JEAN'S BIBLE STUDY COM

  

Look up a topic in the Glossary     View the chapters of the concordance     Look up a verse in the cross-reference Index

 

    KJV      NAS      Parallel Gospels      Page Numbers      How to use this Website

 

 

Search Topics/Commentary        Search KJV/NAS

SEARCH ENTIRE WEBSITE -- Place "quotes" around words to search for an exact phrase

 

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

2 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 12

KJV    NAS

See previous page

1-3 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 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 was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man -whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows -

 

2Cor 12-1

(84c) Boasting (Key verse)

(84e) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Boasting >> It needs to be said and no one is saying it >> boasting of my weaknesses -- This verse goes with verses 5-10. There were some of Paul’s accomplishments the Corinthians needed to know, and it seemed a time would never come when they would sit down and want to learn about his life on their own, so he had to tell them himself, and in so doing he was boasting. Boasting is necessary when some things need to be said and no one is saying them, which happens to be a common problem with the truth, according to the saying, ‘Good news travels slow.’ People are far more ready to spread gossip than they are good news. There were a lot of good things about Paul the Corinthians were ignoring, choosing rather to spread rumors about him, but Paul would not allow them. He was saying that if they will not talk about things that he has done as a result of things that happened to him, then he will be forced to talk about some of the attributes that prove his apostleship, because the Corinthians need to know them. He's about to talk to them about visions and revelations of the Lord. These were things they didn't really want to know about Paul, because they were trying to build an alternate view of him in their minds, but the truth about him was getting in their way of fabricating their ideas regarding his identity and some of the motives he had for being their apostle. Essentially, they were jealous of his spirituality, but were unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to become spiritual themselves. 

(96h) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having an attitude of humility

2Cor 12,2-4

(32a) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> God’s grace seeks man

(109a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Revelations of the Holy Spirit >> Spirit reveals the Father -- These verses go with verse 7. This event in Paul’s life occurred fourteen prior to this writing. He is either referring to his conversion on the road to Damascus, or else to the time he was stoned to death and came back to life (Act 14-19,20). He had his conversion experience in approximately A.D. 34, and he wrote his second letter to the Corinthians in A.D. 57 (Wikipedia). That’s a twenty-three year interval, so the experience he is describing is not about his conversion, so it is probably about his experience being stoned to death.

(116e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through worship >> Entering His hiding place

(117i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing visions

(134a) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Your body >> Mediator between the natural and the spiritual realms >> Manifesting the Kingdom of God through obedience -- These verses go with verse 7. Paul said he didn’t know whether he was in the body or outside the body; he only knew he was in heaven. He couldn’t tell if he had a body, or maybe it was so irrelevant that he just didn’t notice. Maybe when you are in heaven you don’t need a body, but the Bible says that one day we will have spiritual bodies. To answer Paul’s question, whether he was in the body or not, the answer must be no. He did not take his old rusty body to heaven and the first resurrection hadn't yet occurred, so no, he didn't have a body. The bigger question is – did he go to heaven or did heaven come down to him? Either way, his body was not invited. There was something about Paul that made him think he was in a body. Perhaps he mistook his own soul for a body, or perhaps our soul is a type of body to the Spirit of God who dwells in us.

(140d) Temple >> Temple made without hands >> Hiding place >> Living in the spiritual revelation of the word – While he was in heaven he heard inexpressible words that mortal man is not permitted to speak. What exactly was inexpressible about the words he heard? Was it a language that the human tongue was not designed to speak, or was it meaning that no human language could contain? For example, perhaps Paul understood the meaning of “Eternity.” Paul could tell what he heard, but his description of heaven would fall far short of his experience, so he didn’t bother describing his experience in paradise. Instead, he said, “I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses” 2 Cor 12-5, speaking of himself as though he were someone else. When his soul left his body, he hardly recognized himself. Why was that? Paul was a very spiritual man, yet he still defined himself according to his flesh so much that when God separated him from his body and he stepped away and looked at himself minus his physical vesture, he didn’t recognize himself. Therefore, how much more do we define ourselves according to the flesh and not according to the spirit as we should? We are hopelessly tied to our flesh, and of this he says he will boast only in regard to his weaknesses, meaning that he did not define his relationship with Christ according to a handful of spiritual experiences. That is, he wanted the Corinthians to know he experienced these things as proof of his apostleship, but that he didn’t use them as a meter of his spirituality. Rather, he gauged his walk with God with the rest of us, according to his works and according to his relationship with the truth through the word of God and prayer.

(147f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Spiritual manifestations

(224a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> Describing the kingdom after he makes all things new >> Description of the resurrection – The third heaven refers to heaven itself. The first heaven is earth’s atmosphere, the second heaven is the physical universe, and the third heaven is God’s home. This is where we get the idea that heaven is so-called “up there,” beyond the stars and planets, but this may not necessarily be true. It is more accurate to think of heaven as a dimension rather than a separate place that requires its separate space. In other words, heaven may be all around us without knowing it. Paul describes God’s home as paradise. He said he heard inexpressible words that a man is not permitted to speak. What was it about heaven that made it paradise? Essentially the war was over. There was no more competition; there were no more needs or hatred, anger or fear. None of these things existed, only peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, basically the fruits of the spirit. We have the capacity to walk in the fruits of the spirit here and now, so could we transform this world into paradise? Yes, if everyone got involved at the same time, we could emulate the attributes of heaven and establish a facsimile of paradise on earth, but we all know that will never happen with so many different beliefs separating us. So, he experienced an absence of need and a complete emersion of the fruits of the spirit. This is the very definition of paradise. When you think about the contribution of our bodies to alienate us from heaven, it cannot be overestimated. Our bodies are very needy. What does our soul need? Some people don’t even believe they have a soul.

 

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

4-6 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 5 On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 6 For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.

 

2Cor 12-4

(162c) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Carried Away >> Carried away by the Holy Spirit

(234d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seeking the glory of the body of Christ

2Cor 12,5-12

(77d) Thy kingdom come >> Humility >> Refusing the glory of man >> Refusing to exalt yourself -- These verses go with verse 19

2Cor 12,5-11

(53m) Paradox >> Opposites >> God is made strong in our weakness  – The Jews tormented Paul, and he asked God to remove this curse from his life, since they were a hindrance to the gospel, but God would not, because He was using their evil to keep Paul humble. God was more willing to work around this thorn of Paul’s than to remove it and open the chance for Paul to exalt himself and lose the administration of the gospel altogether, putting a stain on the leadership of the early church. He wanted their leadership to remain spotless as a testimony to future generations throughout the ages, and especially in the last days when the apostasy was predicted to grip the Church. There is a spiritual principle at work that frames these words: “power is perfected in weakness.” God has imparted certain gifts in our weakness so that we can know for certain it is God at work in us and not ourselves. 2Cor 4-7 says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” If anybody is performing exploits for God and producing tremendous fruit and reaching thousands with the gospel and influencing entire cultures and civilizations to serve God like Paul did, he can know for certain that by the hand of God these things are being done and not through any force of will.

(56e) Paradox >> Opposites >> Humble yourself as a defensive strategy

(64h) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Weaknesses of God >> God subjects himself to human frailty >> His weakness is stronger than men

2Cor 12,5-10

(84e) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Boasting >> It needs to be said and no one is saying it >> boasting of my weaknesses -- These verses go with verse 1

2Cor 12-5

(9f) Responsibility >> God strengthens us through our weaknesses – This verse goes with verses 9 & 10

2Cor 12,6-10

(77k) Thy kingdom come >> Being Humble Before God >> Having an attitude of humility

2Cor 12-6

(62e) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Keep your mouth shut


7 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, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself!

 

2Cor 12,7-11

(94i) Thy kingdom come >> God’s perspective >> His perspective on your sinful nature – God’s explanation to Paul for not removing his thorn was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” God was saying he would rather these problems be with him, because not even Paul’s flesh could be trusted. He had to send a messenger of Satan to buffet him to keep his flesh humble, for who knows what Paul might do if he landed on easy street and his life became a skate. Paul was more excited about his weaknesses than his strengths. He literally bragged about being whipped and tortured by the Jews. This was the glory of Paul; for God to take away these things would banish his proof of apostleship. There are many who are willing to preach the gospel, but who is willing to do it at the cost of his flesh? Not a wolf!

(99f) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Enduring our circumstances Caused by other people – We know that the Pharisees in the first century did more to persecute the Church than the Romans, and that later the Romans took over the persecution until Constantine’s Catholicism in the third century, who made Christianity the official religion of Rome. This is not a well-known fact: the Pharisees were the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Paul came from the culture of the Pharisees, and his own kind persecuted him more than anyone else, though all their efforts did nothing to stop the gospel from expanding into the far reaches of the earth, if not helping to propel it. The fact that Paul was a Pharisee and converted to Christianity made the Pharisees hate him more than any of the other evangelists and apostles of the gospel. He received five times from the Jews thirty-nine lashes, punishing him in violation of Roman law, and they had him incarcerated for years just so he couldn’t spread the gospel, so in prison he wrote most of his epistles, which did more for the gospel over the centuries than all his preaching throughout his missionary journeys. So the gospel was unstoppable.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2Cor 12,7-10

(2m) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Get out of His way >> Let Him do His work

(8o) Responsibility >> Prevent backsliding from God – Whenever God places a thorn in our flesh (allowing an area of weakness or circumstances to buffet us), He does so to control the gifts that He entrusted to us. He strengthens us by making us exercise our gifts to keep us humble.

(22k) Sin >> Pride glorifies self >> Being wise in your own eyes – To keep Paul from exalting himself, God gave him a thorn in the flesh. This is another example of God using suffering and evil for good. It suggests that if God didn’t humble him, it would have gone straight to his head. Paul was the greatest evangelist the world has ever known, a man who brought the gospel of Christ to the known world, yet He needed to be humbled in order to stay on track, otherwise who knows what mindsets Paul would have devised. To keep him from feeling superior to those who reject his message, God gave him a messenger of Satan to buffet him, and it just so happened that the very messengers of Satan were the people who in fact rejected His message, that is the Jews, including most of the pharisaical Jews who were once his colleagues.

(28d) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God protects the Church through the world – Paul just hinted at the nature of His thorn in this short list of weaknesses. Some of the characteristics of his thorn involve insults persecutions and difficulties, caused by the unbelieving Jews that hounded him from city to city. The Jews were unsuccessful in hindering those who were contemplating Christianity, for they had no power of influence; they kept no one from believing in Jesus. The more they attempted to hinder Paul the more the gospel spread. The people could see through them. Paul was a loving and holy man, wanting nothing more than good for the people, whereas the unbelieving Jews had no good intensions for what they were doing. So Paul’s thorn in the flesh actually helped spread the gospel, and it also helped Paul remain humble. We want to accomplish the will of God in ways that seem right to us, but God has His ways that are not appealing to the flesh, but those who are prepared to take on the purpose and calling of God gladly sacrifice the flesh in order to satisfy the will of God. We cannot avoid pain and suffering in this life, especially as Christians, so we might as well do the will of God and please the one who called us into his kingdom and glory.

(66h) Authority >> Jesus’ authority >> His cross is the power of God – God uses Jesus' cross to subject all things to Himself. Compared to God we will always be weak, but He will give us a resurrected body in accordance with the body of Christ. It says that we will be raised in power, and so these moments that God has with us right now are the ones that mean the most to Him and should mean something to us. He rejoices in our lives in the flesh as we serve Him to spite our sinful nature. One of the reasons for this is because of His nemesis the devil. God is committed to teaching him a lesson that will stay with him throughout all eternity. The more examples of obedience and faithfulness, the fewer excuses Satan has for the decisions he has made, and the more his mouth will be shut at his judgment. Probably the most central attribute of God is His desire to subject all things to His authority. God wants to shut Satan’s mouth and humble him and show him that the ways of God are superior to the ways that His creation devises against Him. If God is not in absolute control of His creation, then how is He God? This thorn in Paul's flesh was God’s effort to subject him to the authority of Christ.

(82b) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Direction (Attitude) >> What not to pray for

(95l) Thy kingdom come >> Positive attitude about suffering >> Suffering under the hand of God – The unbelieving Jews were Paul’s thorn in the flesh, consisting both of their persecution and of his temptation to hate them. Paul asked God to remove them, but God answered, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2Cor 12-9). God was using the unbelieving Jews to help perfect Paul. To the degree that these persecutions and suffering and temptations drove Paul to God for strength, the grace that God gave him to rise above these forces of darkness improved his administration of the gospel to the point of performing signs, wonders and miracles to authenticate himself as a true apostle.

(98h) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> (Faith à Suffering à Glory) – Paul could not have accomplished what he did without this thorn, for it caused him to wrangle with God in prayer, not in an act of rebellion or a display of reluctance, but in a process through which we all must pass if we are going to have a relationship with God. It didn’t bother the Lord that Paul complained and resisted this thorn, but it would have been a problem had Paul refused to accept it. To hash things out with God is something God enjoys doing with his people. Maybe we think this is disdainful to God, but dealing with our sinful nature promotes faith, and our resistance to sin proves our love for Him. The Pharisees, Scribes and chief priests were Jesus' thorn in the flesh, and eventually that thorn hung Him on the cross, and God converted His pain and suffering to salvation for the world. For this reason God is able to forgive us and invite us into his heavenly kingdom. Ironically, it is contrary to God's interest to remove our thorn in the flesh. God plans on blessing us beyond imagine in the life to come, but in this life He wants us to do His will, and in a world of evil there will we resistance. No doubt Jesus spent many hours in prayer over his thorn in the flesh; He too felt the temptation to hate His enemies. He too was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4-15). These things drove Him to His Father and caused His ministry to flourish, so there is no way to stop the gospel.

(103k) Thy kingdom come >> Purifying process >> God purifies His church >> Jesus purifies His people

(113n) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> The anointing >> Our weakness proves it is the power of God

(116f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through hardship – Paul didn’t want this thorn in his flesh; he wanted to live without it, thinking that he would not have exalted himself, probably trying to make deals with God. Anybody who understood God to the degree that Paul did would have exalted himself. This is one of many differences between God and man: the creator of the universe humbly stepped from his heavenly domain and became a man without feeling superior to anyone; nevertheless, Paul would be tempted to exalt himself if he didn’t have this thorn in his flesh. Even if his revelation were the power of humility, he still would have needed a thorn in his flesh to keep him humble, because human nature is indiscriminate when it comes to arrogance and a sense of superiority to others. There is no scenario where the sinful nature of man is happily complicit without any help from God; consequently, God’s manner of helping our sinful nature remain obedient usually involves some degree of torment. Like taking a whip to a rebellious donkey, this is how we must treat the flesh, for it is how God treats it. We cannot ask it nicely to obey God, because it won’t. If God assigns a messenger of Satan to buffet us, we should take it as a sign that God is ministering to us in ways that others could only wish they knew God. Thus, for God to assign a tormentor over us represents His dedication to ensure His purpose and will is fulfilled in our lives, His earnest desire for us to receive His best. Many would do just about anything to shed this thorn, and most people simply wouldn’t accept it in the first place, which would disqualify them from the revelations that God would disclose to them. Therefore, to the degree that Paul welcomed his thorn was the degree to which he was working with the grace of God to receive the revelations and the degree that God could transformed his life into the image of Christ.

(165i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Hardship >> Circumstances caused by the devil – There are a lot of theories about Paul’s thorn, one of the most popular being that he had an eye disease, which shows more a lack of understanding of the Scriptures than an intelligent answer to the question. On the contrary, Paul’s thorn has a far simpler explanation that parallels the Scriptures, and is far more insidious than an eye disease. It was the Jews, his fellow Pharisees. Paul was one of their own at one time until God called him into His service to be a Christian, and now these religious leaders of Israel, these zealous unbelievers of the way were persecuting him. They hounded him from city to city and tried to keep him from preaching the gospel and constantly looked for ways to accuse him according to their laws to have him imprisoned for years at a time. They beat him with rods and whipped him with 39 lashes 5 times with a cat o' nine tails. This was unquestionably Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

(194d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Run to God >> Run to God from your enemies

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will

(227g) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Dependence on Jesus >> Depending on Jesus to have compassion >> Depending on Jesus to deliver us

(228j) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> God works in the garden of your heart

(241d) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Ask but don’t receive >> Getting an answer that is not in your will

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2Cor 12,7-9

(106k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Means of hearing from God >> Through prayer

(175h) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Dodging the issue to get what you want

2Cor 12-7

(65i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan Glorifies God

(109a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Revelations of the Holy Spirit >> Spirit reveals the Father -- This verse goes with verses 2-4. Paul wasn’t talking about the greatness of the message but the greatness of his understanding of it, which is perceptible only by the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal the knowledge of God to us in a way that we can spiritually understand. Many an atheist has looked into the cosmos with powerful telescopes and seen its depths without falling on his knees and repenting of his unbelief. The truth is just as vast; however, we are not saved by believing a set of doctrines, but by a revelation of those doctrines. If we understand the truth by the Spirit, it proves we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. God cannot reveal His word to those who will not receive Him. In fact, Jesus would not talk to people who refused to listen to Him, though He was obligated by the Old Testament prophets to preach the gospel of the kingdom, He spoke mostly in parables. He fulfilled Old Testament prophecy and at the same time guarded the truth from unbelief. Most unbelievers don’t believe Jesus is knowable. In contrast, Paul experienced divine truth as the surpassing revelations that indelibly etched into his mind, changing him from the inside-out, but when he conveyed these revelations to unbelievers, he was often met with skepticism and indifference. So the revelations were not the knowledge itself but his depth of perception regarding them. The Holy Spirit first revealed the facts to him and then revealed the truth of those facts, being based on information, but the Truth transcended these things. Unbelievers are incapable of understanding the truth. They might know a lot of facts and information, but they have no concept of Truth. In Jn 14-6 Jesus claimed to be the embodiment of Truth; such a verse is the basis of our understanding of Truth. He is also the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, so to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us is to know Jesus by revelation.

(134a) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Your body >> Mediator between the natural and the spiritual realms >> Manifesting the Kingdom of God through obedience -- This verse goes with verses 2-4

(184h) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Spending His grace on your pleasures >> Abusing the anointing

(217a) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> God Is Independent Of His Creation >> No one can make God do anything


8-11 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 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. 11 I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. 

 

2Cor 12-8,9

(43k) Judgment >> Satan destroyed in the absence of sin >> Perfected in weakness – We were once sinners; God redeemed us and raised us to live in His presence, wiping away our sin, and then He threw the consequences of our sin into hell. When we show God faith, He focuses on that and praises us for it and leads us through the faith He gives us, and we walk and live by it. Nonetheless, bad things happen to us, and sometimes they are consequences of our own actions, and we ask God to remove them, appealing to Him through our faith in Him, and He replies, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” God wants to show us His power through His faith in us, and He uses the consequences of our sin to reveal Himself strong in our lives. We live in a sinful world; there are people all around us who are disobedient to the Lord, and they often cause havoc in our lives, and instead of removing these stumbling blocks, God uses them to perfect Himself in us. So there are two things happening at the same time from the Lord: Perseverance and endurance with perseverance in our right-hand and endurance in our left (2Cor 6,4-7), referring to our walk in faith and His perfection that He imbues in our lives through endurance. He calls us to endure our circumstances, hastened by our own actions and induced by the actions of others. Pain, suffering, ill-treatment, injustice, God desires that we endure them all, and in so doing, He perfects His power in our lives, so we can add to our faith.

(99l) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance (Working to keep in motion) >> Persevere in prayer

2Cor 12-9,10

(9f) Responsibility >> God strengthens us through our weaknesses -- These verses go with verse 5

(121b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Contentment >> Content with seeking God

2Cor 12-9

(116h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Our adequacy is from God – Weakness has certain qualities that God can use: the weaker we are, the stronger we become. This process leaves our weaknesses in tact, so they may continue being the catalyst for our strength. Who needs the power of God if we are strong? We like to think we are independent and can do things on our own, like the disciples trying to get across the Sea of Galilee in a storm with Jesus asleep in the bottom of the boat; the last thing they did was called on Him when it should have been their first choice. They wanted to be independent and wanted to show Jesus what they could do, but God is not impressed with our strength of flesh. He is only impressed by our willingness to receive from Him and the things we are able to accomplish through Him. We cannot be filled with the Spirit without first being controlled by the Spirit.

(132g) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holy Spirit is in God’s people >> Filled with the Spirit >> Filled with the power of God

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2Cor 12-10,11

(242i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Worldly pressure >> World pressures you to forsake your values – People ruthlessly persecuted Paul because his message was inherently contrary to the world and to the direction it was going at the time; the gospel has always contradicted the world’s values at any given century or generation and fights against the currents of human and demonic forces. Paul endured all things for the sake of the Church, and in this case for the sake of the Corinthians. He said that when he was weak, then he was strong. How was Paul strong when he was weak? Most people don’t go far enough with God to experience His strength in their lives. When their faith causes them persecution or affliction or tampers with their emotions, making it uncomfortable to believe in Him, they quit and run back to a safe place where they can believe in God, instead of where God has called them, and so they never discover God’s strength. He longs to instill us with His strength. The irony is that the more He strengthens us, the more we do His will, the more we are persecuted, the more we discover our weaknesses, and the more God strengthen us to continue in His will in ever greater ways. All of Paul’s enemies came against Him, causing Him distress and difficulties of every kind, and instead of finding a little solace in the Corinthians, they added to his misery by rejecting him and mocking his weakness and holding him in contempt for being willing to accept these negative things in his life. The Corinthians were looking for someone to show them how to be strong and how to overcome their enemies. They weren’t interested in a man showing weakness so God could reveal His strength to them. They understood human strength and faithless Christianity, but it is those who know God and serve Him who understand that human weakness is an opportunity for God to fill us with His strength. Everybody knows when a man if full of God’s power; he becomes an offense to those who embrace the values of the world.

2Cor 12,11-13

(17d) Sin >> Judging in the flesh >> Accusing God and others of sin

(70h) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiar with the truth (enemy of discernment) >> Familiar with Jesus in the Spirit

(152d) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Fruitful results prove apostleship – One side of Paul’s seal of apostleship was his relationship with God, and through that relationship, signs, wonders and miracles. The other side of the seal refers to persecution and suffering that he endured for the sake of Christ. The one thing both sides of the seal contained was his spiritual connection to God that he was willing to protect at all costs. So, the greatest attribute of the seal was his relationship, but this is too easily forged, so God has provided manifestations of that relationship that false apostles could not reproduce.  

2Cor 12-11,12

(64j) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Weaknesses of God >> Foolishness of God -- These verses go with verses 20&21

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Those in charge of the word

2Cor 12-11

(196g) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Immaturity >> Not mature enough to seek God >> Unable to make sound judgments – Had the Corinthians commended Paul, he would not have needed to write the last three chapters, but the fact that they were trying to form their own opinion of him in their minds incited him to write these things to destroy their speculations.

 

12&13 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. 13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!

 

2Cor 12-12

(147e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Signs and wonders

(246g) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Demonstration of His power – Signs, wonders and miracles was Paul’s standard of an apostle. The definition of an apostle is a church planter, so when we put these two together, we see that we cannot very well be a missionary without the power of God. People need proof that what we’re saying is true, and signs, wonders and miracles validate the gospel. Had Paul come to the Corinthians and to all the other places where he went to establish churches with the word only, all he would have gotten was a lot of arguments. Without signs and wonders he may have had success in the beginning, locally around the districts of Israel, because they would have heard about Jesus and knew about Israel, and would have known about their God and the story of Moses and his law. The message that the gentiles were included in the salvation of Israel would have been heartily received, but getting any farther from Israel the knowledge of their past would have quickly dissipated, so when the apostles told the people about Israel and Jerusalem, they would have said, who are they, and why should we care? However, when Paul came with signs, wonders and miracles, he brought Israel to the nations, so he could go any distance from Israel and preach the gospel of Christ in power, and they would have understood that the message he preached was from the true and living God, whose name is Jehovah, the God of Israel, and whose Son, Jesus Christ, was sacrificed for the sins of mankind, that believing in Him they should not perish but have eternal life.

2Cor 12,13-21

(101a) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to people >> Devoted to ministering to their spiritual needs

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2Cor 12,13-15

(36m) Gift of God >> Adopted >> We are adopted in the flesh – Paul gets sarcastic again as he explains why he chose not to become a burden on anyone: they were still so immature they would have accused him of false motives, had he asked them for help with his expenses. Sticking it to them, he said, “Forgive me this wrong.” When he returns, he promises not to be a burden on them, saying, ‘In that you have not repented from your fleshly conduct, so neither will I repent from treating you like little children, asking nothing from you.’ Paul reminds them of their relationship, that he is their father, for he has begotten them through the preaching of the gospel. He was willing to give his very life to them, even while knowing they were not mature enough to accept him as mature adults, or to believe in his sincerity and genuineness of faith, that he was coming to them with no ulterior motives. Whatever it takes for them to follow the Lord to the end, Paul was gladly ready to spend and be expended for their souls. It was extremely important to Paul that they believed Paul’s motives, that he was true and sincere, whose only interest was their well-being. Understanding this about him was their first step toward spiritual maturity, knowing that if they didn’t trust Paul, neither would they trust Christ, for one and the same spirit was directing them to mistrust them both. He longed to be their example of the Christian walk, knowing that if he wasn't, they would follow someone else who didn’t have their interest at heart. They were still susceptible to demons whispering contemptuous thoughts in their ear about him.

(72l) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> Parents are responsible for their children – It is often the case with teenagers, that their mother pours herself into her children while getting nothing in return. She shows an unbounded love toward them, going to any extreme to demonstrate her love and devotion to erase any doubt that they are loved. She has the goal in mind that they should become upstanding citizens, and learn to meet their own needs, and someday raise their own family. However, it seems the more she loves them the less they love her. This is classic teenage behavior. The Corinthians were spoiled teenagers, and Paul was going through the meat grinder for them, doing everything in his power to help them understand that he loved them, knowing that if he could get them to believe that, then it was a simple step to understand that God loves them too.

2Cor 12-13,14

(4f) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> From him who has shall much be required – Paul was required by God to give everything he had to preach the gospel, and he did it willingly. When he spoke to the Churches, he had a sense of urgency under his breath. In fact, Paul was more concerned about the Churches that were already formed than he was about preaching the gospel to others. There was no end to his giving either to the lost or to the found. Paul gave it all, and as God gave him more, he would give that too.

2Cor 12-13

(60a) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> Being sarcastic as seen through the eyes of the world / Rebuking the Church for being carnally minded

(63j) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Sarcastic from being emotional >> Angry

 


14 Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

 

2Cor 12,14-19

(235c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Tithing >> Be faithful in your tithes >> If you are unfaithful to God, you won’t tithe – The Corinthians thought they were accepting a gospel that didn’t require anything from them, and in that way Paul tricked them into making a fuller and deeper commitment to Christ. Once they began to recognize the value of knowing God by faith in Jesus, Paul began to reveal to them that becoming a giving people would open up a spiral staircase of truth and righteousness to them. As we begin to manifest the Kingdom of God in all its principles and teachings, our lives will sprout multiple levels of revelation knowledge and wisdom from the Spirit that will bless us beyond measure, until we become addicted to giving, knowing what blessings will return to us. We know that many televangelists have told us that if we give our money to him, God will give our money back with interest. They may not say that exactly, but that is what they meant to say, which is a big spoof. When we give on a spiritual level, we might receive back money, and if we give money, we might receive back on a spiritual level, and so in a way Christianity is like a community who have contributed all their life’s possessions and treasures into one pool, and from that pool we all give and receive. Some people contribute gold and silver, while others contribute food, while still others contribute life skills and knowledge. Everybody contributes something, but they don’t get back what they gave, but what they need. Whatever direction God has led us in life is what we have to offer as our gift to the body of Christ.

2Cor 12,14-18

(92m) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Walk it for the sake of your brother -- These verses go with verse 21

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2Cor 12,14-16

(240c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Pastor (Shepherd) >> Paul has a shepherd’s heart

2Cor 12-14

(3m) Responsibility >> Parents for their children >> Paul feels responsible for those he brings to the faith – A good parent will strive to remain in touch with their children; they don’t want what we have; they want us. They are opposite everyone else who only wants what we have and not us. When we get to heaven, God will be the same way; He will not seek anything we have, though we may have an offering for Him, a life lived in His honor, and He will appreciated the gesture, but what He really seeks is us. Rev 4-10 says we will cast our crowns before the throne in derision of our rewards, suggesting that neither God nor His children value their gifts, compared to their value of each other. We will enjoy heaven throughout all eternity and all the richness of it, but our greatest enjoyment of heaven will be God Himself. Without having to perform for Him, we are pleasing in His sight. No matter what achievements we accomplished for His namesake, the only thing we really did was believed in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and lived accordingly. 1Cor 2-9 says, “Just as it is written, things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” These are all blessing that God intends for us in eternity, but what we need today more than anything is pastors who would model this mindset in their ministries, the attitude that was also in Christ Jesus (Phi 2,5-8), that they might humble themselves and take on the form of a bondservant and faithfully serve the Church as a father would tenderly care for His children (1The 2,5-12). Men who call themselves shepherds of the flock too often have abused the Church, and for this reason we need someone who is completely devoted to helping the saints in their walk with God and in their faith and love for each other, so that we can believe there is a God in heaven who loves us and has a plan for us, not only in heaven but also here on earth. The reason people find it so difficult to believe in God anymore is the result of spiritual abuse. We need people in the clergy who have the heart of Paul and serve selflessly and are completely devoted to the saints.

(7l) Responsibility >> Use time wisely >> Get ready >> Use this time to gather – Paul wrote about saving up for the Church, yet he didn’t have any money or material possessions; he was saving up in a different way. He was figuratively gathering oil, so when his time was done on earth, the large vats of oil he collected throughout his Christian life, consisting of many souls won to Christ, the many churches he establish and the truth of God’s word he wrote in the New Testament, would be the Church’s inheritance. God treats us much the same way; Jesus said in Jn 14-2,3, “I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” In both cases, Paul and our Heavenly Father are saving up for their children’s future.

(33g) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Children need a Father to care for them – Children need a father to care for them, which is what Paul was to the Corinthian Church, and that is what God is to us. “Children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.” When a child is first born into the world, it has nothing to offer except a cute face and with a mouth to feed and diapers to change. Then they get a little older and their need for their parents becomes less obvious. Good parents don’t grudgingly take care of their children, but do it with joy, because being a parent is what they intended. They thought of getting married and having children when they themselves were children, and now it is happening and their lives are filled with joy because of it. It gives them joy to meet their needs. Paul had this attitude and so does God, but I wonder about some pastors today if they have this attitude. Some of them do, but many of them don’t.

(234d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seeking the glory of the body of Christ

 


15&16 I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself; nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I took you in by deceit. 

 

2Cor 12-15,16

(63d) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Righteous deception >> Church deceive each other – Paul admitted that he deceived the Corinthians, but what did he say or do to deceive them? In 1Cor 9,1-19 Paul wrote about the fact that he asked nothing from the Corinthians, and as it turned out they contributed nothing to him. Paul did all the giving from his own resources. When he visited them in person and ministered to them the Corinthians never offered to financially assist him; instead, he supplied his own needs. In this way he was able to impart the gospel of Christ that spoke to them in regard to God’s grace and mercy and His never-ending storehouse of giving by demonstrating these divine attributes as he gave of himself without asking anything in return. Paul said in 2Cor 11-8,9, “I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.” Those who contributed to Paul's ministry were very generous people, who more than supplied his needs far beyond his ministry toward them, helping him on his missionary journeys in evangelism all over the known world, but the Corinthians thought only about themselves, and they were not givers. In stark contrast, those who have a deep faith in Jesus, are givers from the heart. In this second letter to the Corinthians, he explains what he did last time he visited them. He deceived them into believing in Jesus and making a deeper commitment to God under the guise that it would cost them nothing, and now that they have made a commitment and grown in the faith and matured in things pertaining to God, Paul has springing on them after the fact that they too will learn to give if they want to increase in the things of God. So, he took them one step at a time, first to faith in Jesus, then to the Christian life in this world, that we must support one another financially, spiritually and emotionally.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2Cor 12-15

(54o) Paradox >> Opposites >> The more I love the less I am loved – It is often the case with teenagers, that their mother pours herself into her children while getting nothing in return. She shows an unbounded love toward them, going to any extreme to demonstrate her love and devotion to erase any doubt that they are loved. She has the goal in mind that they should become upstanding citizens, and learn to meet their own needs, and someday raise their own family. However, it seems the more she loves them the less they love her. This is classic teenage behavior. The Corinthians were spoiled teenagers, and Paul was going through the meat grinder for them, doing everything in his power to help them understand that he loved them, knowing that if he could get them to believe that, then it was a simple step to understand that God loves them too.

(124f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love does not seek its own

(167b) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind is set on the flesh >> Carnal mind cares only for itself

(187c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Die to the flesh >> Die to self to minister to people >> die to self to help the weak – Paul was happy to spend his life on the Corinthians, but then he asked that if he loves them more, is he to be loved less? He was alarmed at their lack of love, for it was a sign that they were incapable of loving anyone. What did John say about this? “The one who does not love does not know God” (1Jn 4-8). John was very straightforward in his approach, whereas Paul worked with the Corinthians like a mother tenderly cares for her children (1The 2-7). John probably wouldn’t have gotten very far with the Corinthians because they needed mothering. They needed someone to be patient with them and give them time to mature. Paul was not content with the Corinthians simply believing in a set of doctrines; he need them to obey those doctrines. If Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15-13), as Paul was doing for them, he was not content until he saw the Corinthians doing the same for Him. Were the Corinthians not obligated to reciprocate? We love in hope of helping others, and how do we know we helped them than by returning our love. If they developed the ability to love, then Paul should receive some of that love from them, but the fact that Paul was expending himself on them and getting nothing in return told him that they were not receiving his love the way he hoped. The Corinthians were like the Prodigal Son; the father gave him the inheritance, and he blew it instead of investing it. If the Corinthians were abusing Paul’s love, then how much more were they abusing God's grace? A mother loves her child in hope that he learns to love in return, not that she wants love to be returned to her, but that her love multiplies by the child loving everyone, including her. The fact that they didn’t love him in return indicated that they still had the wrong idea about Christianity. They thought their calling was to be sponges.

(197b) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Spiritual laziness >> Rebelling Against what God wants you to do >> Refusing to take on responsibility

(235f) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Giving (your inner self) >> Giving preference to one another

(236g) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest your treasures into the kingdom >> Invest your flesh

2Cor 12-16

(1f) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> become all things to all men >> Conform without compromise – What did Paul mean when he said, “I took you in by deceit”? He deceived them in the sense that he conformed to their ways, giving them a point of reference so he could win them to Christ. He came to them appearing to have more in common with them than he actually did, not presenting himself according to his heritage as a pharisaic Jew, which had virtually nothing in common with them, but as though he were one of their citizens. The Corinthians were hedonistic idol worshippers, and Paul came to them, not as a barbarian or a Jew, and not preaching that their heathenism would lead them to hell, but that their lack of faith in Jesus would. His message did not target their sins, but their ignorance, preaching that Jesus died for them, and that rejecting faith in His sacrifice would not find favor with God, and their carnal ways merely stood as evidence of that. He conformed the message of the gospel around their needs without compromising the word of God; then once he got so many of them saved, he commanded them to repent. In this sense he took them in by deceit.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

17-19 Certainly I have not taken advantage of you through any of those whom I have sent to you, have I? 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps? 19 All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved.

 

2Cor 12-17,18

(14j) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers are indirectly in charge of the Word >> They have the heart of the one who trained them – Had those whom Paul sent taken advantage of the saints at Corinth, Paul would have held himself personally responsible for whatever they did, yet he was so confident in his team of helpers, such as Titus, that his question was rhetorical. That is, he already knew Titus would not take advantage of them. Much of the credit in bringing the gospel to the known world in Paul’s time goes to his helpers. Paul needed this level of confidence in them if he were to accomplish any of his goals, for there was no way he could have done what he did without his cloud of assistants surrounding him and alleviating many of the necessary and time-consuming tasks involved in church planting, who felt in themselves as Paul did, highly accountable to God. He had no concerns at all about Titus or Timothy or any of the others, for sending them was to send his own heart (Ph-12). They would never lord themselves over God’s church, but taught them the ways of God that they had only one Lord, and His name was Jesus Christ, and they were to serve, honor and fear Him.

(72f) Authority >> Transferring authority >> Receiving the delegated authority of men

(102c) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Faithfulness is dependable >> God’s servants are dependable – If both Paul and Titus walked in the same spirit and in the same steps, then for Paul to send Titus was to send himself. Titus was Paul’s representative. All the people that Paul used were loyal, and they proved their loyalty to him, and Paul demanded everything from them in service to Christ, and he did not accept failure. Paul once got into such a sharp disagreement over Mark when he abandoned Paul and Barnabas (Act 15,37-41) that it even fractured his relationship with Barnabas for a time. Paul would have nothing to do with Mark until years later after observing his diligent faithfulness and commitment to the truth, and eventually Paul invited Mark to come with him again on some of his missionary journeys. Mark put himself into a deep, dark pit when he abandoned Paul. After that, everyone knew who served beside him what would happen if they betrayed Paul’s trust; they might be permanently banned from working with him again. With the Corinthians he was very patient, for they were a lot of immature Christians trying to take advantage of every situation while making a semblance of faith, and Paul was trying to shake them of that, telling them that they needed to grow-up and mature in the faith and make Jesus Christ Lord of their hearts (1Pet 3-15), so that he becomes not just an aspect of their lives, but crowds out every other interest, every other concern, every fear, doubt, and longing.

(130g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Committed to caring for the needs of the body >> Caring for spiritual needs

2Cor 12,19-21

(17c) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Judging in the flesh >> Evaluating circumstances by the carnal mind – Paul is afraid that when he comes he will not find them as he wishes and they may not find him the kind of man they wanted for their leader. The Corinthians had a fleshly idea of what makes for a great man, and when they meet, they may be disappointed. So, what is it they wanted from Paul in order to impress them? Whatever it was, Paul was determined to give them just the opposite, a humble servant of the Lord, no flashes, no lights, no frills, but he is coming with the word of God, signs, wonders and miracles, and everything else they need in order to obey Christ. Look at some of the flashy preachers we have today, hollowed out, spiritually lifeless, money grubbing and self-centered. This is no doubt what they had in mind for Paul, yet these are the kind of people who are catering to the immaturity of the Church in our own time. 

(196d) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Immaturity >> Not mature enough to die to self >> Unable to put down your own flesh – Fleshly interests and desires do not change from generation to generation, hence why the Bible calls them elementary principles of the world. Paul is afraid of the list of things he is going to find in them, all the classic sins of mankind, fleshly behaviors rooted in their emotions. 

2Cor 12-19,20

(97a) Thy kingdom come >> Having a negative attitude about yourself >> A self-righteous attitude

2Cor 12-19

(77d) Thy kingdom come >> Humility >> Refusing the glory of man >> Refusing to exalt yourself -- This verse goes with verses 5-12

(94n) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective is your personal reality >> How you interpret your point of view

(104g) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see the Father >> God can see us – we are in His sight

(110d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through His ministry in us – The Corinthians were so conceited. Although God gave Paul the ministry, it was actually the ministry of Christ that Paul was doing, as though Christ were personally reaching out through him to the world and leading many to faith in Jesus and to the salvation of their souls. Therefore, when Paul said, “We have been speaking in Christ,” he meant that Christ was speaking through him, encouraging them to mature. So when Paul said that he was speaking to them “in the sight of God,” he was saying that not only was he mindful of God throughout His ministry but that he conducted His ministry in the literal presence of God who currently stood between he and the Corinthians and testified of His bondservant that Paul offered His body and will as a means for God to reach the lost for Christ, and to reach the Corinthians that they might spiritually mature.

(139h) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Edification

(177l) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Presumption (Hinduism) >> Presuming the will of God >> Presumption interprets God’s word

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

20&21 For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.

 

2Cor 12-20,21

(18l) Sin >> Twisted thinking >> Evil is good >> Loving bondage

(24b) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Anxiety >> Fear of losing the fruits of your labors

(64j) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Weaknesses of God >> Foolishness of God -- These verses go with verses 11&12

(121e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope >> Expectation >> Hope is the expectation to receive >> What the wicked fears (expects) will come upon him

(138c) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Reprove your brother for sinning – The carnal environment of Corinth was a serious obstacle in the way of the Church; it was not easily surmountable, but Paul didn’t care how hard it is for them to mature in Christ. He discounted their environment, saying that it doesn’t matter, that God can trump any environment or obstacle in the way of serving Him, so that anybody can be a Christian anywhere in the world no matter how debauched their society of origin. If godliness were dependent on worldly environments, nobody could serve the Lord and Christianity would not have lasted a decade let alone two millennia. Maybe that was the excuse the Corinthians planned on handing to Paul, but he wasn’t about to accept it. He knew the power that God has to subject all things to Himself one way or the other, no matter what the opposition. The grace of God can overcome anything, but the question is: do His people see the incentive to repent and obey, and do they understand the benefit of godliness? Are God’s people convinced of the advantage of living for Jesus? Do they have that kind of insight? In the days of the early Church, the first and second century, they did have this insight, and these things were well in place in most churches, but the Church in Corinth did not recognize the incentive of obeying Christ. Paul taught that the only thing we can expect to gain from obeying Christ was godliness, and to the flesh that is a death sentence. If we are intent on holding to our flesh, we will never achieve God’s plan and purpose for our lives, and we will never understand God’s vision for the Church.

(167f) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind is set on the flesh >> Carnal mind is fueled by our emotions

(184i) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Spending His grace on your pleasures >> Adding leaven to His grace

(188k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Sorrow >> Grieving over your own loss >> Grieving over the loss of others – Paul mourned over those who had sinned in the past and had not repented. Why did it make Paul grieve so bitterly? The Corinthians were not being a good example of Christianity, and the Church cannot grow among a people who are not repentant. Stagnation will seize the Church, then decline will set-in and finally extinction. Carnality is like gangrene that spreads. People have a far greater proclivity for the deeds of the flesh than they have for godliness. Man is far more prone to obeying his flesh than he is to follow the Holy Spirit into the true doctrines of the faith that lead to godliness.

(203k) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Back-slider >> Practicing sin >> Living in sin – Paul had reason to grieve over those who sinned and have not repented in that they were at risk of losing their salvation. Those who lose their salvation blaspheme the Holy Spirit as a way of life until they develop a reprobate mind that is incapable of believing in God. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is a subject that the Church scarcely grasps. What does the writer of Hebrews say about it? “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb 3-7,8). That is blasphemy; therefore, when we hear His voice, the very worst response is to ignore Him. Disobeying the Holy Spirit is another term for blasphemy; probably every Christian is guilty of this, so blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not automatically bar a person from heaven; it’s when a person continually denies the Holy Spirit that he runs the risk of losing his salvation. Jesus said it was an unforgivable sin, meaning there is no repentance from it, meaning we lose the blessing that God had in store for us. For example, when God calls an unbeliever to faith in Jesus and he resists his voice, God may call him again, but if He is continually met with rejection, eventually His voice grows fainter until it becomes imperceptible, and when a person can no longer hear the Holy Spirit, he cannot be saved. It works the same with a believer who resists the Spirit who saved him; he will experience His voice growing fainter until He cannot hear Him at all, and at that point he is in jeopardy of losing his salvation, unless he repents of his unbelief. He is telling God that he was once a Christian, but now he has changed his mind, but of course that is not how he talks to himself; instead, he lies to himself, saying that he still wants heaven, but he doesn’t want to obey God. This requires a doctrine in place in his heart that allows him to believe this. He thinks the Bible teaches that Christians can actually live in chronic disobedience and unbelief, though there are no examples of this anywhere in the Bible, so they devised the doctrine of eternal security. That way they can do anything they want and still go to heaven, but Paul mourned over these people, because he knew that if they continued in this direction they would eventually lose their souls to a reprobate mind.

(216i) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces you through your own convictions

(237c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> The rapture >> Rapture is delayed – Paul said he was afraid that the Corinthians would not find him to be what they wished and that he might not find the Corinthians to be what he wished. He was afraid that at his return he would find them in a state of carnality, riddled with sin, debauchery and defilement of flesh and spirit, rejecting the command to repent. He was also afraid that they would not find him what they wish, that he would come to them and first mourn over them until his tears went dry and then go on the attack, as he said in 2Cor 13-2, “If I come again I will not spare anyone.” Paul was saying what Christ might say if He looked at the earth from heaven and observed His Church wallowing in sin just as He was about to return, and then hesitated. Paul is speaking with the voice of Jesus as the clock approached midnight and wondered if His people would be disappointed in the person of God in the shape of a man, even as God is disappointed in His people for rejecting His righteous attributes. The best case scenario is that Paul would visit the Corinthians and they would rejoice to see him in faith and love, walking in the Spirit, content with all that God offers them in this life, and Paul would rejoice with them, embracing them with complements, blessings and encouragement. That is the desired outcome, but the fact that Paul named some of their sins means the last he knew they were still practicing these things. Paul promised that if he returned to a debauched Corinthian Church, he would not spare them, and if we transferred that concept to the return of Christ, not sparing them would mean that some of the more rebellious Corinthians would not be going to heaven.

(247d) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> God’s interests >> Concern >> Caring about the body of Christ

(250i) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Lists >> List of traits that can be found in man >> List of deeds of the body – Corinth was a hub of paganism and the casting of different philosophies and ideas, along with venereal diseases. Therefore, when we say this list of deeds of the body is in descending order, it is in part referring to the fact that their deeds are leading them into the descent of the abyss, ill-prepared to meet their maker. There is the true church and there are those who go to Church; every person in the true Church is prepared to meet God, but not everybody who goes to church is prepared to meet Him. The city of Corinth was very carnal and secular before Paul arrived with the gospel and preached to those who would be saved, who became the Corinthian Church, and the expectation was that they would leave all their worldliness behind, and instead live by the principles of God’s kingdom, but the Corinthian Church struggled with leaving behind their old ways.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2Cor 12-20 

(159h) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit >> Counterfeit godliness >> Counterfeit friendship

2Cor 12-21

(45g) Judgment >> Believer’s sin >> God will judge us with the world if we live like them – Paul was afraid that when he comes he is going to break down and be humiliated before them. He is afraid he will openly weep for those who have sinned in the past and have not repented. He is afraid he will find them no more spiritual or righteous than the world. The only difference is they simply believe in Jesus, but have not allowed their faith to change them. Paul is afraid that he is going to find their faith to be nothing more than mental ascent, a matter of believing a couple doctrines. Will that really save you? The world decides not to believe, and the Corinthians decide otherwise, and that is what makes them Christians? Is that how we get to heaven? These sins they have committed in the past; they need to put them behind them, for without holiness, no one will see the Lord!

(69c) Authority >> Discernment >> Feeling the body’s infirmities

(70b) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Sensitivity To The Spirit

(70e) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiarity-enemy of discernment >> Spirit grieves over sin

(92m) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Walk it for the sake of your brother -- This verse goes with verses 14-18

(135a) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Immorality >> Sexual perversion >> A mixed bag of impurities

See next page