Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do you have The Deposit?

 You may remember that at the end of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he expressed his desire to go to Corinth and stay with them for a while, but only if it is in God's Will.  He also encouraged the believers to receive Timothy and treat him as a brother.  With those comments being so strongly emphasized by Paul we can conclude that there was reason to believe that some wouldn't treat Timothy well. 

Now Paul, 1 year later, is writing a second letter to the Corinthian church and we know that Timothy is back with him, which brings Paul much joy, and that Paul did not make it to Corinth as he wanted.  So, whether by way of Timothy or another, Paul is now needing to address additional issues with the Corinthian church, even though many repented of there previous error as a result of Paul's first letter, there are still problems.  Paul starts this letter by establishing his authority, not as a boast, but as an assurance to his listeners that he has been called by the will of God, not of his own flesh, and they need to take heed.

2Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:

As I read this again tonight, I found it interesting that Paul first reminds them that we serve a God that comforts His children.  He shows mercy and comfort in ALL tribulation.  It is almost like he saying, "don't sweat what I am about to tell you because God comforted us".  In kind of a silly way, it reminds me of a kid calling his parents and saying, "I'm OK, I'm not hurt, but I got in an accident."  Because Paul is about to tell them that they faced some brutal persecution.  They faced brutality that seems to indicate they would have preferred to die; yet God comforts and delivers them.  But, God did so much more than just comfort and deliver them, He first showed them what all of us need to know also.....God showed them that they (and we) need to trust in Him for everything and trust in ourselves for nothing:

2Corinthians 1:8-10 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Then look what Paul says right on the heals of saying we trust only in God; he emphasizes how crucial prayer is and how thankful he is for the prayers of many:

2Corinthians 1:11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.

In verse 12 Paul gives the key to our walk of faith and as we might expect, it is polar opposite of what the world will say.  The world has us running crazy, chasing our tail with debt, shackled to material items and busying ourselves with anything, as long as it is not of God.  What does Paul say:

2Corinthians 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

Simple living and serving God with a sincere heart, not from pride or to glorify self.  This reminds me of what Paul said in the previous letter, that he doesn't get flashy in his speech, he simply preaches Christ Crucified.  Don't let the world complicate your life or your Gospel presentation....KISS method right?; Keep It Simple Stupid

My last point tonight is that Paul reminds those of us that belong to Christ that we have been given a guarantee  I liken this to a deposit on a car.  Actually this just happened in our family a couple days ago.  My father-in-law is selling his painting truck and supplies because he will not be able to work anymore....at least not until God shows His glory and heals him.  A guy responded to an ad, showed up to look at the truck, made an offer and gave a deposit.  What is that deposit saying?  The deposit is a guarantee....what is it guaranteeing?  This guy left a deposit of a significant enough amount that gave confidence to my father-in-law that he would be back to give him the rest of the money and get the truck.  In the same way, God gives His children a guarantee by which we are sealed until the Day He comes to get us and bring us home.  That guarantee is His Holy Spirit!

2Corinthians 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

2Co 5:5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

And what does God command us to do in view of this deposit guarantee of His Holy Spirit?

Ephesians 4:17-30 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,
18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ,
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, putting away lying, "LET EACH ONE OF YOU SPEAK TRUTH WITH HIS NEIGHBOR," for we are members of one another.
26 "BE ANGRY, AND DO NOT SIN": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
27 nor give place to the devil.
28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

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