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Now is the Time

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 18, 2021 8:00 am

Now is the Time

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 18, 2021 8:00 am

As the young church in Corinth grew in size, its membership faced new struggles on the path toward holiness, just as believers and churches do today. The Apostle Paul sent the letter we know as II Corinthians to encourage these believers to grow up in their faith. Dr. Boice illuminates all of Paul’s key points, including God’s comfort in affliction; forgiving people who have hurt us; the blessings of generosity; and why God allows thorns in our lives.

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Welcome to the Bible study reviewing Internet ministry of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically bite where studying the fifth chapter of second Corinthians, studying that as far as the second verse of chapter 6 as we begin that I'd like you to look at the beginning of the two major sections. Second Corinthians 5, 1 to 10 second Corinthians 511 through six to notice that in the first verse of each of those sections you have the words we know. Second Corinthians 51 says now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, then in verse 11 we read. Since then, we know what it is to fear the Lord. We try to persuade Matt that introduces us to a theme that ties these two sections together theme of Christian knowledge ended causes us to raise the question how it is Christians no claim to know anything that is anything spiritual. Different ways of knowing, of course, some of our knowledge is by what we would call intuition. I'm told that women are particularly good and that I don't have any way of verifying that but I suppose that's true. They say I just know that he's not on the level I say looks like a good old boy today and my wife says no to something wrong there while that's tuition. I suppose there's a kind of knowledge like that sometimes we just sense of the situation isn't right and later we find out that that was the case. There's knowledge that comes by experience. You learn by experience that if you mishandle tools you got hurt and so if you have any sense.

You either stop trying to be a handyman around the house or you learn how to handle them properly. That's knowledge by experience versus knowledge it comes by research that is by careful investigation. That's what most scholarship is about.

We examine a particular area we investigated.

We look at the facts and science, we make experiments we test out hypotheses. We see what works and a lot of that we gain kind of knowledge we asked the question when returned to Christianity is that the basis of the knowledge we have there is that the way in which were able to say, as Paul does, we know we know we know which we find not only in his writings.

But in other places as well, the answer is no, it's not in that way, all with escrow that sometimes these other means of knowing in Orinda particularly careful investigation experience Bible even appeals to experience of some sort of cyst taste and see that the Lord is good at is try you'll find that it works.

That's not the basis of knowledge and Christianity knowledge we have in Christianity comes by revelation is based on the character of God. This morning we had an example of that.

We were reading.

The ninth chapter of Luke story which is paralleled in Matthew 16 where it is found in even fuller for which the Lord Jesus Christ was talking to his disciples and asked him on this particular occasion, who it was that the people at large were saying he wants men say that I am the question Jesus asked the lady gave all the answers of the day they said well, some say you're Elijah.

Some say are the Messiah.

Some say are back profit because way back in Deuteronomy God had said to Moses that after him. That would rise up a prophet. Well I say maybe or that one. Jesus got personally.

Some of you say that I am in Peter was the spokesman on this occasion, he said well you are the Christ, the son of the living God. It's interesting that Jesus responded to that answer of Peter's by Satan to the other disciples in the fact this thing that Peter has just spoken is not something that he has come to know by intuition or something that he has arrived at by experimentation or even by careful research. This is something that has come to Peter from God.

It's by revelation.

So he turned to Peter and said blessed are you, because this has been given to you by the Holy Spirit, balance the basis of the Christian's knowledge, the only thing is that in our day. This is not come to us by some flight of the fancy, or in some mystic moment when we feel, perhaps especially close to God, but on the basis of that written revelation which she has now given us that we call the Bible the New Testament now which is been added to the Old Testament that in together makes up the whole of God's revelation for us.

Interesting that even Peter knew that because sin second Peter where this great apostle was talking about his experience. He said you know when we went out to preach the gospel to you. We didn't come to you with fables that we made up we didn't say oh it would be nice to have a story about an incarnate God who dies for our salvation and then rises again from the dead and we fixed upon the character that we call Jesus of Nazareth.

We didn't come with that kind of mythology. We said we were with them in the days of his flesh, and furthermore we were with him on the mountain when we sign transfigured before us. He was there first and what's seem to be the guise of a normal man and then he was overtaken by the divine glory transfigured before our eyes, and was perfectly evident to our senses that this was no mere man.

This was God incarnate. Furthermore, he said, we heard a voice from heaven saying this is my beloved son in whom I will please our senses are experience all of Peter says combined indicate that here was God revealing himself in human flesh and yet since Peter today we have a more certain word very interesting that he said that you would say why anything would be certain it would certainly be seeing the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh transfigured before your very eyes. Peter says it's important that this something that's very significant part of the divine revelation we were there we saw that we bear testimony to what he says we have a more certain word, namely the revelation of God in the holy Scriptures say when we talk about the gospel today.

It's on that basis we come to this Bible is the word of God and we study it is the word of God and we say we teach is not that which comes out of the experience or heart of man, but is that which God has revealed to us in our own language and propositions that we can understand. I would criticize at that point. Some people say well, that really is something you can't support because after all, why should you regard the Bible in particular is God's revelation. Certainly there other revelations or lease or other books that claim to be, we answer at that point. We believe that the Bible is the word of God, because the Lord Jesus Christ taught the Bible is the word of God and of the is God and therefore speaks truthfully as God must speak being God. We can trust what he says about the Bible. Some people say well know you can't do that because that's circular reasoning you go to the Bible to find out about Jesus Christ and you listen to Jesus Christ here would Jesus Christ as to say about the Bible. The Bible supports Jesus.

Jesus supports the Bible is circular reasoning is invalid as any other circular reasoning would be say that point that is not the case you speak about the Christian revelation in Scripture, it is not circular reasoning, but rather reestablish it like this we go to the Bible as we would any other historical book we study it, we say is a genuinely reliable is this the kind of book that seems to bear witness to true events, we say yes it is even time magazine some years ago for all its secular slant concluded that the Bible is an extremely reliable book good for time magazine so we come on that basis and as we read the Bible we say what the Bible talking about and what it is chiefly talking about is Jesus Christ, or many other things. The Old Testament looks forward to him. The Gospels present him in the epistles, then those books that follow look back and interpret what he did. So we say it focuses on Jesus Christ. We asked the question, who is a Jesus Christ came making extraordinary claims claim to be God all it was the kind of claim he had to be guarded in a way made it because it was a capital offense in his day, so he often said no don't reveal that anyone keep quiet about that for a while because the Son of Man has to suffer and die rise again, but then you go and proclaim that all over the world, but nevertheless he made those claims. He said he was seen me has seen the father and when Thomas fell down before him and said, my Lord and my God. Jesus didn't say as Paul and Silas did on a later occasion won't know know you must worship God alone. Not Ozzie received the worship which is a way of making the claim. So we come to the Bible and we say that we have Jesus Christ who reveals himself as the son of God and therefore as an infallible authority and we say well then what does Jesus Christ teach and in particular, what is Jesus Christ teach about the Bible that we find the Jesus Christ not only talked of the Bible was God's wording to be trusted the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the very son of God patterned his own life upon the Bible. He said look I have to go to the cross and died because this is what it was written about me in the Old Testament. So Jesus very son of God so dependent upon the Bible and trust of the Bible that he said every single word must be fulfilled. Another thing is going to pass away, either for me or anybody else what is written here where we say. If that's your stroke with the Bible presents Christ in Christ.

As we said to be and we can trust him to be that Jesus spoke authoritatively about the Bible and the view of Jesus Christ about the Bible must be our view and we take this book not circular reasoning, but with the sounds approach and we say to ourselves and the world. This is what God has say people today so we make it our task to persuade men of these truths is what Paul is talking about he does in two parts. As I indicated earlier, the first part has to do with knowledge the concerns ourselves and because Paul is the one that's writing it has to do primarily with knowledge that concerns himself as aspirations and flows from the previous chapter, you recall from earlier study that he was talking there about the difficulties he had gone through spoke of his ministry. How we went about preaching the gospel, but he said it was in great difficulty were hard-pressed, he said, perplexed, persecuted struct out given over to death. But as Augustine the end of that section.

He said, but we don't despair and all of that we carry on because he said we have our eyes fixed on things that are eternal. All what we look at the things that are seen as I look at my own body. Paul says I see it wasting away to say. I recognize that everything is going to pass away everything we see things are eternal of the spiritual things and that's what I fix my eyes upon because that's what matters in the long run that's what's going to be left with all of the heavens and earth pass away that which God is done in the lives of people remains in place and I fix my eyes on that and that's the way I keep going. Now out of that Paul says in this opening section of this chapter that has with his own personal aspirations begins. As I said earlier, when I read that verse talking about the dissolution of his body and he says that's going to come sooner or later everybody in my case.

He says it perhaps is coming sooner because of the kind of hardships I've endured.

His body is at best ragged tent. It's going to be folded up and put away one day, but Paul says the glory of the Christian hope is to know that when that tent is put away.

We have an eternal dwelling made with God in heaven. I read that I puzzled over what Paul precisely had in mind. I have several ideas in mind, I think he might very well be thinking probably was because of his Jewish experience of the feast of Tabernacles that commemorated the days of the Jewish wandering in the wilderness lieutenants in which they live and was to remind them of that uncertain pass before they actually came to possess the promised land. Always thinking of that. I think he probably does have that in mind, that he saying in each of our individual experiences we have experienced something like that. The days of his earthly life of ours bodies that we have are like that wandering in the wilderness. We bodies, but if something is passing away temporary bosses that would be a cause for great dismay, were it not for the fact that God is leading us to a promised land in one day. Were going to have a city with permanent dwellings in which to dwell in me well be that Paul was also drawing on broader experience of the people in that area of the world. Then also the day I say that because I remember in TE Lawrence's great classic seven pillars of wisdom. How in the opening chapter of that book Lawrence of Arabia.

The author out of his great experience with the Arab people points out something of the nature of the migrations around the Sinai Peninsula to been characteristic for centuries and were well known in his own time and in our day as well. He pointed out that the best land in that particular area of the world was the highlands of Judah, and especially the land which received the breezes from the Mediterranean, where the rain fell where crops grew where trees existed at one time. Land as the Bible says that this flowing with milk and honey. The best tribes and strongest tribes always take that area but if it should happen that over a period of generations that tribe should weaken. It should be decimated by famine or plague or some such thing would always be a stronger pride would come along and stronger pride would push the weaker tribe out and take the better land when that happened tribe that was pushed out of a little bit further south in the good land, not quite so good land and they would displace people that were in that area and they would in turn move on further south displace the people there, and so on that it would go in this movement would continue down around the Sinai area around the great desert and back up the other side till at the very end of the sequence of migrations, the people who were there were virtually forced out of the most arid desert country became the better ones lived in tents. All that of course makes perfect sense, but it's not for that that Lawrence gives that history in the first chapter of his book.

He said you know what wise at the end of that particular course of migration and then answered his own question.

He said what wise at the end of that course of migration is Damascus Damascus with its rivers and its gardens, its houses and its flowers Damascus.

He said always became a symbol of paradise for the Semitic peoples. You see, it may well be that that's the kind of thing that Paul is drawing on. I think probably not specifically if all the Jew's writing. He's thinking of anything about Jerusalem, but it's not emotional or out of the desert experience, the ball draws on you saying you say are world here has bought our home, where only pilgrims in it, but we are pressing on the heavenly city. Paul uses the second image in the second image is that of clothing. I suppose we don't have to deal with that as much because we understand that a lot better to be closely close in the latest fashions, or to be clothed in adequate clothing when other clothing is inadequate. He says that's also what it's like. These bodies well great things, but these bodies are weakened by sin.

Their mortal are subject to disease they die. There other like clothing, but clothing that is fallen in the rags he says we don't look for the taking off of the clothing that is the death of the body then were found they could says, but what we look forward to his being close with that new heavenly body and it's with that knowledge that we press on Paul's very practical. At that point, he says, because we know these things, we live by faith not by sight and we look at site we say look, everybody's passing away were passing away. Let's look for the moment let's eat drink and be merry because tomorrow we die. Says no.

We live by faith, we live by the things that are unseen and eternal. That's what we live by when he says because of that very confidence we make it our goal to please Jesus Christ and to do that whether we are being taken home to be with him in heaven, or whether we are left here to bear witness Paul said on another occasion that to be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord, that I desire go to be with him, which is far better but he says for the present time. It's more expedient helpful for me to be here with you and so he made it his goal to please Jesus Christ. Here in the second section of this he deals with that knowledge, the concerns other people say the first section concern himself and his own aspirations. Now we deals with knowledge the concerns of others. He begins by talking about his conscience.

The fact that it was plain and open before others. That's a great thing to have.

We talked about that a bit earlier, we recognize that he was being criticized by the people that had taken over leadership in Corinth were causing some of the problems there balls as you know I don't have to defend myself because my life is an open book before you know who I am, where I been what I do is that there is is open before all of you in the greatest thing of all this in my life is open before God.

All I can be misunderstood here, but God knows I'm not trying to pull the wool over God's eyes. I couldn't do it if I wanted to.

My life is an open book before him before you as well. Paul says it's out of that kind of openness and sincerity of conscience that I'm able to minister as I do talk to her about his obligation to them in his obligation to these Christians in Corinth and all other people besides is the obligation of love talks about in verse 14 Christ love compels us because were convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died and he died for all those who live should no longer live for themselves. Always talking about himself and his ministry box for him who died for them and was raised again. This is the great motivation of Christian missions.the only motivation of Christian missions first great motivation is a Jesus Christ tells us to be involved in missions. Jesus the end of his earthly life after his resurrection gave to his disciples what we call the great commission. It's recorded five times in Scripture. Once in each of the four Gospels, and again at the beginning of the book of acts. Jesus said in what is the most commonly known version about the end of Matthew's gospel all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him and that therefore we are to go in his name to all peoples teaching them everything that he had commanded them and baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and the Holy Spirit. And then he gave this great promise. He said hello. I'm with you always, even unto the end of the world.

The first reason we go to others with the gospel is the Jesus commands us to go we didn't understand it even if it didn't make sense, even if there was no success to our efforts.

And sometimes there's very little success to our efforts. We go because that's what Jesus told us to do and he is Lord second reason we go is our concern for the well-being of other people where the gospel goes blessing comes to people's lives greatest social advances in history of gum as a result of the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's out of that the hospitals of been built schools been established, and so on.

And we have that in mind as well. The suffering of the world is a concern that motivates us below all the concerns we have all the reasons we have going others with the gospel with chief among them is this the Paul talks about in verse 14 it is the love of Christ constrains us.

You don't know Jesus Christ you're not one of his of his life is not in you that you don't have that love for other people, not the kind of love that would compel you to go in difficulty and to present the gospel to them not endure the kind of things of Paul talks about here being perplexed, persecuted, struck down, given over to that you might have a genuine but limited benevolence for other people help them if you can, as long as it doesn't cost too much, but that's not what missions is about all says it's that love of Christ within Christ who loves bloodless price to one of us, those who are suffering the prisoners, the hungry, the first thing the destitute Christ loves so. Also, as you say, since I been joined to Christ. I find that that love of Christ works within me and moreover constrains me to go and tell them about Jesus. Somebody once asked Mahatma Gandhi. I think it was the Stanley Jones.

He said Mahatma Gandhi. Tell me Mr. Gandhi what would the Christians have to do to win India for Jesus Christ. Gandhi as you know, do a great deal about Christianity and studied in London. Gandhi said whether number of things that the Christians need to do first of all they have to live like Jesus Christ and secondly he said you should never compromise your faith, and third he said you need to learn everything you can about the non-Christian religions than fourth.

He said, above all, let everything you do be characterized by love is not bad counsel live like Jesus Christ don't compromise your faith. Learn everything you can about the people to whom you go.

But above all show forth the love of Jesus Christ. This is what Paul says he did.

He says because Christ's love compels us. We go and we bring this great gospel to the world summonses at that point what what is the gospel and he talks about the end of that chapter.

He says, is a great message of reconciliation reconciliation means to bring back together those who have been drawn apart to make one those who formerly were at war is to bring peace say that aptly describe what happens in the preaching of the gospel and the answer is yes it does because in our natural state. We are not merely imperfect.

We are not merely creatures over against God who is the creator. We are hostile to God were going our way were building our own kingdoms.

We do not want Jesus Christ to rule over us.

That's the nature of the human heart because we don't want anybody else to rule over us either and so we have all the tensions that exist within the human family. But above all were hostile against God word war with God in Jesus Christ as one came and made peace by the blood of the cross with Paul says elsewhere. He did it in two ways.

He did it by bearing our sin dying in our place and he did by giving us what we don't have his righteousness of new life, so that now is life draws us in his death removes the barrier of sin that stood in the way Paul says you see, that's the great message that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them, and he says God is committed to us this great message of reconciliation. I was dividing up this book for our study. I put these first verses of chapter 6 with chapter 5 months away gospel was divided up originally. But in a way I think Paul himself would've divided it if he had been called upon to do it because you see having talks about that great message of reconciliation. Paul then in chapter 6 begins to urge upon us saying in verse two. I tell you now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. That means a means of Paul isn't just a professor of theology all Paul knew a great deal of theology is not even to say that Paul was just a great teacher, though he was certainly a great teacher and he knew a great deal that he wanted to share with his converts and those were hearing the gospel the first time.

But above that and beyond. Paul was an ambassador of Jesus Christ. He was a preacher and a witness. Paul didn't present these truths simply to tickle our fancy art that fill our minds.

But he presented this great message of reconciliation in order that those to whom he spoke might be reconciled to God.

So we come to a chapter like this, we must ended and that way we must say, are you reconciled to God hears the apostle Paul, we would say perhaps the greatest man who ever lived apart from Jesus Christ and his life for this message died in order to carry this gospel throughout the Roman world's greatest message that anyone could ever hear the question is, as it had its affected you or are you just sitting there saying, well, I've heard that before. Interesting, certainly interesting to know what Christians believe, yet you're not reconciled to God. This is a message of grace message of love as God himself says, come each for you to be alienated from me for you to be under my wrath, come through Jesus Christ. That's where the door is opened and the way is made plain Paul says do it now because you don't know what tomorrow may bring. You don't even know if you be here tomorrow.

Now is the time of God's favor today is the time to come. Our great God of our heavenly father we ask that you would do what only you can do it we can present the message but you must draw those who hear it. We ask you to open years to hear the deepest sense what your Spirit speaks through Scripture, we ask you to open our eyes to perceive it melts hearts to respond and so bring many to faith in Christ, by which they may even now in this moment pass out of death in the life through Jesus Christ, you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James voice listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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