June 10, 2021

Endure with Hope

2 Corinthians 6–9

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Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
    and in a day of salvation...

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
    and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

11 We have spoken freely to you, 1 Corinthians; our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.

The Temple of the Living God

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? 2 Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
17  Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
18  and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body 3 and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Paul's Joy

Make room in your hearts 4 for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted.

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

Encouragement to Give Generously

We want you to know, brothers, 5 about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor 6 of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you 7 —see that you excel in this act of grace also.

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

Commendation of Titus

16 But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going 8 to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending 9 the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. 19 And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. 20 We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, 21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man. 22 And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers 10 of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.

The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem

Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending 11 the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift 12 you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. 13

The Cheerful Giver

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully 14 will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency 15 in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever.”

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they 16 will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Footnotes

[1] 6:11 Greek Our mouth is open to you
[2] 6:15 Greek Beliar
[3] 7:1 Greek flesh
[4] 7:2 Greek lacks in your hearts
[5] 8:1 Or brothers and sisters
[6] 8:4 The Greek word charis can mean favor or grace or thanks, depending on the context
[7] 8:7 Some manuscripts in your love for us
[8] 8:17 Or he went
[9] 8:18 Or we sent; also verse 22
[10] 8:23 Greek apostles
[11] 9:3 Or I have sent
[12] 9:5 Greek blessing; twice in this verse
[13] 9:5 Or a gift expecting something in return; Greek greed
[14] 9:6 Greek with blessings; twice in this verse
[15] 9:8 Or all contentment
[16] 9:13 Or you

Endure with Hope



Key Verse | 2 Corinthians 6:3-5

We put no obstacles in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger . . . . 

Bio | Hannah Milby

Hi, friends! My name is Hannah! I'm a self-proclaimed foodie and lover of long walks to my local coffee shop to buy an overpriced latte. I am a born-and-raised North Texan who questions why I live here during the months of June to August. But most importantly, I am a girl who has come to know the only life worth living is one in pursuit of her Creator. I get to spend my Sunday mornings with K-1 Race, telling sweet first-graders about a God who is worthy of giving up everything for. 'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!

Central Truth

Hardships should be embraced. 

Devotional | 2 Corinthians 6–9

Paul is known for having endured a life full of hardships. Now we may not endure hardships to the level of our guy Paul, but life is full of them for all of us.

One of my hardships took place during my senior...

Paul is known for having endured a life full of hardships. Now we may not endure hardships to the level of our guy Paul, but life is full of them for all of us.

One of my hardships took place during my senior year of high school. I began to see how the eyes and hearts of my friends were fixed on the pleasures of this world. By God's protection and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I was led to separate myself from those friends and cling to the truth that I had been taught but had not quite resonated with me yet. This meant weekend nights at home and a hard season of loneliness and longing, but it was during this time that I formed a deep dependence on the Lord. I pleaded with God, questioning why it was so painful to feel alone, and I was met with a love and comfort that only He could provide.

Yes, my senior year was hard, but I can now see how the Lord was teaching me patience and joy, while leaning on Him. Paul's life is a perfect example of how God can use pain and hardships to lead us toward repentance and dependence on Him (2 Corinthians 7:9). If dependence is the goal, then hardships should be embraced! God wants to use our pain to bring us closer to Him. Paul understood this truth—that there is an eternal weight of glory ahead so we can endure with the hope of what is to come (Romans 8:18). Praise God that He doesn't waste our pain! 

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Discussion Questions

1. How does your response to hardship reflect the God you believe in?  

2. If you are not currently in a difficult season, how can you actively prepare well for what's to come?

9 Comments available

Obioma Nkwonta 4 days ago

I think to prepare for seasons of hardships, means to constantly be gaining a deep understanding and dependence on God. If you understand how big and loving our God is now, you will be more inclined to lean on him and not this world when things get rough.

Linda Green 4 days ago

Encouraging devo, Hannah! I try to avoid pain at all costs, but that is where God can transform me. Sometimes when I’m comfy, I’m not very interested in change.

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

When I experience hardship I think about Jer 32:40. In the New Covenant God says “I will never turn from doing you good.” Good in the sense of ultimate good, being made in His image.

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

Sometimes there are promises to Jesus which also apply to the church in Christ on some level

Is 49:6 “I will make you a light to the nations” and here in Is 48:8 which has“In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”are examples

Greg Jones 4 days ago

2Peter3:16 speaking of Paul,”His letters contain some things that are hard to understand.” I consider 2Corintians6:14-18.

Paul states-“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…”

Therefore:

“Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

In the original context I read: “come out”(fact) “from them”(fact) “be separate”(fact), fact+fact+fact=truth. It meant don’t, hang out, eat, yoke yourself with, consider yourself a servant to, people like Corinthians. Paul understood it that way too at one time. This said for us not to, therefore, let’s do, says Paul.

Greg Jones 4 days ago

2/2

Paul-“We do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.”(2 Corinthians 4:2)

By 21st century standards Paul is distorting. Or I’m reading wrong.(bet reading wrong) My concept of truth is descriptive and based on facts. Paul’s concept of truth here, is based on purpose. What’s descriptive of people to me is prescriptive for people to Paul according to God’s purpose

I consider, some words that culture derived from the word “fact” after the 1st century, before the modern era. Factory, manufacture, benefactor, not words the culture I’m familiar with associates with facts. Accounting for shifts in cultural concepts over time helps me appreciate some of Paul’s quirkiness…and 2Peter3:16.

Sue Bohlin 4 days ago

Thank you, Hannah!

In Paul’s instructions on giving, it’s interesting that he never specifies an amount or a percentage. It’s all about our heart attitudes. Things have flipped from the OT directives about giving (tithing plus other gifts), which were like training wheels, to the NT perspective, which is like riding on two wheels–with the balance of submitting our views and values of money to the Lord, and responding in faith to what He directs. Which means giving generously and with hilarity (see also Hugh’s comment below about how freedom feels), which we can do when we truly grasp that money belongs to God and we are merely His managers of it.

Hugh Stephenson 4 days ago

2 of 2

Here is the real lie of Satan. The more money I made the LESS happy I was.

“Money can never buy you happiness or time”- So goes the old saying.

Keller notes, (paraphrasing), “What you most value owns you”. I was owned. Yet another form of slavery.

In the late 1990s Amy, (Proverbs 31), and I started giving money away. A lot of it.

I was amazed. It felt great. Like the shackles fell off.

It took a long time to unwind the lies that I had let conceal God’s truth as conveyed through Paul.

The great victories have come as I have been able to more fully embrace that whatever I am, He made me. And that all the earth is His, even if some of it has been shared with me, (Exodus 19:5-6).

Hugh Stephenson 4 days ago

1 of 2

GM Hannah. Love this, “God wants to use our pain to bring us closer to Him.”

Years ago I was stunned to hear the truths on giving in chapters 8 and 9.

My parents grew up in the Great Depression. They suffered incredible hardships. Money was always very scarce. I was taught that as a man my job was to provide. Period. Since both my parents lost their father when they were 11 it all made sense to me.

Later in my life, I learned my grandmother, my mother and her 5 siblings lost their house and were facing homelessness. Only the rescue of a wealthy cousin got them stabilized. My dad had similar stories.

Money was everything to them.

And it became everything to me.

I prided myself on being “self-made”. No one helped me. I did it all myself…right?

What a farce.

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