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2 Corinthians 1

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, MARCH 23

SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 1

Today we start a new book.  Paul writes again to the folks at the Corinthian church.  As is usually the case, there is much more in one of Paul’s chapters than we can cover on one page.  He had the amazing ability of packing a lot of truth into a short amount of space.  So, I thought I would pull out a couple of sections of the chapter and write about them today.

The first section starts in verse 3.  Paul starts with the statement “Blessed be” or Praise be”.  This is one of his doxologies in which he extols the virtues of God.  We should praise Him because He is the one, true God.  We should praise Him because He sent His only Son to us.  We should praise Him because He is the Father of mercies.  This phrase literally means He is the “Originator of mercies”.  In other words, apart from God there is no mercy.  All mercy shown to anyone is originated in God.  We should praise Him because He is the God of all comfort.

The word comfort is an interesting word.  It does not mean sympathy.  It is not a reference to a pat on the back and whisper that everything is going to be OK.  The word comfort actually comes from the same original word for Holy Spirit.  It refers to a coming alongside to help.  It alludes to being an encouragement.

In verse 4, we read that God comforts or encourages us in all of our afflictions.  He does this for two reasons.  First, it is His good work in our lives to help us.  Second, it is so that we can help others.  God comforts us so that we can be comforted but also so we can be a comfort to others.  This is just another example of the fact that the things God gives us are never just for us.  We are to be conduits of the blessing so that the things of God can flow through us into the lives of those around us.

The second part of the chapter that I want to point you to starts in verse 21.  All of the verses of the Bible are important.  So, forgive me when I say this verse is really important.  The verse starts with the concept of God establishing us or making us to stand firm in Christ.  This was actually a business term that referred to the guarantee of fulfilling a contract.  It was the assurance that the seller gave the buyer that the product was genuine, that the service promised would be rendered as per the agreement.

Our relationship with God is not a business deal.  It is not even a contractual relationship.  It is a covenantal relationship.  But the point of this is that God guarantees the fulfillment of His promises to us in Jesus.  He is going to do exactly what He said He would do in the exact way He said He would do it.

God has anointed us.  This is a reference to the Holy Spirit being given to us as proof of our standing with God and proof of our relationship with His ultimate purpose. 

Next God has put his seal on us.  This is a reference to the process of a king using a signet ring pressed into hot wax to prove the ownership and reliability of a document.  The fact that we are saved means we do indeed belong to God and we can trust Him to do what He said.

Finally, we read where the Holy Spirit is given as a guarantee.  The Holy Spirit is our earnest money, our down payment.  He is the undeniable, irrefutable promise of what is to come.  As good as the abundant life is that Jesus gives to His own, it is just a taste of the eternal life that is to come.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

1 Corinthians 16

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, MARCH 22

SCRIPTURE: 1 CORINTHIANS 16

Today we have made our way through another book of the Bible.  I hope this study of 1 Corinthians has been challenging, informative, and encouraging.  By the way, tomorrow we are going to move right on into 2 Corinthians.

As Paul concludes this letter that we know as 1 Corinthians, there appear to be several things on his mind.  The first thing may very well have been something the Corinthians asked about in their letter to Paul.  It had to do with giving to help the church in Jerusalem.  The church in Jerusalem was in dire straits economically and desperately needed help from sister churches to survive the crisis.

Paul had instructed other churches to take up an offering to help.  And now he is saying the same thing to the church at Corinth.  In the initial verses of this chapter, Paul dictates how this giving should be done.  First, it was to be regular.  It was to be given on Sunday.  Second, it was to be comprehensive.  Everyone was to participate.  Third, it was to be proportional.  It was not a set amount for everyone but a percentage of what every individual had.  Fourth, it was planned.  Fifth, it was to be protected.  A select group of people would be responsible for handling the funds and getting the offering to the church at Jerusalem.

Technically this is not Biblical mandates for tithing. This gift for the church at Jerusalem would fit more in the category of an offering.  But the principles apply to all Biblical giving.  Everyone in the church has a responsibility to give regularly and proportionately.  Even the tithe is a proportionate gift.  Everyone doesn’t give the same amount of money.  But everyone is supposed to give the same percentage. 

The other aspect of this offering points to a responsibility of the local New Testament Church.  We have an obligation to give to fund the ministry and mission effort of the church that we attend.  But churches should be willing to help others churches who have true needs that they can’t meet.  For those of you who may be wondering, we have done that often around here.  Over the years we have given money to some sister churches to help them with building issues that they could not afford to pay for.  For the last seven years or so, we have sent a monthly check to help church plants in Phoenix get started.  The point of this is not to brag but just to assure you that we are involved in fulfilling responsibilities not only to our three campuses but sisters churches around us.  We also give money to help fund world wide missions.

In verses 5-10 Paul lays out his plans.  His intent was to get to Corinth for perhaps an extended stay.  But all of that (see the end of verse 7) was contingent upon the Lord’s plan.  In the meantime, Paul was working on some plans to get some other men there to help the church.  He speaks of Timothy coming in verse 10 and even of the possibility of Apollos making a visit when he was able to do that.

Verse 13 is one of my favorite verses in this chapter and maybe even in the entire book.  Paul exhorts us to do several things.  One, be watchful or be on your guard.  The enemy of our souls is always prowling around. We need to be on guard.  Two, be firm in your convictions.  There are issues in life that we should never compromise on.  We need to stand firm in the Word.  Three, act like men.  Most churches would do much better if the folks who attended would just act like adults.  Finally, act in love.  As we have seen in this letter, if love is not the foundation and motivator of our actions, we are not going to do well or be well.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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