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Untitled Document
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 1:15-24

 

“And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; and to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judea.  When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness?  or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.  Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy:  for by faith ye stand.”    

 

Paul Answers His Critics

 

“We’re in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1.  Paul had been in Corinth for over a year and a half, thought about leaving, the Lord said ‘Paul, go on back into that city, nobody will hurt you.  I have much people in this city.’  His life had been threatened, the Lord said ‘No harm will come to you, go on back in.’  So Paul there, teaching, doing his best to ground the church.  And then of course, as he leaves, he hears that the church is divided, they’re arguing ‘I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos, I’m of Peter,’ that they’re suing one another instead of settling things in the church,  that the church is famous for fornication, so much so that there’s one man there that’s even sleeping with his step-mother or his mother.  And the church is aware of it, not doing anything about it.  They’re coming to partake of the Lord’s supper, the Communion table, and people are getting there early and eating all the food and drinking all the wine, and by the time some of the poor people come, the people had glutted themselves and they’re drunk, and Paul said they’re partaking of it in a way that’s unworthy.  [Comment:  this is in reference to 1st Corinthians 11:20-34, often called “the Lord’s supper”, as in verse 20, which was kept by the early Church once a year on the 14th Nisan as the early Christian Passover.  Reference to them keeping the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread is made by Paul in 1st Corinthians 5:7-8, where Paul stated, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.  For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  It seems by these two references in 1st Corinthians, Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread must have just occurred, and Paul is hearing about the wrong way in which they observed it, word had gotten back to Paul.]  And they have all of the spiritual gifts, mixed up, used out of order.  I mean, it’s, I wonder if people said, ‘Paul, you started that church,’  No, it was not me, it’s the other Paul, from Peter, Paul and Mary, the other Paul, wasn’t me.’  He has challenged them, sternly, in his first Epistle.  Now there’s much more pathos, as he’s writing to them this second time.  There are still critics, but he’s heard that there has been some yielding to the things that he’s had to say.  He has been able to reason with them, and he’s looking forward to coming back and seeing them.  One of the criticisms he’s receiving at this point in time is that he told them he was planning to go to Ephesus evidently by sea, and then travel north, hit Troas, and then over to Corinth, up to Macedonia, then back down to Corinth, and back on his way he wanted to try to get back to Jerusalem with the gifts of the Gentile churches.  [Comment:  Judea and Jerusalem had been going through a famine, drought.  This was a special offering taken up to help alleviate suffering by members in the Jerusalem church of God.]  And that was on his heart, and his heart was to see them twice, that he might bring a double-blessing.  See them in Corinth on his way, and then see them on the way back.  He knew that he had to spend some time there, God had put that on his heart.  But his plans had changed.  So his critics are interpreting that as ‘He doesn’t hear the Lord, he doesn’t care, he says he’s going to do one thing and he ends up doing another thing.’  And the truth of the matter was, that the burden on his heart was from the Lord, he would eventually come to Corinth.  With the burden that he felt from the Lord, he said ‘You know what I’m going to try to do is I’m going to try to hit Corinth on the way up in this missionary journey, and hit it on the way back again.’  That wasn’t what happened.  But that had nothing to do with whether God was leading him to get there or not.  And yet, when somebody’s a critic, they’re a critic of everything, and they took opportunity to point to Paul and say ‘Hey, he says he’s going to do one thing, and he does another thing, he really doesn’t have a burden for us, he says he’s going to come and he doesn’t come.’  And Paul is having to deal with still much of that abrasive attitude as he’s writing.  Verse 14 here, we left off in chapter 1, “As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.  And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;” was going to pass them twice.  “and to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judea.  When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness?”---it’s the word used “to be fickle, not able to make up your mind---“did I use lightness?  or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?” (verses 14-17) He’s saying “I’m saying yes and no and can’t make up my mind?”  It’s refreshing, by the way, for me to hear Paul going through this kind of, these gymnastics spiritually.  Because how often is there something upon our hearts, we believe the Lord has given us something, and yet maybe the plans don’t work out the way we thought they were going to work out.  And then we’re left questioning, ‘Well, is this you Lord? or Isn’t this you, Lord?  Lord, I don’t know, is this the Spirit, or is this the devil or is this my own flesh desiring this?’  People are always asking that question, and I don’t know if there’s an easy answer to that question.  I’ve been trying to figure that out for nearly 30 years.  I know this, wisdom from above is pure, it’s peaceable, it finally works out, it’s easily entreated, it works out the way that it should.  I know that if you’re not sure what to do, don’t do anything.  The trick is, not to move, and then when things start to get difficult, to say “Lord, did you tell me to move?”  The trick is, wait until the Lord tells you, because it’s going to get difficult anyway.  And then when you move, and it gets difficult, you can say “Lord, you told me to move.”  And it comes from a different place, different inflection.  Paul, like you and I, desiring to go, there was a burden upon his heart, the timing of it is something he struggled with, it didn’t happen the way he originally intended.  But he says ‘Does that mean I make decisions in the flesh?  Does that mean I’m being fickle, I can’t make up my mind?  That you can’t depend on what I say?’  Verse 18, “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.”---i.e. ‘We weren’t going back and forth, it wasn’t an inconsistency.’  “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (verses 18-20)  Paul says, you know, ‘Judge the message that we brought to you.  Did we go back and forth with the things we had to say, do you think that we’re inconsistent because of this?  Judge us by our message, judge us by the truth that we communicate.  Do we say one thing one day and say another thing another day?’  he says, ‘No, we preach Christ, and you know in which way we did preach Christ, and you know that we stuck to our story to preach Christ.’  Paul has been persecuted for preaching Christ.  Again he’s going to tell us in later chapters the difficulties he went through to maintain the truth of the Gospel that he preached.  He says “For all of the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen…” 

 

To Be “Sealed” With God’s Holy Spirit---What Does It Mean?

 

“Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (verses 21-22)  Interesting, if you have a King James you see it says “stablisheth”, that “eth” on the end almost always points us to a condition in the grammar, to a tense, and it’s “he who is constantly confirming us” or “constantly establishing us.”  That was the experience of Paul also.  Remember he’s going to say to us later in this book, that he was in the process of being renewed day by day, while we look, not of the things that are seen, but of the things that are not seen.  That Paul’s saying ‘You know, I didn’t get saved, and my conversation was such a dramatic experience that now I’m like the energizer bunny, and I just keep going and going and going and going.’  Paul says, ‘No, rather the inner man, though the outward man is perishing, going through all the struggles that we face in this world,’ he said, ‘Something inwardly happens in this way, that I am renewed day by day, while I keep my focus on those things that are eternal.’  Paul here says, ‘That we’re constantly being established’ the experience the Corinthians were having.  “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (verses 21-22)  Now it’s interesting in John chapter 6, it says God hath sealed Jesus, also, let me read that, you don’t have to turn there.  Because Paul’s using the same word here when he says that he is sealed.  “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath God [the Father] sealed.”  Now it uses the same word here, it says that ‘you and I and Paul, that we are sealed.’  Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 1 that ‘We’re sealed by the Spirit of promise.’   That’s a permanent thing that’s taken place.  It, “a seal”, not only determined ownership, and it did that, because with a signet ring or a stamp, there was a seal that was put on cargo that was being shipped somewhere, and that particular signet identified the owner.  But not only that, it guaranteed the proper destination, it was also part of the shipping, it guaranteed that it would get to the place that it was supposed to get to.  And the Bible says of us, ‘That you and I are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,’ that we’re sealed.  Some of us in our experience, we get so shaken up sometimes, and so freaked out, and we think that God has decided that I’m a lemon.  You know, he’s worked with me for about eight years and realized that he got bad merchandize and he’s just going to take the seal off of me.  No, no, once it’s on, it’s on.  You’re headed for the right destination.  You may be in a process where you have to constantly be established and confirmed, because of our frailty like Paul.  You may be in a process where the outward man is perishing, and you need to be renewed daily inwardly by keeping your focus on eternal things---but we’re sealed.  Very important word.  It’s the same word that tells us in the Book of Revelation that one angel will take Satan, and throw him into the bottomless pit, and he will be “sealed” for a thousand years (cf. Revelation 20:1-3).  That’s the word.  It’s very important to you, because you need to know that this seal is a seal that Satan can’t break.  Because some Christians think that, ‘Well, Satan cracked the seal, he got in there, I have company now.’  No, not if you’re a born-again Christian [i.e. a Christian with the indwelling Holy Spirit], God’s not into time-sharing, that’s not gonna happen.  That’s real estate.  That’s not you, you’re blood-bought, ‘the evil one comes, he touches us not, he has nothing to do with us, and you’re sealed until the day of redemption.’  Not only that, it says given us “the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”  “Earnest”, that can be “down payment, deposit,” interesting word, that God has made “deposit”, the aribona.  In Greece today, it’s the modern word for engagement ring, when you give someone you love at proposal the engagement ring, and you set the date for your wedding, it’s the aribona.  Here it says he’s given us the “earnest.”  We’re waiting for the Bridegroom to come and carry us over the threshold, if you don’t know that.  Which might be at any moment, by the way.  Are you ready? [someone yells out “Yes!”]  One out of 2,000, that ain’t bad.  [laughter]  We’ll take what we can get in these days.  You know, isn’t it interesting when Jesus tells us the parable about the Ten Virgins (cf. Matthew 25), and five of them had oil for their lamps, and five of them didn’t, and the bridegroom came.  The interesting thing that it says, the five that had oil, that the bridegroom had to awaken them when he got there.  They were sleeping.  I mean, everything around us happening should be telling us to be sober and vigilant.  Just watch CNN, they’ll tell you to be sober and vigilant.  Foxnews network, they’re going to tell you to be sober and to be vigilant.  They’re all telling us that Christ could come at any moment.  All of these things are there.  [Even more so now than when Pastor Joe gave this.  The Muslim Brotherhood is trying, and quite effectively I might add, to form up a caliphate of Arabic nations across North Africa and Syria, to the very borders of Turkey.  This will turn into ‘the king of the south’ spoken of in Daniel 11:40, which at some point will push at ‘the king of the north’ triggering WWIII.  See: http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/winter-advisory-arab-spring-wasnt/ and http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/will-world-see-new-caliphate/ and http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/closer-look-muslim-brotherhood/ .  Also, as the same time, America is going broke, financially failing as a nation, as Donald Trump so aptly put it in this video.  See: http://video.foxnews.com/v/2280557079001 .  Times have truly become scary for those who are somewhat awake to these recent events.]  While we’re here, I think we’re here because there’s work to do.  I mean, what is our desire at this point in time?  Make our first million by the time we’re 35? Retire in Florida and play golf?  Not everywhere in Florida, huh? Take up skiing, head north?  No, what is worth giving your life for is the cause of Christ.  What’s not going to burn is human beings, most of them.  For redemption, for the plan of Salvation. [Comment:  It should be to promote the Gospel, Matthew 24:14, around the world, shouldn’t it be? What is that Gospel of Salvation, the Gospel of Christ?  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm]  Everything else is going to pass away, but humans are eternal, giving ourselves for the cause of Christ, to be busy when he comes, to be occupying.  We have been given “the earnest”, ‘we’ve been sealed, we’ve been given the earnest, the engagement ring, the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts.’  I mean, how else can we look around the world that we live in, and have the attitude that we have?  And he’s going to, when we get into the second chapter, he’s going to tell us the way people perceive us, this hope that we have.  We have to be ready to give every man an answer in regards to the hope that we have.  If the rest of the world is freaking out and falling apart, and you can really say ‘Hey, I trust the Lord.  Whether he sends for me or comes for me, it’s fine with me.  He’s gonna take me home, one way or another.  And that’s a major part of my calling is stepping through the veil of this world to the next.  I’m gonna see so many I love when I get there, I’m gonna see so many people I read about when I get there.’  And they either think that you’re completely out of your mind, or that you have ahold of something that they need to know about.  The earnest, the down payment, you’ve been ruined for this world.  We actually believe, shake your head, let me know, we actually believe that Jesus could come at any minute, through the heavens, with a shout and the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, we actually believe that, and then we could disappear.  You’re as crazy as I am, aren’t you?  [Some believe the Rapture, resurrection to immortality, will occur just prior to the revelation of the Beast and False Prophet at the beginning of the 7-year tribulation, some believe this same resurrection to immortality will occur at the blowing of the 7th Trumpet, at the end of the tribulation.  We’ll see when the event actually occurs, and then we’ll know.]  Crazy about Jesus Christ [applause]. 

 

‘It’s a good thing I didn’t come when I first intended to’

 

“Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy:  for by faith ye stand.”  (verses 23-24)  Paul says, ‘Really, God bears me record, it’s good I didn’t come.  Because the initial response of the letter, there were people that were critical, I didn’t want to come in the same spirit that I wrote the first letter in, I didn’t want to approach you that way again.’  And Paul’s going to tell us in the next chapter, ‘I don’t want to take away your joy, because your joy is my joy.’  So Paul says, ‘I bear record, really it’s better I didn’t come at this point in time, it was God’s wisdom.  Because we don’t have dominion over your faith, we’re helpers of your joy.’  Paul said, ‘Look, we can’t demand faith from you, what shepherd does that to the sheep?’  ‘We can’t demand faith, we can’t legislate holiness.  We are just,’ Paul says, ‘helpers of your joy.  We’re supposed to be the ones who come alongside you and help you grow in the Lord, grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.’  But he said, ‘We couldn’t make happen what we want to see happen in your lives, happen just like that, we don’t have authority over you in that sense.’

 

 

 

2nd Corinthians 2:1-17

 

“But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.  But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part:  that I may not overcharge you all.  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also:  for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us:  for we are not ignorant of his devices.  Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus may brother:  but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:  to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.  And who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not as many which corrupt [margin: or deal deceitfully with] the word of God:  but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” 

 

Paul, Bummed Out, Reasoning With Himself

 

“But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.” (verse 1)  Now I like that, Paul’s talking to himself.  That helps me.  You can see him, ‘I don’t know, you told me to go back into this city, that you have much people there, I’m glad they’re your people, because they ain’t my people.  Some of these people are driving me out of my mind, Lord.  And I want to go back and strangle someone.  No,  I can’t go back there and strangle somebody, I can’t go back there in heaviness, I have to go back…Oh, my attitude isn’t right, it’s a good thing you’re keeping me away from them, because I just want to kill some of them right now!’  I like to hear Paul talking to himself, it’s like David saying ‘Why art thou cast down O my soul?’  You know, ‘What are you, schizophrenic and you’re talking to each other and there’s only one of you?  “But I determined this with myself,” Paul said, “that I would not come again to you in heaviness.  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?” (verses 1-2)  In other words, ‘I need you to be rejoicing too.’  “And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.” (verses 3)  Paul said, ‘you know, if I come, and you guys are in the wrong place spiritually, the wrong attitude, sorrowful and heavy, instead of rejoicing in Christ, it bums me out, there’s nothing to encourage me.  It’s your faith, your joy, your walk with Christ.’  In Thessalonians he says ‘You are our rejoicing and our crown in the day of the Lord Jesus.’  Paul said, ‘there’s no sense me coming to bum everybody out, then we would all be bummed out together, because I’d have been bummed out too.’    “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.”  (verse 4)  Paul, making himself vulnerable here.  We don’t normally perceive this of Paul.  “With much affliction”, with “anguish of heart”, with “many tears.”  You know, we read about the problems in 1st Corinthians, and the church was, you know, I look at Paul and I think, ‘I’d have been the one to have thrown in the towel.’  I mean, here’s a guy who, when he comes to Corinth he stays there and he teaches them for nearly two years, pours his life into them.  God even spoke to him, and said, ‘Paul, go back in there, a lot of people in that city are mine.’  And what is the fruit he hears about after that?  It’s just crazy, they’re fighting and suing each other, getting drunk, famous for fornication, abusing the spiritual gifts, out of whack, doing everything the wrong way.  He goes to Galatia, they’re Gentiles when he gets there, he leads them to Christ, then he hears that they’re circumcising themselves, and he’s thinking ‘You don’t have to do that when you’re Gentiles!  Now you get saved, and now you’re turning Jewish?’  He goes to Thessalonica, teaches them about the 2nd coming, and he hears they’re all quitting their jobs, sitting around waiting for Jesus to come.  He’s got to say, ‘No, you don’t work, you don’t eat.’  If the guy would have judged his fruit early on there, he’d have just thrown the towel in.  He writes to Timothy at the end of his life and says ‘I don’t have anybody but you to entrust the churches to.’  And yet we’re going to see his attitude in so many places, his joy in the Lord. his ability to trust God in difficult circumstances, not to judge by his senses. 

 

‘Concerning The Man You Put Out Of The Church’ ---About Church Discipline

 

Verses 5-8 say this, and he’s going to begin to refer to the man that they disciplined, 1st Corinthians chapter 5, that they put out of the church for his sin.  “But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part:  that I may not overcharge you all.  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.” (verses 5-8)  Now it says “confirm” here, it’s only used twice in the New Testament, in fact I think in this phrasing, it’s the only times it’s used, it literally means “to re-affirm.”  “I beseech you that ye would re-affirm your love toward him.”  “For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.” (verse 9)  So Paul says, ‘Look, this guy we disciplined, we put him out of the church, we bound him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,’ whatever that means, sounds spooky to me.  He’s a guy living in sin, do we practice church discipline?  Yea, we practice church discipline.  Does that mean we run people out, we tar-and-feather somebody and run him outa here on a rail?  No.  Does it mean we call him up in front of the church and they think they’re going to get an award and we say, ‘No, we called you up here because you’re a louse and you’re a fornicator, and we want everybody to know it.  You’re outa here,’ and we get two of our biggest ushers and we run them out and throw them out in the parking lot.  No, when we hear about somebody whose in sin, we talk to them.  We confront them [in private].  We see if there’s brokenness.  We see what their attitude is.  We see if they’re leaven, are they sinning, has it begun to infect other people yet, or are they just sitting here grieving about something stupid they’ve done, they’ve messed their whole life up, and their marriage up. What is their attitude?  But there is a time when we look at someone and say, “You haven’t listened to us, you’re infecting other people with this disease, it’s a travesty for you to be here, it’s a contradiction, because you don’t want to listen to the Bible that we teach, you don’t want to listen to the pastors and the elders that God has raised up to oversee the flock here, so it is contradictory for you to sit here.  All you’re doing is you’re infecting other people.  So what we’re going to do is we’re going to ask you to leave.  And we’re going to pray that God will deal with you.  What you want is out there.  We can’t provide it here.  Go out into the world, go out into Satan’s territory and have at it.  We will be praying.  When you have had enough, when you are broken, when you are repentant, we will be waiting for you.  This is a means to an end, it’s not an end in itself.”  And it’s wonderful to see someone come back, broken, repentant, so they can be restored and brought back into fellowship again.  If we have someone come from another church, and we find out that they were thrown out of another church for sin, for something wrong, we’ll call that other church and find out what is going on, and we’ll say to that person, “You’re welcome to fellowship here if the Lord is leading you, but you go back and you make things right where you were first, so that you can be here with God’s blessing.”  And when they say “amen” to us, things are made right, you’re welcome to be here.  And it’s something that has to happen.  You know, if you have something inside of your physical body that only cares about itself and that feeds off of everything else, that’s called “cancer.”  And you cut that out for the health of the whole body.  Not because you hate the body, but to preserve health.  Paul is saying, ‘OK, this guy has had enough.  You can make the next mistake now and not restore him, not forgive him, not re-affirm him.’  You know, that’s an important thing for us to realize, the sinner is to be restored.  The person who causes division is to be put out [and this often is due to someone preaching heresy, but not always.  It can also be more of a church politics thing as well].  And if you have personal differences with somebody, you’re supposed to settle those [cf. Matthew 18].  The problem is, that, we put out the sinner, we restore the person who causes divisions, and we never settle our personal differences.  Because the person who causes division always has this spiritual excuse, this spiritual jargon, this spiritual lingo going on, and we get a headache listening to him, and we finally think ‘They must be spiritual, they’re talking about all this spiritual stuff,’ and we let them back in.  They’re the person whom God says about “I hate the person that causes division, that sows discord among brethren.”  They’re the ones we need to get out.  [Comment:  And those who believe in heretical doctrines often try to get a following, teaching their heretical beliefs, and this is the ultimate sowing of discord and division.  This is why the Body of Christ must maintain orthodox beliefs. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm]  The sinner who sins and makes a mistake, when they’re repentant, how many times have we sinned since we’ve been saved?  And gone to the Lord in our hearts and say, ‘Lord, I’m sorry.’  It says “If we confess our sins [to God, not a priest], he is faithful and just to forgive us.”  How many times have we been restored [and without anybody else knowing about it]?  And personal differences are to be settled.  So these are the things that can be overdone sometimes.  There is a time then, you can make the first mistake of tolerance, and just not wanting to be judgmental, not wanting to reflect Christ, and just putting up with someone in their sin, so that it becomes destructive in the Body of Christ.  And the other mistake that we can make once we deal with them and put them out, is not being then Christlike in our forgiveness, and not willing to bring them back in and then to restore them.  So Paul is saying now ‘This is enough for this guy, bring him back in.’  Somebody needs to go find out where  Abraham L. is, I hear him playing somewhere, and tell him he doesn’t, I’ll forgive him next week for doing that, because I just read it here, I have to. 

 

Paul Says He Doesn’t Want Us To Be “Ignorant” in Four Areas Of Doctrine

 

Verses 9-11, “For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.  To whom you forgive any thing, I forgive also:  for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgive I it in the person of Christ;”  Paul asking them to forgive for the same reason that he was willing to forgive them.  In regards to Christ, look what he says, “lest Satan should get an advantage of us:  for we are not ignorant of his devices.”   I like what it says there.  “lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices.”  Isn’t it interesting, “we are not ignorant of his devices.”  When you study Paul using the word “ignorant” it’s an interesting thing.  Sometimes he uses it when he wants the church to know something, ‘I don’t want you to be ignorant’ Romans 1:13, ‘I had it in my heart to come to you, it didn’t work out that way…’  He had to write the same thing to the Romans that he did to the Corinthians.  But when it comes to doctrine, specifically to doctrine, he uses it in four places.  He uses it once in 1st Corinthians chapter 10, where he says ‘I don’t want you to be ignorant about the things that happened to the children of Israel, so that they could be examples to us.’  But in regards to doctrine he says this, in Romans 11:25, he says, ‘I don’t want you to be ignorant that God is maintaining a special place for the nation of Israel, God hath not cast off his people.  And the Church, with Gentiles, we were grafted in.’  And what does he say there, ‘I don’t want you to be ignorant concerning the nation of Israel.’  When you look at the Church, one of the major things the Church [Body of Christ] is ignorant of is about the nation of Israel, and God’s covenant with the nation of Israel, and how God still has promises that are to be fulfilled in Israel, and that the Messiah, Jesus Christ is going to come, and he’s going to sit on the throne in Jerusalem, in Israel.  And Paul says ‘I don’t want you to be ignorant in regards to that,’ Romans 11:25.  We have in 1st Corinthians chapter 12, verse 1, ‘Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I don’t want you to be ignorant.’  Now think of what the Church does with that one…man if there’s one area in the Church, ‘Oh no, don’t talk about that, I don’t want to hear no…around here, I don’t want to hear…’  And we are either way out of kilter on one end with spiritual gifts, holy laughing, rolling on the floor, and howling and acting like hyenas instead of Christians---‘you people want to go to the zoo? no it’s raining, we’ll go there, to church today’.  Or we are so closed to the Holy Spirit that we grieve the Holy Spirit.  And Paul says in regards to the spiritual gifts he doesn’t want us to be ignorant.  Then he says here, that he doesn’t want us to be ignorant in regards to Satan, and the way he works.  And man, the Church does that, they either over-publicize him, and give him more publicity than he deserves, and make him into this unconquerable, ‘There’s this spiritual battle going on out there, and if you don’t’ have my nine tapes on victory and you don’t have my book on the deeper spiritual battles and warfare, you’re up the creek and Satan’s waiting for you in the middle of the night in your bedroom, and wooooh! he’s gonna get you tonight,’  You know, we give him way more than his due.  Or the Church completely ignores his existence altogether.  And then the fourth time he uses “ignorant” he says ‘Now concerning those that are asleep, I would not have you be ignorant,’ when he talks about the Rapture [or 1st resurrection] of the Church, ‘That the Lord himself shall descend with a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God.’  If there’s one place in the Church, ‘Oh don’t talk to me about that rapture stuff, there’s lots of different interpretations, we don’t want to talk about that, we blow the trumpet, we disappear, don’t talk…’  You know, isn’t it interesting where you look through the places where Paul specifically says “I don’t want you to be ignorant”, those are all the places he knew that we needed to be told not to be ignorant. 

 

One Of Satan’s Devices, Condemnation

 

Here, ‘I don’t want you to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.’  Look at the context that he’s putting it in, it’s in the context of condemnation.  Paul’s saying ‘Here’s this brother in Christ, he’s sinned, we bound him over to the enemy, we put him out of the church.  And now he’s repentant.  He’s broken, he’s had enough, he’s saying “uncle.”  Get him back in, lest he’s destroyed.  We didn’t do this to destroy him, it’s a means to an end, we did this to restore him, broken and repentant.  And if you don’t understand that now, we’re gonna lose this guy.’  And it’s in the context of condemnation that Paul says ‘We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.’  I mean, where does the warfare go on? you know, the weapons of our warfare, they’re not carnal, they’re powerful, to the pulling down of strongholds, the casting down of imaginations.  When you read through Scripture, where is the warfare?  It’s in the mind.  It’s in the thoughts.  It doesn’t say in the Bible your going to wake up in the morning with big warts with hair growing out of them, and growling when you get up.  Where is the warfare?  The Bible knows where the warfare is.  The Holy Spirit knows where the warfare is.  The Lord knows where the warfare is.  The devil knows where the warfare is.  It’s here.  And we know the truth, the truth will set us free.  We know there’s love.  We know of God’s power.  We know that the evil one has nothing in us.  We know that what he’d love to do is allure us, through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, [back] into the world.  To get to our minds and promise us something now, that we’re convinced that if we wait or do this God’s way, we’re not gonna have it.  And then we buy into it, instead of trusting the Lord, instead of waiting, instead of moving in his time.  And we sin.  And we make mistakes.  And then when we need to get restored, and we’re broken, then we come back and face the church, and if the church acts the same way the devil does.  To me if you go out in the world and get beat up by the devil all week in the world, you don’t need to come to church on Sunday and get beat up again by the pastor.  Might as well stay home.  They pass an offering bucket so you can come and pay to get beat up.  And some people think that’s good.  [Westboro Baptist Church, anyone?]  You know, they walk out and say, ‘Man, that was heavy, I feel lousy, that was a great sermon.’  They think they’re supposed to be bleeding when they leave.  Or they didn’t get their money’s worth, or something.  No, one of his devices is condemnation, the condemnation of the devil.  Conviction, comes from the Holy Spirit.  Condemnation comes from the devil.  Both of them feel lousy.  The way you tell the difference is, the conviction of the Holy Spirit drives you to the Lord.  The condemnation of the devil drives you away from the Lord.  If there is anything stirring and cooking in you as a believer, that is driving you away from Christ, if you’re sitting here tonight thinking ‘He can’t love me, I knew better, I sinned against light, I blew it, he must be done with me,’ you know, ‘You’re supposed to forgive 70 times 7, that’s 490, I’ve sinned 491 times, I’m out, he’s  done with me.’  No, no, no, no, that’s the condemnation of the devil, that’s not the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Because the conviction of the Holy Spirit will drive us to Christ, to his presence, to be broken there, to confess, homologeo, to say the same thing, to agree with that conviction.  ‘Yes, Lord, you’re right.  I shouldn’t be doing this.  It is wrong.’  If we confess, then he is both faithful and, so remarkable, because he’s already paid the price, and just to forgive us, and then to cleanse, cathorize us, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  There’s a process, he longs for us to come to him, to be in his presence, there to receive forgiveness.  If church as representative of Christ, and we represent him as unforgiving, angry, I mean, look, we have a broken world.  What was one of the first things we heard, when the Twin Trade Towers went down, we heard public voices immediately saying “This is God’s judgment!  Get America!”  I’m not sure that furthered the cause of Christ.  And if you figured that they intended to hit at least four other cities and kill hundreds of thousands of people that day, [the fact that it didn’t happen was because] it was God’s mercy that day, and God’s grace, because he still loves this nation, and has a plan for it.  When you see the broken lives of the Firefighters and the Policemen, investors, lawyers and people walking around New York that are still shell-shocked, and you say to them “Can I pray with you?” and they say “Yes, please pray.”  “Can I talk to you about God?”  “Please talk to me about God.”  We need to represent to them who he is, and Paul said, ‘We don’t want to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.’  He would love to hang  judgment over someone’s head, and never remove it, even when that person is repentant.  Even when that person is asking for forgiveness.  God knows, just like Nineveh, if America will repent, then in one instant, God will take the mountain of our sin and put it behind his back, and never remember it again.  That’s how gracious and loving he is.  And he knows in the life of an individual, it is the same thing.  That no matter how horrendous your mountain of sin is, this evening here, no matter what thing is secret in your life, that you think the reason he doesn’t smoke you is because you’re just sitting here with all these other Christians, and if he could he would, but he’s afraid of burning the person on either side of you, or ruining a good pew, then you don’t know who he is, you don’t know who he is.  Because that’s the legalistic view the Pharisees had.  When Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son, he’s really telling the parable of the older brother.  That’s what that parable is about.  Because it’s the father, loving a son whose spent all his money on prostitutes and alcohol, ruined the family, ruined the money, and then came home and found his father was there to throw his arms around him, waiting for him every day to come, longing to see him, embracing him, weeping over him.  And it’s the older brother that’s says ‘I didn’t get any of that, I stay here and work like a dog, you don’t make any parties for me, I don’t get no barbeques, nothing happens for me.’  That’s the religious Pharisee, offended that God could forgive someone who has so squandered their life in sin.  But the Good News of Jesus Christ is that any sinner, in any condition, no matter how big their mountain of sin, can come to Jesus the Saviour, and repent, and ask forgiveness, and find his arms around them, and find him giving them a robe of righteousness, and the signet ring of an heir, and receiving them into the family of God.  That’s the truth of Scripture.  We’re not ignorant of Satan’s devices, his schemes.  Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, and they should not. 

 

Paul’s Analogy About the Roman Triumphal Procession and the Aroma, Smell of That

 

“Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother:  but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.” (verses 12-13), looking for Titus, he wanted to find out what was going on.  Titus was supposed to bring him word of Corinth.  He hadn’t heard from Titus.  He mentions that there’s an opened door given him of the Lord to share the Gospel, that’s interesting for us to take note of, Paul needed an open door, so do we.  “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (verse 14)  Notice, it’s God, not your determination, you’re not gonna huff and puff and blow the house down.  “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”  “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ,”  he uses a very specific word there for “triumph.”  It’s a triumphal procession, the Romans knew what it was.  It would only happen in a battle where a Roman captain, a Roman general would overtake at least five thousand of the enemy and have victory.  And then what that Roman general would do is he would chain everybody together, and he would bring them in a triumphal procession back into Rome, taking them usually to the Circus Maximus.  And as he led this procession, they would follow this general, and the priests, the idolatrous priests would be there swinging these incense burners, and people could smell from their homes that there’s a triumphal procession, there’s a general leading back his captives, taking them to the Circus.  And there was a smell to all of that.  And this is what he is talking about here.  Of course, he’s talking about a situation here where you and I are led by our General, Jesus Christ, he’s led us captive, not to the Circus, not to death, but to eternal life.  And he always causes us, it says, to triumph in Christ Jesus.  And that when we follow our Captain, we follow our General, day by day and step by step, there’s something about our life, we give off an aroma.  I like to say that better than an odor.  We give off an aroma.  It causes us to triumph in Christ, “and maketh manifest the savour” the smell, the odor, the aroma “of his knowledge by us in every place.”  Now, the struggle that he talks about here is a struggle from victory, not a struggle for victory.  We’re not struggling for victory, there’s already victory.  Our Captain, our General has already had the victory over untold thousands.  And he’s leading us, we’re his spoils, he’s leading us, but to his Kingdom.  And it says as we follow him, step by step, there is something about us.  There should be something about you.  If you’re a born-again Christian, and you’ve been in the same place for 94 years, and nobody knows yet, you’re probably slow on the trigger.  But if you’re serious about Christ, if you’re serious about being led of the Spirit of Christ, if you’re serious about giving your life to him, the people that work around you will know that there’s something different about you, that you’re a witness, a witness is something that you are, it’s not just something you do.  ‘Wait in Jerusalem until you are endued with power, that you might be my witnesses.’  A witness is something that you are, it is something that you should be, not just something you do with your mouth, it’s something you do with your life. 

 

We’re The Aroma of God To The World

 

Paul says it’s like an aroma.  Sniff   What is that, I smelled that tonight, I was trying to study and my wife was making meatballs, and I couldn’t concentrate.  Sniff!  I had to go up and see what it was, and make sure that they were seasoned properly.  [laughter]  There should be something about you that is noticeable, like an aroma, like you should be infectious, there should be something about you if you are walking in the triumph of Christ.  And God causes us to do that.  There should be then ‘the savour of his knowledge that is spread by us in every place.’  “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:  to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.  And who is sufficient for these things?” (verses 15-16)  It says there should be something about you.  You go to your relative’s house, you should be able to walk in, just smile.  ‘Don’t give me that smile!  Don’t start that Jesus stuff!  I don’t want to hear about it, we go to church, don’t tell me that again, I don’t want to hear about that, don’t give me them songs.  We will let you say grace at Christmas, besides that, leave us alone!  We don’t want to hear about it, we’re Christians too!  We have a beef n’ beer night every other month at our church, and a basket of cheer you can try to win, we play bingo and teach people to drink and gamble, we have a great church, so…’ [laughter]  You know the story.  ‘Don’t start, no Bible thumping around here!’  You didn’t even say anything, you walked in smiling.  Or you drove up with the praise music playing too loud.  ‘Oh, they’re here, lock the doors.  Get out the shotgun.’  You didn’t even say anything, you just ‘smell like death.’   Because you come in saying [by inference, with your smile] ‘I’m saved and you’re not’, you know, just.  You don’t even have to try.  But you know, those same people, whether they’re at work or wherever they are, they’re going to come to you and say “My mom just found out she has cancer, would you please pray?”  [that happens to me all the time.]  They know immediately where to go when there’s been a light, when there’s been the salt of the earth around them, when there’s been a witness.  [Comment:  And there’s a proper way to be salt and light too, and it’s not so much by our verbal preaching and teaching, but by reaching out in love to a dying world, the world that has the smell of death upon it.  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm]  Those that are perishing, the savour of death, because the message of your life is that there’s salvation through Christ Jesus, and that you’re living in his triumph and what he’s accomplished.  That’s an insult, because people want to accomplish things on their own.  They don’t want to be led in somebody else’s triumph.  They don’t want to be led in somebody else’s victory, they don’t want to be led in what somebody else has accomplished that they could never accomplish for themselves.  But here you are enjoying it.  ‘Hey, I’m a sinner, I’m getting into heaven for free, Jesus died for my sins, he washed me and cleansed me, I would never have qualified for anything, every time I filled out the resume everybody turned me down except Jesus.  He accepted me.’  “and to the other the savour of life unto life.  Who is sufficient for these things?”  For the Christian, you should be an encouragement.  Isn’t it fun at work to find another believer?  ‘All right!  Meet you in the closet at 12 o’clock.  Ok?’  Can’t escape it, I remember where one of our guys here was in a situation where he had to pay off a debt and he was having to deal Black Jack to do that, and he said “And I looked around and there was this bouncer with a piece stuck in his belt,’ and he said, ‘he was coming up behind me, and I’m thinking, ‘I have this guy knows who I am, I know he’s after me, and I put my hand under the table because there was a hammer there,’ and he said ‘He got real close, and I thought I was ready to get it, and the bouncer said, ‘I hate to ask you this here, but do you go to Calvary Chapel?’”  “I said, yea, I do, but we can’t talk about it here, talk to me later, talk to me later!”  “I thought you looked familiar, it was just something about you.”  It’s the savour of life unto life, you’re an encouragement, even in the places you shouldn’t be.  “…who is sufficient for those things?”  These are eternal things, whose sufficient for them?  Well in one sense, we are. 

 

‘We’re Not Hucksters, Peddling the Word of God Like Some Are’

 

Look what he’s going to say, “For we are not as many, which corrupt [margin: or deal deceitfully with] the word of God:  but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” (verse 17)  Now that’s an interesting word, it’s used one other time in the New Testament, it (“corrupt”), it means to huckster or to peddle.  When I grew up, 1950s over by Alny, this farmer used to go down our driveway, he was a huckster.  And he would yell, and he had tomatoes and strawberries, with a wagon with some kind of creature pulling it.  I remember, I was a little kid then, but he was a huckster.  ‘We’re not as those who huckster or peddle or make merchandize of the Word of God, corrupting it in that sense.’  Now there are those guys around.  Did you ever see any of those guys?  You can tell, because they all go to the same hairdresser, they all get their permanent at the same place for some reason, I don’t know why they do that.  And they make merchandize of God’s people.  They come up with some of the most ridiculous stories, don’t they?  I remember one guy saying he had to get plastic surgery because he lays on top of your letters, and when the ink from your letters gets into his skin when he’s crying, it affected his eyes, so he needed plastic surgery…he had to buy a mansion in Florida with a yacht because he tried golfing and it just made him more tense, that little ball, all over, made him worse, so he needed a yacht and a mansion to calm down from the rigors of the ministry.  Every time I think of this guy, you know, they should have cast him for the Joker in the first Batman movie, because he could have done that without makeup [laughter].  Hey, you’re enjoying it, come on.  Don’t act like you’re not.  ‘We are not as those who corrupt the Word of God, hucksters, peddling God’s Word, getting into people’s wallets.’  Again, I remember before I moved back, on the West Coast there was a guy selling those “miracle wallets.”  If you sent him ten bucks, he would send you a miracle wallet, and if you had a miracle wallet, you would never run out of money.  I’m thinking, ‘has anybody asked themselves, if this guy’s got a whole case of miracle wallets, why does he need your ten bucks?’  He can just take his miracle wallets and go buy an island and leave us all alone.  You know, do we get dumber after we get saved?  What happened to us?  I mean, some of these guys, before I was a Christian and I was taking LSD I wouldn’t have sent them money.  And then we get saved, and we ‘Ah, ummh, I don’t want to be mean, ahh, I don’t want to…’  Well you don’t want to be dumb either.  Huckster, that’s the word Paul uses.  You can recognize a huckster, making merchandize of Christ, they’re selling something, they’re peddling something.  Is Jesus Christ crucified the center of their message?  Do they want allegiance to Christ, or do they want your money?  And look, I think there’s a sensitive way to ask [for offerings for a ministry].  I think, Billy Graham, I’ve seen him say, ‘It’s a big crusade, pray about partnering with us.’  And you can do that without being obnoxious.  I believe that you can do that.  But some of these guys, that’s all they talk about, from the time you turn on the TV to the time you turn them off, is money.  It’s the worst kind of robbery, religious robbery, it’s the worst kind.  I wouldn’t want to be standing in their $500 custom-made Italian loafers on that day, I’ll tell you that.  I think they’re going to have all eternity to look at their Rolex Watches and think, ‘Oh man, it’s something that keeps time.’  “we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God…”  “Who is sufficient for these things?”  Well Paul says, ‘Well, we’re not as those who are phony, who corrupt the Word of God,’ “but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”  You know, we see some of these guys do these things, and they get caught in sin, and we say ‘How can they do that, how can they have been challenging people about pornography and using pornography, how could they have been screaming at people about sin, and living in sin?’  And we ask those questions.  Well, it’s an easy answer, they have no fear of God.  Jeremiah said ‘You’ve done this, and it’s evil, your backslidings will correct you, your sin is going to reprove you, because you have left off the fear of God.’  But let’s boil that down to, you know, individual lives.  Isn’t it interesting, three weeks ago, four week ago, when the Trade Towers were struck down, Wednesday night church was jammed, up the aisles, in the hallway, you couldn’t get to church.  What, did we cool off in three weeks?  Where is everybody?  Every prodigal came back, just to make sure the Rapture didn’t happen, ‘I want to make sure I didn’t miss it, let’s go back tonight, because he might be coming down, let’s make sure everything’s still ok.’  The church fills up and you say “This isn’t Armageddon, that’s seven years away.”  “OK, we’ll be back in six-and-a-half years.  Just checking in, just want to make sure.”  How can someone watch, that calls himself a Christian, and live in sin and sees the things that are going on, and have their hearts so hard that they don’t respond to the days that we live in right now?  This is a day when you need to be “the savour of Christ.”  Because there are people who want to smell that above everything else right now.  Because everything else smells hopeless.  You know, how are you?  With all of this anthrax, and all of this threat of war, how are you in the middle of all that?  You know, are you sitting at home getting ulcers,  ‘Ooooh, boy I want to believe what they believe.’  Or are you able genuinely to take your time with the Lord, to read Psalm 91, to read Psalm 46, and to get your heart before the Lord and say to other people, ‘You know what?  We trust the Living God,  we live in his presence.’  This world is like a dream, the Bible says, it’s temporary.  [In physics, actually physical matter has been proven to be nothing but shimmering balls of energy in a different form.  God says he’s a spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.  The spirit God is composed of is more than likely more solid than the physical matter he created when he created the universe and all that is within it.]  And he loves us so much that he’s given his only Son, to die in our place, the Messiah, Jesus.  And if we accept God’s forgiveness through his Son, our eternity is secure.  There isn’t any tragedy in this world that can take any of that away from us, our destiny and our eternity secure in Christ.  We need to smell like that right now.  Because there is a broken and lost world out there that wants to know that that’s true.  Not just because somebody vocalizes it, but because somebody’s walking in it, and living in it.  [Transcript of a connective expository sermon given on 2nd Corinthians 1:15-34 and 2:1-17 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

We’re to have that “aroma” to the world, to be Salt & Light.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm

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