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Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians www.scribd.


2 Corinthians
This is perhaps Pauls most personal and autobiographical letter.

Reading 2 Corinthians is like turning on the TV in the middle of a show.

The two letters we have in the Bible from Paul to the Corinthians is just part of their ongoing conversation and relationship over time.


Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians In 1 Corinthians you can already tell that some people within the congregation dont like Paul.

Between 1 and 2 Corinthians, this dislike or hatred for Paul was amplified by some outsiders who presented themselves as superstar leaders. They compared themselves to Paul and thought they were better

Pauls CV 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. (1 Cor 11:25-27)

How can you tell which leader to follow?

What is true success?

Three major parts to 2 Corinthians:

1-7, 8-9, 10-13.

Chapters 1-7 Paul gives an explanation of what Christian leadership really looks like.

The big point the normal experience of weakness and suffering for Paul

Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians

8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead (2 Cor 1:8-9)

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (2 Cor 4:7-12)

Chapters 8-9 Paul turns his mind to a collection of money for the poor churches in Jerusalem.

The glory of the gospel is seen in the content and not the vessel.

The example of the Macedonians:

Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity 2 Cor 8:2

2 Cor 8:9 - For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Following the example of Jesus and giving ourselves (and our money) away to enrich the lives of others. The climax of it all 2 Cor 9:7 - 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver

Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians

Chapters 10-13 goes directly after the super-apostles.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. (2 Cor 11:13)

The super-apostles were boastful: 12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise (2 Cor 10:12)

Paul responds by boasting in his weaknesses! (2 Cor 11:30) Even his vision cant bring him glory because he cant talk about it. 2 Cor 12:6 - Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say

The key point

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christs sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Christian ministry is a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody.

Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians

Already done some work on this when we investigated what 4:13 means. Written in the early 60's perhaps 62. One of Paul's captivity epistles (Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon are the others). The recipients are the mostly Gentile church in Philippi, which was founded in 48-49 by Paul, Silas and Timothy. The occasion for the letter is that Ephaphroditus, one of the members of the Philippian church, had come to Paul in prison and brought news of the church, plus a gift of support. Along the way, Epaphroditus got sick, and Paul now writes to the Philippians to encourage them about their show of generosity, and also to reassure them of Epaphroditus' welfare. Several features of the letter: 1. Paul is full of praise and affection.

2. Amongst its major themes is that present suffering does not cast doubt upon the gospel, and can be used for the purposes of the gospel 12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.(1:12-13)

3. Another major theme is that the key to living within the Christian community is to live as servants of one another: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil 2:1-4)

Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians
Perhaps the earliest of Pauls letters

Founded during Pauls second missionary campaign

Paul has success in winning converts, and then has to move on after a short time.

In 1 Thessalonians, you get a letter from Paul which is all about helping young Christians. People who have been evangelised, but he didnt have a chance to followup much.

Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians

Getting the emphasis wrong from not enough solid teaching

Part of Pauls gospel proclamation was that Jesus had come, and part of it was he is coming soon.

9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the deadJesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Every Christian should live with a sense of imminence in their lives.

But they have got muddled

13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lords own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words. 5 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, Peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians

The fear of the young Christians in Thessalonica that if they die before Jesus comes back, they will somehow miss out.

The basic point is the dead dont miss out!

Reading the Bible in historical context meeting the Lord in the air.

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Zapping up to heaven? the air = the midpoint, the space between earth and heaven (see Eph 2:2).

Which direction do Jesus and his people go after meeting in the air?

The parousia (coming) of an emperor and the parousia (coming) of Jesus.

Lecture 9 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians
Probably written shortly after 1 Thessalonians Seems to be occasioned by a number of different concerns, although the primary one is that the people have received an erroneous teaching that the day of the Lord has already come (2 Thess 2:1). Precisely how this was talked about is unclear, but again it makes clear the way that imminence was a fundamental reality of early Christian thinking. Paul makes clear we stand on this side of the second coming. The other major problem appears to be people who are lazy and refuse to work. The reason why they refuse to work is also unclear, but the problem is mentioned in both 1 Thessalonians (1 Thess 4:9-12) and in 2 Thessalonians (3:6-15). A forgotten ethic the virtue of earning enough that you wouldnt be a freeloader He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Eph 4:28) Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thess 4:9-12) 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (2 Thess 3:6-15) Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. (Tit 3:14)