Prior to Paul meeting Jesus his goal was to imprison all Christians, but once he had his encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus for that purpose (Acts 9) he spent the rest of his life spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Even in prison he wrote letters and preached.
Nothing could stop him and nothing should stop us from letting the world know how much God loves the world. And there is nothing than can stop God from loving You, except you.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come.
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).
Father, I know that nobody and nothing is more worthwhile than Your Son and there is nothing that can interfere once we are with You, not the government, the Jews, the Muslims, the Catholics, nothing!
Tomorrow we will look at…
2 Corinthians 2
Forgiveness of an Offender
1 But I determined this with myself that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
2:5-11 – speaks of a particular person who has been the cause of serious offense in Corinth and upon whom church discipline has been imposed.
Paul admonishes the Corinthians that because the offender has shown genuine sorrow and repentance for his sin the punishment should be discontinued and he should be lovingly restored to their fellowship.
Church discipline, important as it is, should not be allowed to develop into a form of graceless rigor in which there is no room for pardon and restoration.
Here the Catholic church disagrees with Paul, for example, if you divorce the Catholic church will kick you out, they are not real Christians.
6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
10 To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
“When I came to Troas” – Paul had traveled up from Ephesus to Troas, a city on the Aegean cost, hoping to find Titus there and to receive news from him about the Corinthian church.
13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
“Savor of death…savor of life” – as the gospel aroma is released in the world through Christian testimony, it is always sweet-smelling, even though it may be differently received. The two ultimate categories of mankind are “them that are saved and…them that perish” (v. 15).
17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
“We are not as many, which corrupt the word of God” – Paul is referring to false teachers who had infiltrated the Corinthian church.
Such persons – themselves insincere, self-sufficient and boastful – artfully presented themselves in a persuasive manner, and their chief interest was to take money from gullible church members.
Paul is not talking about just those that preach false religions, like Christian Science, Scientology, Islam, etc. He is also talking about pastors that don’t tell the full truth, they candy coat the words of God.
This also includes large organizations like the Catholic church or individuals like Rick Warren.
Paul’s Visits and Letter to Corinth
The chronology of Paul’s visits and letters to Corinth is difficult to track and somewhat disputed, but the following sequence is a reasonable interpretation of the Biblical record:
First Visit (50-52 A.D.): Paul visited Corinth during his second missionary journey, staying on for almost two years with Aquila and Priscilla, who were refugees from Italy because of Emperor Claudius’s decree in 49 A.D. expelling the Jews from Rome.
Paul was summoned before the proconsul Lucius Junius Gallio in the summer of 51 A.D.
* In 52 A.D. Paul, in the company of Priscilla and Aquila, left Corinth, moving his center of ministry to Ephesus, where he labored for about three years. During his absence Apollos visited Corinth on Paul’s behalf.
* Paul wrote his first letter (now lost) to Corinth; it included a warning against associating with immoral people.
According to this article the 1st and 3rd letters are lost, but I have found pictures of both, so something is amiss.
* Paul dispatched Timothy and Erastus to Corinth and received from Chloe’s household news about quarreling within the church, as well as questions from the congregation, delivered by Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus.
* From Ephesus (c.55/56 A.D.) Paul sent a second letter to the church there, including instructions on collecting money for needy Christians in Jerusalem. Aquila and Priscilla remained in Ephesus, and Titus and Timothy returned to Paul from Corinth.
Second Visit (56 A.D.): Paul experienced a “painful” visit to Corinth.
* Shortly after this visit he wrote a third letter (also lost), sending it via Titus as a letter of “many tears,” pleading with the Corinthians to change their behavior. Some scholars believe that this letter of “tears” was either 1 Cor or 2 Cor 10-13.
* Paul proceeded to the seaport of Troas in Asia, where he expected to meet Titus, who failed to arrive. Paul later found him in Macedonia. Titus reported some success with the Corinthians: The congregation had dealt with their offender, but their submission to Paul’s leadership had declined.
* Paul dispatched a fourth letter (probably 2 Cor) to Corinth via Titus, who oversaw the collection for Jerusalem and prepared for Paul’s visit. This letter was written approximately one year after 1 Corinthians. The churches throughout Macedonia donated generously for the needy in Jerusalem.
Third Visit: Paul stayed in Corinth for three months to finalize the collection and reconcile with the church. Priscilla and Aquila returned to Rome, while Timothy remained with Paul. The Achaean churches contributed for the poor in Jerusalem.
* Around 57-61 A.D. Paul delivered the relief gift in Jerusalem, after which he found himself imprisoned in Caesarea and Rome. In approximately 61 A.D. Paul was released from prison and set out once again to preach.
…letter writing in the Greco-Roman World.