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MESSAGE FOR 03-18-2023 2CORINTHIANS CHAPTER TWELVE
“MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT…”
The book of 2Corinthians is the second epistle (letter) from the apostle Paul written to members of the Body of Christ who resided in Corinth, an area in Greece considered part of the Roman province of Achaia. During this time in history, all of this area was part of the Roman empire. Paul also includes Timothy, a brother in Christ, with his salutation. Timothy was a disciple of JESUS CHRIST whom Paul first encountered in Lystra and Derbe, as we read about in Acts chapter sixteen. As we read in verse one: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: It is important to realize the true Church is not represented by worldly, man-made, tax-exempt organizations such as Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, Protestant, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Evangelical, etcetera. You will notice these names are not listed in the Holy Bible because they are from man and not ALMIGHTY GOD! The true Church is simply, the Body of Christ, those who work together in unity with the common goal to serve and lift up JESUS CHRIST, being led by The HOLY SPIRIT, to bring all glory to ALMIGHTY GOD. Those who are saved are called the saints, not the fake saints that the pagan cult of Catholicism attempts to “canonize”. This Catholic practice is witchcraft and idolatry in the eyes of ALMIGHTY GOD and has nothing to do with His Holy Word. The book of 2Corinthians is comprised of thirteen chapters and contains instruction, warnings, and encouragement for not only the Body of Christ back then, but for everyone today. This is why ALMIGHTY GOD makes His Word accessible to everyone folks, because it is the only book in this entire world that can benefit us for eternity and the only book completely inspired by The HOLY SPIRIT, our only true source of wisdom. CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING VIDEO: THE TRUE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST – YouTube
Paul had just shared with the Body of Christ his testimony of trials and tribulations. He expounded to them all of the afflictions he endured throughout his missionary journey up to that point. However, he did not want to appear that he was “glorying” within himself and boasting. Paul gave all the glory to ALMIGHTY GOD for sustaining him and equipping him for his ordained ministry. We read in verse one: It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come in visions and revelations of the Lord. It is not beneficial for anyone to boast within themselves because all glory belongs to ALMIGHTY GOD. Think about it folks, we cannot even breathe without the LORD providing us the breath of life. Many people are focused on the fancy titles after their names, worldly achievements, and worldly riches they have accumulated, without ever giving credit to ALMIGHTY GOD. They foolishly believe they have achieved success on their own, desiring to lift up themselves and other men, professing themselves to be “atheists” and denying the existence of ALMIGHTY GOD. In Matthew 16:26 JESUS CHRIST STATES: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The apostle Paul makes it clear that he prefers to dwell on the righteousness of ALMIGHTY GOD and share the wonderful revelations He had provided him. In the book of Ephesians 3:3-7 GOD’S WORD STATES: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. This is what Paul meant when he thought the revelations of ALMIGHTY GOD were more beneficial to share than his personal afflictions.
Paul then shares a powerful revelation the LORD had given him in verses two through four: I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Paul spoke of a man he had known over fourteen years ago, who was saved, and passed into paradise. Absent from the body and present with the LORD. This man entered the third heaven; therefore, we know the third heaven is where ALMIGHTY GOD Himself rules and reigns in complete sovereignty on His throne. However, we also know that ALMIGHTY GOD is omnipresent and is able to be everywhere, all at the same time. The LORD revealed to Paul (in a dream or vision) of this account, and this man heard words not permitted to be spoken. THE MYSTERIES OF ALMIGHTY GOD!
2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. This man who was in Christ and passed into the third heaven to be with the LORD: he is a new creature in JESUS CHRIST! We who come to salvation through JESUS CHRIST are considered new creatures as well because we believe (Romans 10:9 and Mark 16:16) repent and say goodbye to our old fleshly selves from that point forward. ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW! AMEN!
Paul says that he will glory in this account and the revelations of ALMIGHTY GOD. He also chose to rejoice in his infirmities, which seems rather strange for most people. Paul did not want to reach the point where he boasted of himself, thinking he was someone special because the LORD revealed things to him that were not revealed to others. He did not want to focus on what he endured through persecution and take the focus off of JESUS CHRIST. We read in verse seven: And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. Remember that Satan cannot do anything without the permission of ALMIGHTY GOD. The LORD permitted this to take place in order to keep Paul humble. Many scholars debate what this “thorn in the flesh” would have been, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. We know whatever this affliction would have been caused Paul to take the matter to the LORD three times. We read in verse eight: For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And what was the LORD’S reply?
We read in verse nine: And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. The LORD may allow certain things to take place in our lives to keep us humble and dependent on Him. The reason is so we do not stray from Him and become arrogant and self-righteous. This keeps us on the narrow pathway that leads to salvation, instead of the broad way that leads to condemnation in hellfire for eternity. Paul exclaimed he would rather be on the side of ALMIGHTY GOD, endure his “thorn in the flesh” and remain humble, than to “do it on his own”, stray away from the faith, and fall into perdition. As the apostle Paul states in verse ten: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, than am I strong.
Paul continues by reminding the brethren of his humble beginnings and that is …”behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing”. Paul was once a practicing Pharisee, a Jewish legalistic sect that adhered to their own version of the Old Testament law and rejected JESUS CHRIST as the SON of GOD. The Pharisees were one of the groups that JESUS CHRIST Himself called “hypocrites”. Paul was persecuting the Body of Christ, truly believing he was doing service to ALMIGHTY GOD. Then one day, on the road to Damascus to further persecute the church, Paul encountered JESUS CHRIST (Acts 9) was converted, and blessed with a ministry to reach the Gentiles and kings, as well as the Jews.
We read in verse thirteen: For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. Why was Paul asking forgiveness? Because he did not want to be a burden on the church in Corinth and did not ask of anything from them. He was a tentmaker by profession and earned his own way, not begging for bread, and not “televangelizing” the brethren, asking them to “sow a seed” like many false messengers do today. Therefore, the brethren may have felt cheated because they were prevented from reaching out to Paul in this way by giving him a love offering, a true characteristic of the true Body of Christ by reaching out to fellow brethren in need. In the book of 1Corinthians 1:7 GOD’S WORD STATES: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul was given the privilege from the HOLY SPIRIT to oversee the brethren; therefore, he considered himself to be a spiritual “dad” to them and they his spiritual “children”
The wolves in sheep’s clothing today certainly do not conduct themselves in this manner, folks. Many of these apostate “churches” desire to entertain, pervert the LORD’S Holy Word, and focus on the money the congregation gives them every week, not to advance the Kingdom of GOD, but to advance their lavish lifestyles!
Just as in the natural, a young child may desire to give their parents a gift, whether cook a meal, or earn some money (lemonade stand) to buy them a gift. The parents, out of love, may not want the young child to risk getting hurt by using the stove, or want them to save the money they earned. However, the child may feel cheated because they wanted to do something on their own to show their love for mom and dad. Despite Paul asking forgiveness for not being “burdensome” to them in this way, he makes it clear in verse fourteen: …”for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, bur the parents for the children”. He was planning to visit the brethren in Corinth a third time and proclaimed he would not be burdensome to them during this journey as well.
We read in verse fifteen: And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. Continuing with verse sixteen: But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. How did Paul catch them with guile? In the book of 2Corinthians 11:9 GOD’S WORD STATES: And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
Paul then questions the brethren in verses seventeen and eighteen, asking them if he or any of the brethren sent to them had taken advantage of them. We read in verse seventeen: Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? Paul exhorts the Body of Christ by making it clear that all things are done according to the will of ALMIGHTY GOD for their edification. We read in verse nineteen: Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. The purpose for the authority positions within the true church is to bring warning and instruction to benefit the congregation according to the Word of ALMIGHTY GOD.
Paul is obedient to the true authority position that ALMIGHTY GOD has given him by displaying his sincere agape love for the brethren. He does not want them to go astray and return to the ways of the world. Paul expresses his concern to the brethren in verses twenty and twenty-one: For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
As a loving spiritual “dad” and humble servant of ALMIGHTY GOD, Paul desires to keep the Body of Christ away from worldliness and fleshliness that would pollute them. Once we are saved, we are called to distance ourselves from the world, just as JESUS CHRIST is not of the world. In the book of James 4:4 GOD’S WORD STATES: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. As a reminder, we are not considered GOD’S children until we are saved and serving LORD JESUS CHRIST!
Just as The HOLY SPIRIT equipped the apostle Paul to share this powerful message back then, so The LORD GOD is encouraging and warning everyone today. Our time on this earth is short and we all need to know that we are truly saved. I pray this message has blessed you and inspires you to call on the Name of The LORD today, if you have not done so already. NEED A BIBLE? Click on the “Bibles” tab, request one, and it would be my privilege to send you one. I PRAY THAT THE LORD GOD HAS GOTTEN YOUR ATTENTION, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, AMEN!
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