2 Corinthians 4:1-5 Paul’s Plan for Preaching

2 Corinthians 4:1-5 (KJV)
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

This passage lays out clearly the work of the ministry. Paul had no intention of:

  • Manipulating his message to please people
  • Tweaking the sermon to fit the culture
  • Avoiding topics that would be less popular

Paul’s ministry plan was to:

  • Bring everything into the open,
  • Expose all he could to all of the Word of God he could and
  • Commend the results of that to the Lord

Paul did not preach himself. He wasn’t trying to build himself up as a leader and role model (other than that he did encourage people to follow him as he followed Christ). His only purpose was to clearly, completely and honestly preach Christ and trust that souls would respond. He also trusted that, if they did not, that would be the work of the devil. It wasn’t his place to “make” people believe. He did not concern himself with that. He only preached the truth and gave the results of that truth to God.

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2 Corinthians 4:1-5 Paul’s Plan for Preaching

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2 Corinthians 3:7-11More Glorious Than Glory

2 Corinthians 3:7-11 (KJV)
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

The topics Paul contrast here is the ministry of the Old Testament law to the New Testament work of the Holy Spirit in saving souls. There is no argument on Paul’s part that the Mosiac Law is glorious. That history of the Jews:

  • God’s work among them, the
  • Calling of them out of the world through Abraham and of
  • Delivering to the world His Word through them

is indeed glorious. There are no arguments that circumvent that.

But Paul presents another work of the Holy Spirit. Christ was conceived of the Holy Ghost and led by the Spirit into the wilderness. When Christ had finished His work He sent the Holy Spirit to come alongside and indwell the believers. He reproves the world of Sin righteousness and judgment. He regenerates the repentant who place faith in Christ and He seals the believer until the day of redemption. Paul in no way dismisses the glory of the Old Testament ministry, he only seeks to reveal the glory of the New Testament ministry, a glory, which he insists out glories the glory of the former.

I am reminded of the appearance of the glorified Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and again on the Damascus road when Paul was saved. The Bible describes His glory as brighter than the noonday sun. No one can deny the brightness of the sun. Who would want to? But the Bible insists that Christ’s glory out glories the sun.

In much the same manner the New Testament ministry out glories that of the Old Testament.

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2 Corinthians 3:7-11 More Glorious Than Glory

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2 Corinthians 2:1 How to Conquer Depression

2 Corinthians 2:1 (KJV)
But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.

The apostle often gave reference to his personal disciplines:

  • He counted gain loss that he might win Christ
  • He pressed toward the mark
  • He kept under his body to bring it into subjection

Here he said he “determined with (himself).”

Paul told us that the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. In other words, none of us have to be driven by:

  • Our emotions,
  • Our temptations or
  • Our lusts

As believers God has given us the power necessary, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to conquer and put into subjection those things. We can determine to be in charge of them.

I would suggest that in order to do so a few things have to be in order:
We have to determine ahead of time.
To wait until the moment of crisis to choose is to choose crisis.

He have to count the flesh dead
That just means we accept that it has no power except what we give it.

We need to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit
He is, after all, the One with the power.

We need to be immersed in the Bible.
Which is the key to cleansing our way and finding that Christ satisfies.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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2 Corinthians 2:1 How to Conquer Depression

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2 Corinthians 1:9-10 Saved Forever

2 Corinthians 1:9-10 (KJV)
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

The passage is speaking of some very dangerous situation Paul had been through. It was a situation obviously known by the Corinthians but lost now to us. It was a dangerous enough situation that Paul says God delivered him from it

Paul uses the experience to teach the believers that they can trust God

I do not believe viewing this as a picture of eternal salvation does any damage to the text. Surely the phrase “so great a death” brings to mind the ultimate death, which is eternity separated from God in hell. The salvation wrought by Christ delivers us from the most hopeless situation. We could never save ourselves. This deliverance is so complete that it may fairly be said:

We are delivered
It is a finished work. It is finalized and can never be taken from us.

We are constantly being delivered
The world, the flesh and the devil long to rip us from the hands of the Lord. Daily we are tempted so that, if it were possible, we surely know that we would lose our salvation.

We will be finally delivered
He is able to keep that which He has promised. In the day of Christ, when everything is said and done, we who know Christ will know full and absolute deliverance in eternal glory.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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2 Corinthians 1:9-10 Saved Forever

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1 Corinthians 16:15-16 Equals

1 Corinthians 16:15-16 (KJV)
I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.

Apostle Paul had a team that worked with him in his church planting ministry. I think sometimes we forget that or at least don’t give it the serious consideration we should. Very surely, the reason he was able to accomplish so much in his lifetime is due in large measure to his team.

The team was a dynamic and fluid group.

  • They all apparently traveled with him at times but it doesn’t appear to me that any of them, with the exception of Barnabas and later Silas, traveled with him all the time.
  • They would sometimes be sent ahead to prepare for his arrival.
  • They would frequently be left behind to further establish the work that was begun.
  • They would travel separate from Paul as couriers of the many pieces of correspondence Paul wrote

The key to this passage is that Paul wanted those he had led to Christ to submit to members of his team as they would submit to him. They were of equal authority to the Apostle. Though they were not apostles and though we seldom hear their names, Paul viewed them as equal.

The Pastor’s staff is just that; his staff. A church only has one pastor. The others are extensions of his ministry. Every staff member should be treated with the same authority and respect given to the pastor.

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1 Corinthians 16:15-16 Equals

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1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Vain Faith

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (KJV)
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

There are always those who read into the Bible their own ideas, so there are those who read into here that a person can lose salvation once received. This is impossible since Jesus said, “no man is able to pluck them out of my hand.”[1]

So what does this mean?
It is possible that a person believes the historical facts about Jesus but doesn’t possess saving faith in Jesus.
I was of that sort for many of my younger years. I would never have thought to question the historical narrative of the life death and resurrection of Christ. I am confident that I would have argued in support of them. But I was not a Christian and when pressed about it, I knew it.

Some have a profession of faith but it is false.
There is, as far as I can see, only one way for an outsider to know if a person’s profession of faith is false or real, time. Sooner or later the false professor will return to the old wallow. The flesh will not be able to keep up a walk with God forever. There are Christians who backslide but the difference is that God will not allow them to continue in that state. They will get under conviction, be chastened by the Lord and either repent or be taken early to heaven. The false professor can happily roll around in his old wallow the rest of his life.

There is no such thing as losing eternal life or it was never eternal. But there is such a thing as a false professor. For that reason Apostle Paul includes this exception; they were saved, if they keep the gospel. Otherwise they are merely false professors or believers in the facts and not in saving faith.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Vain Faith

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[1] John 10:27-29 (KJV)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

1 Corinthians 14:6 New Testament Preaching

1 Corinthians 14:6 (KJV)
Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

The focus of this chapter is the edification of the church. At the time of this writing the gift of tongues, as it was found in the Book of Acts, still existed (or at least some still remembered when it existed) but it was fading away. It was a gift exclusively belonging to those of the apostolic era. It had no value after the Word of God was finalized and so ceased. That doesn’t mean people who liked to be seen didn’t make up their own versions of the gift.

Paul’s instructions in the chapter are intended to build maturity in the believers; stop focusing on yourselves and put your efforts into the church God has made you a member of. In this regard Paul writes of the four styles of message that profits a church. No doubt they had unique meaning to the apostles but they also have value today:

Revelation
Means to reveal a thing. It’s opening the Bible and making it plain. A difficult passage brought to light.

Knowledge
This word is related to science (the real kind, not falsely so called). I think it could relate to application. People profit when the preacher can show them how to live out the Bible.

Prophesy
This word means prediction. Here is the preacher reminding his congregation of Bible promises yet to be fulfilled.

Doctrine
It means instruction but I want to keep it at its root. Every preacher needs to teach his congregation the doctrinal truths that give his faith: distinction, justification and grounding.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 14:6 New Testament Preaching

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Nehemiah 7:5 God Put This In His Heart

Nehemiah 7:5 (KJV)
And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,

Since the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, it is both dangerous and foolish to be led by it. But Nehemiah was not led of his heart; he was led by God, who had placed this in his heart. Nehemiah made the same claim in Nehemiah 2:12[1]. From there we learn that Nehemiah was led by:

A connection to Jerusalem
Both by blood and by relationship with the reporter of the news.

An awareness of the need
As reports had come to him with information about the condition of Jerusalem.

An interest in the situation
I might call this a burden. It is more than the usual “that’s too bad” sort of thing. He cared.

An ability to make a difference
He had the potential means to effect change.

A season of prayer
He sought the Lord about the need.

All of these are in regards to his coming to Jerusalem to repair the walls. It is not a distant leap to suggest that similar circumstances led him to say that God had put this into his heart too. If rebuilding the walls improved the physical condition of Jerusalem, preserving the record of those who had returned from exile stood to improve the spiritual condition of the city’s inhabitants.

Don’t be led by your heart. But don’t ignore the burden God places in your heart.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Nehemiah 7:5 God Put This In His Heart

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[1] Nehemiah 2:12 (KJV)
And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.

Nehemiah 6:19 Good Lesson

Nehemiah 6:19 (KJV)
Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.

The threats against Nehemiah were real. There were people who would have slain him if given the opportunity. Nehemiah also had false friends, men who pretended to work along side him but had allegiance to Nehemiah’s enemies. Also, there were the letters from Tobiah that must have been of a threatening nature, because their intent was to put him in fear.

What I notice is that none of this distracted Nehemiah.

  • He was aware of it.
  • He prayed to the Lord about it
  • He kept a record of it

but he didn’t stop because of it.

Good lesson here.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Nehemiah 6:19 Good Lesson

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1 Corinthians 11:16 Strong Words

1 Corinthians 11:16 (KJV)
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The subject is that of authority as designated by length of hair. The apostle states that nature itself teaches men should wear short hair and women should wear long[1]. I suppose it has to do with how impractical long hair is on the working man or the warrior. Both Greek and Jewish culture insisted that, with some rare exceptions, a man should wear his hair short.

I gather that, just as today, there were some who just wanted to argue things like this. It is to them that Paul writes verse sixteen. John Gill makes the following statement regarding this verse and those to whom it refers:

“…a man that is always contending for contention sake, and is continually caviling and carping at everything that is said and done in churches, and is always quarrelling with one person or another, or on account of one thing or another, and is constantly giving uneasiness, is not fit to be a church member; nor ought he to be suffered to continue in the communion of the church, to the disturbance of the peace of it.”

My point has little to do with the hair issue and much more to do with the contention issue. Contentious people, according to Gill are, “…not fit to be a church member.”

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 11:16 Strong Words

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[1] Exactly how long or how short is not provided in the text. I would take that to be based on cultural preferences.