Contributed on Aug 22, 2018
This passage repeats "comfort" again and again. What does Paul teach us hear about God's comfort?
HARD ROAD: This life is tough and we will need some comfort along the way. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. - Even if you were only half paying attention when I read the passage, you know the main word: “comfort.” It’s littered throughout the verses. - Comfort is something that we all need from time to ...read more
Contributed on Aug 27, 2018
Encouragement for when we are in the midst of struggles.
Where Do I Find Hope When I’m Struggling? 1. Hardships are not unusual. - 2 Corinthians 1:8-9a. - There can be resentment in our relationship with God when hard times come. “Doesn’t God love me?” “Why is God allowing this?” It can lead us to question God. - This is particularly true if we’ve ...read more
Contributed on Aug 31, 2018
Christians today tend to romanticize the early church as a Golden Age when passages like this one present a picture of a church with plenty of struggles. What does that mean for how we should view the church today?
- Read 2 Corinthians 1:12-17 and 2:1-10. An Early Church Story: - What we are looking at today is just one story from the early church. 1. There was serious sin in the church. - 2 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. - We know this from 1 Corinthians 5 and Paul’s extensive instructions to ...read more
Contributed on Sep 12, 2018
If Paul here says that all God's promises are "yes" in Jesus, how can I have more confidence to claim those promises?
“‘Yes’ In Christ”: We are missing out on a great verse to boost our confidence in answered prayer. - 2 Corinthians 1:20. - This is such a great verse and yet it’s one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This is one that is worth regularly quoting in prayer. It’s just a vibrant ...read more
Contributed on Sep 28, 2018
This passage teaches that God is the one who ultimately allows us to stand firm. Paul shares three ways that God does that.
An Encouraging Truth For Weak Moments: Standing firm is ultimately not a matter of our strength; God makes us stand firm. - 2 Corinthians 1:21. - Certainly it needs to be said that we need to do our part in standing firm. We are instructed at various points in the New Testament to stand firm. A ...read more
Contributed on Oct 9, 2018
Some hopeful words for those struggling with the rejection that sometimes happens when we witness for Christ.
AN INEVITABLE CHALLENGE: Ministry is uncertain. - 2 Corinthians 2:12-13. - We don’t know all the details, but these verses indicate some good and some bad. A HOPEFUL TRUTH: The Kingdom is always advancing. - 2 Corinthians 2:14a – “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal ...read more
Contributed on Oct 9, 2018
Paul declares that the proof of his ministry is the changed lives of the Corinthians. Do we focus on that today?
THE GOAL OF EFFECTIVE MINISTRY: The goal is not empire building, but changed lives. - 2 Corinthians 3:1-3. - v. 1 – they were the letters of recommendation. - v. 2 – “You yourselves are our letter . . .” - v. 3 – “. . . you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry . . . ” - v. 3 – ...read more
Contributed on Oct 19, 2018
In what ways is the new covenant better than what Moses shared?
What Should We Do? Embrace the better new. - Sometimes Christians seem to pine for the Old Testament way of doing things. A couple examples: a. Getting to see God show up physically with smoke and lightning fireworks. b. Having a list of rules to follow. - A larger problem than that, though, ...read more
Contributed on Oct 26, 2018
Encouragement when we're tempted to hide our sin or pretend that we didn't sin.
- In this sermon, I’m going to focus on the transition statements within this passage. I want to do that because in this particular passage those words give us some clues to the point that Paul is making. They each point to a significant idea within this passage. When You Feel Like You’re Not ...read more
Contributed on Nov 2, 2018
Paul tells us the world is blind to the gospel. What is the key to help them see?
- Earlier, use this for the Children’s Sermon. Have a box with one side open and that open side up against the wall. Let the kids guess what might be in the box. Then have helper pick up the box and hold it front of their face, causing a light to shine on their face from the flashlight in the ...read more
Contributed on Nov 6, 2018
A look at why it's ok that we are merely "jars of clay."
A Picture Of Us And God: We are the plain pot; Christ is the magnificent flower. - 2 Corinthians 4:7. Living This Truth Out: 1. It’s ok to admit your shortcomings. - 2 Corinthians 4:7 – “jars of clay.” 2. Accept that you’re the plain pot and Christ is the magnificent flower. - 2 ...read more
Contributed on Nov 7, 2018
This difficult passage points us toward who we are in Christ and how He grows us.
HOW GOD GROWS US THROUGH STRUGGLES: 1. AN EASY LIFE? God does not take away our struggles, though He does ensure they don’t overwhelm us. - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. - In verses 8-9, Paul shares four statements that we’d rather not hear. They speak clearly to an uncomfortable truth: God’s goal is ...read more
Contributed on Nov 9, 2018
A look at having a "spirit of faith" and three of the things that brings into our lives.
OUR ACTION: We speak (and live) with a spirit of faith. - 2 Corinthians 4:13. - Paul quotes Psalm 116. In that Psalm the writer cried out for mercy and God came through for him. This sentence drawn from that speaks to the writer’s faith in God. “I believed” – he had faith in God to come ...read more
Contributed on Nov 15, 2018
Encouragement on how to not lose heart. How does God use struggles to move us forward spiritually?
WHY DO WE GET DISCOURAGED? Obstacles weigh us down. - 2 Corinthians 4:16a. - In one sense, it’s good news that the first part of v. 16 is in there. It’s a reminder to us that God knows that we get discouraged and need a little hope. These verses are in here to give us that hope. Hopefully ...read more
Contributed on Nov 18, 2018
Paul details the purpose God created us for and the importance of the new body that Christians will experience.
A BETTER BODY: Our current body is like a leaky tent; our resurrection body is like a solid building. - 2 Corinthians 5:1-2, 4, 8. - Verse 1 compares our earthly body to a tent. If you’ve been camping you know that most tents can be leaky, drafty, decidedly rough. But we have a second body to ...read more
Contributed on Nov 20, 2018
We all will meet Jesus someday. What's your plan for that moment?
DO YOU BELIEVE IN JUSTICE? One that’s required if you want justice is judgment. - There resides with almost all of us a desire for justice. It hurts us to watch the end of a trial and see in the verdict that someone got away with it. It’s just not right. And that bothers us. - There seems to ...read more
Contributed on Nov 28, 2018
A look at the idea of substitutionary atonement and what it means for who we are in Christ.
HOW MANY DIED AT THE CROSS? What does it mean that “all died” at the cross? - 2 Corinthians 5:14. WHAT DOES "SUBSTITUTION ATONEMENT" LOOK LIKE? Christ died as a “substitution” for me. - 2 Corinthians 5:14. [Put these in the outline. Maybe put some of the Scriptures on the screen.] WHAT ARE ...read more
Contributed on Dec 3, 2018
This message examines being a new creation in Christ and what that means for us.
The Looking-Glass Self: Much of who we think we are arises from who others say we are. - There is a sociological idea developed by Charles Cooley in 1902 called the “looking glass self.” The idea is straightforward: much of who we believe ourselves to be comes from what others think of us. - If ...read more
Contributed on Dec 9, 2018
Paul here uses an interesting and unusual phrase: "reconciled." What exactly does it mean that Christ has reconciled us?
WHAT DOES "RECONCILE" MEAN? It is bringing two things into agreement. - 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. - The key word in this passage is “reconcile.” This is not a word that we use much in sermons or Bible study, but it’s a good Bible word and it has an important truth to teach us. This ...read more
Contributed on Dec 14, 2018
The Christian life is challenging and one way we trip up new believers is by giving them false expectations about what the journey will be like. This passage details the difficulties Paul encountered and serves as a good summary of the struggles any believer may encounter.
HOW WOULD THEIR MINISTRY BE DISCREDITED? If their children in the faith didn’t continue the race. - 2 Corinthians 6:3b – “. . . so that our ministry will not be discredited.” - Paul talks elsewhere about his children in the faith being his joy. And certainly they were. Here we see another truth ...read more
Contributed on Dec 19, 2018
In this passage Paul speaks of throwing his "heart wide open" to the Corinthians. Could it be that the deep relationships that will come from doing that might be the church's secret weapon for attracting people to Jesus in a culture overwhelmed by loneliness?
DANGER SIGNS ON CHURCH FRIENDSHIPS: Shallow conversation, safe prayer requests, and busy pastors. - Sometimes church members can be mean to each other, but even in good times many church friendships are characterized by their lack of depth. What are some of the signs? a. Shallow conversation. - ...read more
Contributed on Dec 28, 2018
This is a challenging passage. Paul repeatedly emphasizes the vast difference between Christians and non-Christians that makes marriage a non-starter. Why does Paul think that Christians should not marry non-Christians?
OVERKILL? Why does Paul make such a big deal about this? - 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. - Paul here argues that Christians should not marry non-Christians. That strikes many people as overkill. Is it really that big a deal? Is it really worth the repetition that Paul makes here? This is the ...read more
Contributed on Jan 9, 2019
Some practical help on moving from just wanting to be forgiven of our sins to wanting to be freed from our sins.
WHY WOULD I WANT TO BE PURIFIED? Do I want to be forgiven of sin or freed from sin? - 2 Corinthians 7:1. - Many Christians are content to merely be forgiven of their sins. Indeed, many presume that’s all there is to salvation. - There’s meant to be much more than that, though. Jesus didn’t ...read more
Contributed on Jan 16, 2019
This passage shares the encouraging truth that "God . . . comforts the downcast." It also points out one of the major ways that He does that: through the people He's put around us.
DOES GOD CARE ABOUT THE DOWNCAST? He cares enough that He has put the answer all around us. - 2 Corinthians 7:6 – “God . . . comforts the downcast” - We doubt. We feel discouraged and downcast and we wonder if God cares. - And this is a big deal because there are so many today who struggle ...read more
Contributed on Jan 22, 2019
Many today want to put aside any mention of shame as inappropriate. Paul, though, speaks of godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. What's the distinction and how can sorrow be a good thing?
SMILEY RELIGION: “God wants me to be happy.” - 2 Corinthians 7:8. - Today so many presume that God’s job is to make them happy. The only way they think about God is that He is there to answer our prayers and bring good things into our lives. - Biblical ideas like carrying your cross, losing ...read more
Contributed on Jan 31, 2019
A look at six characteristics of a good church family.
The Spirit of a Church: Churches have a spirit about them, whether good or bad. - By “spirit” here, I don’t mean that churches have a soul or anything like that. No, I simply mean that churches have a mood, a personality, a spirit about them. - We’ve all experienced what I’m talking about. Have ...read more
Contributed on Feb 6, 2019
Paul commends the Macedonians for being generous even in their poverty. What can we learn from them about giving well?
CAN YOU BE BOTH? It’s telling that the Macedonians were poor and generous. - 2 Corinthians 8:1-2. - Verse 2 gives us a striking statement. Paul shares with us that the Macedonians were extremely poor and richly generous. Those aren’t two phrases that we normally put together. - If you’re here ...read more
Contributed on Feb 11, 2019
The Macedonians plead with Paul for a chance to share financially. What creates that kind of a heart?
- Skit: Guy shows up who has traveled back in time. Offers second guy a chance to buy Apple stock the day before the company starts. Play up the time period and maybe some jokes off the company name. A MYSTERY: Why would someone plead for a chance to give? - 2 Corinthians 8:4. - Think of the ...read more
Contributed on Feb 21, 2019
Paul doesn't just say, "Tithe and you're good." Rather, he encourages the Corinthians to "excel in the grace of giving." What does that mean exactly? And what does grace have to do with giving?
IN GIVING, WHERE IS THE "ENOUGH" LINE? Many Christians would say, “Tithe and you’re good.” - There is a natural tendency in almost all of us to want to know where the line is. It might be so we don’t cross it. It might be so we can cross it. But we want to know where the line is. - ...read more
Contributed on Mar 1, 2019
Paul gives instruction on how the church should help each other.
TWO WAYS: The American way is everyone is on their own; Paul’s vision is that we are there for each other. - 2 Corinthians 8:10-15. - Galatians 6:2. - The American way emphasizes the rugged individual. You pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you mark a path of success for yourself. You are ...read more