Sunday, August 17, 2014

On 8-24-14, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:1-4 or 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:2-4 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as An Appeal for Reconciliation

An Appeal for Reconcilliation
 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:1-4 or 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:2-4
International Sunday School Lesson
August 24, 2014
                                                                                 


Commentary
By
Jed Greenough


In last week’s commentary I touched on our appreciation or lack of it for what Paul endured for the sake of the gospel and for our sake.  I mentioned how often times in scripture we pick out what speaks to us at that moment.  If that is all we did last week we might have passed over some of what Paul endured.
If that is what we did we get another chance for appreciation and enlightenment as again we see mention in general terms the hardships that Paul endured or as Paul put it, he endured “in great endurance.”
As this leader of early Christians this shepherd and teacher distinguished one suffering from another by separating them into: troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, riots aimed at him, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger.  It is a litany again that we should remember.
What I think too though that it should show is where and how he placed himself despite his station as an apostle.  It should show the role that the leaders, and shepherds and teachers of our church today should pursue.  They may not yet in this day have to endure these things but they should prepare for that day because it could come soon!  It will be too late to practice when that time arrives.
The rest of us should appreciate these positions for what they go through for our sakes.  We must make room for them in our hearts as Paul says in chapter 7 verse 2.  I know that is difficult from my own life but Paul tells how it’s done in the preceding verse, “…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
We have to make a conscious choice to pursue holiness and we owe it to God to do so as again Paul said in 6:1, “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.  For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
Again, I know from experience it isn’t easy but only when we are truly holy will we truly act like Paul or love as he entreated.

For Discussion:
1.      Discuss receiving God’s gift of grace in vain.
2.      How might our teachers, leaders, shepherds etc. put stumbling blocks in someone’s path?  This is a sensitive but vital matter to discuss in an intelligent but sensitive way.
3.      Discuss Christians today who might be enduring some of the things that Paul experienced.
4.      Discuss being prepared to endure ourselves.
5.      Discuss speaking freely to each other as Paul mentions in 6:11.
6.      Discuss pursuing holiness for God’s sake if not our own.


Upcoming Lessons:
8-31-14  2 Corinthians 8:1-14 A Community Shares Its Resources or Generosity in the Midst of Poverty
 

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved





Monday, August 11, 2014

On 8-17-14, 2 Corinthians 4:1-15 or 4:1-18 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Treasure in Earthen Vessels or Treasure in Clay Pots

Treasure in Earthen Vessels
Or
Treasure in Clay Pots
 2 Corinthians 4:1-15 or 4:1-18
International Sunday School Lesson
August 17, 2014
                                                                                 


Commentary
By
Jed Greenough




The elegance and eloquence of Paul’s words in chapters such as today’s 2 Corinthians 4 prove to me that without a doubt these are God’s words.  Somewhere in this one chapter God can be speaking to each one of us as individuals even though we are in a sense studying them together all over the world.
For me, for now, it might be in verses 1, 16-18 more than the rest of the chapter.  For you, if you are a teacher it might be the reminder in verse 2 to not distort His word because you think you need to keep things interesting.  For another it might be verses 3-4 as to why some can hear or read the same words and just not get it.
For some these words are troubling and God knowing that has Paul explain to believers a reminder in verses 5-6 that they are not rejecting mere words or the servants delivering them but rejecting Christ!
If Paul, referring to himself really in verse 7, was a jar of clay containing this great treasure of the gospel message, how much more are we?
The verses that follow through to the end of the chapter really explain a lot without going into details what Paul endured.  Do we appreciate what he gave and is giving to us yet?  I think more often than not we read the eloquence of the words and pick out what speaks to us and move on.  As we know that is part of what Paul and God wanted and why they were written (it says so in verse 15) but now would be a good time to thank God for what Paul endured for the sake of the gospel.
Paul is gone but his example remains as to the effort that the gospel deserves.

For Discussion:
1.      Discuss what verses most speak to you today from our chapter.
2.      Discuss the example Paul gave.
3.      Discuss the encouragement to be received from these verses.
4.      Discuss distorting God’s word.
5.      Discuss verses 3-4.
6.      Discuss what it means to “preach ourselves” as referenced in verse 5.
7.      Read this chapter again, slowly, with emphasis, out loud.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved