2nd Cor. 8
2nd Corinthians 8
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
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2nd Cor. 8 Videos-
TEACHING [More teaching below]
In this chapter Paul talks about his ministry of gathering offerings from the churches for the sole purpose of meeting the needs of the poor Christians at Jerusalem.
This was a pattern of the apostle.
He mentions an un-named brother [Some think it was Luke or Barnabas] who went along to make sure the money was used for this purpose.
Paul says that this person vouched that the money would not be spent on anything else- but used for the poor.
I mentioned on the video that using God’s name ‘in vain’ is a sin.
In this chapter ‘Giving to God’ meant giving to the poor.
The brother who went along on the mission made sure the money was not used for any other reason.
Paul did not use this offering for himself or others who were part of the ministry.
The brother who vouched for this was making sure it was not being misused.
In our day- many times you hear it said ‘Give to God’- often it is said in a way that means giving to a Church- or TV Evangelist- or some Christian organization.
While there are indeed times when this is OK- we need to be careful when we tell people ‘Give to God’ without really thinking about what we are saying.
The general use of the phrase ‘Give to God’ is tagged on to many appeals for money.
Often the money is used for church salaries- or huge church budgets- or misused by preachers who are appealing for offerings that they themselves will use to enrich themselves.
There are many well meaning Pastors who do not realize they are doing this- simply throwing out the phrase ‘Give to God’ and using the money for many other things.
Some do it unconsciously- not realizing the appeal they are making can be in the category of ‘Using God’s name in vain’.
Because they simply assume that appealing for money from a ‘church’ standpoint allows the leaders to use the money for the running of the organization- or for the enrichment of the minister himself.
I say this not to be mean- but to show the context of this chapter.
Some use this chapter itself to justify all types of giving for modern day ministry.
To the good men out there that do this- I simply ask for you to re-think before you appeal with the words ‘Give to God’.
The meaning of this in Paul’s day was much different than the way it is used today.
To those who use the term to personally enrich themselves- they will have to answer to God some day.
I did not have a chance to review the video yet- so this post will have no bullet points.
But I felt I should write this short section to get right to the point- which hopefully was done.
Theses are the main verses from the chapter that speak about what I just wrote-
2Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
2Corinthians 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
2Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. [Poor Christians at Jerusalem]
2Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
2Corinthians 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
2Corinthians 8:20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: [That the money was not used for any other reason]
2Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
PAST POSTS [These are links and parts of my past teachings that relate in some way to today’s post- verses and links at the bottom of this post]
I mentioned chapter 6 and 7- Here’s my complete study- https://ccoutreach87.com/acts-links/
I talked about chapter 15 of Romans- here’s my study- https://ccoutreach87.com/romans-links-1-2019/
The same with 1 Cor. 16 https://ccoutreach87.com/1st-2nd-corinthians/
The first book I wrote deals with some of the issues of this post- https://ccoutreach87.com/house-of-prayer-or-den-of-thieves/
And mentioned Hebrews 13- https://ccoutreach87.com/hebrews-links-updated-10-2018/
2ND CORINTHIANS 8- Paul talks about giving in these next 2 chapters. It’s important to see the context in which he is speaking. Many fine men [pastors] and believers will use a verse or two out of these chapters and apply them in a wrong, or out of context way. We find verses like ‘he that sows [plants] sparingly will reap sparingly’ or ‘God shall supply all your needs according to his riches and glory’. These verses [as well as a few others] are to be seen in the context of giving in a charitable way, doing it by ‘choice’ and not by force, and giving freely to help the poor saints that were living at Jerusalem. But too often these verses are used to tell believers if they do not tithe 10 percent of their income into a Sunday morning offering, they will be cursed. Or appeals are made by the TV preachers that say ‘sow into this ministry and reap a harvest’ in many of these scenarios there is tremendous force and manipulation used to get the saints to give money for all types of projects, or to fund the rich lifestyles of charismatic figures. These things ‘ought not to be done’. In this chapter Paul says he that gathered little had ‘no lack’ how often have we taught believers to ‘get a full harvest’ and said it in a way that says unless you ‘gather much’ you will be in lack? Here Paul says those who gathered ‘just enough’ those who were satisfied with the basics ‘had no lack’. Or ‘give according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have’ how many appeals are made all the time telling believers ‘if you don’t have it, make a vow anyway’? We tell people to give according to what they don’t have all the time. And the churches of Macedonia did give ‘out of their poverty and great affliction’ you do not measure the success or spirituality of believers by the amount of financial wealth they have, these giving churches had ‘poverty’. All in all we need to rethink much of what the contemporary church/ministry does when it comes to money. In these chapters Paul teaches voluntary giving along the lines of helping the poor, we often use all these verses and simply apply them to our ‘churches’ ministries or personal callings. We err. In the next chapter Paul will quote Psalms ‘he hath dispersed abroad, HE HATH GIVEN TO THE POOR, his righteousness remains forever’ again, the whole context is giving to the poor. I know we mean well as believers, but we need to get back to really reading what the text is saying and applying it in that way. To give to churches, or ministries is fine. To give 10 % of your income is fine. To meet the needs of laboring elders/pastors is fine, but we should not use these types of scriptures in a condemning way when exhorting the saints to give, doing that is ‘not fine’.
2nd Corinthians- Links
2nd Cor. 6
2 Corinthians 7
Once again we will see an image in this chapter that Paul will take from the Old Testament and use to describe the sacrifice of Christ. It might even be the best image yet! But let’s start with some basics. ‘Let brotherly love continue’ the other day I was shopping at Wal Mart and saw some Cowboys shirts. I have a homeless friend who I have known for 15 years who loves the Cowboys [The football team!] So I bought him a 13 dollar shirt [they had a nicer Jersey for around 40 dollars, but I am not that spiritual yet]. So I bought him the cheaper one. Sure enough he’s been wearing it ever since! Sometimes it’s the little things, the ‘brotherly love’ stuff that we need to do. We are so obsessed with doing ‘religious stuff’ and attending ‘religious meetings’ and ‘tithing’ that we really do not see the underlying reality of going out of our way for others. We will read in this chapter the 3 sacrifices God does want from us, after all the teaching Paul does on ‘no more sacrifices’ he will give us the spiritual sacrifices that God requires of us. They don’t even touch what we think is important!
‘Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them’ a regular part of my prayer life includes praying for our fellow brothers and sisters ‘in bonds’. A few years ago a brother from our area got sent to jail for stealing money from a famous Christian mission that he worked for. I met him a few times over the years. He used to go to the church I attended. I really didn’t like him to be honest with you. I loved him as a brother, but a little to ‘I am a Christian, cant you see’ type thing. I don’t want to judge him, but this was how I felt. Well many years later when he got sent to jail he became the talk of the town. I started regularly praying for him and haven’t stopped since. This has been around 5 years or so. I also recently included some other Christians who also did some public crimes and were sent to prison, a girl who was found guilty of murdering her foster child. I also pray for those around the world who are in prison for the faith. True persecution. I want to exhort you to pray for those in bonds. Paul knew how hard it was, he was in jail often. ‘Marriage is honorable in all… but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge’ Paul made it clear in all his letters that he was not preaching a gospel of grace that condoned sin. He will say this time and again thru out his writings. He was accused of preaching a sinful gospel, but he wanted to make it clear that in all of his preaching about the law and sacrifices passing away, that in Christ people by nature will do what is right [Romans]. At the end of this great treatise to the Hebrews he makes it clear ‘don’t go on sinning’.
‘Let your conversation [lifestyle] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he hath said ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ Paul once again deals with avoiding a materialistic mindset. He isn’t urging them to believe God for millions of dollars, or to set a goal of what you want and then to use scripture to get it. He tells them ‘you have Jesus, so be happy. Don’t be always trying to find fulfillment in things, they pass away’. You will find this mindset all thru out scripture [read 1st Timothy 6!] so many Christians today think that this mindset is ‘tradition’. But it is in scripture!
‘Remember THEM which have the rule over you’ to be fair, I have done a lot of teaching in the past against the authoritarian one man rule over believers. I want to submit to you that both here, and in every other New Testament letter that leadership is always plural. It is ‘them’ not ‘him’. Also there are a few other passages that use the term ‘rule’ you could also interpret these as ‘those who watch over you, have care for you’ and use more amicable terms. There are actual reasons why the stronger language is used, I don’t really want to get into the whole thing here, but some feel it had to do with the time that the English bibles were being translated. The kings of the time [England] wanted to maintain a strong hierarchy within their ‘nation states’ as they broke away from the Papacy of Rome, and the translators made a conscious decision to use the more authoritarian terms to keep the people under authority. A whole book has been written on this dynamic. But for now I simply want you to see that Paul is addressing a community of people and saying ‘submit to the eldership of your area, they have responsibility for your spiritual growth, they will give an account to God. So listen to them’ this is not a verse to be used to justify the present office of the singular Pastor in the Protestant church!
‘Be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them which have been occupied therein’ I like this verse. It summarizes so much of the Christian life. The whole point of this letter is to establish people in grace. To see that in Christ we have been accepted with God. Our main message isn’t all the interesting doctrines and stuff that we like to argue about. It really is Christ and Gods grace being freely given to us thru him. A lot of the reproving I do is not for the purpose [I hope not!] of just arguing about things that don’t matter, but it is for the purpose of bringing Gods people back to a platform of grace. I teach ‘you are not under the tithe [law] but give all you can in love [grace]’ we are all living our lives openly before the face of God, we shouldn’t be running around trying to ‘one up’ the next guy. Or showing everybody how smart or spiritual we are. We are all here to become more like Jesus and to simply see our requirement as living a thankful life and doing good deeds and sharing our goods with others [the 3 sacrifices that we will see later in this chapter!] I like this verse a lot!
‘We have an altar [the Cross] whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle [those under the tabernacle system, the law!] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp [the main area where the tabernacle and all the holy things of God were located]. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate [right outside the City of Jerusalem at the hill of Golgotha]. Let us go forth therefore unto him [leave the Old Covenant and all of its sacrifices, and move on unto perfection found only in Christ] without the camp [outside of the rules and regulations of the law and all of its shadows], bearing his reproach [those who left their Jewish heritage for Christ suffered extreme reproach and ridicule from their friends and family. It was a very unpopular thing to do for the 1st century Jew] for here we have no continuing city [natural Jerusalem], but we seek one to come [spiritual Jerusalem]’ Paul sees significance in the fact that the bodies of the animals whose blood was used for atonement were burned outside the camp. There were different types of sacrifices that took place around the system of the tabernacle. Some were totally burnt [burnt offering] others were eaten [Passover] and for the one whose blood alone was used, these bodies were taken to a place outside of the camp and were disposed of by burning. It was purely a utilitarian purpose. They had to get rid of the bodies and they burnt them. Now Paul sees this as a prophetic symbol of Christ. Paul says ‘remember that place where those bodies were burnt? It is a type of Jesus who suffered outside of the city. It was showing that there would be a day where a sacrifice would be made, outside of the law system, that would sanctify all the people’! Amazing, once again Paul sees things in scripture that no body else is seeing, until now! Paul’s mind was consumed with seeing Jesus in everything. He sees hidden shadows of Gods preplanned coming of Messiah and how God all along would require people to ‘leave the camp’ and come unto Christ. In essence Paul is saying ‘even in the tabernacle system God prefigured a once for all sacrifice that would take place outside of the law’ Bravo!
Also you will notice how Paul says ‘here we have no continuing city’ [Jerusalem] but we seek one to come [The heavenly city, the bride the Lambs wife, the church!] Paul does not do what many modern Evangelicals do. He does not exalt Israel’s natural heritage. Interesting that a first century Jewish believer [Paul] writing to a 1st century Jewish audience, downplays their ‘holy land’. If you go back and review everything in this commentary, you will see that there are no references to the prophetic significance to the land of Israel as a geographical ‘holy place’. As a matter of fact the main theme is ‘leave your dependence and cultural pride that comes from your natural heritage, and come into this ‘new city’ that all of our fore fathers were looking for’ there is this amazing lack of exalting the natural city of Jerusalem [which the New Testament calls ‘Sodom’ in a spiritual sense! Revelation] and a plea for all nations, including natural Israel, to come unto Christ.
‘By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased’ Paul gives us 3 main sacrifices that the New Covenant priest/believer can bring. Praise, doing good and giving of your goods and money to meet the needs of those around you [communicate means this here]. ‘Obey THEM that have the rule over you and submit yourselves’ again we see leadership in plurality. Every city has spiritual leadership, they are responsible before God for how they lead the people in their area. They are also responsible to bring the people to maturity and independence. A place where people are not co dependant upon leadership. I believe much of the modern system has failed in this respect. The modern system has actually taken these types of verses and used them to tell people ‘your main role is to come to church on Sunday and passively listen’ we have built this audience/ spectator mindset into people, and we have failed in this respect. ‘Pray for us’ I have found this simple request to be one of the most important things you can ask others to do for you. Enlist prayer support. Pray for me! Ask people to pray for you! We all need this desperately!
‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever amen’ What a great way to end this letter! It is thru the blood of Jesus Christ that we are accepted and perfected in every way. We can only live and function because of the blood! We have true forgiveness for all of our sins because of what Christ has done for us. Paul has penned 13 chapters of revelation showing us the great significance of Christ’s sacrifice. He has urged his fellow country men ‘come out from trying to make yourselves holy and acceptable, and receive the once and for all sacrifice of Christ’ he has trumpeted this theme all thru out this letter. I want to exhort you guys to see the sufficiency of the Cross. We get so caught up in what we are doing that there is a tendency to rely on ourselves and our own ability to change things [even us!] we need to re-focus on the biblical priority and necessity of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He truly is the way, the truth and the life. No man can come to the Father but by him! God bless you guys,
Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
[Try and do this- I have this verse painted on a sign in my yard- I have a consistent prayer time- early in the morning- it includes nations- world issues- many subjects that God is concerned with. During this prayer pattern- which I have done for 30 years now- I also pray for the prisoners- and this verse asks us to do just that. I have friends- even Pastors- who simply do not pray- regularly.
I would encourage all of you- learn a routine pattern of prayer- not a selfish time where you focus on yourself and your needs [though that can be a small part of it]- but a prayer time that consistently covers the issues that scripture teaches us to be concerned with].
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
[This past year- I have talked to my friends about this issue- sleeping around. Many of these friends- are still friends- but I felt my associations with them- sort of ‘overlooking’ this very issue- made them feel like ‘well- John will have to learn to live with it’- meaning they felt like I could still do ministry stuff with them- still hang out- all the things I have done for many years. But time is rolling on- and I fear that these friends- yes- even Christians- think this issue of adultery is a minor thing. The scripture makes it VERY CLEAR- that those who do these things cannot I inherit the kingdom of God.
I am not trying to be mean to these guys [and gals] but this issue must be dealt with in this life- not the next.
And I want my friends to get this issue dealt with- and that’s one of the reasons I have stopped ministry activity with some of the guys].
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
[Over the years I have heard it taught that if you are content with what you have- you are in sin. Because you must believe God for increased wealth- to fund ministry projects. Many of the people who preach this are good men- but I fear the do not see it is a violation of scripture. This is just one- of many verses in the New Testament that warns against a wealth building mindset. The writer is saying when God meets our basic needs- and we show the world that our joy does not come from the things of this world- then that itself is a witness for God].
Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
[The altar ‘we have’ is the Cross- he is saying that if the Jewish brothers stay in ‘the tabernacle’- meaning the law covenant- then they can’t partake of the benefits of the final sacrifice of Christ- this verse is not talking about church buildings- as some have said].
Hebrews 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
[The references to ‘without the camp/gate’ refer to the whole theme of this letter ‘you must go forth- move on from the Old Covenant mindset- and suffer the reproach of being a follower of the Messiah’- it was difficult for the early Jewish believers to embrace Christ. It brought scorn on them from family and friends- it was a price that many of us in the modern day don’t experience. So at the end of this letter the writer exhorts them to bear the reproach- become a believer in the Messiah- it will be worth it in the end].
Hebrews 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
[He is speaking about the church here- I already pasted some of the verses in this post that show us this].
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
Hebrews 13:19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
Hebrews 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. [Frankly- this sounds just like the apostle Paul- these are reasons why I still lean towards Paul being the writer of this letter].
Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
Hebrews 13:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
Judaism in transition.
Did they ‘move on’ ?
Who was Elazar ben Yair?
In the last video I spoke about what happened to the Jews after the letter to the Hebrews was written.
In a way- the Jewish people made a transition- though forcibly- into some of the exhortations we read about in this letter-
They no longer offered animal sacrifices- why?
The Jews saw the destruction of their city and temple in AD 70 under the Roman leader Titus-
Some continued to resist Rome- they took over the fortress of Masada- a great fortress built by the late King Herod- Herod the Great.
They held the fort for around 3 years- until the Romans built a rampart to invade it.