Tag Archives: Corinthians

How Kind Are We?

heart.2ajpg2Cor 8 “Kindness…and Generosity”

“Kindness”…a Fruit of the Spirit. The Macedonians were a poor people but a kind and generous people. They had listened to Paul’s plea to help the saints in Jerusalem who were facing difficult and challenging hardships. There had been a famine and then the double taxes put upon them left many of them without means to take care of their personal needs. Yet, “They [the Macedonians] gave according to their means and beyond their means…they did so voluntarily.” That is kindness in real life.  The Corinthians needed a fresh reminder of this Fruit.

You know the drill. You say you will give but then you get busy and other things take a greater priority.  Maybe, like the Corinthians, we all need a fresh reminder that when we have an abundance to give we should set aside a small portion for to help others.  This is practical kindness in real life.  For us it means that we give so that others are blessed. The Corinthians were in need of encouragement to give liberally, generously and kindly just as the Macedonians had done. We may need the same.

kindness 2cor82aWhenever I read this passage the Holy Spirit pricks my heart. He is saying when you give you put feet to your words. Does it do the same for you? When God makes you aware of a need do you step out to share out of your poverty or riches or do you look at your wallet and count the bills lying on the dining room table?

This cup’s saying is my today’s reminder. How kind and generous are you, am I?



I Say There; Being a Bit of Snoot Today?


Preacher religion is alive and well in the world. We could name names of those men and women who others follow and proclaim they are “the best;” Just like in Corinth they say with their best snooty voice: “I belong to Paul and you don’t. ” Snootiness was alive and well in Corinth and it is today. This is not sin but carnality or immaturity which is evidenced in attitudes and behavior.

Like the Corinthians  we are called, chosen, sanctified and saints; therefore we should be humble. Instead we often are snooty acting like unbelievers—-not called, chosen saints of God. The proof is in the pudding; divisions, quarrels and strife as well as elevating men above Christ.

Paul sets out to challenge them to grow up and quit depending on others to feed them because they have the mind of Christ! Paul now asks them and us as well, why are you still acting like little children and like unregenerate people instead of born again saints of God!  I want to feed you meat but your infantile behavior leaves me no choice but to continue to provide you only baby food.  Paul pinpointed the problem which was snootiness! They were puffed up and forgetting their calling! They were not discerning with their renewed mind of Christ.

This is an ‘ouch’ to us as well. How often do we tilt our noses with an air of snootiness rather than a humility of spirit.

Photo: dreamstime.com

Why do I do What I do?

The world at la1cor 8 its all about God4arge asks: What’s in it for me? Doesn’t this sound somewhat self-centered?  I know that I find my motivation is less than worthy …and if I am honest it is most of the time. Paul takes me front and center and then begins to probe. Just as he asked the Corinthians to look beneath the façade of their work both in and outside the church, so he does to me as I sit reading his letter to them. He is really asking me to stop and ask myself this question: What is this the reason you serve Christ? WHY do you do what you do?  This question began to open my eyes and mind. All of us need to be asking why do I share the gospel message?

It is as if Paul is standing before us. Here are his reasons point by point for sharing the gospel message in vs 19 to 22.

He wants to gain more people for the kingdom and free them from the wrath of God. He has the secret; “the gospel is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” [Rom 1] He is humbled that Jesus Christ blessed him with the gospel message as a free gift.  Lastly, he wants to stand before Christ one day and hear “well done thou good and faithful servant.” He looks forward to receiving an imperishable crown from His hand for his service..  And it is because of these reasons that he would do whatever it took to win them for Jesus.

So what is my problem? I think I will go and get motivated.

Is Your WYSIWYG Showing or Hidden?

ImageWYSIWYG is an acronym for “What You See Is What You Get.” In computer lingo it is an editor in which content (text and graphics) are displayed onscreen during the editing process. When WYSIWYG is hidden from the reader it looks just like you are reading now but when turned on it shows the editing marks so you can realign and readjust what you want the reader to see. What if the world saw our WYSIWYG? What might they see? That is the essence of what Paul asked the Corinthians in this last chapter [2Cor 13] as he draws this letter to a close. Paul said, I have left my WYSIWYG marks open for you to see. I have revealed my humility, meekness and gentleness in Christ, my visions and revelations. When I was with you I was open and transparent and never became a burden to you. In the time I was with you did I not reveal the signs of a true apostle? I was “not like the religious hucksters ..I did not go about “missionarying,” as Mark Twain described this type of religious swindling [referring to the false teachers among the Corinthians]” [Bob Deffinbaugh]

Paul said: You are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. I came as Christ, weak now but I can be powerful and I will demonstrate that resurrection power of Christ when I come if need be! Then in a flash, he turns the tables on the Corinthians. Now let me see your WYSIWYG or better yet why don’t you do it for yourself? Paul says:  Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test! If you doubt my apostleship you must doubt your own Christianity for you are the fruit of my apostleship!

So how does one test to see if you are in the faith? Paul does not give us a “do’s and don’ts’ list of things we can mark off, but instead Paul infers that we must check our lifestyle that is apparent to all. We could begin in Matthew 5 with the “Be-Attitudes.” Kingdom people strive to demonstrate kingdom character qualities: poor in spirit, mourning over personal sin, meekness under pressure, hungering and thirsting for righteousness. These character qualities are observable in kingdom people’s conduct: merciful to others, pure in heart which is noted in being single minded; and peacemakers. As others observe our character and our conduct they can see that we are called to be kingdom people. In the book of Galatians Paul enumerates that which can only come about from an anointing of the Holy Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  

Our question then from the book of 2 Corinthians which we finish today: Is your WYSIWYG showing or hidden? Are you hiding your salt in the saltshaker and your light under a bushel?


Letters: I wish I had not sent but I am glad I sent….2Cor 7

ImageWe all have written letters that later we regretted but in hindsight we are glad we aired our concerns. Today we use email and sometimes it is misread, misunderstood but it is there for the world to see if we are not careful. Paul had written a mighty letter to the church in Corinth about an offender and the Corinthians did not receive it with grace. His second letter which we are studying is a reflection on how Paul viewed their response and how he wisely used an intermediary (Titus) to settle the issue. It teaches us some important principles of letters and they can be used to cross that breach…that letter we wrote and then wish we had not but then in hindsight are glad we did. It is important to note that Paul’s honesty has brought true repentance to the church and more importantly to the offender who was living blatantly in sin, thus tarnishing the image of Christ and the church. 

As Paul waited he continued to work in Macedonia even amidst slander, as well as some praise. Some regarded him as an imposter and on and on. It is part of the territory for a believer that one will face extraordinary circumstances for sharing the Word of the Lord, but like Paul, we are not to sit idly but be active. As Paul wandered about, preaching and teaching, his mind was on Corinth and the believers there. He wondered how Titus was faring with the believers after his letter (1Cor) had been sent. Titus arrived with glowing news! The Corinthians still loved Paul and had repented regarding how they had handled the offender noted in 1Cor who was bringing shame upon the church. Paul as euphoric at the news Titus brought.

There are some principles from chapter 7 that we can take to heart:

  1. God uses other believers to encourage us when we are anxious or depressed or downtrodden. It can come through a visit or a written letter.
  2. The second part of this principle is that as believers we can reciprocate with words of encouragement in return to the one for whom we were anxious. Prov 25:25 “Like cold water to a weary person, so is good news from a distant land.”
  3. And the third part of this principle is that in doing so we are demonstrating love from one to another and exhibiting Christ-like grace. Notice how Paul affirms the Corinthians at the end of this chapter: 7:16 “I rejoice because in everything I am fully confident in you.”

God took time to write a letter of His love to each of us which are His Words of affirmation and encouragement. His message was “I love you.”  Paul’s letter back to the Corinthians was the same message. “I love you!”


Are you waiting for an answer from a note you have sent? Has God brought a person to mind that needs affirming because of circumstances which have brought anxiety? Take a moment and pick up pen and paper and send a note! Let them know about God’s love and your love for them.

Scriptural Principles 101

ImagePaul has been teaching the Corinthians about their pride and arrogance. Swiftly he has taken them to task lovingly step by step. Now in this chapter Paul gives them some wise counsel beginning with this is why scripture has been written. Learn from it! Learn from the past! If you don’t you heed what is written for your instruction, you will just repeat the same mistakes. To help you, here are three principles which you must imprint strongly on your mind:

  1. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted or tried beyond what you are able to bear. But, you must seek his way of escape out of that temptation. The Israelites faced a test and failed because they had a way of escape but failed to seek God and His plan.
  2. All things are lawful but not all things are profitable nor do all things edify. Paul returns to the same argument of earlier. Ask yourself if what you eat or drink will glorify God. If it will not walk away from it.
  3. Temptations will come, not if they come, they will certainly come. They may come in the form of idolatry or immorality. Do not put the Lord to the test. Rather, when you are tempted listen and heed the pleading voice of the Holy Spirit who has been given to you to convict you and to instruct you. You can ignore him but if you do you will only repeat the mistakes of the earlier generation.

Thus precious beloved ones remember these principles and live to glorify God.

A Higher Law! 1Cor 8

ImageTeddy Bears bring out the best in me. In fact, I have two of them on top of the nearest book case to my desk. They remind me that when I am down I can see their faces looking sweet and often even looking up. They live to the “higher law” of love and teddy bears bring out the sweetness in us…I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t like a teddy bear, have you? But life was not all teddy bear sweet in the Corinthian church as we have been seeing. There were disputes and on going dialogs as to what is right or wrong. When Dr. Keith Krell shared his sermon for bible.org, the title was “More than Meats the Eye.” You are reading right! Meats not meet because this next dispute was just about that. The dilemma was this:

Why can’t I choose to eat meat that has been used in idol worship and then marketed; I know the difference. (sounds rather pugnacious to me) This is when we stop and say it is not what you “know” but what you “do.” It is not about you, but about those new babes in Christ who have joined your fellowship.  This is a “hello!” discussion. Ready?

So that was the question and here is Paul’s response formed in a question back to them. What is more important? Knowledge or Love? Freedom to do as you please or a new believer’s stand? Eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols and then marketed or not eating meat because it causes another to stumble? The answer should be obvious to the stronger brethren [sort of what we say a “duh”]: love supersedes knowledge, a new believer’s needs/questions supersedes your maturity, no meat at all supersedes a new believer’s stand. In Corinth idolatry was rampant and meats used in that worship, often the very best cuts of meat, were then marketed after the service. To the unknown buyer, or to the mature believer it mattered not because they knew that idols are just that, idols made of wood and stone, with no life within them. They knew and worshiped the One True God! But, to the new babe in Christ who has just left this belief system it was still questionable as they struggle to walk circumspectly. Won’t others who knew me before question why I still am living as if I were an idol worshiper? [GREAT QUESTION!!] New believers have all kinds of questions and this one ranks right up at the top!  Paul said: dear beloved, know this! The higher law supersedes what you may know and what you choose to do.

To put this into today’s world we might use the example of alcohol. Many today say it is ok to have a glass of wine. New believers question whether it is ok and ask: What does my lifestyle say to those who have heard about my life change? Peter addressed this : 1Pe 4:4 4:4 “Of course, your old friends don’t understand why you don’t join in with the old gang anymore.” [MSG] Also remember what Paul said in earlier “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own” which he will repeat in the 2Corinthians 6:17 “you are the temple of the living God.”  Your lifestyle can be instructive to show that where the Word does not exactly condone or condemn, we choose the higher law which is to walk differently than the world.  For you who are the mature believer,  it is better to walk and live so that the new believer can see that Christ supersedes anything even if is not definitive. There is a higher law. There is a way we are to stand apart from the world.

The bottom line is this: what is more important? Your liberty/freedom to eat/drink even if you know it is OK if it might cause a new believer or even another believer to stumble and possibly fall? Discernment is the key. Choosing wisely is the key. Choosing love is the key. Putting others needs ahead of ourselves is the key.

Here’s your question: Do we cling to knowledge over love? Is “my” lifestyle more important than the walk of a new believer who is questioning? When it comes right down to it: Choose the higher law.