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Thursday, January 24, 2019

2019.01.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 1:8-14

Questions for Littles: What doesn’t the apostle want them to be (v8)? About what? How bad was there trouble? What kind of “sentence” had been pronounced upon them in this part of their lives (v9a)? To make them trust in Whom? What does God do? What had He done (v10a)? What will He continue to do (v10b-c)? Who gets to participate in believers’ deliverance from God (v11a,c)? Why does God deliver in this way (v11b)? Whose (what’s!) testimony is at the center of their rejoicing in v12? How had they NOT conducted themselves? In what three ways had they conducted themselves INSTEAD? And more abundantly toward whom (end of v12)? In what activity, was the apostles conduct “toward” the Corinthians (v13)? What does he want them to do about himself and his companion ministers (v14)? In whom?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we continue learning last week’s lesson of the usefulness of our troubles. In particular, we learn the usefulness of troubles that we have no chance at being deluded enough to think that we can handle. It’s amazing that anyone ever had the rubbish idea that God would never give you more than you can handle, when Scripture constantly tells us that we can’t handle anything!

Here, the volume of that message gets turned up a notch. God intentionally gives believers the kind of trouble that would make an apostle despair of life. Why? So that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. However well intentioned, those who tell believers that God is not giving them more than they can handle are robbing them of the very faith in which there is resurrection power!

Of course, if we can handle nothing, and God has to handle everything by His grace, where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us in v12. It leaves us not depending upon fleshly wisdom, which could never avail anyway. It leaves us focusing instead upon single-mindedness toward Him (simplicity). It leaves us focusing instead upon Godly sincerity. It leaves us freed from trying to preserve ourselves, in order to attend to serving others.

And, of course, it also leaves us thanking God for how HE has enabled others to serve us from the midst of their troubles. It wasn’t only the Corinthians unto whom the apostle had written and “all the more abundantly” ministered. It was unto us, today.

In all of this wonderful, gracious work that God does, He not only blesses us, but He gives us opportunity to participate in His blessing others. By being those through whose prayer He saves (v11a). By being those from whose circumstances others learn (vv12b-13a). By being those on account of whose circumstances thanksgiving abounds to God (v11cv14)!
Through what troubles is God taking you? Taking other believers? For what reasons? 
Suggested songs: ARP173 “Dependence on God for Salvation” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

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