5/20/2018 – Spiritual Declaration, Pride, Giving and Thorns – 2 Corinthians 4, 9, 12

I. Spiritual Declaration click here. Review, commit and sign. Click here.

II. The Lord hates pride and temporal living – Proverbs 6:16-19 AMP.. 16 These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him: 17a A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others],

“In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”A  Pride is rebellion against Jesus and denial there is a God who sent His Son to die for my sin in humility so that I could have eternal life B. As a born again believer I can be a practical atheist when I decide to choose self-centeredness, rebellion and walk in the deeds of the flesh.

Pride is the root cause of all sin. Pride led to the downfall of Satan when he said “I will make myself like the Most High.” C  Eve and Adam choose to disobey God because they wanted “to be like God” D. Instead of depending on God the proud “lie, murder, scheme, are evil, give false testimony, and are divisive” [vv.17b-19 NLT]. They look to self for guidance, strength, provision and for decisions about what is right or wrong.

the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” E

In pride I can focus on things that are visible but temporal [seen– present sufferings or blessings]; or in Jesus focus on invisible spiritual realities that are eternal [not seen– trusting Jesus one day at a time and the future reality of my home in heaven with Jesus and other departed saints. ]

The Disciple must decide every day and moment whether to focus in pride on Temporal things and self or spiritual Eternal things and Jesus. 

Notes: A- Psalms 10:4; B- John 3:16 ESV, Philippians 2:3-10, 1 Peter 5:6-9a; C- Isaiah 14:14b: D- Genesis 3:5b; E- 2 Corinthians 4:18b;

III. Grace giving is multiplied bountifully –  2 Corinthians 9:6-11.. Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

I grew up on small farm and recognize the example from agriculture. If we invest sparingly in a situation, whether money or time or whatever, we can’t expect much to come out of it. If we invest generously, we can expect a larger return. The generosity of Disciples is from love for Jesus; however we are reminded in both the OT & NT that giving is in our best interests. When we receive extra money we are tempted to think of self and temporal realities instead of Jesus and eternal realities.  We think temporally about how we can use the money for our comfort, pleasure or life-style.

The last book in the Old Testament said: 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”” [v.10 from Malachi 3:8-10]

New Testament grace giving is the tithe plus offerings: 23 For you tithe … and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others…[Matthew 23:23]. Jesus dramatically increased these commands in the NT under grace, [for 3 examples click Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 43-44 ]

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; [ 2 Corinthians 9:8]

When we give by grace, God by His grace gives us the material possessions sufficient to increase our good deeds as well as meeting our needs, but not necessarily our wants. Unfortunately many times we take His material blessings and spend them all on ourselves. [Luke 6:38]

Temporal – I earned the money and I can spend it any way I want to or EternalGrace giving is multiplied providing the opportunity for increased giving and for thankfulness to God from the beneficiaries of our gifts.

IV. Paul received a thorn in flesh to keep him humble – 2 Corinthians 12:2,4,7a..I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man… 4b heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 7a-c Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh,

The man in v.2 was Paul. Paul was referring to a revelation near the end of his time in Tarsus.

[After his miraculous salvation Paul went into Arabia to receive the knowledge of Jesus and the gospel directly. Then after 3 years he went to Jerusalem, then to Tarsus and finally Paul was brought to Antioch by Barnabas after 43AD. Barnabas went to Antioch in 43AD. The revelation occurred, “14 years ago”, about 43AD since 2 Corinthians was written in 57AD.   [Acts 9:26-30,11:22-26, Timeline]]

Paul could not describe how he received this revelation and was not permitted to speak of it because of its greatness. Paul’s soul was eternally alive but lived in a sinful body just like believers today. Therefore God knowing Paul was subject to the temptation of exalting himself “there was given me a thorn in the flesh,” to keep him humble and totally dependent on Jesus. [2 Corinthians 12:7-10, for 9 reasons for troubles in your life click here]

Are any of your troubles “thorns in the flesh” to keep you humble? If so are you being bitter  – Temporal or thankful – Eternal?

V. Because of the Lord’s grace His power is revealed in our weakness 2 Corinthians 12:7c-10..7c-e there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me— Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

fact cannot be changed except by miraculous intervention by God. He will give you the grace to accept it or supernaturally change it. But, God can give you His wisdom, courage and knowledge to solve problems. A

Paul implored the Lord 3 times to remove the thorn. Implored is a strong word to use with the Lord, maybe indicating the seriousness of this thorn.  God told Paul you don’t have a problem but a fact which you have to live with for the rest of your life–[25 years].

God said to Paul “my grace is sufficient for you”. The power of Jesus dwelled in Paul’s life and is revealed through the weakness of Paul. You may say how? Paul  kept proclaiming the gospel; 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When faced with an unchangeable fact the best choice is go to the cross of Jesus and commit to live a Jesus-centered life filled with thankfulness, strength, the fruit of the Holy Spirit all the time and helpfulness to others in facts and problems in their lives. B The opposite choice of self-centeredness leads to self pity, anger and bitterness and just yields more thorns for yourself and others.

Who or what do you turn to when faced with the facts and problems of life? Either turn to Temporal things – self-pity, bitterness, depression, drugs, wine and others or Eternal things – God for comfort, strength, wisdom and guidance.

Notes: A- For how to solve problems click here; B- For how the God of all comfort can use our afflictions to help others click here.

VI. Temporal – being self-centered or Eternal – being Jesus-centered. 

2 Corinthians 4:18b the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Let’s look at 2 Corinthian through the Temporal or Eternal lenses.

ch.1 – Enjoying and sharing God’s Comfort – Temporal – Praying one time for a person requesting prayer and then forgetting or Eternal – The comfort God gives in your affliction makes you able to be used by God to comfort “those who are in any kind of affliction” and pray.

ch.4-5 – Displaying the Gospel – Temporal – I am afraid to witness or Eternal  –  Believers can face life with confidence, knowing that the power of the gospel can be revealed through unworthy, weak and frail Disciples.

ch.5-6 – Becoming New – Temporal – I don’t have time to spend worshipping Jesus and praying to prepare my heart for living and witnessing or EternalI spend more than  30 minutes every day in bible study and prayer and am actively being a reconciler, ambassador, discipler and witness for Jesus instead of ignoring my “marvelous gift” of salvation from God?                                                                               [2 Corinthians 5:19, 20, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, A discipler makes new disciples, encourages them to be baptized and teaches them so they can repeat the cycle with some else. 2 Corinthians 6:1 NLT]

ch.4, 9, 12:

  1. Temporal – being self-centered or Eternal – To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, Whenever, Wherever and Whatever You ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! I desire to obey all the commands of Jesus and the apostles in His Word. Wherever You lead and whatever the cost, I’m ready: Anytime. Anywhere. Anyway. Whatever it takes Lord! I want to be used by You in such a way, that on that final day I’ll hear You say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Come on in and let the eternal party begin.” 
  2. The Disciple must decide every day and moment whether to focus in pride on Temporal things and self or spiritual Eternal things and Jesus.
  3. Temporal – I earned the money and I can spend it any way I want to or Eternal – Grace giving is multiplied providing the opportunity for increased giving and for thankfulness to God from the beneficiaries of our gifts.
  4. Are any of your troubles “thorns in the flesh” to keep you humble? If so are you being bitter – Temporal or thankful – Eternal?
  5. Who or what do you turn to when faced with the facts and problems of life? Either to Temporal – self-pity, bitterness, depression, drugs, wine and others or Eternal – God for comfort, strength, wisdom and guidance.

6. Scripture memory – 2 Corinthians 4:18b the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are

Henry Luke 5/21/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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One Response to 5/20/2018 – Spiritual Declaration, Pride, Giving and Thorns – 2 Corinthians 4, 9, 12

  1. Pingback: FBC Sunday School Personal Study Guide [PSG] Devotionals & Bible Study Spring 2018. | My Personal Journey by Henry Luke

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