2 Corinthians (Program #55) – Final Exhortations, Greetings, and Blessings (2)
The book of 2 Corinthians has a wonderful conclusions. Paul after unveiling so many aspects of his own living and his own experience of Christ in this book, concludes with this 3-fold blessing. 2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” But this is not a blessing given in a merely religious way. It’s a blessing that brings us into the very Triune God that Paul himself experienced, enjoyed and even lived out in his daily life. Grace, love and fellowship were his portion and daily enjoyment of the very Triune God. May we have Him as such a portion as well.
2 Corinthians (Program #54) – Final Exhortations, Greetings, and Blessings
The apostle Paul concludes the two long letters to the church in Corinth in a most wonderful, sweet and loving way. “finally, brothers” he writes in verse 11 of chapter 13, “rejoice, be perfected, be comforted, think the same thing, be at peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Actually these concluding words, especially verse 11 gives us a marvelous summary or recap of all the crucial points of the whole book of 2 Corinthians.
2 Corinthians (Program #53) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (8)
The last four chapters of 2 Corinthians are known as Paul’s vindication of His apostolic authority. On one hand it was something of a shame that Paul was compelled to make such defense on his own behalf. It’s in this light that he says in chapter 11 “What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord but as if in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.” (11:17) But in the same section just a few verses later, chapter 12 he says “All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Before God in Christ we speak; but all things, beloved, are for your building up.” This apparent reversal left Paul vulnerable to the charge of being inconsistent. Was he speaking foolishly not in the Lord or was he really speaking in Christ and before God? The key is found in the last few words of that verse “…all thing, beloved, are for your building up.“
2 Corinthians (Program #52) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (7)
The concluding chapters of 2 Corinthians are Paul’s vindication of his apostleship. His authority, especially with the believers in Corinth had been challenged and undermined by religious men posing as apostles seeking to lead them away from the simplicity and purity in Christ back to the Mosaic and Judaic practices of the old covenant. It would be easy to consider that the points Paul makes in this portion would have little or any application to us. believers in a much different time and not necessarily in the capacity of leadership. Yet as with all the Scripture the divine revelation contain in this portion is full of meaning and shows us once again a true pattern for all of us who desire to live Christ and experience Him day by day.
2 Corinthians (Program #51) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (6)
The church in Corinth was born directly out of the ministry and care of the apostle Paul. Yet later, many of the believers there were affected negatively towards him because the accusations of false prophets that had come into Corinth, in an effort to draw the church away from their enjoyment of Christ and back to the Old Testament practice of law-keeping. These ones claimed that they were the real apostles and that their knowledge and gifts far surpassed those of Paul’s. So because many in the church were confused and no one stood up for Paul to make his case, Paul himself was compelled in the final chapters of this book to make his own “boast ” and to defend his own apostolic authority. What he revealed to the church in Corinth in chapter 12 is some of the most remarkable speaking in all of the New Testament, for Paul himself tells of the incredible and mysterious vision that the Lord had permitted him to see in an effort to rescue the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians (Program #50) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (5)
At the end of 2 Corinthians the apostle Paul was compelled to make a vindication of his apostolic authority. In the course of this defense, he described much of the sufferings and poverty that seem to be his constant companions during his ministry. Judging his ministry by today’s common standards, it might seem to some that his work lack the Lord’s blessing. Listen, “three times I was beaten with rods” he writes, “once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I had spent in the deep, In journeys often, in dangers of rivers, in dangers of robbers, in dangers from my race, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers in the sea, in dangers among false brothers; In labor and hardship; in watchings often; in hunger and thirst; in fastings often; in cold and nakedness.”
This kind of hardship and shortage even of the basic material supplies might seems strange to some. How could this be the case of a genuine servant of the Lord? But to Paul, it was quite the opposite. For to his realization the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry similarly suffered and Paul considered it an honor that the Lord would find him worthy to share in the sufferings.
2 Corinthians (Program #49) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (4)
Remember back to the very first problem that affected mankind in the Bible. It was the serpent tempting the woman to eat of the tree of knowledge instead of the tree of life. Now consider Paul’s word to the Corinthians addressing the impact that those claimed to be apostles upon them as they minister different Jesus to the believers in Corinth. Chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians verse 3, “But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts would be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity toward Christ.” Paul’s fear was that the teachings of the so called apostles would have the same result as the serpent’s deception in Genesis 3, to distract the believers away from the enjoyment of Christ’s life and bring them to another tree, a tree that leads to death.
2 Corinthians (Program #48) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (3)
There were many problems in the church in Corinth, but through Paul’s first epistle most of the believers were brought back to the Lord and experience a further reconciliation. One of the lingering problems, however he left it to be dealt with in his second epistle; this was the problem of his own apostleship. When the authority of the teaching is in question in a local church, this can be a serious problem. It’s interesting that Paul saved this problem for last to deal with. We look at why as we explore Paul’s vindication of his apostolic authority on today’s program.
2 Corinthians (Program #47) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (2)
In the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, he was very bold and at times quite strong in dealing with the many problems that had risen in the church there. Due to this, he was quite concerned about how the believers in Corinth received his word of loving discipline. But upon hearing their open and repented heart, he began 2 Corinthians with nine very tender,intimate and pleasant chapters. But following this, his tone once again become severe. For in the final four chapters of the book, he is forced to make a defense, even a vindication of his apostleship. Why did Paul, the clarion of the New Testament economy need to lower himself in such a way before this church which he himself established? The answer may surprises but it will most definitely enlighten us.
2 Corinthians (Program #46) – Paul’s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (1)
The last section of 2 Corinthians beginning at chapter 10, marks a strong contrast to the first nine chapters of this book. The apostle Paul throughout most of the book was pleasant, intimate and very tender with the Corinthians believers. But in this final segment, he is forced to vindicate his own apostolic authority, because both he himself personally as well as his ministry and work had been severely undermined by other so call Christian workers who had come in to distract, damage and confuse the Corinthians. Just how does Paul approach this delicate and difficult situation? Actually seeing the apostle dealing with such a problem is a marvelous window for all of us to see what it is to be a person one with and living Christ.