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Faithful to the Very End

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 2, 2021 8:00 am

Faithful to the Very End

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 2, 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 our radio and Internet Ministry of finance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically.

It is struck me that are many practical evidences for the power of God and Christianity of the fact that Janet is supernatural.

One of them my judgments is had what we call it theology.

The perseverance of the saints, namely that believers in Christ by the power of God did not give up in the Christian life. Even though there are many arguments in favor of giving up on many occasions Nancy Buckland was singing just a moment ago, that beautiful song.

His eye is on the sparrow, which begins if you can recall the opening line of the question, why should I be discouraged, they song goes on to explain why one should not be namely because God's eyes on us and keeps us see keeps the sparrow, he certainly preserves his children, but if you would stop after that first line in question and begin to supply from your own experience reasons why you should be discouraged. It's not very difficult. Many times the find ample reasons. And certainly when we turn to Scripture we find ample reasons.

Sometimes people feel like giving up because of opposition is a great character in the Bible who is an illustration about I'm thinking of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah probably had more opposition to his message over a period of more years. Any character in all of Scripture.

They did just everything they could think up to Jeremiah and yet he was called to bear witness there in Jerusalem and declining.

Of the nation's history or about 50 years and he did it year after year after year in spite of the fact that they falsely accuse them they maligned him.

They arrested him they put him in prison. They threw them in the cistern and nevertheless the didn't give up. He hung in there to the end. He wanted to like the assignment God given him.

He said got on more than one occasion that he would be delighted if he could be relieved of it.

Lastly, he hung in there because that's what God gave them to do so.

I say sometimes opposition tends to grind us down.

Another thing that often is that if you let your own experiences a lack of results and that means hopelessness so far as we can see our efforts for Christ.

Try to bear witness in a situation or live in a moral way the situation over a period of time and you just don't seem to be getting anywhere doing is a little bit like Elijah to give another Old Testament example Elijah tried to bear witness in Israel for a period of many years and under terribly difficult circumstances, and in his judgment, in spite of the fact that God had operated powerfully and what he did.

He saw no results. No all that great story of his victory on Mount Carmel. When God sent down fire from heaven and burned up his offering, and in which all of the profits of mail were overthrown and killed yet. Immediately after that lie just so discouraged that he flees in the wilderness and the setting there by the brook, and when God asked him what long line needs scarring. He said look, they have killed all the prophets and I'm the only one left and now they seek my life to take it away. It's better than I were dead white in spite of his great victories was ready to give up. I don't know how you feel but I suppose there have been times in your life. Even if you're not living through one right now and you felt that way tried to do what God gave you to do tried to be faithful and yet there's been opposition or you seen little results. Or perhaps you're just getting tired of it and you say I really would like to give up. I'd like to stop. I'd like to hand in my profits batch. I'd like to quit. Well, I turned it in that case to second Corinthians the 12th chapter where we are studying the actions of the apostle Paul where this church in Corinth is concerned, I want you to see that the apostle Paul. In spite of the same kind of difficulties and discouragements that you face did not give up. There's a great section of the word, which is an insight in the kind of tenacity that Paul had an which he had not necessarily because it was something intrinsic to his character, but because God was doing something in him and through heaven because God was doing it all didn't give up even under the most difficult circumstances I think it's a combination of two things that made Paul's situation so difficult at this point one is the hardships he been through. I talked about opposition before and Paul had plenty of that, but it wasn't only opposition from without, from enemies, but it was all kinds of physical difficulties as well. We studied some time ago. The 11th chapter where he talks about his efforts in the fact that he had been flogged and beaten and imprisoned all that many many times and we could say well that's understandable. He was a pioneer missionary that's Mike be what you would think would happen but then he goes on to say yes and not only that, but there were natural calamities as well.

I been danger from rivers and bandits and countrymen and Gentiles, and so forth and I've been without sleep and without food I been called a naked and you might say. At that point with those of the sort of things that God controls and yet he experienced extreme difficulty in those conditions as well. We read that list and we say what we go through tough times that we have never lived through anything as bad as that and then on top of that, having explained to see does here only in this letter. Nowhere else in his writings because Paul is very reticent to talk about these things, but having explained here in this letter as he does nowhere else. The extent of the suffering he went fro in order to bear the gospel to the Gentile world, which included this church at Corinth. We have over against that the extreme lack of response in the problematic nature of the church at Corinth itself is a polygon there found the church of the dominant and great miracles had been done through him as the church was established here labor, there is a considerable period of time he had left all kinds of problems came in. He went back once it didn't even solve the matter here is years later much further on in his ministry. Writing to the same people about the same problems with the same amount of discouragements and wondering, we discover as we go on to read, especially the 14th chapter whether some of those whom he administered and who had apparently given profession of faith are really believers at all you know of at that point the apostle Paul had said well I have just reached the end of my resources I have done everything I could do is not more. Nobody could say they had done more.

I have labored long. I have toiled with great difficulty. I have persevered the very end of everything I can possibly go.

But now I quit ball and said that we would say well look who can blame he really did do not only everything a person was capable of doing, but much more than any of us could possibly done yet.

We come to the end of this letter and it is perfectly evidence even as Paul and said that he is nevertheless striving, working, laboring at the same problems that has concerned them all along because he's not ready to give up. The reason is not ready to give up as it is God was not ready to give up and was not giving up even through him we have kind of a review in the closing. This 12th chapter of what happened. Paul looks to the past, but he had done when he was there at Corinth and then we have kind of in anticipation because Paul looks ahead to what he is planning on doing his visit there and then on the basis of that backward look and that forward-looking. He focuses again on the problems of the present moment and expresses his concern for the church in this great city.

That's really the outline. A look at that, briefly, personally looks back is what he's talking about and what is the first paragraph in the new international version translation. He says that he was there. Verse 12 with all of the marks of an apostle, that is, he did signs and wonders and miracles and he not just once or twice but as he says here with rage, perseverance C. He's reminding the Christians in the city of Corinth that when he was there, it was perfectly evidence the God Almighty was authenticating his ministry. I was the point of the signs. After all signs point to something the case of the Lord Jesus Christ. They pointed the meaning of his ministry. John's Gospel is particularly rich is it developed that aspect of the signs in the case of the apostles. Those early preachers of the gospel those through whom the Lord himself by the Holy Spirit gave what we have is our New Testament. The signs and miracles were meant to authenticate them as messengers of God. Those to whom the people to whom they went to listen.

This is the kind of thing that Nicodemus recognized when he came to Jesus on that occasion recorded in the third chapter of John, Nicodemus came to him and said Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher, God.

That is that you speak the true words of God in your true messenger because he said no one can do these miracles you do, except God be with him. I was Nicodemus is very insightful acknowledgment of the purpose of the miracles authenticate the messenger because after all, that is the way in which the truth of God is known as C authenticates those to whom he is spoken in a special way is to position the apostles were in apostles went out into the Greek world where there were many conflicting religions. Many contrary claims to truth in the power of God was on them to do these signs and wonders and miracles in authentication of their message. The apostle Paul says you know you just think back to when I was with you when I came there in the early days preaching the gospel.

You will recall many of you undoubtedly have been beneficiaries of this that God worked powerfully through many in providing these signs wonders and miracles which are the stamp of the apostleship. So The pass. Then he reminds them of the solid work that God is done. Another thing he mentions to them.

Also, verse 13, that is when he was with him. He hadn't taken any money. That's an interesting thing is it because there were places in which Paul did take it. He is a matter of fact, in his writing reminds people when he was establishing the churches in setting up the ground rules for the churches that the workman is worthy of his hire and that it is proper to pay in a proper way. Those who minister the word, and so Paul is not at all opposed to that sort of thing in principal and presumably on other occasions, himself benefited from the generosity of the churches he served. Certainly that was true. After he left because when he was here in Corinth that was through the generosity of the churches in Macedonia in particular and others perhaps as well.

But Paul is able to live and carry on a full-time ministry were times of course when the money was not available in the labored as he did at Corinth with his hands making tense, but it is interesting, isn't it. Although Paul was not opposed to receiving money for the work in principal and although in other places. He did receive it and carry on his work that he did not do it at Corinth. I don't understand that because Paul doesn't explain it may well be that he had a special revelation in this area, saying, in effect, this is going to be a problem later on Paul so you want to stay apart from the money here, or perhaps just with normal sensitivity realized by whatever means of this was going to be a difficulty in the church record. But whatever the case where the reasoning behind it is a point of fact in history. Paul had brought the gospel to the churches in Corinth. The people in Corinth, apart from any giving on their part. So in in a kind of ironic way because the others. These false apostles were there were obviously there for monetary reasons. He says the Corinthians.

Please forgive me for wronging you in this way is reminding them you say by this kind of reproof the fact that not only was the gospel, the authentic gospel. It really came to them in full price. Apart from any giving on their part. So Pollux backwards what God is done then the second paragraph he looks ahead to what he intended to do what he anticipated that God would do when he visited them as he says in verse 14. 1/3 time. We point out that this is a bit of a difficulty in terms of the history of Paul's contact with the Corinthian church.

That's because when we study these Corinthian letters over against the account of Paul's activities we have in the book of acts we don't find three visits of Paul Corinth first one when he founded the church and one that he went after the writing of this letter, but as a matter fact we only find two and yet here Paul is speaking of the third. Some scholars have tried to handle that. In this way, they noticed that in verse 14, Paul says, now I am ready to visit you for the third time and they have construed that may now for the third time I am ready to come visit you. That is, he he was he was ready once and that he was prohibited from coming and then he got ready a second time and was prohibited from coming enough the first time he is ready, but is prohibited from coming that is possible way of interpreting verse 14.

But the difficulty is when you move on to chapter 13. You can't reinterpret text in that manner.

Chapter 13, Paul simply says this will be my third visit to you for the visit is contemplating at this point is third in there must've been a second one in there somewhere. The answer of course is not all that difficult simply to recognize that the book of acts is not comprehensive minutes detailing the Paul's ministry. We read the book of acts, and so much of it deals with Paul that we tend to think about this record of Paul's journeys but is actually a record of the expansion of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, in which a number of people were active. Peter early chapters, Paul and others along the way. Much of it focuses on Paul is not exhaustive and preaching treating his life and there is no reason at all to be concerned that second visit to Corinth was simply left out, presumably there were three Paul made first visit in which the church was founded. He made a second visit, which he calls elsewhere.

Sorrowful visit, which he seems to allude to hear. When he came in he tried to straighten out the problem in the church but was unsuccessful.

The people resistant.

Nobody repented of the sanity finally left in what must've been a very humiliating time as Paul thinks ahead of the start visit. He wonders if the third visit might turn out like second. It's a great concern to him. Paul does say on that 14th verse that his real objective is not the objective of the false prophets were there to get a following or to get money to make a name for themselves or whatever it may be he speaking spiritually when he says what I want is not your possession, but you hears the heart of a true pastor who is concerned with the life, soul and destiny of the people to whom God sent it not interested in the wealth but is interested in the people he's interested in whether they're going to turn from their sin and follow the Lord Jesus Christ in a wholehearted way.

I think there's an interesting parallel between what Paul says here and what Paul said earlier in the eighth chapter concerning the churches in Macedonia churches in Macedonia, you know, had been very generous in their giving. And Paul is explaining how that happened because they were poor churches, Corinth, by contrast, would be a very wealthy church in the churches in Macedonia will further out and what we would call the sticks and the boonies were less profitable terms of finance and yet they were giving generously. Paul is at some pains to explain how that is what he said well the real secret was verse five of chapter 8 that they first gave themselves to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. I was the secret you see, God had their hearts in the Godhead their hearts. Well things they had just naturally followed along behind because they recognize everything they hadn't given to them from God and so was to be used in his service, rather than serving their own ends. Here is Paul turning out of the churches at Corinth to say the same thing you said what I want is you and what he means is not what I want is you. For me it means what I want is you forgot, I want you to be followers of Jesus Christ. That's the calling that I've been given.

So when I come this third time, I want you to know in advance that that's going to be my objective. He says that this was the objective of Titus as well. Verse 18 and you trace it back and you say well why did Paul act this way. Why did Titus act this way, the answer is should always be the answer of the ministers of the gospel is that this is the way God himself acts three Paul brings in this matter of a father and children. Parents and children. He says the fact that I was behaving toward you as a father I was loving it was a father courses from God.

We got that pattern that one was the God and father of all his people who loves us and who serves us and who works for us and does it out of sheer grace. Paul says that's the way I been with you and that's the way I'm going to be with you so in an attempt to recall them. He considers not only his past experience, but what is going to do in the future as well. In the third paragraph he talks about his present concerns and their weighty as well say it wasn't just a matter of Paul's seeing this church at Corinth make a few mistakes and just being anxious that they not make serious mistakes that would be important enough, perhaps, but it's a far greater matter than that what Paul sees in some areas of that church are the works of the flash in contrast to the fruit of the spirit know in the book of Galatians in the fifth chapter he has two lists one the kind of things that come forth from our fleshly natures are sinful natures. The other list things that come forth in our life in the Holy Spirit is within.

When you take that list of the works of the flash Galatians 5 and comparative with a list of Paul gives here in verse 20, you find that there is a great deal of similarity. Paul is saying here is that I am afraid that when I come. What I am going to find in your lives are things that give evidence not of the presence of the Spirit of God but of an unregenerate carnal sinful nature. I'm afraid that I'm going to find quarreling. We know that there was quarreling because he mentions it earlier in these letters, and jealousy, and outbursts of anger and factions that is dividing up in groups. We know that that was true because some were saying. I follow Paulison others were saying. I follow Peter and some were saying. I follow Paul and slander and gossip and arrogance and disorder is a service.

The reason I am so concerned for you is that ICANN's of the fact that that is really what you're like and if you're acting this way what your wives are showing is the quarreling and the jealousy and the anger in the factions of the slander and the gossip of the arrogance and disorder. How is one to believe that you are really born again all say I'm not reading that, in what Paul says because later in the 14th chapter he says that explicitly. Verse five examine yourselves. Then he says to see whether you are in the faith test yourselves to realize that Christ Jesus is in you, you realize that and of course you fail the test. That's what is concerned about so as he struggles, as it were, spiritually with these questions. At Corinth he struggles for a limited time, but to the very end because what is at stake is not merely the health of the local church with the salvation of the people who apparently up to this time have at least been professing the name of Jesus Christ I said earlier that the reason Paul doesn't give up is because God doesn't give up and I want to return to that now God does not give up with us and so that's our example, but it's even more than that God does not give up in us, so is the fact that he doesn't give up in us keeps us going and enables us to be strong.

You know it was in the first letter to the Corinthians in the 10th chapter, Paul wrote about temptation.

Verse 13 he said you say, no temptation has seized you except what is common to man than that includes the temptation to quit temptation is seized you but what is common. He says, and Paul himself experienced it without a doubt. But he says God is faithful where I faithful we would quit. What he says God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear when you're tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. That is why Christians don't quit why they persevere to the end, in spite of difficulties because God provides a way and he strengthens them and enables them to stand even in the most severe trials of daily life.

Let us pray our father, we thank you for that strength which is ours in Jesus Christ which we can fasten times of trial. We are ready to doubt an abandoned quit. Go back but which is they are nevertheless, in which works faithfully, those who truly are bound to the Lord Jesus Christ by saving faith. Father, we would ask that you would use these throws in this example from the life of the apostle Paul to strengthen some may be discouraged and ready to quit in this hour. Whatever the area of the discouragement or the hardship may be ministered to them. We pray, bring victory to yourself glory the Lord Jesus Christ by what is done because at your power not ours that is seen in difficult circumstances. We pray in the name of Christ our Lord. You are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support of this

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