by Gary T. Panell
(1) ” We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
When people are saved there should be real evidence of that salvation.”You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16a) Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35
“.but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'” (1 Peter 2:15,16) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Because salvation is by grace it can be easily abused. Look at 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The more fully we turn to God, the more fully we experience His blessing.
(2) “For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
We have a quotation here from Isaiah 49:8, and as far as I can tell, it was used as an answer to the Messiah Who would be delivered from death. Also, it speaks of the joy of the Jewish exiles when they are restored back to their homeland. Paul applies this to believers and how God has delivered us from sin and given us salvation.
We should have a sense of urgency about getting the Gospel out as it says in Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment . Also, when Paul was speaking to Felix in Acts 24:25 “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” Felix was under conviction of sin and put it off, and as far as we know he never came to know Christ as Savior. So we need to see the urgency of getting the Gospel out to everyone in the world. We also need to show people they have no guarantee they will be allowed to live another day.
K.P. Yohannan author of Revolution in World Missions, founder and international director of Gospel for Asia says:
“The Great Commission sums up the mission of every individual Christian and every church and every Christian organization. It is the standing orders for the army of God. It is the Lord Jesus Christ’s last and final charge to us before He ascended to the Father.
“Jesus, when listing the signs of His second coming in Mark 13, said, ‘And the gospel must first be published among all nations.’ Through the centuries many have believed this to mean that Christ will not return until the Gospel is preached to every tribe and tongue, and at this moment there are still 11,000 people groups without a Gospel witness!
“Could it be that the only reason Christ has not returned for His bride, the Church, is because of our failure to fulfill the job description He left behind for us?
“The actual words of the Great Commission are repeated five times in the New Testament, once in each of the four Gospels and once in the book of Acts. In each version, there is a slightly different emphasis. If you’ve not already done so, commit it to memory in each of the five records. Here is how they are translated in the [New] King James Version:
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.'” (Mark 16:15-18)
“Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
“46 Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:46-49)
“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
“21 So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.'” (John 20:21-23)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“The Lord Jesus never intended us to go out in our own strength. He promised miraculous power and authority to those who would wait on Him. These verses hint at nothing of defeat, self-effort or human weakness.
“The Great Commission passages leave us no option. They present an unmistakable mission statement to every believer and to the church. The first task of every Christian is to extend the Gospel to every people-group on earth. Anything and everything else must be subordinated to this great work.
“That means every activity, every building, every effort, every program, every organization and every project are to be evaluated in terms of how they contribute to the ultimate mission of the church-world evangelization in our generation.” (The Road To Reality by K.P. Yohannan)
I would just like to add to what has been said here by Brother K.P., that when I was in the Army, I had to wait for my official orders, once these had been given to me, I had no other recourse than to do exactly what they said to do. So it is with us in the Church, our duty is to follow the orders of our Commander and Chief, our Lord Jesus Christ!
“The gospel is at the heart of the Christian faith. If Christians do not know how to share their faith, they have probably never been to ‘boot camp.’ The gospel should be so much a part of you that presenting it becomes second nature.
“The first step in communicating the gospel involves learning to develop a relationship with an unbeliever. In part, that involves using your personal testimony as a bridge into the presentation of the Good New. This is precisely the reverse of grabbing somebody by the lapels and saying, ‘Brother, are you saved?’
“After a relationship is established, you should be equipped to move naturally into a presentation of the gospel. In short, that involves:
“*Communicating the difference between religion (man’s attempt to reach up and become acceptable to God by his own goodness) and a relationship (God reaching down and providing a way for us to know Him through the person and work of Jesus Christ).
“*Demonstrating the problem of sin. If people do not realize they are sinners, they will not realize their need for a Savior.
“*Pointing out that God is not only a perfect Father who has loved us with an everlasting love, but is also a perfect Judge whose eyes are too pure to look upon iniquity.
“*Communicating that Christ died to be our Savior and lives to be our Lord.
“*Explaining what it means to repent and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
“Once you have presented the gospel, you also need to know how to be used by the Holy Spirit to lead people in response to the Good News and to the assurance of their salvation.
“Finally, since we are not called to make converts, but rather to make disciples, we need to know how to lead people through the basic steps of discipleship and growth as new believers.
“Consider what would happen if every evangelical Christian led just one person to faith in Christ each year. If we began with only 12 committed Christians and each of them led one person to Christ and discipled that person, next year there would be 24 committed Christians. If each of them in turn led one person to Christ and discipled that person, the third year there would be 48 believers. If this process continued, it would take less than 30 years to evangelize the [six] billion or more people alive today on planet Earth! If in the same time frame the population doubled, it would take only one additional year.
“If we re-created this scenario, but instead of beginning with 12 disciples began with approximately 174 million [there must be at least this many committed Christians in the world today if not many more], in six years we would run out of people to evangelize!
“Many people today run from church to church in search of the ultimate experience. No experience, however, can compare with that of the Holy Spirit working through you in the process of bringing someone to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraaff)
The Parable of the Orange Trees by John White
The harvest was plentiful-but where were the orange pickers?
I dreamed I drove on a Florida road, still and straight and empty. On either side were groves of orange trees, so that as I turned to look at them from time to time, line after line of trees stretched back endlessly from the road-their boughs heavy with round yellow fruit. This was harvest time. My wonder grew as the miles slipped by. How could the harvest be gathered?
Suddenly I realized that for all the hours I had driven (and this was how I knew I must be dreaming) I had seen no other person. The groves were empty of people. No other car had passed me. No houses were to be seen beside the highway. I was alone in a forest of orange trees.
But at last I saw some orange pickers. Far from the highway, almost on the horizon, lost in the vast wilderness of unpicked fruit, I could discern a tiny group of them working steadily. And many miles later I saw another group. I could not be sure, but I suspected that the earth beneath me was shaking with silent laughter at the hopelessness of their task. Yet the pickers went on picking.
ENTERING HOME COUNTY
The sun had long passed its zenith, and the shadows were lengthening when, without any warning, I rounded a curve of the road to see a notice: “Leaving NEGLECTED COUNTY-Entering HOME COUNTY.” The contrast was so startling that I scarcely had time to take in the notice. I had to slow down, for all at once the traffic was heavy. People by the thousands swarmed the road and crowded the sidewalks.
Even more startling was the transformation in the orange groves. Orange groves were still there, and orange trees in abundance, but now, far from being silent and empty, they were filled with the laughter and singing of multitudes of people. Indeed it was the people I noticed rather than the trees. People – and houses.
I parked the car at the roadside and mingled with the crowd. Smart gowns, neat shoes, showy hats, expensive suits, and starched shirts made me a little conscious of my work clothes. Everyone seemed so fresh, and poised, and cheerful.
“Is it a holiday?” I asked a well-dressed woman with whom I fell in step.
She looked a little startled for a moment, and then her face relaxed with a smile of gracious condescension. “You’re a stranger, aren’t you?” she asked, and before I could reply, “this is Orange Day.” She must have seen a puzzled look on my face, for she went on, “It is so good to turn aside from one’s labors and pick oranges one day of the week.”
“But don’t you pick oranges every day? I asked her. “One may pick oranges at any time,” she said. “We should always be ready to pick oranges, but Orange Day is the day we devote especially to orange picking.”
MANUAL SCHOOL AND ORANGE PSYCHOLOGY
I left her and made my way further into the trees. Most of the people were carrying a book, bound beautifully in leather and edged and lettered in gold. I was able to discern on the edge of one of them the words, Orange Picker’s Manual.
By and by I noticed that seats had been arranged around one of the orange trees, rising upward in tiers from the ground. The seats were almost full- but, as I approached the group, a smiling, well-dressed gentleman shook my hand and conducted me to a seat.
There, around the foot of the orange tree, I could see a number of people. One of them was addressing all the people on the seats and, just as I got to my seat, everyone rose to his feet and began to sing. The man next to me shared with me his song book. It was called Songs of the Orange Groves.
They sang for some time, and the song leader waved his arms with a strange and frenzied abandon, exhorting the people in the intervals between the songs to sing more loudly. I grew steadily more puzzled. “When do we start to pick oranges?” I asked the man who had loaned me his book.
“It’s not long now!” he told me. “We like to get everyone warmed up first. Besides, we want to make the oranges feel at home.” I thought he was joking- but his face was serious. After a while, a.man took over from the song leader and, after reading two sentences from his well-thumbed copy of the Orange Picker’s Manual, began to make a speech. It wasn’t clear whether he was addressing the people or the oranges.
I glanced behind me and saw a number of groups of people similar to our own group gathering around an occasional tree and being addressed by other men. Some of the trees had no one around them. “Which trees do we pick from?” I asked the man beside me. He did not seem to understand, so I pointed to the trees around us. “This is our tree,” he said, pointing to the one we were gathered around.
“but there are too many of us to pick from just one tree,” I protested. “why, there are more people than oranges!” “but we don’t pick oranges,” the man explained. “We haven’t been called. That’s the Head Orange Picker’s job. We’re here to support him.
Besides, we haven’t been to college. You need to know how an orange thinks before you can pick it successfully-orange psychology, you know. Most of these folk here,” he went on, pointing to the congregation, “Have never been to Manual School.”
“Manual School,” I whispered. “What’s that?” “It’s where they go to study the Orange Picker’s Manual,” my informant went on. “It’s very hard to understand. You need years of study before it makes sense.” “I see,” I murmured. “I had no idea that picking oranges was so difficult.”
WILL THE REAL ORANGE PICKERS PLEASE STAND UP?
The man at the front was still making his speech. His face was red, and he appeared to be indignant about something. So far as I could see there was rivalry with some of the other “orange-picking” groups. But a moment later a glow came on his face.
“But we are not forsaken,” He said. “We have much to be thankful for. Last week we saw three oranges brought into our baskets, and we are now completely debt-free from the money we owed on the new cushion covers that grace the seats you now sit on.”
“Isn’t it wonderful?” the man next to me murmured. I made no reply. I felt something must be profoundly wrong somewhere. All this seemed to be a very roundabout way of picking oranges.
The man was reaching a climax in his speech. The atmosphere seemed tense. Then, with a very dramatic gesture, he reached two of the oranges, plucked them from the branch, and placed them in the basket at his feet. The applause was deafening.
“Do we start on the picking now?” I asked my informant.
“What in the world do you think we’re doing?” he hissed. “What do you suppose this tremendous effort has been made for? There’s more orange-picking talent in this group than in the rest of Home County put together. Why, thousands of dollars have been spent on the tree you’re looking at now.”
I apologize quickly. “I wasn’t being critical,” I said. “And I’m sure the man must be a very good orange picker-but surely the rest of us could try. After all, there are so many oranges that need picking. We’ve all got a pair of hands, and we could read the Orange Picker’s Manual.”
“When you’ve been in the business as long as I have, you’ll realize that it’s not as simple as that,” he replied. “There isn’t time, for one thing. We have our work to do, our families to care for, and our homes to look after. We.”
But I wasn’t listening. Light was beginning to break on me. Whatever these people were, they were not orange pickers. Orange picking was just a form of entertainment for their weekends. I tried one or two more of the groups around the trees.
Not all of them had such high academic standards for orange pickers. Some held classes on orange picking. I tried to tell them of the trees I had seen in Neglected County but they seemed to have little interest.
“We haven’t picked the oranges here yet,” was their usual reply.
A CALL FOR WORKERS
The sun was almost setting in my dream and, growing tired of the noise and activity all around me, I got in the car and began to drive back along the road by which I had come. Soon all around me again were the vast and empty orange groves.
But there were changes. Something had happened in my absence. Everywhere the ground was littered with fallen fruit. And as I watched it seemed that before my eyes the trees began to rain oranges. Many of them lay rotting on the ground.
I felt there was something so strange about it all, and my bewilderment grew as I thought of all the people in Home County. Then, booming through the tees, there came a voice that said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers.”
And I awakened-for it was only a dream! About the author: John White is former associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba. His many books include The Fight, The Cost of Commitment and Daring to Draw Near InterVarsity Press, 1979). His latest book is When the Spirit Comes with Power ( InterVarsity Press, 1988). http://www.navpress.com/EPubs/PrinterFriendly/1/1.49.12.html
“At this moment, thousands of native missionaries are ready to go to the unreached if only support were available. The nation of India is the greatest open door in the world for missions at this time. The need there is outstripped only by the opportunity. Similar situations exist in nearby lands such as Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines.
“But what is actually happening now on the American scene? What are Christians in the United States doing to respond? I read a little article in the Indian Express that said the United States is now sending more money to India to support Hinduism than for any other cause. Christian missions were rated much lower on the list as number seven of all the foreign exchange earners between the United State and India.
“Every villager in India, even where they cannot read or write, knows what Coca Cola is! Marketing firms like Avon cosmetics have more than 1.4 [+] million sales people worldwide peddling soap and makeup. That’s 21 times more than the total number of missionaries America sends to the whole world! Mormonism, a false cult, is able to field 30,000 young missionaries every year-four times more than the total number of evangelical missionaries doing pioneer evangelism worldwide.
“What a rebuke these figures are to the disobedience and rebellion of so many Christians and churches today. Our Lord has given us the command to go, the spiritual power to go and the material resources to go. How much longer will we continue to be the bottleneck that prevents world evangelism?
“We need to rediscover the purpose for our lives. As I was writing this chapter, a top computer programmer from a Fortune 500 company came to me to talk about Christian service. He had been working for this company for 17 years and was making a salary that was comparable to $100,000 in today’s economy. But he was miserable with his life and work. ‘All I do,’ he said, ‘is write programs, train people to run them and write more programs. I want to use my skills and training for God.’
“Praise the Lord, he is now serving in a Christian organization. God is not calling all of us to leave our jobs and go into full-time Christian service as this brother and his wife are doing. Others need to stay and develop their careers and vocation-but find ways to send more of their earnings to the mission field. Still others can give volunteer work to help spread the vision for missions in the churches of the West. I believe that God has something special for each of us to do in this great work of world evangelism.
“There is no longer any excuse for us to live mediocre, washed-up lives without a sense of purpose and mission. Every Christian has something to do in this great task of world evangelization.” (Road to Reality by K.P. Yohannan)
(3) “We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.”
Also, because of this, we try not to do anything in our lives that would hinder people from being saved. We are not to be a stumbling block to anyone.
(4-10) “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
In my opinion this book addresses the work and life of the ministry of the cross. In other words, what is it like to be a pastor or a missionary? This, of course, can apply to each and every one of us in the Church because we are all priests in the body of Christ. Here we are given an example of how we are supposed to live and the type of disciples we are supposed to be!
These are, also, things that Paul himself had experienced and the way he lived. Can you and I live victorious lives under similar circumstances? “The ‘all things’ which Paul enumerates in these verses as characteristic of true ministers (‘servants’) of Christ comprise a remarkable complex of three nine-fold descriptors.
First (2 Corinthians 6:4,5) are listed nine ‘negative’ experiences, which the servant must be willing to endure graciously. Then there are nine ‘positive’ attributes, which he [she] should exhibit (2 Corinthians 6:6,7). Finally, there are nine paradoxes that characterize such a minister (2 Corinthians 6:8-10), displaying simultaneously the joys of life in Christ and the exigencies [Urgent requirements; pressing needs] of living in the world as His servant.” (The Defender’s Study Bible)
“Paul described the ministry in these verses as he experienced it. He started with a list of the problems of the ministry, preceded by the word ‘in.’ These problems are all the kinds of trials he faced. Then he gave a list of provisions and resources for the ministry, each preceded by the word ‘by.’ Then he described some of the contrasts between perception and reality in the ministry. These are each preceded by ‘as.’ By going through this list, we discover so much about the ministry, its problems, provisions, and perceptions, as well as its power.” (The Word For Today Bible by Chuck Smith)
(11-13) “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.”
Paul had poured his sincere love upon them and now he pleads for their complete love for him. But this manifestation of love among believers is dependent upon their separation from sin and separation from alliances with unbelievers.
“Paul has always been completely open and sincere in his relations with the Christians in Corinth (cf. 1:12-14; 4:2), but the false apostles among them have been trying to persuade them that Paul does not really love them. Now the apostle tenderly appeals to these Corinthians, who are the beneficiaries of his love for them (cf. 11:11).” (NIV Study Bible)
(14) “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”
“Unequal Yokes. Christians and non-Christians have two different value systems. Partnerships between them just don’t work.
“We have seen so many Christians marry non-Christians, thinking that they will change them and believing that their love will overcome any differences. It just doesn’t work that way, and to marry a non-Christian is in direct conflict with the commandment of God.
“The same principle applies to business partnerships. If you go into business with a non-Christian, he/she will have standards different from yours and a different set of values. Don’t get into an unequal yoke. Light and darkness don’t mix.” (Chuck Smith The Word For Today Bible)
(15-16) And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
(17-18)“I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (17) Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” (18) “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Now that you have read the passage, will you go back and find the five contrasts that Paul mentions here? I will give you the first one, ‘righteousness’ and ‘lawlessness’ now you find the rest. What we have here is a call to holiness. The word ‘separation’ is also used which is very similar to the word ‘holiness.’
Here is a question we received from our on line interactive Bible Discussion page on Bible-Christian.org “Question: Explain unevenly yoked, my husband is from Africa and is Muslim and I am Baptist.”
Answer: Unevenly yoked is a picture of maybe a horse (donkey) and a cow (ox) trying to plow together (Deuteronomy 22:10), obviously it wouldn’t work very well. There is a verse in the Bible that says this very thing about a Christian married to an unbeliever. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
St. Paul was warning believers not to marry unbelievers because he knew it would not be good for them. Just as it would not work to have a horse and a cow yoked together trying to plow a field. This is a warning for Christians before they are married; this is not an excuse to leave a person once they are married. Sometimes we willingly disobey what we know are God’s commands, and other times we may not even be aware of God’s commands concerning marriage. It could even be that the person who is now a Christian was not a Christian before they were married. Nonetheless, it would be wrong for the Christian to leave the unsaved after they are married, two wrongs don’t make a right. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, as we will see in the following paragraph.
St. Paul has given us what God wants to happen when one is a Christian in a marriage, and one is not. “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:10-11) [By the way we do have a complete study of the book of First Corinthians so if you want to study this subject out in more detail, it would be in Part Two of 1 Corinthians.]
I would like to comment on these verses here; there could be some exceptions to staying married, for some examples, if the unsaved spouse wanted a separation or divorce, and if the unsaved spouse were unfaithful or abusive. The only case where a person could remarry, though, would be if there were sexual immorality involved. Jesus said: “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9)
God wants us to stay married even if we find ourselves in the situation where one is saved and the other isn’t. “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.'” (Malachi 2:16) Even though about fifty percent of marriages today (even among Christians) are breaking up, it is wrong, and God hates it!
Jesus had to answer questions about divorce when He was here on this earth: “The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him and saying to Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?’ And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?’ He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.'” (Matthew 19:3-8) So God does not want us to divorce our spouse. The unsaved spouse may leave or divorce (or want a divorce from a believer), but the believer is not to remarry unless there has been sexual immorality.
Now, I want to make it clear that a woman who is in an abusive marriage needs to leave and find help as quick as they can before it is too late. They do not have to get a divorce; there is such a thing as a separation. The reason they should not go out and get remarried right away is because the unsaved spouse may get saved and want to be reunited. (Warning: Make sure this is not a pretend salvation to trick the wife into coming back.)
However, it does happen that the unsaved can receive the Lord after they leave, and as long as there has not been sexual immorality the Christian could reunite with him or her.
There are those that have reunited even if there was sexual immorality on the part of the unsaved, but the believer does not have to reunite when this has taken place. You would have to ask for the grace of God to help in a situation like this. Hosea the prophet in the Old Testament remarried his wife even after she had been unfaithful to him. After much prayer God would give you wisdom in a situation like this.
St. Paul goes on to speak about the unsaved spouse: “But to the rest I, not the Lord, [Jesus did not speak in detail about this when He was here, but now through Paul he is telling us this.] If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
“But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases . But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:12-16)
I know it is discouraging for a Christian wife or husband to live with an unsaved spouse and you may feel like giving up, but I have seen many saved through prayer and godly living. “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” You see you don’t have to say hardly anything, and that is the temptation, to try and preach to them. You need to love them so much that they can’t help but see that your Christianity is real! You know it is God’s will for them to be saved, even though they have a free will. If you are praying for them, God will bring all kinds of things into their lives to draw them to Himself.
I would like to close this answer with a promise from God’s Word for you: “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31) If we can be saved, our whole family can be saved, this is what ‘household’ means. God loves us and wants us to go to heaven by families!
Thanks for the question,
(1) Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
“On the basis of all that God has done for us, Paul has exhorted us to ‘cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’
“Trying to fulfill the lust of the flesh is a one-way road to hell. You can never satisfy your flesh. It will always demand more and more. There are so many lives and so many families today that are being destroyed by pornography. People are living in this fantasy world that promises fulfillment, but always leaves them wanting more.
“We need to cleanse ourselves of all filth and not allow the flesh to take over our lives. The key is the fear of God. If we have a healthy respect for God and know that He is always with us, it has a purifying effect on our lives. I would be afraid to do things that offend Him.” (Chuck Smith The Word For Today Bible)
To achieve Christian unity, and to love one another, God’s people must be separated from that which would contaminate them. We found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that Christians are ‘new creatures or a ‘new creation’ so they are not to be united spiritually or physically with spiritually dead unbelievers of the world.
Someone has said, “If you marry a child of the devil [which is what an unsaved person really is], then you will have Satan for your father-in-law. This principle applies not only to marriage, but also to business, religion, and politics, whatever area of our life you can think about.
We can have unsaved people as friends, how else can we witness to them and lead them to the Lord, but we are not, however, to have them as our best friends or partners.
“Separation, Summary: (1) Separation in Scripture is two fold: (a) from whatever is contrary to the mind of God; and (b) unto God Himself. The underlying principle is that in a moral universe it is impossible for God fully to bless and use His children who are in compromise or complicity with evil.
“(2) Separation from evil implies (a) separation in desire, motive, and act, from the world, in the ethically bad sense of this present world system (see Revelation 13:8); and (b) separation from false teachers, who are described as being ‘vessels.to dishonor’ (2 Timothy 2:20-21; 2 John 9-11).
“(3) Separation is not from contact with evil in the world or the church, but from complicity with and conformity to (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; cp. John 17:15; Galatians 6:1).
“And (4) the reward of separation is the full manifestation of the divine fatherhood (2 Corinthians 6:17-18); unhindered communion and worship (see Hebrews 13:13-15), and fruitful service (2 Timothy 2:21), as world conformity involves the loss of these, though not of salvation.
“Here, as in all else, Christ is the model. He was ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners’ (Hebrews 7:26), and yet He was in such contact with them for their salvation .” (New Scofield Reference Edition)
(2) “Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.”
“Receive us . [As the KJV has it] “Paul continues his personal appeal to the Corinthians after his parenthetical exhortation on separation from paganism (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). Some expositors have assumed this digression was not part of the original epistle, but there is no external evidence for this assumption. All the manuscripts, as well as all comments by the early church fathers, accepted it as it is. Evidently, the false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13), who were trying to discredit Paul with the church, were also encouraging them to compromise with the pagan teachings from which they had turned when they accepted Christ, and Paul felt it necessary at this point to speak to that vital issue before concluding his personal appeal.” (The Defender’s Study Bible Dr. Henry M. Morris)
“Resuming the appeal begun in 6:13, Paul notes that no one in the Corinthian church has a just accusation against him.” (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
“We have.exploited no one. Implies that Paul had been accused by the false teachers of being unjust, destructive and fraudulent-the very things they themselves were guilty of.” (NIV Study Bible)
(3-4) “I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.”
“Again he declares the depth of his affection for the Corinthian believers and appeals to them to respond, contrary to the wishes of the false teachers, by displaying their love for him, their genuine apostle (cf. 6:11-13).
“great confidence.my joy knows no bounds. The long digression that started at 2:14 concludes here on this note of exhilaration. The news he had been so anxiously awaiting from Corinth has turned out to be good and reassuring, and Paul is overjoyed to receive it.” (NIV Study Bible)
(5-7) “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.”
These verses are referring to the time Paul was waiting for the return of Titus from Corinth with a report on how Paul’s letter was received. Then Titus finally did meet up with Paul there possibly at Philippi in Macedonia. (Look at the map)
“when we came into Macedonia.God.comforted us by the coming of Titus. Here Paul resumes the account he began in 2:12-13, where he described how his hopes of meeting Titus in Troas were disappointed and how, restless for news, he had decided to press on into Macedonia.
“The Depressed Apostle. We often get the idea that God only uses those people who have been elevated to super-saint status. Yet all of those men [and women] who have been used mightily by God were no different from us. They experienced the same struggles we do.
“Paul struggled with depression. He had fears and discouragement. But he was comforted by the God ‘who comforts the downcast.’ The same God, the God of all comfort, is there for you, as well.” (The Word For Today Bible by Chuck Smith)
“He now explains that on reaching Macedonia, he was at last comforted by the arrival of Titus, who brought the news he most wanted to hear concerning the situation in Corinth. Titus himself had been well received in the city and was able to assure Paul (see v. 7) of the ‘longing’ and ardent concern’ of the Corinthian Christians for him and of the ‘deep sorrow’ they had expressed because of the grief they had caused him. Consequently, his ‘joy was greater then ever.'” (NIV Study Bible)
(8-10) “For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
Paul rejoices at the change of attitude the Corinthians had upon receiving the letter he sent to them between First and Second Corinthians. This letter was not inspired and we do not have it. Paul talks here about a certain kind of sorrow that leads to salvation. Judas was sorry for what he did, but it was not the right kind of sorrow, it did not lead to repentance. So sorrow that leads you to turn from your sin to God will result in Salvation!
“sorrow of the world. The ‘sorrow of the world,’ on the other hand, is not sorrow for the sin itself but sorrow over its consequences, “But He will say, I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity. 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.” (Luke 13:27,28). This type of sorrow issues only in eternal death, not salvation.” (The Defender’s Study Bible)
“Sorrow and Repentance. Paul had written a letter to the Corinthians that was rather harsh, pointing out many of the serious problems that existed in their church. He was hesitant to write it, knowing that it would hurt them. But he pointed out that, although it had produced sorrow, that sorrow had led to repentance.
“It is good to be sorry for your sins, but the real question is, ‘Are you going to change?’ To repent means to change directions. Is that what you do after feeling sorry for your sins? If not, your sorrow means nothing. ‘Godly sorrow produces repentance.’ (The Word For Today Bible)
“Repentance, RECONCILIATION. Repentance is an essential turning point in reconciled relationships; it requires ownership of our responsibility for whatever part we may have played in erecting or reinforcing barriers.
“Repentance not only accepts responsibility for the part that we have played in the wall building, but also for the turning away from the behavior that built the walls in the first place.
“Often, we may not even perceive how we may have unintentionally contributed to divisions between people individually or between ethnic groups in general, especially through ethnic discrimination or religious sectarianism.
“Perhaps we have not done anything personally to hurt others, but still we may have sinned by our inaction, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) For the body of Christ to come to health, repentance-regret, confession, and action-is needed. As we do repent, the walls built through blindness and separatism will be brought down and Christ will be honored through reconciled relationships.” (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
(11-12) “For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all thingsyou proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.”
“The Corinthians’ energetic response was gratifying to Paul. Its depth was characterized by indignation toward the offender and the offense, alarm over the problem (fear), longing or affection toward Paul (vehement desire), and readiness to see justice done (vindication). The church also took a stand against the rebel:
“But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent-not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comforthim, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:5-11)
“Paul wrote of someone who had caused grief. The traditional interpretation has been that this offender was the incestuous man, ‘It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles-that a man has his father’s wife! (1 Corinthians 5:1) Lately some commentators have suggested that the offender may be another person who had wronged Paul during the “painful visit” that he made between the writing of 1 and 2 Corinthians.” (The Word For Today Bible Dictionary)
(13-16) “Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.”
Paul’s reason for writing to the Corinthians was to show his love by disciplining them. Their reaction to his discipline showed their love for Paul. The Corinthians welcome of Titus assured the Apostle that his confidence in them was not misplaced!
We see the ministry of not only an Apostle in Paul, but we also see him as Pastor Paul here in this book. We would do well as pastors to learn from Paul’s example of love in discipline as we work with those in the body of Christ.
(1-7) “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And notonly as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us- see that you abound in this grace also.”
Audio Message on Giving by Pastor Tony Magaña
MP3 or WMA
“The ‘churches of Macedonia’ included Thessalonica and Berea and especially the church at Philippi, from which Paul was writing and sending this second letter to the churches of Achaia, notably that at Corinth.”
“The grace of joy accompanies the grace of giving, especially when both are refined in the furnace of affliction and poverty. This is one of the paradoxes of the genuine Christian life. Like the widow and her mite (Mark 12:41-44), the Philippians ‘first gave their own selves to the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 8:5), and then could share generously with others, since they naturally regarded their possessions also as belonging to the Lord.
“Therefore, the Apostle could promise them that God would ‘supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19). Much of Paul’s teaching in this and other epistles on the matter of Christian giving centered on a collection for the impoverished Christians in the ‘mother church’ at Jerusalem, but the principles apply to Christian stewardship and Christian giving in general.” (The Defender’s Study Bible)
“In 2 Corinthians 8-9, the apostle epitomizes the Christian doctrine of giving. It may be thus summarized: (1) It is a ‘grace,’ i.e. a disposition created by the Spirit (8:7), (2) In contrast with the law, which imposed giving as a divine requirement, Christian giving is voluntary, and a test of sincerity and love (8:8-12; 9:1-2,5,7). (3) The privilege is universal, belonging, according to ability, to rich and poor (8:1-3, 12-15. Cp. 1 Cor. 16:1-2).
“(4) Giving is to be proportioned to income (8:12-14; cp. 1 Cor. 16:2). The O.T. proportion was the tithe, a proportion that antedates the law (Gen 14:20), as well as numerous stated offerings. And (5) the rewards of Christian giving are (a) joy (8:2); (b) increased ability to give in proportion to that which has been already given (9:7-11); (c) increased thankfulness to God (9:12); and (d) God and the Gospel glorified (9:13-14).
“See 1 Corinthians 16:2 ‘On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.’ The essential features of Christian giving are stated here: (1) the time of the giving; (2) the regularity of the giving; (3) the participants in giving; (4) the basis of the giving; and (5) the manner of the giving.” (New Scofield Reference Edition)
“Where Giving Starts. Paul was commending the Macedonian Christians, who had given so generously to the Jerusalem church, despite the fact that they themselves were not very well off. This generosity was a great thing, but their generosity started when ‘they first gave themselves to the Lord.’
“Once we commit ourselves completely to the Lord, recognizing that everything we have came from Him and belongs to Him, then giving becomes a natural outgrowth of that realization. If you can give yourself, the rest is easy and natural.” (The Word For Today Bible by Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel)
“The ‘grace’ mentioned here is not in reference to salvation, but to Christian character, which should exhibit many Christian graces in word (Colossians 4:6) and deed (2 Corinthians 9:8), as well as the Christian life as a whole (2 Peter 3:18). In Chapter 8 and 9, Paul is especially referring to ‘this grace also (2 Corinthians 8:6,7), meaning the grace of giving.” (The Defender’s Study Bible)
(8-15) “I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there alsomay be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack-that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
The main example of giving was that of Jesus Christ giving Himself for you and me. He was living in riches beyond imagination, but He set all of that aside to come to this earth. He became poor for us that we might one day go to live where He lived before!
“According to shocking statistics from the U.S. Center for World Mission, only one-half of one percent of our church budgets in this country is used to preach Christ to the 3.8 [+] billion unreached people of the world. More than 95 percent of our church budgets are spent at home. Of the 5 percent that is sent overseas for missions, 4.5 percent goes for social work and for subsidies to establish churches on the mission field.
“Can you imagine what would happen if Christians in the West were to grasp the principle of sharing and apply it to the needs of the Gospel around the world today? Within a few short years, native missionaries would have preached the Gospel in every lost village of the Third World!
“Could it be that the worship of money and materialism is at this moment keeping the world in the dark about the good news of salvation?
“Here’s my challenge to you: Live on less if that’s what it takes-but determine right here and now that you will live as Christ would in your financial affairs. (Road to Reality)
“Paul intended that there would be mutual caring among the churches. At this time, Corinth was in a time of abundance while other parts of the body in other cities were struggling. Thus, it was only appropriate that out of their abundance they would contribute to the needs of their brothers and sisters, knowing that the day might come when the shoe would be on the other foot, and they might need assistance. That is the church of Jesus Christ functioning like a body and acting like a family.” (The Word For Today Bible)
Let me give you some illustrations of how the Church of today has an imbalance of wealth in the West in comparison to the poverty of the East. This information comes from K.P. Yohannan’s book The Road To Reality.
“North Americans don’t know what an unbelievable privilege it is to be born or to live in the United States or Canada. I could write volumes about the abundance of education, food, health care and housing in the West. There’s nothing a person needs here that isn’t inexpensive and plentiful. Even homeless street people in the United States live infinitely better than many in poor nations.
“While much of the Asian world works from dawn to dusk for a few handfuls of rice, many Americans are more concerned with how to lose weight! While many people in the world can’t read or write, Americans worry about choosing the ‘right’ school for their children. While much of the world barely has two changes of clothes, many Americans are concerned primarily with the latest fashion and color.
“I don’t really need to develop this point. Most North Americans are already vaguely aware of these material luxuries and privileges, although they rarely pause to thank God for them. But we seem to be less aware of the spiritual luxuries we enjoy. Let us concentrate on this area for a moment.
“First of all, in the united States, we know about Jesus. Even if His beautiful name is used as a curse word or joke, virtually every American has at least heard the Christmas story. Most have heard the Gospel repeatedly. How different this is from my native Asia.
“For nearly six years I wandered from village to village and street to street in north India as a native missionary evangelist. Everywhere I would ask the same question, ‘Have you heard of Jesus?’
“I cannot tell you how many times we would hear the reply, ‘Sir, there is no Jesus Christ living here. Maybe he lives in the next village. Why don’t you try there?’
“Millions of people in Asia have not once heard the Gospel, have never seen a Bible, a tract or a Christian video. Hundreds of millions have never heard a Christian radio broadcast or even met a believer-let alone spoken with a trained missionary evangelist.
“Hundreds of thousands of villages are without a Christian witness, and there are 11,000 unreached people groups in the world still without a church! Most of these are in Asia.
“Many times, when I quote these gigantic numbers to audiences, I see eyes glaze over. These numbers have been heard so many times they have lost their impact. But remember, we’re talking about real people with lost souls. These are not monkeys jumping up and down, or fish in the sea, but people who are born and die, love and hate. They suffer loneliness, guilt and pain just as you and I do.
“May God open our eyes to the reality of the nearly three billion people who are still unreached by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As our global population exceeds six billion people [headed toward seven billion or more soon], we face a situation where there are more people living on earth today than have lived in the whole history of humankind.
“Compare this crying need overseas to the present situation in the United States alone:
*More than 1.5 million Americans are ordained ministers, leaving about one preacher for every 187 persons.
*There are more than 600,000 churches, 6,100 [+] Christian bookstores and over 4,000 Christian radio and television stations. Also, we have countless Christian schools, colleges and seminaries.
*More than 95 percent of the total church budget in the United States is spent at home to maintain programs rather than to reach out in mission. Of the five percent that goes overseas to mission, less than half of one percent is used to reach the lost.
*Only one percent of overseas North American missionaries are concentrating on going to the unreached people.
“To understand this inequity fully, imagine the 55,000 seats in the Houston Astrodome represented the population of the world. If 171 hot-dog vendors represented all the missionaries we send overseas, 170 of them would be offering food to only the first 25,300 seats. One lone vendor would have to go to the other 29,700 seats!
“And it’s worse than that. When they had gone through those first 25,300 seats once, they wouldn’t go on to the other rows full of hungry fans! Instead they would go back over the first seats again and again and again. That’s what is really happening in Christian missions today.
“And the situation here at home is the worst scandal of all. A tiny slice of the world’s population, living in the United States and Canada, is getting stuffed with the Gospel over and over again while most of the world is still waiting for a first bite.
“Although only eight percent of the world’s population speaks English, more than 90 percent of all Christian ministry is conducted in the English language. There are over 4,300 language groups in the world, which still do not have a Bible, translated into their own tongue! (To find out more how you can help get the Bible into all the languages of the world go to our links and look for Wycliffe Bible Translators.)
“Our first reaction, I suppose, should be to fall on our knees and thank God for the privilege of living in a nation that is super-saturated with the Gospel. But next, we need to ask ourselves seriously why God has given the united States these tremendous material and spiritual resources.” (Road To Reality K.P. Yohannan) To contact Gospel for Asia, to see how you can help, go to our link to Gospel for Asia.
(16-21) “But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to showyour ready mind, 20 avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us- 21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”
8:16 “Titus had established a relationship of trust and affection with the Corinthians (see 7:6-7,13-15). He had organized the collection when it was started the previous year.
8:18 “the brother. Probably Luke, but possibly Barnabas. In any case, it was someone who was widely known for the faithfulness of his ministry.
8:19 “chosen by the churches. Paul provides a good example of the care that church leaders should take in handling money.
8:20 “It is important not only that God see (cf. vv. 19,21) but also that people see that one is carrying on the Lord’s work in a proper, ethical and honest manner.” (NIV Study Bible)
We have to be ever so careful with the Lord’s money, one day, we as leaders, will give an account of ourselves and how we did as stewards of what was given to us in the church. Once I was at a church where a youth pastor was using the church funds to take the youth to lavish traveling destinations. My wife and I were wondering how he was able to do this. It turned out that he was using the church funds without permission to do this traveling to the tune of several thousand dollars.
During this time he was able to give very good and impressive messages from the Word of God. He was eventually found out and I believe asked to give back much of the money. This is just one example of the misuse of God’s money. I could give many examples, so this is why there has to be good planning and good oversight of God money, given by God’s people, for His service.
“In handling this large financial offering, Paul gave Titus the responsibility to transport it. But Titus was accompanied by an unnamed brother who was praised throughout the churches as having a good reputation. This high level of accountability was for the purpose of being above reproach, ‘not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.’
“It is very important that we maintain a high level of accountability with the Lord’s money. We have double signatures on all the checks our church issues. I don’t write the checks myself. There is always a full accounting of everything we do, and any member of the church may come in and see how the money is spent. I believe this is pleasing to God; and I think the people appreciate it, as well.” (The Word For Today Bible by Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel)
8:21 “sight of men. In the work of Christ, the end does not justify the use of questionable means. Our testimony before men must be credible if we expect it to be effective for the Lord ‘ And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.’ (Proverbs 3:4) ‘.having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation .” (1 Peter 2:12) (The Defender’s Study Bible)
(22-23) “And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.”
“partner and fellow worker. Paul held Titus in high esteem; he entrusted Titus with the organization of the collection of funds in Corinth for the relief of the poverty-stricken Christians of Jerusalem (8:6), and he chose him to bear this letter to the Corinthian Christians (8:16-17)
“representatives of the churches. Duly elected delegates of the churches at large (so that they could not be dismissed as cronies chosen by Paul alone); (Acts 20:4) These men seem to be the delegates appointed to accompany Paul and the money given for the needy in Judea. Three were from Macedonia, two from Galatia and two from Asia. Luke may have joined them at Philippi (‘we sailed,’ Acts 20:6).
“Sopater. May be the same as Sosipater (Romans 16:21). Aristarchus. Traveled later with Paul from Corinth to Jerusalem (Acts 20:3-4), and also accompanied Paul on the voyage from Jerusalem to Rome (Acts 27:1-2; Colossians 4:10)
“Secundus. Not mentioned elsewhere. His name means ‘second,’ as Tertius (see Romans 16:22) means ‘third’ and Quartus (see Romans 16:23 means ‘fourth.’) [Slaves were often only given numbers for names, so these men may have at one time been slaves, but they may have purchased their own freedom or may have been given their freedom by someone else.]
“Gaius from Derbe. A Gaius from Macedonia was associated with Aristarchus (see Acts 19:29), but the grouping of the names in pairs (after the reference to Sopater) indicates that this Gaius was associated with Roman Galatia and is different from the Macedoian Gaius.
“Timothy. Timothy may have represented more than one particular church. He was from Lystra but had been responsible for working in other churches (1 Corinthians 16:10-11; Philippians 2:19-23). He had been sent to Macedonia before Paul left Ephesus (Acts 19:22).
“Tychicus. Tychicus was a constant help to Paul, especially in association with the churches of Asia (Eph 6:21-22; Col. 4:7-9; 2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12).
“Trophimus. Trophimus appears again in Acts 21:29 (see 2 Timothy 4:20). He was an Ephesian, and it is implied that he was a Gentile. (NIV Study Bible)
I believe that this section of Scripture talks about men that were chosen to take the gift of money to Jerusalem saints in need for various reasons. One, we need trusted workers when we are dealing with funds from the church. Second, there is a need for churches that have more, to give to those in need.
“I’m convinced that, if we would adapt the kind of radical, sharing lifestyle of the New Testament, we would turn our world upside down for Christ. If we would live according to the economic laws of the kingdom, we would easily be able to send out new missionaries by the hundreds of thousands. In our lifetime, we would be able to provide the Word of God to every human being on this planet.
“And, of course, this powerful economic witness would be felt here at home as well as overseas. As we become detached from our worship of earthly things, we would learn to live more relaxed and contented lives. This freedom from covetousness and greed would allow us to escape the frenzied ‘earn, spend and consume’ syndrome that drives our culture. This is the merry-go-round, which Satan now uses to hold our families, churches and society in economic bondage. But this bondage can be broken.” (Road to Reality)
We have several links on our website of missions that do this very thing today. It would be great if you or your church would avail yourselves of these wonderful services. These are the names of just a few of these types of ministries: Samaritan’s Purse , Gospel For Asia , Gleanings For The Hungry , The Voice of the Martyrs
by Gary T. Panell