2 Corinthians 4
What a great passage to read the week before MTC mission.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (vs 4)
A great reminder of the state of our world – so many people are blinded to the good news of Jesus, by his enemy, Satan. (For interesting discussions on demons read this or this)
Paul also remind us about what we are doing when we go on mission.
For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness” – He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in jars of clay, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. (vs 5-7)
We go to proclaim Christ as Lord!
To be reminded that I am a jar of clay is humbling and exilarating. Humbling because I realise anything good that I do is not of my own ability, but God’s powerfully work. Exhilarating because I know I am not doing this work – the glory is God’s because the work is his.
Mission will be a long, tiring, fun and maybe at time disappointing week. But
we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolute incomparable eternal weight of glory. (vs 16-17)
Oddly enough, the last year and a bit that I have spent at bible college has been the worst time for my personal bible reading and prayer times. Not that I don’t want to do these things, but my life seems to be so much busier than before college, and college work always seems to come before everything.
But I want desperately to change my priorities.
In an attempt to be better at holding myself accountable for this I am going to try to blog regularly about what I am reading and how it is affecting me. I hope you enjoy a sneak peek into my thoughts. My prayer for myself (and for you) is this –
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
So I start today with 2 Corinthians 1.
Paul talks about a time when he was ‘completely overwhelmed’ (v8). Paul’s circumstances were so bad that he says ‘we personally had a death sentence within ourselves’.
It is fitting that I read this passage today because I feel completely overwhelmed by things at the moment too, although I have no right to complain when compared to Paul.
Paul gives us an incredible example of how to respond to these times in our life.
However we personally had a death sentence within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. (v9)
God raises the dead! Thats incredible! And this is who calls us to trust him. Why would we not trust a God who is powerfully enough to raise the dead?
He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us; we have placed our hope in him that he will deliver us again. (v10)
Chances are that I am not the only one feeling overwhelmed. Paul also encourages his friends to help him, and I can help my friends in the same way –
and you can join in helping with prayer for us, so that thanks may be given by many on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many. (v11)
At night church, each week after the sermon we have question time, often referred to as ‘roast the preacher’. Since I started at St A’s I have been mulling over in my head Paul’s instructions to women in 1 Corinthians 14 and how or if this has implications for women during question time at church.
1 Corinthians 14:33 – 35 says
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church meeting.
So many questions come out of this for me. Here are some of them –
- Does this mean women shouldn’t ask questions in question time?
- Does the prohibition of speaking refer back to the speaking in tongues and prophesying that is discussed in verses 26 – 33? If so how does this prohibition of women prophesying relate to Paul’s teaching in chapter 11 that should pray and prophesy with her head covered?
- If a women is to learn by asking her husband at home, how is a single woman to learn? What about a woman with a non-believing husband?
- If it is ok for a single woman to asks questions but not a married woman, does this need to be explained every week? Would that make the whole concept of question time more unhelpful than helpful?
- Is this instruction only related to learning, or does this have implications for woman reading the bible, or leading prayers in church??
I’m sure that this is just the beginning of a long process of learning for me from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. While this has been on my mind for a while, I am yet to really take a closer look at this passage and its implications.
Would love to hear your thoughts?
‘I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that the flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself will the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, the the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, ans the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.’
1 Corinthians 15:50 – 58