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2 Corinthians 9 and 10 - All for the LORD

INTRODUCTION: In chapter 9 Paul wanted to be sure the Corinthians were prepared to complete the preparations they had made to help other churches, and he made comments about the liberal sharing of believers in Macedonia who had fewer resources but were eager to help others. Then in chapter 10 Paul wrote about how he would deal with some opposition and disparaging remarks made by some in Corinth who had little respect for Paul's ministry as a teacher and leader.

NOTE: Bible passages are from the American KJV.



A - SAINTS SHOULD MINISTER TO THE NEEDS OF OTHER SAINTS

2Corinthians 9 "1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: 2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has provoked very many. 3 Yet have I sent the brothers, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, you may be ready: 4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, you) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brothers, that they would go before to you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof you had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness."



COMMENTS: In the previous portion of this letter (chapter 8), Paul wrote of the generosity of the Christians at Macedonia, even though they had little material provisions for themselves, let alone any excess to share with other churches. Paul said he knew it was not really necessary to ask the Corinthians to help supply the needs of other saints since they had already demonstrated some preparation; but he still wanted to encourage them to follow through with what they had started a year ago, to give to those who still had needs unmet. Before he would visit Corinth with some believers from Macedonia, he was sending brothers ahead to be sure that the boasting he had done about the Corinthians would not lack in measure. He especially did not want the Corinthians to be ashamed in this matter, that any withholding of their bountiful sharing might then have the appearance of coveting their abundance.




B - THE LORD REWARDS SHARING WHEN IT IS GENUALLY PURPOSED IN THE HEART

2 Corinthians 9 "6 But this I say, He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He has dispersed abroad; he has given to the poor: his righteousness remains for ever. 10 Now he that ministers seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings to God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution to them, and to all men; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift."



COMMENTS: God has given grace to believers and as they freely give with a fervent heart, they should share what they have without feeling compelled to do so, or begrudgingly giving to anyone who might for whatever reason seem to cause them to have a hesitation to share. Knowing that God loves a cheerful giver will be a bountiful comfort to the believer who ministers with hospitality and charity. And God is able to give grace in abundance so those good works may continue to magnify His name. The LORD has from the beginning of time, provided "seed" to the sower. Thanksgiving to God is multiplied when the "harvest" is shared with those saints who need some help from those who have abundance. This has more than the physical benefit realized because it brings more praise to God when truly ministered in His name.

Psalms 112 "9 He has dispersed, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honor."
Isaiah 55 "10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
1 Peter 4 "7 But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch to prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
Hebrews 6 "10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end: 12 That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise."
Galatians 6 "7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith."

The proper response from those saints who receive liberality from other saints, and know that it is also shared to all people, is to thank God in prayer for them. Paul then wrote a prayerful phrase that provides believers with a special reminder to give all praise to the LORD for blessings in the present, and for eternity: "Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift."




C - BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST

2 Corinthians 10 "1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, with which I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."



COMMENTS: Paul appealed to the Corinthians to realize that his demeanor when in person with them was as he desired for it to have the "humility and gentleness of Christ," even though some portions of his letters were very direct and firm. He would prefer that when he was present with them again, that it would not be necessary to take a stand with unwavering confidence against opposition from those who considered him as one who trusted in the flesh. Paul knew that he was just another man, but the weapons of warfare against the powers of darkness were not in the flesh, but only available through God's grace. The great strength of the LORD pulls down strongholds and tramples imaginations of every high thing that exalts itself, and thereby such exaltation is against the knowledge of God. That prideful attitude will not be ignored because God must revenge such blatant disobedience, when all true obedience to Him is fulfilled.

Proverbs 11 "2 When pride comes, then comes shame: but with the lowly is wisdom."
Proverbs 13 "10 Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom."
Proverbs 29 "23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit."
Romans 13 "11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."




D - PAUL WROTE THAT HE WOULD BE THE SAME IN PERSON AS IN HIS LETTERS

2 Corinthians 10 "7 Do you look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's. 8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord has given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: 9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. 10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. 11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present."



COMMENTS: The outward appearance and demeaner of any person can be very misleading, and Paul wrote that he was as much a follower of Christ as any of the Corinthians who had claimed that they were superior to Paul as evidenced by comparisons within their select group. But Paul said he should not be ashamed to boast somewhat more about his authority which the Lord had given for uplifting enlightenment, and not to hamper or frustrate understanding. . He had no intention for his letters to frighten, as his opponents were saying that the letters were severe and powerful but his presence was weak and his speech detestable. Paul wrote that those who think that way will find that he will be the same in person as he had needed to be in his letters.

1 Samuel 16 "6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD's anointed is before him. 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
Proverbs 26 "12 See you a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him."




E - LET WHOEVER BOASTS, ONLY BOAST IN THE LORD

2 Corinthians 10 "12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even to you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not to you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. 17 But he that glories, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends."



COMMENTS: Paul wrote that those at Corinth who commended themselves to be better by comparing with each other, marked themselves as unwise. Paul did not boast about his own abilities, but rather the measure of knowledge which God has distributed to him, for the benefit of others. Paul said he did not desire to build on the labor of others who had gone before him; so he planned to go to territory beyond Corinth to begin new work of sharing the gospel. Each man should boast only in the LORD, for the one who commends himself is not truly approved, but only the one whom the Lord commends. Paul made some similar comments in chapter 15 of Romans. It is interesting to read the reasons John encouraged Gaius in the opening of 3 John, and that John would deal with opposition if he made a visit.

Romans 15 "20 Yes, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation: 21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand."
3 John 1 "1 The elder to the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brothers came and testified of the truth that is in you, even as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do to the brothers, and to strangers; 6 Which have borne witness of your charity before the church: whom if you bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, you shall do well: 7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. 9 I wrote to the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, receives us not. 10 Why, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither does he himself receive the brothers, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church. 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God."



--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

LORD, I thank you for the faithful material blessings you have provided at special times throughout the years, either before or after, I had used opportunities to show hospitality and generosity to honor you through courteous interactions with other people. I have not always done this without some hesitation, or perhaps only because I felt compelled to do it because of what others might think about me. I don't want to follow either of those ways, but rather to have the proper motives in the ways Paul wrote to the Corinthians about meeting the needs of others, especially not coveting any material abundance I have. As I read and study your Word, I want to give you all the praise for any spiritual gifts you have given to me, and I ask that you guide me in displaying genuine humility before others. Allow me to enjoy the perspectives of fellow Christians without trying to evaluate their educational credentials or many years of demonstrated authentic faith. Guide me to avoid disputes, unless I am convinced through prayer that there is truly no alternative. I am thankful that the Apostle Paul used his writing to address the situation before needing to be in the potentially more volatile atmosphere of confrontation in person. Teach me to pray more consistently as I read the Word of God, and seek understanding through the Holy Spirit, at the proper level prepared for each child of God. Make my desire to be the part of the body of Christ predetermined for me, and not something that I might desire to have in this world through the flesh. All praise to my Savior and Lord, Amen!



Published 7 March 2021