Reposted from Pr. Stout:
(14 verses, 1:55 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Paul will teach on pastoral authority and proclaim that his ultimate desire is for Christ’s healing and saving Word of truth be received in faith.
- 1-4: Statements about how Paul will not always deal in patience with those who do not repent. He will not spare excommunication.
- 5-10: A call for individual examination and testing to see whether their lives and confessions line up with Christ. Paul also reminds them that the truth in God’s Word is the only thing the Church of God has to stand on. He also confesses he wants to use his pastoral and apostolic authority to build up the body of Christ and he doesn’t desire to be severe. His desire is for his call to repentance to be met with contrition and faith, rather than pride and despair.
- 11-12: Exhortations to live in peace and comfort one another
- 13: A blessing. Note that a blessing is not a well wishing statement. When it is the Lord’s Word, it accomplishes what it says. Grace, love and communion with God are given through these Words.
- vs. 1 uses Deut. 19:15, ” 15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established,” as a model for church discipline. Paul advised Timothy to use this in charges brought against pastors as well (1 Tim. 5:1). This prevents false charges and allows better judgment by comparing the charges. The ultimate desire, as is stated clearly in this chapter, is also stated by Jesus, “If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
- vs. 4, “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God…” During this Christmas season, it is a wonderful time to meditate on how it was that our Lord Jesus came to us- in weakness, as a baby, as man who allowed himself to die. What does this mean? Did he come in weakness like I would come in weakness if I were to have a fist fight against Mike Tyson? I couldn’t help it. In comparison to Mike Tyson (or for that matter, anyone over the age of 5), I am weak in the fist fighting department. This is not the type of weakness Paul is describing, for the Son of God is all powerful and His Kingdom will rule over death, sin and Satan’s kingdom. It is rather that Christ chose to come in the flesh and weakness, so in His coming, He wouldn’t destroy us! Rather, through both His choosing to be weak (His human nature) and His strength (His divine nature working in, with, and under His human nature), He would destroy our enemies who are much more powerful than us. His resurrection proved this powerful working through weakness. His victory becomes our victory.
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Pastor Christopher Stout