Episode #150. Today we’ll read 2 Corinthians chapter 1 together. We suffer with Christ; we are comforted through Christ; and we stand firm in Christ.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #150. Today we’ll read 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 together: We suffer with Christ; we are comforted through Christ; and we stand firm in Christ.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Wow! We have two things to celebrate today. First, this is the 150th episode! Can you believe it? It sounds so impressive, especially when our goal is 260. We’re way over halfway now.
Next, we are starting a new book. It’s Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth called 2nd Corinthians. 2nd Corinthians is a very practical letter written around AD 56 to address some very practical problems in the church. Since the founding of the church, certain “Super Apostles” had arisen in the church who sought to undermine Paul and his teachings.
Believers in the church were aligning themselves behind these “Super Apostles” when they should have been aligning with each other in unity for Christ. These false teachers were making the claim that Paul’s suffering for Christ was somehow an indication that he was not a true apostle.
Paul confronts these challenges to his leadership by defending his ministry and laying out the case for his claim to be an apostle. He points out that he relies on Christ’s strength and not his own. Paul makes arrangement for the collection of a gift from the Corinthians to help struggling believers in Jerusalem, and he also works to repair relationships in the church. Are you ready? Let’s dig in.
2 Corinthians Chapter 1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:
To the church of God at Corinth, with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The God of Comfort
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.
We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.
A Clear Conscience
Indeed, this is our boast: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with godly sincerity and purity, not by human wisdom but by God’s grace. For we are writing nothing to you other than what you can read and also understand. I hope you will understand completely — just as you have partially understood us — that we are your reason for pride, just as you also are ours in the day of our Lord Jesus.
A Visit Postponed
Because of this confidence, I planned to come to you first, so that you could have a second benefit, and to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and then come to you again from Macedonia and be helped by you on my journey to Judea. Now when I planned this, was I of two minds? Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human way so that I say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes and no.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you — Silvanus, Timothy, and I — did not become “Yes and no.” On the contrary, in him it is always “Yes.” For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him.
Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God. Now it is God who strengthens us together with you in Christ, and who has anointed us. He has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.
I call on God as a witness, on my life, that it was to spare you that I did not come to Corinth. I do not mean that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in your faith.
Paul makes it very clear that as Christians, we will share in the sufferings of Christ. This is hard for some of us to grasp. After all, the world would have us believe that when you become a Christian, all your worldly problems should just disappear.
After all, if God is on your side, then nothing bad should happen to you. And if bad things do happen to you, then you say a prayer and God makes it all go away. You know….like a genie in a bottle.
We have all heard people who say that they used to believe in God, until something tragic happened in their life. And then they found themselves saying, “How can an all-loving God allow such terrible things to happen?” or “I refuse to believe in a God who would allow that to happen…” Do you remember reading back in the book of John, chapter 16, verse 33? Jesus told us, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” That inspires much more confidence in me than somebody preaching some health and wealth gospel. How about you?
Paul himself suffered so much that he “…despaired of life itself.” But through this suffering he learned to rely not on himself, but God. We are admonished to do the same, to share in the suffering of Christ so that we can share in the comfort of Christ. Let’s pray.
Oh, Lord, help us not to rely on worldly wisdom but on Your grace. Keep us from wandering off and relying on our own reason and might when we can draw on Your infinite wisdom and power. Encourage those who are discouraged today and help us to share in both the suffering and the comfort of our Christian brothers and sisters. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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