Category: 1st and 2nd Corinthians
Restoration to truth!
Scripture reading for October 4th: Jeremiah 14-16, Psalm 76, 2nd Corinthians 13
2nd Corinthians 13:5-9 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong–not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.”
The false teachers, some claiming to be ‘apostles of Jesus Christ’, had led some of these believers away from the truth of the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone. Paul encouraged the church to do a healthy self-examination to see if they were really in the faith. “Is Jesus Christ living in you?” was the question that must be answered individually. True faith is all about a living relationship with the Living God. The Holy Spirit gives us assurance that God is our Father and that He loves us. God’s love and goodness lead us to repentance and growth in holiness and service to God and one another.
Psalm 76:1-3 “In Judah God is known; His Name is great in Israel. His abode has been established in Salem, His dwelling place in Zion. There He broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for pastors, apostles, and prophets who call us to repentance and faith through the truth of Your Word. Fill my heart and lips with Your Truth and use me to call Your people to renewed faith and holy living. Forgive me of sins of omission and commission and may the true Gospel of grace and faith bring restoration to many.
Jeremiah 14:20-21 “We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You. Do not spurn us, for Your Name’s sake; do not dishonor Your glorious throne; remember and do not break Your covenant with us.”
God’s power displayed through weakness
Scripture reading for October 3rd: Jeremiah 11-13, 2nd Corinthians 12
2nd Corinthians 12: 7-9 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Paul shared with the Church at Corinth how God had graciously caught him up into heaven and given him revelations that no one else had received and could not be revealed to others. Along with this special grace from God, God permitted Paul to be buffeted by a messenger from Satan who afflicted Paul in his flesh. Paul prayed three times for healing and relief, but God told him simply, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” This satisfied Paul and Paul began to boast not in the revelations but in his own weaknesses that the power of Christ might rest upon him to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus and see souls saved, no matter what the affliction, hardship, or persecution he was experiencing.
2nd Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing and faithful grace towards me and Your people. Thank You for testing our hearts and drawing us closer to You through trials and weaknesses and even messengers of Satan bringing afflictions in our flesh. I invite You to show Yourself strong in my weaknesses, which are many. Use me to proclaim Your power and might through Jesus Christ today.
Jeremiah 12:1-3 “Righteous are You, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before You. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? You plant them, and they take root; they grow and produce fruit; you are near in their mouth and far from their heart. But you, O Lord. know me; You see me, and test my heart toward you.”
Another Jesus? A different Gospel?
Scripture reading for September 30th: Jeremiah 8-10, 2nd Corinthians 11
2nd Corinthians 11:1-4 “I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the One you received, or if you accept a different Gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”
False teachers had followed Paul in the church at Corinth. Paul was writing to warn the believers to be watchful and beware as it seemed to him that they were not discerning the truth. Paul had carefully preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ–Jesus crucified, buried, and resurrected and coming again was the message. He proclaimed Jesus Christ, God’s only Son dying for the sins of all men and calling them to repentance and holiness. The false teachers were presenting ‘another Jesus’, not the Son of God and had ‘another spirit’, not the Holy Spirit of God. Their ‘different gospel’ was not the true Gospel and God’s call to repentance and holiness. Beware of those in the church who are the serpent’s deceiving messengers!
2nd Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
Prayer: Father God, I often pray the prayer Jesus taught His followers to pray: “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil (the evil one).” Give Your church discernment and expose those who disguise themselves as leaders or workers in Your Church but are really Satan’s tools. Help me to proclaim the real Jesus Christ, Son of God and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel.
Jeremiah 8:5-7 “Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit: they refuse to return. I have paid attention and listened, but they have not spoken rightly; no man relents of his evil saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turns to his own course, like a horse plunging headlong into battle. Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow and crane keep the time of their coming, but My people know not the rules of the Lord.”
Destroying strongholds of fleshly thought
Scripture reading for September 29th: Jeremiah 5-7, Psalm 75, 2nd Corinthians 10
2nd Corinthians 10: 1-6 “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ–I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away. I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every though captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Paul’s heart as a pastor was to help those under his oversight to grow in spiritual understanding of Christ Jesus and His Word. Paul was meek and gentle and humbly implored them while in person to follow Christ. There were other false teachers that maligned Paul and sought to manipulate people into following them. They used arguments and myths and opinions to destroy the truth of God’s Word. Paul assured the believers that even though he appeared meek and humble, he was bold because of God’s truth and the powerful weapon that Truth was in destroying these fleshly strongholds and those who espoused them. Obedience to Christ and His Word would spare them and us from punishment and eternal loss.
Psalm 75:2, 7-8 ““At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. . .but it is God Who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.” For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and He pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving watchful prophets, pastors, and apostles to humbly speak Your Word to Your people to turn them to reverence and obedience. Protect Your people from those who use arguments, opinions of men, and lies to trap men and cause division in Your Church. Thank You for the powerful weapons of Truth, righteousness, and humility that destroy satanic strongholds.
Jeremiah 5:24-26 “They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, Who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away and your sins have kept good from you. For wicked men are found among My people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. The set a trap, they catch men.”
Generosity produces a great harvest!
Scripture reading for September 28th: Jeremiah 1-4, Psalm 130, 2nd Corinthians 9
2nd Corinthians 9: 10-15 “He Who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the Gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”
Paul spoke to believers in Corinth who were familiar with an agrarian culture. He reminded them of the law of sowing and reaping. He reminded the Corinthians that it was God that supplied the seed for sowing and it was also God that caused the seed to sprout and produce the wheat to supply their bread to eat. Not only enough to eat, but more seed for next year’s sowing! Our giving is like that sowing of seed. As we wait on God, in time it produces a harvest of righteousness as we please God through our willing generosity. It produces thanksgiving in those receiving the gifts and they thank God for the givers and God for supplying! The givers receive blessings from God in more seed for sowing so that the harvest may overflow continuously! The harvest is promised by God the Giver of His only Son!
Psalm 130:5-7 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your indescribable Gift, Jesus Christ our Lord! Your giving and extreme generosity inspires me to also bless others. Thank You for teaching me to trust you through this teaching on sowing and reaping. I am learning to joyfully sow and trust You for the promised harvest of righteousness, bread for my family, and more seed to sow! Let the harvest overflow with thanksgiving!
Jeremiah 1:11-12 “And the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My Word to perform it.””
Scripture reading for September 27th: Zephaniah, Psalm 74, 2nd Corinthians 8
2nd Corinthians 8: 1-5 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints–and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”
Paul commended the overflowing generosity of the Macedonian church in the face of severe persecution. These believers were filled with joy even in the midst of extreme poverty and gave extravagantly out of the little they had. They could only give out of their means but some gave beyond their means because of their faith in God and they demonstrated their faith through giving and even counting it a great favor to give for the relief of other believers who were also in need. Paul noted that they could do this only because they had truly given themselves to the Lord first and then they discerned God’s will to give to these needs.
Psalm 74:12-13 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by Your might; You broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the joy and willingness to give reflected in these Macedonian churches that were under severe affliction and poverty. I see Christ Jesus in their generosity and compassion for others who were also suffering. Help me to overflow with generosity and joyful response to the needs of your people. I give myself and my possessions to You to bring You glory and work salvation on earth.
Zephaniah 2:3 “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.”
Godly grief and repentance
Scripture reading for September 26th: Habakkuk, 2nd Corinthians 7
2nd Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
Paul instructs us in how to walk as people of faith. In Christ, we are new creations and God has transformed us inside and taken up residence through the Holy Spirit. Now that we are cleansed, we must do our part to keep our ‘house’ clean. We must break off any entanglements with unbelievers and not be yoked with them. (This did not include those already married to unbelievers, if the unbeliever wanted to stay in relationship. 1st Corinthians 7:12-14). Each believer must forgive those who wronged them and have repented. We must get rid of habits that have enslaved us and say ‘no’ to sin and worldly thinking. God’s Word written and applied brings godly grief that leads us to repentance and cleansing with no regrets! We are not just sorry we got caught but sorry enough to change.
2nd Corinthians 7: 8-12 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for all Your many promises of Your presence with us and eternal life with You for eternity. From Your Word, I understand that without holiness, I won’t see the Lord. Help me to apply Your Word through the power of the Holy Spirit and to cleanse myself of defilements from my past life and entanglements of this world and culture. Thank You for godly grief, leading me to repent.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
We are the Living God’s temple!
Scripture reading for September 23rd: 2nd Chronicles 34-35, 2nd Corinthians 6
2nd Corinthians 6: 14-16 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make My dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Paul had just told the Corinthians about the new covenant and new creation that they had become through faith in Jesus Christ. He carefully explained to them that as new creations, that they should be careful with their associations. They must not join in marriage or close associations with unbelievers. Unbelievers live in darkness and are under the control of Belial, the devil. Unbelievers have no inheritance in God’s kingdom and therefore live in lawlessness and under God’s judgment. Believers are now the ‘temple’ for the Living God and He lives in them bringing light, righteousness, Christ’s presence and eternal life. Holy separation is required to maintain and grow in our journey to glory in Christ.
2nd Corinthians 6:17-18 “Therefore, go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.”
Prayer: Holy Father, I am honored that You would consider me, a redeemed sinner, a worthy place to dwell by Your Holy Spirit. Help me to properly apply Your command to be separate and come out from among unbelievers and avoid unequal yokes in this fallen world. I give myself to You as Your Holy dwelling place and to share Your Good News with the unbelievers that they might enjoy salvation.
2nd Chronicles 35:21-23 “. . And God has commanded me (Pharaoh Neco) to hurry. Cease opposing God, Who is with me, lest He destroy you.” Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God but came to fight in the plain of Megiddo. And the archers shot King Josiah.”
Swallowed up by Life!
Scripture reading for September 22nd: 2nd Kings 22-23, Psalm 73, 2nd Corinthians 5
2nd Corinthians 5: 1-6 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He Who has prepared us for this very thing is God, Who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
Paul elaborated further on his faith in the resurrection of the dead. His firm belief was that even if our mortal body is destroyed, believers have a guarantee through the Gift of the Holy Spirit that they will receive a new resurrection body that will live forever in the presence of God. It will not be temporary like the “tent” of our body. It will be a “building”, something eternal. While we wait for this promise, we may groan and suffer from persecution, aging, or attacks of Satan. But focus on what is ahead and surely coming with take us through to receive our promised inheritance! God is with us and guiding us to glory.
Psalm 73:23-24 “Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Gift of Your Holy Spirit to live in me and guide me with Your counsel and prepare me for glory eternal! Your plans for me are amazing and a pure gift of grace in that I deserve the opposite. I long for the day when these promises become sight and I receive the ‘building’ You have prepared for me and I am swallowed, not by the grave, but by Life eternal in Your presence!
2nd Kings 23:25 “Before him (King Josiah) there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”
Focus on eternal reality!
Scripture reading for September 21st: Nahum, Psalm 149, 2nd Corinthians 4
2nd Corinthians 4: 13-18 “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Paul shared with the Corinthian believers how faith motivated him in the preaching of the Gospel. He believed the Gospel message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection so that is what he preached. He was confident because of faith in God’s written Word and promises that those who heard and believed would also experience resurrection. Even though their bodies were getting older and wasting away, or suffering persecution, inside, Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit was renewing them and preparing them for eternal glory. Focusing on the unseen realities of God’s eternal Word would bring vision and victory! Praise and worship greatly facilitates our focus!
Psalm 149:1-3 “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise His Name with dancing, making melody to Him with tambourine and lyre.”
Prayer: Father God, We praise You and worship Your Holy Name! Thank You for the eternal Truth of Your Word and Your Son, Jesus Christ! Give me continued grace to not lose heart or faint in these times of persecution and adversity and experiencing the aging process in my own body. Renew me today through the Holy Spirit and show me the amazing things to come in the unseen world of Your Throne!
Nahum 1:15 “Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of Him Who brings Good News, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.”