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Thursday, May 2, 2019

2019.05.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 8:16-24

Questions for Littles: Who earnestly cares for the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:16)? Who put this care into his heart? Who commanded him to go to them (2 Corinthians 8:17)? In what is the other brother’s praise, from 2 Corinthians 8:18, famous? Who chose him to travel with the gift (2 Corinthians 8:19)? Who is glorified by this? What are they trying to avoid (2 Corinthians 8:20)? Before whom does the apostle hope that the gift will be honorable (2 Corinthians 8:21)? What has the brother mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:22 demonstrated about himself in many things? What recommendation does the apostle give about Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23)? What does he call the other brothers in verse 23? What does he call the churches? Whom else does he hope will be honorable before the Lord and men, and show forth the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 8:24)? 
This passage has not one, but two unidentified characters. First, in 2 Corinthians 8:18, there is the one whose “praise is in the gospel, throughout all the churches.” Many (perhaps most) think that this is Luke. He has traveled with Paul, and is now of course famous for having written his gospel. In fact, Paul quotes Luke’s gospel as Scripture in 1 Timothy 5:18.

And we don’t know who the man in 2 Corinthians 8:22 is. Some think that this is another way of talking about Titus, but then 2 Corinthians 8:23 refers to at least two more brothers in addition to Titus. Commentators think perhaps Timothy or Silas.

But, I think that the point is actually the fact that we don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Christ produces faithful gospel preaching. Christ produces diligent service. And Christ gets the glory.

This is a good lesson for us. I think that sometimes we hope that others will see how much glory we are bringing to Jesus. But is this really bringing glory to Jesus? Can it really be for His glory, if what we are most hoping is that others will notice that it was we who did so? May God spare us. Better to remain nameless.

There is a lesson here for the Corinthians. Yes, the apostle is urging them to show that his recounting of Christ’s work in them is true. But, the focus is especially upon the recounting of the fact that it is Christ’s work.

This is also behind his desire to make sure that the money is handled in a blameless manner. Since the administration of the gift is to the glory of the Lord Himself, it is very important that it be honorable not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men. How dreadful it would be to be careless with the reputation of Christ, when it was in our power to guard it instead! How important it is in the public ministry of the church that all things be done blamelessly and above reproach!
What service are you part of in the church? Are you hoping that others will know that it is you? How are you being careful to be blameless in it? Whom do you praise for others’ service?
Suggested songs: ARP112 “O Praise the Lord” or TPH538 “Take My Life, and Let It Be”

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