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The Scriptorium

Before God

It's the only place to be. 2 Corinthians 2.17

2 Corinthians 2 (6)

Pray Psalm 52.1-4.
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The goodness of God endures continually.
Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
You love evil more than good,
Lying rather than speaking righteousness.
You love all devouring words,
You deceitful tongue.

Sing Psalm 52.1-4.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Why do the mighty boast in sin? God’s love endures, it knows no end!
They with their tongues vain boasts repeat, and like a razor, work deceit.

Men more than good in evil delight, and lies prefer to what is right.
They utter words both harsh and strong with their devouring, deceitful tongue.

Read 2 Corinthians 2.1-17; meditate on verse 17.

1. What did Paul say he was not doing?

2. How did he speak?

In this verse Paul was anticipating the Corinthians’ response to his comments in verses 14-16. He had just written that God intended them to diffuse the fragrance (knowledge) of Christ in every place, throughout their Personal Mission Fields. But he also warned them that some people would be offended. “And who is sufficient” for that?

Well, not those who were showing up after Paul, seeking to scoop off followers by softening the demands of the Gospel. False apostles either perverted or diluted the Gospel message. And there were apparently many of them, just as there are today. Their motives were not pure. They were not sincere in their preaching and teaching but were worshiping the god of their belly, seeking above all financial gain or prestige (cf. Rom. 16.17, 18; Phil. 3.17-19).

Not so Paul. He knew Whom he served. His motives were pure and sincere. He preached and taught as one who knew himself to be always under the watchful eye of the Father and Jesus Christ. He told the truth, even when it was hard to hear, and he called those who heard him or read his epistles to embrace the Word of God and align themselves with its teaching, come what may.

When you’re living for Jesus, diffusing the knowledge of the Lord in every place, you can expect to bless many and offend some. This is what Jesus experienced. And Paul. And faithful saints in every age. But we can be sufficient for this if we continue looking to God and seeking the face of Jesus. For we can do all things through Christ Jesus, Who strengthens us (Phil. 4.13).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
“But who is adequate for such a task as this?
Only those who, like ourselves, are
men of integrity,
sent by God,
speaking with Christ’s power,
with God’s eye upon us.
We are not like those hucksters—
and there are many of them—
whose idea in getting out the Gospel
is to make a good living out of it” (2 Cor. 2.16, 17 TLB).

There are many such hucksters running rampant today throughout the fields of Christendom spreading a health, wealth, power, and popularity message that must be irksome to the great “cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12.1), many of whom were mocked, scourged, chained, imprisoned, stoned, and sawn in two. They also “wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth…” (Heb. 11.36-38).

Yes, that great cloud of witnesses, who did not experience health, wealth, power, or popularity. But what they did experience was the love of God and His careful attention to them: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116.15).

Every word of God is pure and worth sharing in its fullness (Prov. 30.5, 6).
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Ps. 19.7-9).

Not a word in there to woo hucksters or their followers.
But plenty in there for us to base our lives and work upon.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I AM gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11.28-30).

With Jesus, filled with His Holy Spirit, in sincerity, as from God, we speak and work in the sight of God. Not hucksters for money, power, health, wealth, or fame, but workers for His glory only, spreading the aroma of Christ throughout our Personal Mission Field, so that others can share in the love of God and experience life in His Kingdom both now and forevermore.

For reflection
1. What was Paul’s motive for sharing the Good News of Jesus? What is yours?

2. What would you say is the key for keeping our witness pure and sincere?

3. Whom will you encourage today in their witness for the Lord?

Paul will not imitate the false apostles, who claim rewards for themselves. For corruption occurs when one sells for money what one ought to give freely. Paul speaks in Christ, not by his own wisdom but by the power which comes from him.
John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 5.3

Pray Psalm 52.8, 9.
Pray that God will make you fruitful today in righteousness, and that you may be a fragrance of Jesus in everything you do.

Sing Psalm 52.8, 9.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
But as for me may I be seen in God an olive ever green!
Ever in God, most kind and just, shall I with joy and gladness trust!

Thanks evermore to our Savior be raised! His faithfulness be ever praised!
Here with Your people, loving God, I wait upon Your Name, so good!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help you see both the greatness and the smallness of God’s salvation. Such a Great Salvation and Small Stuff will show you how to think small, live big, and know the salvation and glory of God in all your daily life. You can learn more about these books and order your copies by clicking here and here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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