Friday, August 15, 2008


2 Corinthians 13 All The Blessings Of Life


We come to the end of our series in 2 Corinthians.

Ulladulla has the blessing of the fleet, Some parts of Sydney have the blessing of the animals and pets.

The passage before us tells us of the threefold blessing.

Other scriptures tell us that God blesses His people.

(Genesis 1:28) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

(Genesis 2:3) Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

(Genesis 5:2) He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.

(Genesis 9:1) So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

(Genesis 22:15-18) Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, {16} and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son; {17} "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. {18} "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

(Genesis 32:28-29) And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." {29} Then Jacob asked, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there.

(Deuteronomy 28:2-8) "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: {3} "Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. {4} "Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. {5} "Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. {6} "Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. {7} "The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. {8} "The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

(Psalms 1:1-3) Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

What is the best thing I could wish anyone?

2 Corinthians 13:14 "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

The Magi left gold, frankincense and myrrh with the little Lord Jesus and his family. Here Paul leaves the assurance of this triune blessing resting on the people.

This is one of the key New Testament statements concerning the doctrine of the Trinity. I don't suppose any Kingdom Hall gathering ever ends with these words of blessing. There is one God and he is Father, and he is Son, and he is Holy Spirit; each person is divine, each one is equally God, but there is only one God. Notice the order of the names. In the 'Great Commission' at the end of Matthew 28 the order is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In I Corinthians 12 the order is Spirit, Son, Father: "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men" (I Cor. 12:4-6).

The Blessing of Grace.

Man’s greatest need is not knowledge. Education alone will never redeem mankind. If knowledge changed behaviour, no doctor would ever smoke. Dr. Mengle, who was in charge of human experimentation in the Nazi concentration camps, had both an M.D. and a Ph.D. degree.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “To educate a man in the mind and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society.” The Duke of Wellington said, “Educate men without religion and you make them but clever devils.” Even one psychiatrist was reported to have said, “I can deal with madness, but not with badness.” What we need is redemption and transformation. We need both the desire and the ability to change. Only God and his word can give us that.

Saving Grace

It is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ which is getting what you don't deserve. It is by that grace men are saved, not by works. We didn’t deserve The Lord Jesus to come into our world.

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.

We didn’t deserve he should love us and die for us.

And can it be that I should gain an interest in my Saviour’s death. Died He for me who caused His pain, for me who Him to death pursued. Amazing love how can it be that thou my God shouldest die for me.

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

Sustaining Grace

2 Cor 12:9  Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

The Blessing of Love

God is a God of love. What amazing information to millions of people on this planet. In a growing numbers of places in the British Isles today disillusioned Muslim asylum seekers are accepting invitations to attend gospel churches, and the great discovery they are making is that God is love, and he is loved by his people. They have never met so revolutionary a concept. We know that God is much else. The Lord is righteous, holy, just and true. Yet Paul singles out this particular perfection and he tells us of God's love. Why should this attribute be given pre-eminence?

Firstly it is singled out because it emphasises so firmly the personality of God. The old Greek religions saw their gods as simply one of the forces of nature, or the sum total of those forces. The principle of fertility was one of the chief concepts of deity in Corinth. The people of that city worshipped the moon, the mountains, the rain, and the thunder because to them God was not a person. God was an abstraction, a force and simply a power. They were worshipping a principle, or beauty, or God as the prime mover or first cause. In all those conceptions God is not a person but an abstraction.

The distinctive feature of the Christian concept of God is its repudiation of that whole idea as utterly inadequate. The moment we say that God is love we are saying that he is not an abstraction because abstractions cannot love. But when we talk of the love of God we are saying that God has a mind, a consciousness and a heart. He is not simply a principle or a law. God is a person with thought and will, not a conditioned reaction. He can embrace and give himself to other persons. He is a God with a heart. That is the great thing that Paul says about God the Father, that he is love, a person to whom we can relate as to a father. He is not simply an influence or power like nuclear fusion or electricity.

Deism was a problem in every century. Deists taught that God was like a great clock maker, and the universe was the clock. Having wound it up, the Clockmaker has left the building. In the name of Deism, Darwin and Kant constructed the idea of a God who is more perfect because He has set perfect laws which have by eviolution brought the world into being. It was a way of stepping God backwards out of the creation. Darwinism was actually the faith of Deism brought into the public forum.

Former NASA scientist Robert Jastrow agrees: There is a kind of religion in science. . . . The religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York: Norton, 1978), 113–114; cited from Geisler and Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 89.

Because of its prior “faith” commitment to a  materialistic worldview, naturalism denies the existence of God even in the face of contrary evidence. Speaking candidly, Richard Lewontin, former professor of zoology and biology at Harvard admits:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, . . . because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes . . . no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door. Richard Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review (January 9, 1997), 31. Lewontin was still an active Harvard professor when he made these comments. Cited from Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise (Green Forest, Ariz.: Master Books, 2004), 43.

More succinctly, immunologist Scott Todd notes, “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not materialistic.” Scott Todd, correspondence to Nature 410(6752):423 (September 30, 1999); cited from Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, 43. Scott Todd is an immunologist at Kansas State University.

Such admissions confirm that evolution, in actuality, “isn’t science. [It] is dogmatism.” William A. Dembski, The Design Revolution (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 279.

But our God is real. He is involved in our lives. Why? Because He is love.

This is the innermost nature of God. This is what the Lord is. This is his essence and being. This is the core of God. Right in the depths of his being this is what he is. He extends himself in blessing and kindness and good will to those he has made. Love is what he is in the depths of his being. Love is what he is through and through. Love is what he has always been and what he will be eternally. He never grows cold. His love never waxes or wanes. Love is what he is consistently, and Paul wants to impress that upon the Corinthians and ourselves.

We are tiny specks on a small planet in a little galaxy in an immeasurable universe. Sometimes it is so oppressive to think of ourselves in this immensity, and then God's word comes with its comfort and tells us that there is meaning, that this world is not a chaos of irrationality and blindness, but it all has a purpose because God is love.

God is offering himself to you. I believe I speak with all the authority of the living God when I say that in his love for you he wants to be your Saviour, your refuge, your shepherd, your keeper, your husband, your friend, your guide, your king, your strength, your fortress and high tower, your teacher, your sovereign protector, your all in all. He is making this proposal to you now, that he will take you just as you are, forgiving you and lifting you up to be his bride. The divine offer is nothing less than that.

"Inscribed upon the cross we see, In shining letters God is love;
He bears our sins upon the tree, He brings us mercy from above." (Thomas Kelly).

God in his love is stretching out his hands and holding out to you himself. That love which did not shrink from Golgotha and the taste of death, that love which did not count the cost but loved to the very uttermost. That is the fundamental heart-beat of God. This love is his instinct, his essence, his form, his glory, and his being, and that love is with us for evermore.

The Blessing of Fellowship

"Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him" (Rom. 8:9). No Christian can exist for a second as a believer without the Holy Spirit. Paul has told the entire Corinthian congregation, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?" (I Cor. 6:19). Paul tells them, "We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit is God's gift to every man which seals that man as a Christian. So Paul does not say, "May the Spirit be with you."

Avoid anything that grieves the Spirit. If we are not sparkling as we should be or as we once were there is usually no mystery about this. The loss of dynamism or lack of love are easily explained. There are plain commandments from our Father and we have violated them. We knew what God's will was and we've steadily been saying no to it. We've preferred our own will.


2 Corinthians 13:11-13 "Finally, brothers, good-bye. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints send their greetings."

Does the presence of the God of love need to be earnt?

Does God not give His love and grace freely? Yes He does, but you may not be tuned in to receive it.

Just like a radio needs to be tuned to receive the radio waves and convert them to sound, so your life needs to be tuned so that you can receive the grace love and fellowship of God. (bring Radio)

Does God seem strangely distant? Then guess who moved.

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be restored, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. “

There may be things you need to fix up in your life so that you can receive understanding and blessing from the Lord. For you to feel and know the love of God, and to be able to express this to others, you need to set out to tune your heart.

Tune your heart in these ways:

Be Rejoicing

2Co 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another,[ agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. ESV


The NIV translators have seen fit to make the word, 'Good-bye', and they can justify that translation, but the whole structure in which Paul sets the word suggests that here something more than a mere farewell is intended. "Finally, brothers, rejoice," sounds far more natural than, "Finally, brothers, good-bye." I am saying that Paul is going back to the underlying meaning of the word, and he is warning these Corinthians not to take their joy in the Lord for granted so that it starts to die. This theme is often found in his letters. He writes to the Philippians and most emphatically as he closes he urges them, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phils 4:4). He tells the Thessalonians, "Be joyful always," (I Thess. 5:16). He tells the Romans, "Be joyful in hope," (Roms. 12:12). Again, our text is this, "Finally, brothers, rejoice!" The verb is in the present tense so that Paul is reminding us that at this present moment, here and now, our spirits should know that as the God of peace and love is with us then the only proper response is to rejoice in that reality. The whole congregation is being exhorted to be joyful. '/\ joyful heart is good medicine, I But a broken spirit dries up the hones" (Prov. 17:22).

Be Restored καταρτίζεσθε,

"restoration," and has in mind supplying what is miss­ing to bring about full usefulness. It's used of mending a torn net, setting a broken bone, equipping an army with supplies, or patching up anything that has been injured or damaged. The Revised Standard Version translates this phrase, "Mend your ways," an excellent ex­hortation for all of us. Have you mended your ways after being confronted with the truths in 2 Corinthians? have you been re­stored? Paul is talking here about mending their ways, in their relationship with God and with one another. The term here was used for mending the nets of the fisher’s boats. Let’s make sure you are truly converted. You must be born again. You must begin to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. You must get a new heart. You must be made a new creation. God the Holy Spirit must come into your life. There must be an inner change. It is absolutely impossible to rejoice and mend your ways without that birth and new life that comes from above.

Then Let God’s Word challenge your heart and mind and soul. Let it restore you to the Lord and to usefulness for Him.

Be Encouraged

It's the same word John uses for the Holy Spirit, who comes alongside to help us. It can also be a command.-.-to encourage, cheer, or console one another. But many scholars believe Paul is using it in the sense of exhortation. For example, Philip Edgcumbe Hughes says, "It seems preferable to translate it in its other sense, namely, 'he admonished' or 'heed my appeal' (RSV) I --that is, respond to the plea which this epistle conveys. "· Carrying a step further, we can find comfort in following Paul's advice, in getting our lives in order.

F.B.Meyer was once sitting in railway station in Canada waiting for his train to arrive. He took out his Bible and began to read it. Another passenger noticed this and spoke to him: "Excuse me, sir, but what is your reason for trusting the Bible the way you do?" F.B. Meyer thought for a moment. He said, "I have been travelling across Canada for the last weeks by train, and I have taken with me this timetable of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. I have found it be amazingly accurate." "I was asking you about the Bible," the man interjected. Meyer continued, "I have come to trust this timetable after just a few weeks of using it. But I have been using this Book since I was a boy. The end of my journey is in sight. I have found the Bible to be completely trustworthy until today. Should I begin to doubt it for the short stretch that lies before me?" "I guess not," said the American.

At the end of a particular message a man in the congregation got up and said to his wife, "Well, the sermon is over." His wife smiled, "No, now is when it begins."

Be Likeminded

Now he's not asking that there be uniformity in dress or appearance or actions. He's asking all of us to have the same focus. In his letter to the church at Philippi, he stresses this same command.

Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you re­gard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 2:2-5)

When we are like-minded toward Christ, we are also like-minded toward others, unselfish and open and supportive. That is the secret of close relationships.

Be at Peace

This was Paul's goal for the churches-that they stay together, peacefully. Who wants to belong to an organization whose members can't get along? We are to be different from the world, not selfishly pushing our way to the top, but working together harmoniously. Look at your own life right now. Do you live in peace? Do you calm the waters? Or do you like to stir things up? Are you a friend, or an adversary? When Paul says that the God of peace will be with you all he is not wanting surrender and compromise on biblical issues. But he is wanting grace and love.

Kiss One Another

Paul is merely telling the Corin­thians to he affectionate with each other. Not from impure or sensual motives, hut from holiness and brotherly love. The early believers were known tor their visible expressions of love. But later the affec­tion grew more formal, and by 1250 Archbishop Walter in England introduced a pax--a board that had been kissed by the clergy and was then passed around the congregation to be kissed. Where's the warmth in that?

May the grace of Christ our Saviour, And the Father's boundless love,
And the Holy Spirit's favour Rest upon us from above.

Thus may we abide in union With each other and the Lord,
And possess in sweet communion Joys which earth cannot afford. (John Newton)

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