Giving is our topic this week. We’ve already looked at what it means to give, and to give generously. Now it’s time to look at the greatest Gift ever given and the One who bestowed this blessing upon us. It’s time to look at Jesus’ mind-blowing gift to us.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
~II Corinthians 8:9
Giving. It can be a sensitive topic and not one people like to bring up. However, as we’ll learn in chapter eight, giving is an important part of the Christian life. Through it, we show love, care, and concern for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and by it, we prove our genuineness of faith. As the Apostle James warned, faith without actions is dead (James 2), and giving is one of the actions we can do that show our faith. So let’s see what Paul has to say about giving in his letter to the wealthy Corinthians.
Pain. The one thing we avoid most in life. Whether, it is emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual, no one likes it and no one goes looking for it. But Paul tells us here in II Corinthians seven that pain and sorrow have a restorative purpose in our lives. Let’s take a look at what he’s talking about.
“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.”
~II Corinthians 7:9-10
The first century Roman Empire wasn’t exactly open to the gospel or those who shared it. In fact, in most cases people were downright hostile towards those bearing the good news. This was especially true throughout Paul’s life. He faced numerous trials and hardships as an apostle and evangelist. While for the most part he was able to remain positive and keep his eyes fixed on the eternal goal, there were times that his spirit was brought low and his outlook wasn’t so cheerful. This was the case while he was in Macedonia on his third missionary journey. But God had some good news in store for Paul. So let’s see how God lifts Paul’s spirit and comforts his heart.
No one likes discipline. And much less, the one who is executing the discipline. However, as we learned earlier in “The Love of Discipline”, the fact that someone is taking the time and effort to correct our wrongs is a sign of love. If they didn’t deeply care for us, they wouldn’t go to the discomfort and effort. Therefore, we should not only be grateful for discipline in our lives, but we should also open our hearts to the one implementing that discipline.
This is easier said than done.
Spring is in the air. Where I live, the daffodils and tulips are in full bloom, the sparrows and swallows are returning from their winter away, young lambs are frolicking in green pastures, and new calves are teetering beside their protective mothers. The air is filled with the sights and sounds of life, and everywhere I turn there are reminders that spring is here.
With the arrival of warmer days and longer periods of daylight comes the urge to spring clean. Whether it’s deep cleaning the inside of the house and chasing down those illusive cobwebs or tackling some of the outside cleaning, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. Maybe you and your family don’t do spring cleaning per say, but I’m sure you’ve heard the term. Therefore, it’s fitting that we should keep this idea of deep cleaning and spring cleaning in our minds as we turn to II Corinthians 7 and read the first verse.
Last time, we talked about choosing our friends wisely and not partnering ourselves with unbelievers. But why are these things important? Why did God command us to keep ourselves separate and not allow the world into our personal lives?
Paul gives us the answer in the next few verses:
“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. 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.’”
~II Corinthians 6:16-18
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