he said, ‘Then I knew the LORD had spoken to me.’ ‘What do you mean, Jeremiah, you’re supposed to be a prophet, you’re supposed to know the first time.’ He was human, going through the same things we do. Paul says, ‘You know, I wrote the letter, I kind of repented, thought, wow, it’s gonna cut, it’s a little hard, but I’m not repentant now. I was, but now that I hear of the godly sorrow, I hear that there’s repentance, I realize that though it was a direct, was a heavy statement, it didn’t harm you, it produced spiritual health.’ And of course, the sorrow of a shepherd, speaking truth to his loss. And you can experience the same thing in your life. Just those moments come with family, with friends, and you know, ‘I can’t say what they want me to say, Lord Jesus, I can’t compromise the truth in this situation.’ And there are those times where you speak the truth to your own loss, you know, in a sense, it’s going to cut, it’s going to put a division for a month, or for a week, or two or for three. And there is a sorrow to that. But Paul now is rejoicing, he’s seeing the fruit from those things. And then he tells us something here that certainly is central to all of this, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (verse 10). Godly sorrow, and that’s how you tell whether it’s worldly sorrow or godly sorrow, and there’s a difference. Judas was sorry. Said it had repented him that he had betrayed Christ, and he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the priests and he threw it on the Temple floor and said, “I betrayed innocent blood.” It wasn’t repentance though, it wasn’t godly sorrow, because he went out and he committed suicide, he hung himself. Peter betrayed Christ the same night. He went out and wept, sorrowful, godly sorrow, because it led to repentance. You know, Frank has a prison ministry, and he could ask lots of prisoners, ‘Hey are you sorry your robbed a bank?’ ‘Yeah,’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because I got caught.’ You know, there’s plenty of people that are sorry because they get caught. That’s not repentance. They’re not saying, ‘It was stupid, I was wrong, I grieved God, I just needed to ask for his forgiveness, I can’t believe I did that.’ And there’s a difference, because one way leads back to life and restoration, and the other way leads to depression, leads to ulcers, it leads to suicide sometimes. And we have to know the difference. Again, condemnation is from the devil, conviction is from the Holy Spirit. They both feel bad. The way you determine the difference is this. Does it drive you to the Lord, or does it drive you away from the Lord? Because conviction from the Holy Spirit drives us to Christ, and repentance, asking forgiveness. Condemnation from the devil drives us away from Christ, saying, ‘Oh, he don’t love you, you keep messing up, you keep doing the same thing. You know how many times, 70 times 7, you’re way over that by now.’ But genuine godly sorrow is to repentance. That’s not something to be repented of, Paul says, because it brings about change. And that’s the whole issue. If you are “busted,” and by God, I’m not talking about by your wife, by your husband, you know, if you’re married, you know like I do, your wife makes a lousy Holy Ghost. ‘Honey, just let the Holy Ghost be the Holy Ghost’ or vice versa. But there are times then when we’re “busted” by God, and we know it, and we’re miserable [i.e. David busted by God over Bathsheba (and Nathan was just God’s instrument)]. We can be mean to everybody around us, but ultimately it boils down to “We have to do business with Him.” And if it’s [the repentance] on our part, there’s change. We leave sin behind, we repent of it, we ask forgiveness. If we say ‘Oh, I’m real sorry,’ and there’s no change, you’re not sorry, it’s a worldly sorrow. It doesn’t go anywhere, it doesn’t produce anything, it just spirals downward if it goes anywhere at all. Paul says, ‘Godly sorrow leads to repentance, when there’s genuine repentance there’s change, not just sorry I got caught.’ Verse 11, “For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea what clearing of yourselves, yea what indignation, yea what fear, yea what vehement desire, yea what zeal, yea what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” That’s a good thing, godly indignation, to be angry at what’s wrong. What fear, very necessary. What revenge, not in the sense of taking revenge, but you know, there was a vengeance to your change, to your bringing about the things that needed to change. Now [next verse] he’s going to refer back to something in the first letter [1st Corinthians],

 

Paul Explains Why He Wrote 1st Corinthians

 

“Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you” (verse 12). Now part of what Paul had challenged them about, and you know the first Epistle, they were divided into camps. That shouldn’t be going on in a church. It’s normal in any church for there to be groups of people that get along, not to the exclusion of other people or to the hurt of other people. ‘Well, there’s a clique.’ Well there are cliques, there’s nothing wrong with a clique. Jesus had a clique, he had twelve apostles. You couldn’t become one if you wanted to, it was a clique. But he chose the clique, it was a God-ordained clique. People say that around here sometimes with the leadership, ‘Well there’s a clique.’ Well yea, we’ve been together for twenty years, married people together, buried people together, saw people born, saw people die, cried together, laughed together, mourned together. And it’s hard to just step into that, but there’s a group of people that God gives you to serve with and to go through life with, there isn’t anything wrong with that. It’s only when there becomes division over it, or discord over it, or you know, a superior attitude over it. That’s when there’s something wrong with it [a clique]. The church had been divided. Paul addressed that issue. ‘One man sows, another man waters, only God brings the increase. What do you mean, ‘I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos’?’ He went into the fact that they were getting drunk at the Communion table, and taking Communion unworthily [which was the Christian Passover in the days of Paul and the Corinthian church, for them, observed once a year, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm]. We’re not talking about unbelievers. Sometimes at a Communion service we’ll have people come up and they get saved at the end, and people will say ‘Well, what about that? They were taking Communion unworthily?’ No, an unbeliever can’t take Communion unworthily, only a believer can take Communion unworthily. And you read through the 11th chapter you hear Paul saying that “we” speaking about God’s judgment on the brethren, that was “the church”, that should have acted differently, because they were filled with the Spirit, getting drunk at the Communion [Christian Passover] table, having no compassion for the poor, that was taking Communion unworthily, because they weren’t discerning the Body of Christ. Paul dealt with that (cf. 1st Corinthians 11:18-34). They were charismaniacs, they were using those gifts out of order. They were speaking in tongues, they were prophesying, doing all kinds of things, but they were lousy witnesses. Jesus said, ‘Wait in Jerusalem until you’re endued with power, you’re to be my witnesses,’ well they had lots of Holy Ghost, but they were lousy witnesses. Because it was all a show, like everything else there. Men, you know it takes more Holy Ghost to do the dishes than it does to speak in tongues. They were suing each other, taking each other before civil magistrates instead of trying to at least initially to settle things in the church [cf. Matthew 18, the ministry of Reconciliation, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/reconciliation/MinistryOfReconciliation1.htm]. And then, ultimately, they were famous for fornication. Imagine that. The church is famous for fornication. Nobody was going to Atlantic City, they were all going to the Corinthian church. It was famous for sin. And in the middle of their fame there was one man that was sleeping with his father’s wife. We’re not certain if it’s his mother or his step-mother. And the church was embracing that. And Paul said, ‘This is wrong.’ And he dealt with the whole issue, and he said ‘Immorality that is undealt with, immorality that is endorsed by the church is poison, it’s poison.’ And Paul said, ‘You deal with that person, and as I am there with you in spirit, and you bind him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that their soul might be saved.’ Church discipline, putting them out of the church for a reason, for restoration. It’s a means to an end. It’s not just, you know, going out there with the devil and having as much fun as you want, and die out there. Now Paul’s addressing that issue in regards to the fact he had written to them about that discipline over this immoral situation in the center of the church, “Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong,”---‘I wasn’t writing to you just for the sake of the man who was sleeping with his father’s wife’---“nor for his cause that suffered wrong,”---‘nor for the father, I wasn’t writing to you just for his sake’---“but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.” “Our care for you” plural. Paul says ‘The reason I did it was for the health of the church, it wasn’t just for the individuals involved.’ Because no one sins to themselves, when you’re endorsing that kind of immorality or sexual sin in the church, and everybody knows about it and nothing’s done about it, Paul says, ‘It infects the entire church, it becomes a poison that begins to ruin the work of the Spirit and the work of Christ, because sin is embraced and not dealt with.’ So Paul said, ‘What I wrote wasn’t just for the guy who was sinning, it wasn’t just for his father that was sinned against, it was for all of you, plural, that you might deal with the issue, that our love might be manifest, and our care unto you.’ Verse 13, “Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.” i.e. ‘When we got news,’ you know Paul said it was a down day, ‘Titus showed up and told us about the repentance, the change, that you took the things that I had written to heart.’ Paul just talks about how his spirits were lifted, good news, merry heart, doeth good like a medicine is what Paul ended up with here. “For if I had boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found in truth” (verse 14). i.e. ‘I told Titus you guys had great potential, even though you didn’t look like it.’ Titus has come back and said, ‘The things you said about that church are right, there’s a great core of people there who are in love with the Lord, that are taking these things to heart.’ “And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things” (verses 15-16). So, Paul speaking the truth to the church, telling them what the Scripture says. And again, when you’re dealing with someone who is living in transgression, living in deliberate sin, living---and people always think that, they love the Bible, it’s just the verses that bother them. ‘And I’m sure when this verse was written, God didn’t take into consideration what my situation was going to be…’ No, no, no, no, the Word’s eternal. Heaven and earth is going to pass away, not one jot, not one tittle of the Word of God is ever going to pass away, not even an exclamation mark. And the truth is, that there’s only two kinds of counseling cases, easy ones and hard ones. The easy ones are the people who genuinely want the Lordship of Christ in their life. ‘Oh is that what the Word says?’ Man I’m really blowing it, pray for me, I know it needs to change, my heart is broken, I’m under conviction of the Spirit, I know I have to stop that,’ and you show them what the Scripture says, they’re willing to pray, they’re willing to make steps to bring about change. And God is so gracious to be part of that. The counseling cases that are hard are the ones who don’t want to change, they don’t want Christ to rule over their lives, they really don’t want to know what the Word says. They just want to play. That uses up a lot of time. You know, sometimes I think it’s better just to send those folks over to a counseling center somewhere where they pay fifty bucks an hour, because when you pay fifty bucks an hour you’re much more serious about changing, because it’s real expensive. If you want to change for free we’ll help you, you don’t want to change, you’ve gotta pay. OK, there I did that. [laughter] Chapter 8.

 

2nd Corinthians 8:1-15

 

“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit [we want you to know] of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality. As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.”

 

The Heart And Soul Of Giving

 

Special Offering Taken For Famine-Stricken Jerusalem Brethren

 

“Now we come to this question of an offering that Paul is taking for the church in Jerusalem. He’s going to exhort these Corinthians, and use the church in Macedonia as an example. He says about the church in Macedonia, ‘They’re impoverished, and yet they gave liberally.’ And so often the case where someone whose poor, someone whose downtrodden, a poor church, will give that way because they understand, they don’t just have compassion, they have empathy, they know what it’s like to be in those shoes that are worn out, that are filled with holes. And they’re much more moved in their heart to give. And Paul’s going to use the Macedonian church as an example in how they gave. [By the way, this special offering being taken up for the Jerusalem brethren wasn’t to support the Jerusalem Church of God to do a work, like tithes and offerings. Jerusalem was not a Headquarters church in that sense, collecting the tithes and offerings of the other churches. This was a special offering because the area of Judea and Jerusalem were going through a physical famine, crops were failing. All the local congregations in Asia Minor and Greece and throughout the greater Roman Empire were semi-autonomous, under very loose governorship from the apostles, and particularly Paul. Notice Paul in 1st Corinthians sent a letter of correction to them, and after that, waited for them to apply the corrections via their own internal leadership, and waited word from Titus to see how they’d done in that area. He didn’t go into the Corinthian church of God and strong-arm them into obedience. There was no hierarchal from-the-top-down single leader of the entire early Church, as seen in the proto-Catholic Church of the time, and the Catholic Church later on.] The problem was the Corinthian church loved spiritual gifts, but they didn’t like spiritual giving. Paul will use the Greek word charis here when he’s talking about giving, he used charismata when he talked about spiritual gifts, when he’s talking about spiritual giving he’s going to talk about this grace, this charis, seven times in this chapter he’ll use that word to speak about “giving.” The problem was, the church in Jerusalem, when it began on the Day of Pentecost, all of a sudden you have 3,000 new-believers. Imagine that, 3,000 people in one day added to the Church. It grows in one day from a 120 to 3,000. From nowhere on the charts, now all of a sudden you have a new-believer’s class and 3,000 people there. But they’re Parthians and Medes, they come from all over the world to Jerusalem to the Feast of Pentecost. One of the huge issues in that culture was hospitality. You didn’t put people out, you let people into your homes, ah, sometimes even into the caravanserai, the place where animals were kept, they would open up space for them there. So the Church in Jerusalem evidently, ah, several things happened, they opened their doors to all of these new believers, because the apostles were there, the record of Christ was there, and those who would be teaching the Word there in light of Jesus Christ, the New Testament not being written, being there. So evidently many hundreds stayed in Jerusalem. So it tells us in chapter 2, and chapter 4, and chapter 5 about the fact that they had everything in common, they were sharing things. The Church began to foot the bill for all of these people to live together, and they had all things in common. And no man, it says in chapter 4, called anything they had his own. And evidently as time went on that became a burden to cover the cost of all of that. We have some of that in chapter 5. [Comment: Historically speaking, some of these people went back to their own lands, starting up congregations in their homelands (i.e. the church of God at Rome), while others stayed on and resettled in Jerusalem. By the end of the Book of Acts it is suspected that the number of believers in Jerusalem and Judea numbered in excess of 50,000, most of these being local Jews who had come to Christ.] And then [much later, when 2nd Corinthians was written, check date] a famine comes to the area. So the Church in Jerusalem now has been broken financially, they are in a difficult place. They could have sat in Jerusalem and said ‘Why, Lord? This is what we get, what’s going on here?’ I think as we look at Paul, we realize there’s a reason why all this is going on, because Paul will go to the Gentile churches [Gentile part of the Body of Christ, which in effect was very Judeo-Christian in nature. See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm] through the area of Asia Minor and Turkey and Greece and Macedonia, and will take this amazing offering from the Gentile churches, and give the money to the church in Jerusalem, and begin to open the door of fellowship, open the door of the church in Jerusalem, not being separate in any way, but realizing these are our brethren amongst the Gentiles. And Paul saw a great opportunity then to open the door to see those people know that, you know, there’s another body of believers in Ephesus that cares about you, there’s another body of believers in Macedonia, and Corinth, in Philippi that care about us. And great stuff.

 

Giving For The Hurting After 9/11

 

Now, by the way, you guys have been wonderful in that respect. While I was up Monday again, to New York, just to see what’s going on with the ministry there, and talking to Mike, and just taking another look at Ground Zero [maybe six months after 9/11], and talking to some of the policemen that are working up there, and looking at the things that are going on. The Red Cross is getting ready to pull out, they’ve been there for a number of months, ah, the Billy Graham organization is getting ready to pull out, and in the mean time there’s 15,000 orphans that have lost one parent or both parents, that will face this Christmas like that, holidays are a difficult time. There are thousands of people dead, and of course, you attach to them brothers and sisters, parents, all kinds of other relationships, no doubt there’s 100,000 people there that will never know what normal life is again, businesses gone, floors of buildings gone, adjacent buildings gone. And all we had to do is mention that to you guys this Sunday when I got back from the West Coast, and we were able to take $25,000 up the next day to New York, to help the church up there in its ministry [to help out those hurting people who went through 9/11]. And they’ve told us, you guys in Philly have been the staunchest supporters, our churches are knit together. I feel like the church in Philly has become part of the church [Calvary Chapel] here in New York City in the midst of all of this. So, you guys have demonstrated the thing that Paul is exhorting the Corinthians to do here. So I’m not teaching through this chapter because I think you all need a lesson, it’s just where we’ve got to [in our expository studies].

 

Paul Exhorts The Corinthians About Their Giving

 

Paul as said ‘I haven’t neglected to declare unto you the whole counsel of God,’ so we’re journeying through [the Word of God in this connective expository series]. So let’s jump in, this is where we are. “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.” Don’t you love it when he says that, “we do you to wit”, it means, “we want you to know.” It means “We want you to know of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (verses 1-2) their generosity, their giving. The Corinthian church is a fairly wealthy church, it’s in a place where trade runs through it all of the time, commerce, and Paul is now going to exhort them in regards to giving. And he’s going to make a point here about the Macedonian church, that giving is not measured in the amount that’s given, it’s measured in what it cost the giver. That’s how God looks at giving. Remember Jesus watching the widow over against the treasury, who puts in her two mites. Jesus said, “I tell you a truth, she has put in more than they all.” What that means in the grammar is, ‘if you had combined all of the giving of all of the wealthy people today and all that they gave, she put in more than all of that giving combined.’ Because it says it was all that she had, was all that she had. And it was saying something, because her husband was gone, she was a widow, she has no means. We don’t know whether there’s children, we don’t know anything, it’s not enough to live on. And she’s basically saying, ‘Lord, you are more valuable to me than these two mites. You can produce more in my life than they can. It’s better to have you as my Shepherd, the LORD is my shepherd, I shall lack no good thing, I shall not want.’ And the way the Lord sees that, one of the things that he holds in front of us. Paul says, ‘Look at this Macedonian church,’ to the Corinthians, ‘they gave out of their need.’ Verse 3, “For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;” Paul’s saying, ‘I didn’t have to go there and beg it out of them, I didn’t have to put a thermometer on the wall, I didn’t have to lay a trip on them.’ And that’s what happens today. Isn’t it interesting, Sun Yung Moon comes to America, and people give him their ranches, their Mercedes, their bank accounts, fishing industries, Sun Yung Moon. Mean time, he’s marrying people, I read once like 65 percent of the people he married were college graduates, you know, thousands of people will come together, and he pairs you up with the wife he thinks you should marry, and then you can’t consummate the marriage for a year or two year or whatever it is, and I’m thinking there’s nothing in this deal I like at all. [laughter] But it’s interesting to see how people will give themselves. You know, I think the Church [Body of Christ] has done a discredit to itself by all of these cookaboos on television that constantly make pleas for money, all they talk about is money, they run around and all they talk about is money, ‘If you’ll do this, God woke me up tonight, and if you send me these letters [with cash in them]…He put you on my heart’ and I’m thinking, ‘What a phony, you got the wrong name, the wrong address, you ain’t getting’ nothing out of me.’ But I have to read the letter just to torture myself, you know. And you see the things that these guys do, ‘And if you’ll give this, and if you’ll do that, and if you’ll send this, and I’ll send you this oil, and you put seven seeds in it, and you do this with it and then you get, and you plant…’ [laughter] And people think, ‘Before I was a Christian I was taking LSD, I wouldn’t have given that guy money, do I have to be stupider now that I’m saved?’ [laughter] And they’ve done a disservice [these money-hungry false Christian televangelists] to the Church, because people are tired of hearing about money, tired of hearing about this, tired of the begging, tired of seeing guys saying how broke they are, driving around in a Mercedes and $500 shoes and living in mansions, and Paul said, these folks, they gave, and not only that, they were willing. There was no holding back, constraint, they heard about the need, praying us, begging us, imagine that, verse 4, “praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” They begged us, we said, ‘Naw, you guys are poor.’ ‘No, please, we want to be part of the ministry, we want to give, we want to help support this, we want to be part of this. God has saved us…’ And Paul says ‘They begged us to take out of their need.’ “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” It isn’t just something that came out of their wallet, it was something that came out of their lives, they were consecrated, they gave their lives to the Lord, “and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also” (verse 6). ‘You know, our desire was to find the same experience with you,’ and he’s going to encourage them to remember.

 

Though Jesus Was Rich, Yet He Became Poor, That You Might Become Rich

 

“Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago” (verses 7-10). He said, remember, Christ is being formed in us, the Holy Spirit is living in us, this was the very heart of Christ, that he who was rich, and we can’t imagine the heart of Christ, that he who was rich, and we can’t imagine when it says he was rich what that means. It’s richness beyond anything that we could ever imagine. I mean, the Bible tells us when we go to heaven [his reference to the 1st resurrection and the Sea of Glass for the Wedding Feast, just before coming back down to earth at the 2nd coming of Christ, the New Jerusalem, cf. Revelation 21:1-23] the streets are paved with gold, it’s asphalt there, gold. The walls of the city are made with jewels. They don’t have cinderblocks, they have jewel-blocks there. He left all of that, and more. What is the weight of his glory, the weight of his eternity [as Yahweh, the pre-existent Christ], the weight of his faithfulness, the weight of his love, the weight of his power, the weight of his sovereignty, the weight of his omniscience, his omnipresence? He left all of that, took on a human frame that he will wear for eternity. [Now here is where many disagree, some believe as I do that Christ took all of those prior attributes back, and now has a spirit body just as before, but with the appearance he had as Jesus of Nazareth. It’s a secondary area of interpretation, and we’ll find out at the 2nd coming anyway, no big deal.] What did he give up, becoming poor that we might be rich? Paul says that’s the spirit that’s supposed to be in you. I think it’s important as we look at this. Because there is a whole theology in the Church [Body of Christ] today of investing, it’s not giving, it’s investing. ‘If you’ll do this, and if you’ll give this, and if you’ll put this in there, and if you’ll do that, God will open the windows of heaven. Oh, you’re problem is, oh you’re sick, it’s because you’re not giving! How can God bless you, how can you be healthy if you’re not giving [tithing]?’ This kind of “Health & Wealth” stuff that blows with every wind of doctrine, and it boils down to play on our greed. ‘If you’ll give 10 percent, you can have a Mercedes in the parking lot too.’ Sure, if you have a big church and you can get a thousand suckers to give you ten percent of their pay every week, you can have a Mercedes too. [Comment: Now Pastor Joe is attacking the Health & Wealth groups out there, which deserve attacking. But he’s apparently slamming the principle or doctrine of tithing in the same breath, and tithing is an entirely different subject doctrinally, which the Calvary Chapels believe in as a Bible doctrine, but don’t enforce, depending on the congregation and pastor, they all being strongly semi-autonomous. As Paul showed in Hebrews 7, the tithing commands haven’t been abrogated, but they’ve been transferred to the ministry of Melchisedec, which is a much gentler and less demanding ministry than the Old Testament Levitical administration which tithing was under. See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/hebrews/Hebrews%207%201-28.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/gifts.htm] That’s “investing”, and they’re playing on your greed. The Kingdom is all about giving, it’s giving, that’s the principle. Tithing is not enforced in the New Testament, that I can find [he hasn’t looked hard enough, tithing hasn’t been done away with, but the enforcement, as Paul showed by his example to the Corinthians, was up to the church leaders, which in his case was him, cf. 1st Corinthians 9:1-15. See that expository study on Hebrews 7]. The principle is giving. If you made $10,000 a year, and you’re legally under this weight of tithing, how are you going to give us a thousand bucks. [There are Sabbath-keeping churches of God that do it, and they do it in faith, and live by faith, and God blesses them. But in Pastor Joe’s Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, he is not requiring it, which goes along with Paul’s principle of leaving the enforcement and administration of tithing up to the head of the church or congregation. And Paul emphasized mercy over strictness of the letter here, as 1st Corinthians 9:1-15 showed.] You’ll be in for marriage counseling…please, keep your money, you can vacuum, you can be an usher, you can give. And look, if you make $200,000,000 a year, we don’t want you to tithe, we want half. [loud laughter] If you can’t live on a hundred million a year, you got a problem! [laughter. I love Pastor Joe!] And that’s what he’s going to say, “every man gave as he was able.” That’s what Christ looks at, the heart. Tithing, if you study tithing, you’d have to bring in here one out of every ten cucumbers, one of every ten tomatoes, one out of every ten kittens, we don’t want that stuff. What are we going to do with it? Set up a produce stand? And then you gave 20 percent every 3rd year for the upkeep of the poor and priests, I mean it was very complicated. And if you’re going to do it, every seventh year, you let your businesses run wild, and don’t do any business, and just let anybody else in the neighborhood help themselves to your fields, and every forty-nine years on your fiftieth year you forget everybody’s debt. The whole world files “Chapter 11” every fiftieth year, it starts over. It’s not a simple thing. [No, Paul in Hebrews 7 placed tithing and it’s administration under the authority of the Priesthood of Melchisedec, which allows for it’s modification (or nullification) by the various “priests of Melchisedec,” i.e., genuine Holy Spirit indwelt Christian ministries, denominations and churches. Paul through what he wrote in Hebrews has 7 tweaked the tithing laws to fit churches and denominations, instead of for the running of a nation, the nation of Israel under the Levitical system. Tithing has been simplified by Hebrews 7, for those who wish to use or enforce tithing as a church standard for giving. For those genuine Holy Spirit indwelt Christian churches and/or denominations who wish to be more merciful, they are free to nullify it or modify it. It’s up to the church or denomination you belong to, to a degree. It’s also up to you, to a degree, because giving is an act of worship. There’s a gray area in that principle too, so read those articles I gave links to.] But it’s called a law, it’s called an ordinance, it’s called a commandment. It tells us in Colossians, we’re going to come there, that that laws, and the ordinances and the commandments have passed away, they’ve been blotted out by the blood of Christ. What he wants now is our lives. [Comment: The Sabbath-keeping Churches of God think that this is a misinterpretation of Colossians 2:14,16-17, even though he is right about Christ wanting our lives. The laws of God, as Jesus said, have not been done away with, as Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-19. What Pastor Joe is giving us is the standard super-grace oriented Sunday-observing Christian interpretation for Colossians 2:14,16-17. Sabbath-keeping Churches of God interpret Colossians 2:16-17 this way, “The apostle Paul told us something very important about God’s Holy Days, something the Jews don’t fully understand, even though they keep and observe them. But they observe them without this important understanding. Let’s see what the apostle Paul had to say about them. It is in Colossians 2:16-17, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat [i.e. food, what you eat or don’t eat, Christians were being judged in Gentile regions for following the dietary laws of Leviticus 11] or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath, which are shadows of things to come…” Paul was telling the Colossian church first of all, not to let those outside the church judge them over their dietary practices, following God’s food laws. Then he mentions new moons, that is, don’t let those outside the church judge you because you’re observing God’s sacred calendar instead of the Roman one. Paul next tells the Colossian church not to let those outside the church judge them because they’re keeping God’s Holy Days and Sabbath. Then Paul tells them why, and this is important. He tells them what God’s Holy Days and Sabbath represent, that they are “shadows of things to come.” A shadow is something that hasn’t happened yet, is a prophecy, or picture of future events. The spring Holy Days are shadow-pictures of events that have already occurred, Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost. The fall Holy Days are pictures of prophetic events which have not happened yet (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm). The Sabbath has its own unique shadow pictures, all picturing redemption and salvation (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/hebrews/Hebrews4-1-16.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Observe%20His%20Sabbath%20Day.htm).] He wants our lives. He’s paid for them in his blood. Even in the Old Testament he wanted one day out of seven, and one tenth of your increase. In the Old Testament he was more interested in the human than whatever they could produce. He wanted more of them than of their wallet. And he hasn’t changed. Giving is the principle. It doesn’t cost you anything really, when the bucket goes by, to put ten bucks in the bucket. What it costs you is when you’re driving home from church, and you see somebody from church that’s got a flat tire, and you think ‘Oh, there’s that weird guy, don’t make eye-contact honey! Kid’s look that way!’ so that you can just go right by, and the Holy Spirit is saying to you, ‘You pull over! I don’t want your ten bucks, I want your life! Pull over and help that person.’ [laughter] You’re laughing because you know it’s true. He wants your heart, your hands, your mouth, your life. ‘You’re bought with a price, your life is not your own.’ He wants you. But to me that’s the most remarkable thing of all, that he would want us, for anything he would allow us, to touch his Kingdom in any way, that he would allow us frail, sinful, failing human beings like us, saved by grace, and then he would allow us in the name of Jesus Christ to touch a lost world, and to serve. Paul is encouraging them.

 

Gather What You Need, Share The Rest---True Spirit Of Giving

 

Verse 10-12, “And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.” ‘You know, you decided it was a good idea, so there may be a performance also out of that which you have.’ “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” Not under the law here, “if there be a willing mind,” that is the way God wants us to give [i.e. that’s the true spirit of giving, has to be of the heart and mind, giving is an act of worship. That is why, in a sense, a person also has the right to determine to whom and where he will give his tithes and offerings. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/gifts.htm]. You know, on Sundays when we pass the buckets, and I can talk about it because we don’t do it on Wednesday, but on Sunday, when the chicken-buckets go by, if you say ‘Ah, here they come again, grumble, grumble, I can’t believe you put ten bucks in there, grab a five outa there before it goes away, will you…’ [laughter] Look, if you give that way, keep your money. Buy pizza, enjoy it, because that’s all you’re going to get. If you put ten bucks in because you love Jesus, and that’s a responsibility I have towards you, you will get eternal rewards for that. You are laying up for eternity. We don’t want anybody to give grudgingly, because you get nothing but ulcers for that. You give because you love Jesus. You give what the Holy Spirit puts on your heart to give. You do that with all of your heart, because you believe in the work that you’re involved in, you see what’s going on, and you’re laying up for eternity. Giving of a willing mind, that’s what the Lord wants. That’s how you want your kids to come to you. You say to your wife, ‘Give me a kiss,’ and she says, ‘Well I have to, the Bible says so.’ ‘Never mind, keep it.’ You want it willing, you know, from those that you love, willing. “For if there be a wiling mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” He’s asking you to give according to what you have, you don’t have to go out and…You know when I first moved back here I visited a church in the area, and I just happened to go to this church on a Sunday when the pastor decided that every week that church should give 90 percent, and keep ten percent for themselves so they could figure out how the Lord felt. That was his sermon. He was preaching from Nehemiah, but he’s telling the congregation, ‘Remember last week, we made you all promise you’re gonna do this, so this is the week. When we take the offering this week, everybody put 90 percent of your pay in, and keep 10 percent for yourself, so you can see how the Lord feels.’ That’s really dumb. Because if the Lord was hungry he’d just make bread appear. You can’t do that. If you got 10 percent of your pay, you’d just feel stupid. I didn’t put in 90 percent. And we had friends that were going there, and they said, ‘We don’t know if we can afford this, do you think we should take out a loan so that we can do this?’ Now, it was so far away from me, I said, ‘Are you nuts!?’ which was not the best response [laughter]. I’ve learned that over twenty years. We know that it goes on. This was right here in the area. But you should give according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have, and you do that with a willing mind. “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened;” i.e. ‘I’m not trying to lay everything on you, and have other people be eased by this.’ “but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:” (verses 13-14). There has to be receivers, for the Church to demonstrate to the world what it’s supposed to be. Paul says ‘Now you’re going to supply for their want, there will be a day coming when someone supplies for your want.’ And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. There isn’t anything keeping you from giving that way. You know, it’s interesting, Cathy and I of course with the four kids, when she went through her last two pregnancies, she was in the high-risk center down at U.P., she went into labor three of four months early on each one of the last two, then was on tributalene for a month, you know, went through the whole thing. She had the baby monitor upstairs, giving me instructions downstairs, ‘Now don’t wash the whites with the colors.’ I’m going, [static sounds], ‘I can’t hear you, honey…you’re breaking up,’ turn it off, you know. [laughter] But people from church were bringing us meals, you know. And then our neighbors are watching, you know, watching cars pull up, bringing in hot meals, and saying, ‘Where do you guys go to church, anyway? I think we want to join your church.’ It’s a great witness, the Church being what it’s supposed to be [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Questions.htm. “As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack” (verse 15). Now of course he’s making reference to the manna in the wilderness, whatever they gathered they had what they needed. If they gathered too much and tried to save it, it bred worms and stunk. If they just gathered a little, by the end of the day they had what they needed. Gather what you need, share the rest, gather what you need, share the rest. Read ahead. ‘Now, sure Pastor Joe, it’s Christmas season, I’m gonna read another chapter and a half on giving, I’ll see you in January on Wednesdays nights.’ Look, this is where we are, this is where we’re going to work through here, and we come to some great stuff, just trust me, you’ll see as you read ahead, it’s the Word of God, he wants us to hear this. [transcript of a connective expository sermon on 2nd Corinthians 7:1-16 and 8:1-15 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 16500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]

 

Related links:

 

The Corinthians were suing each other instead of working things out through the church. See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/reconciliation/MinistryOfReconciliation1.htm

 

The Gentile part of the Body of Christ was very Judeo-Christian in nature. See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm

 

The Old Testament tithing laws have been adapted for the Body of Christ, the Church, by Paul in Hebrews 7. See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/hebrews/Hebrews%207%201-28.htm and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/gifts.htm

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