Thoughts for Today:As we conclude our study of Second Corinthians with the thirteenth and final chapter, I thought we might take some time to review the various subjects Paul has been discussing:
I'm sure we could all agree that Paul's second epistle to the church at Corinth is just as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago -- especially for those who are called to Christian ministry. The first section dealt with the duties, responsibilities and even privileges of leadership. Yet, it is also a wonderful source of hope and encouragement for anyone suffering through trials of their own. Paul understood that suffering is a part of Christian service and wasn't just an academic principle in his life. He had personally endured many obstacles, opposition, persecution and pain in sharing the Gospel. So regardless of what we might be going through, we can always find encouragement and comfort through Paul's example of following in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. By keeping our eyes focused on the glory of heaven and eternity, we are given the hope, power and strength to endure our present sufferings. Why? Because we know in the end we overcome this world.
Paul also addressed the issue of immorality in the church. Sin must always be confronted, whenever and wherever it may arise, with appropriateness and wisdom. Nor can false teachings go unchecked. However, the goal of church discipline is not to punish, it is to correct and restore. Overall, love must be the guiding principle.
Love is to be the basis for giving as well. Paul encouraged generosity among the Corinthians. He wanted them to demonstrate their faith and obedience by continuing to give to those in need and also as a means to spread the Gospel.
It wasn't Paul's goal to win a popularity contest in Corinth. He knew that correct doctrine was one of the most critical elements to the health of any church. Therefore, it wasn't an earthly form of jealousy that led him to defend his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. It was his love and concern for their present and eternal well being that drove him to assert his fatherly leadership and discipline over them.
Paul isn't quite finished with the Corinthians. Nor is the Lord finished with us. Let's pay very careful attention to what the Lord says to us through the apostle Paul as we conclude this final chapter.
Questions to Ponder:What have been your favorite lessons from Second Corinthians? How can you apply them to your life today?