2 Co 13 EXAMINE YOURSELF
Wednesday, January 5, 2022.
2 Co 13:5
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to determine if they truly were Christians. What would this test consist of? The Corinthians were worldly and considered power and success the standard to judge the Christian life. However, Paul’s examination didn’t involve externals but an internal relationship with Christ. Were the Corinthians living in dependence of Jesus or were they following their fleshly desires? If they recognized this truth, then they were in Christ, and the Holy Spirit was still able to speak to their hearts and encourage growth in godliness. If they did not recognize I need for Christ or godliness then they had failed the test.
Application: we all should take Paul’s test to determine if Christ is inside of us, or are we putting on an external form of godliness, yet still being led by our flesh in rebellion to God.
2 Co 12 DENYING SELF-RULE
Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
2 Co 12:10
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong: Paul had asked God three times to take away his thorn in the flesh, but the answer was to rely on God’s grace 2 Co 12:8,9. For when we are relying on God, it is God that is controlling, not our flesh Gal 2:20. The result is when I am weak and have given up on my own abilities, then Christ’s power will be displayed in me.
Application: Paul’s response was for when I am weak, then I am strong. All of us need to follow Paul’s advice and die to self-rule daily Lk 9:23 to allow God, to power us unto victory.
2 Co 11 DARKNESS MASQUERADING AS LIGHT
Monday, January 3, 2022.
2 Co 11:15
It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve: Paul reminded the Corinthians that Satan doesn’t always appear as evil, but can show up as an angel of light. Then why should the congregation be surprised when a false teacher appears as a righteous saint.
Application: there are many false teachers today who appear as holy men of God but are charlatans. They not only will steal your money but your souls with their satanic doctrines. Jesus will give them their just rewards Mt 7:22,23.
2 Co 10 SCRUTINIZING EVERY THOUGHT
Sunday, January 2, 2022.
2 Co 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ: much of the weapons the world employs are physical, which attack the body, however, the truly powerful ones are spiritual that attack the mind. The greatest weapon is the Word of God, which Jesus used three times when tempted by Satan in the wilderness Mt 4:4,7,10. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to employ the Holy Spirit’s discernment when confronting false doctrines, to defeat these lies from creeping into the Church. Every true thought needed to be detected and obeyed.
Application: Satan’s goal is to destroy the Church through false teachings and divisions. We have many denominations today because Christians have divided over their “hobby horse” doctrine, (speaking in tongues, method of baptism, etc) elevating it above Jesus Christ. We need to remember that Jesus is the head of the Church and His body shouldn’t be dismembered. Don’t let Satan divide you from brothers and sisters over non-essential doctrines that divide the Body.
2 Co 9 GIVING
Saturday, January 1, 2022.
2 Co 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver: in the Old Covenant the tithe was established as a law, but now in the New Covenant, Paul taught the grace principle of giving. The amount one gives is determined by you alone, and is not to be given reluctantly or through guilt or pressure by others. Each should give whatever he can, cheerfully, for God does not want money from a person who is giving grudgingly.
Application: Paul mentioned another important principle: those who give sparingly will also receive little, while the generous will reap lavishly. Charitable giving is a sign that the Gospel is at work in one’s life and its fruit encourages the entire body of Christ.
2 Co 8 EQUALITY
Friday, December 31, 2021.
2 Co 8:13
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality: there was a severe famine in Jerusalem and Paul had asked churches to contribute financially to the needs of believers in Jerusalem 1 Co 16:1-3. The Macedonian churches (in northern Greece) had previously given generously 2 Co 8:3. This was to encourage the Corinthian churches (in southern Greece) to do likewise 2 Co 8:8. Paul then used Christ as an example who gave everything (died to pay for our sins), so that we could become rich (saved) 2 Co 8:9. The body of Christ should help each other during trials, so that the entire body’s needs are met, not to favor one group over another.
Application: Jesus said a house divided could not stand Mk 3:25. The opposite is also true—a united body will be much stronger and all will benefit in the equality. As Christians, we should be concerned for the welfare of all of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, regardless of their ethnicity or geographical location Ac 4:32,35.
2 Co 7 TWO KINDS OF SORROW
Thursday, December 30, 2021.
2 Co 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death: Paul described two types of sorrow. David displayed the godly sorrow Ps 51:1-4 after his adulterous act with Bathsheba 2 Sa 11:4 and then the killing of Uriah 2 Sa 11:14-17. Judas demonstrated worldly sorrow after his betrayal of Jesus, for he turned to men for his forgiveness Mt 27:3,4. After being rejected by the Pharisees, rather than asking God to forgive him, he went out and hanged himself Mt 27:5. Taking your own life is a sin, since that prerogative belongs to the Creator of all life—God alone Ps 139:16.
Application: the result of godly sorrow is repentance, a turning from your sin, which Paul said will lead to salvation, whereas worldly sorrow never addresses the sin to the One who can forgive you—God alone. Unfortunately for these people, this type of sorrow will lead to the second death, eternal separation from God Rev 20:14,15.
2 Co 6 CHOOSING RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS
Wednesday, December 29, 2021.
2 Co 6:14
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? Paul commanded Christians not to be joined together with unbelievers. His reasons were that Christians desire to please God and live righteous lives while unbelievers have no interest in righteous living or pleasing God. How then, can one enjoy fellowship when our life perspectives are at opposite ends of the continuum? The answer is we can’t.
Application: when my children were young, they were interested in having relationships with their classmates who were very worldly. They tried to convince me that they could witness to them and bring them to Christ. I gave them this illustration. If you were standing on a chair, would it easier for you to pull your friend up unto the chair or easier for he or she to bring you down to his or her level? They got the point 1 Co 15:33.
2 Co 5 NEW CREATION
Tuesday, December 28, 2021.
2 Co 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! What a wonderful promise that anyone can become a new creation. It isn’t limited to one race, or one social or economic group, or one gender, or one country, but to anyone who desires a change to become a new creation. Yes, there is one restriction—this change can happen, only if one is in Christ. How then does one enter into Christ? By believing the Gospel—that Jesus provided forgiveness for everyone’s sins 1 Jn. 2:2 through His substitutionary death, and offers to all, spiritual life to become a new creation by indwelling them with His Holy Spirit. To accept this offer, one must be willing to repent of their sins Ac 3:19 and die to self-rule Gal 2:20. For all who meet these two conditions, the Holy Spirit will come to live in them, forever Jn 14:16,17. He is the reason why one becomes a new creation. He will teach you God’s truths Jn 14:26, Jn 16:13, and give you understanding to know God’s purposes 2 Co 2:12.
Application: someone has said that it was easier for God to create the world than to make man into a new creation. Why? Because God created the world from nothing, therefore, there was no resistance while He created. However, in making man into a new creation, God has allowed man to retain free will, and thus can choose to obey his flesh rather than the Holy Spirit. The Lord wants us to choose His Spirit over our flesh because we love Him, not because He forces us against our will—that’s called rape.
2 Co 4 UNSEEN IS ETERNAL
Monday, December 27, 2021.
2 Co 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal: Paul told us to fix our eyes on the unseen because the unseen world is the spiritual realm and it is eternal, whereas what we see now is the temporal world, which one day will pass away 1 Jn 2:17. Paul exhorted this same message in Col 3:1-3, to set our hearts and minds on things above because we have died to worldly living Col 2:20 and now live for Christ.
Application: we only have one life to live to demonstrate our love for God. If we place all our emphasis on this world it will eventually be lost but living for the unseen spiritual world will be stored for us in eternity Lk 12:33.
2 Co 3 LIFTING THE VEIL
Sunday, December 26, 2021.
2 Co 3:16
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away: Paul used the illustration of a veil to describe unbelief. After being in God’s presence, Moses’ face shone so brightly that the people forced Moses to place a veil over his face 2 Co 3:13. This veil now hides the Gospel from the unbelieving Jew 2 Co 3:15, who reads the Old Testament scriptures but cannot connect all the prophesies about the Messiah to Jesus. However, if anyone is truly seeking the truth, this veil is removed and they can see that these prophesies were fulfilled by Jesus.
Application: God desires none to perish, but all to come to the knowledge of Christ 2 Pe 3:9. The Lord removes the veil when one is sincerely seeking the truth Jn 8:31,32. The only thing stopping one from knowing God is self.
2 Co 2 A PLEASING AROMA
Saturday, December 25, 2021.
2 Co 2:15
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing: The aroma that Paul discussed was the Gospel. To God, it was pleasing to watch His servants sharing the Good News of salvation—the aroma of Christ. To the ones who rejected the message, the aroma brought death but to others who received the truth it was a sweet-smelling fragrance that brought life 2 Co 2:16.
Application: not to admit that something has a pleasing aroma means you have been deceived or are deceiving yourself on purpose 2 Co 4:4. When God offered the world, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life and they refused, it was irrational. Paul compared this situation to one fast asleep, unaware of his dangerous peril. His exhortation was to wake up and let Christ shine on him, for He will raise him from the dead Eph 5:14.
2 Co 1 RESTORATION
Friday, December 24, 2021.
2 Co 1:23
I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth: Paul had promised to visit the Corinthian believers two more times 2 Co 1:16 but postponed the initial visit. They were accusing him of not being faithful to his word 2 Co 1:17 but he revealed the truth, which was because of their disobedience to God’s Word. He wanted to spare them the pain of humiliation. He did not want to be critical of how they lived out their faith but rather work joyfully alongside them 2 Co 1:24.
Application: Paul restated this strategy in Gal 6:1, where he encouraged believers, who were dealing with individuals caught in a sin, to restore them gently, knowing that they could be the next ones tempted. We are not to ignore sin but must be wise in our handling of it, not to destroy our brothers but to revitalize them.