“But the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24).
When this simple but meaningful statement was made in the first century, the apostles and some other helpers were beginning to spread the gospel and establish the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
These early Christians were quite successful in their efforts, even though they faced adversities—and these adversities included that they were spreading a new religion, they faced opposition from both Jews and Gentiles as well as the Romans, and severe persecutions loomed on the horizon.
Here’s where the “Yes, But…” label comes in. In spite of these circumstances, the borders of the kingdom were spread quickly, sending us a powerful message that we should never allow challenges, no matter how severe, to deter us from fulfilling our role as an active soldier of Christ.
Second of two studies in 2 Corinthians 10
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Paul moves from strategy in verse three to weaponry in this verse as he explains to the Corinthians that his way of dealing with the adversity being inflicted upon him is quite different from what they would have expected.
The weapons he uses are those that come from God; and they are powerful, enabling him to be victorious in overcoming whatever comes his way. These weapons enable him to “pull down” even the mightiest of opposition.
Paul, of course, is centering his defense upon his faith in God and his ability to use God’s word. As people attack us or try to hurt us today, we have these same two defenses: we have the assurance that God will never forsake us and we have His word as our constant guide.
By using these weapons instead of the human weapons of anger or defensiveness, we can please God and, at the same time, demonstrate to the world what Christianity is all about.
First of two studies in 2 Corinthians 10
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh”
(2 Corinthians 10:3).
Accusations had obviously been leveled against the Apostle Paul, resulting in his writing this strong defense of his life and actions. There was no place where Paul met stronger accusations than in Corinth.
Using an obvious statement in his defense, Paul contrasts it with one the Corinthians may not have understood. They could testify to the fact that he was a flesh and blood human being; but he wanted them to understand that his reactions to life, even adversity in life, were not consistent with the behavior of an ordinary man.
The apostle was fighting a spiritual battle, and his strategy was based upon spiritual principles. By this tactic, he left us a wonderful example about how we can deal effectively with life as difficulties come our way.
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).
In attempting to convince the Corinthians that his teaching does not come from other men, the Apostle Paul assures them that his message comes from God through God’s own Spirit.
And in this verse, Paul is specific in that he narrows the point down to the very words he is using, thus confirming verbal inspiration. Inspiration means “God-breathed”—that is, God breathed His message into the messenger and had him communicate His message with total accuracy.
The message for us is that we are to accept the scriptures with full assurance that they come from God and that we are to put them into practice in our lives in humble and confident submission.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Having just made a proclamation about the fact that it was the Father’s deep love that caused Him to allow disciples to be called the “sons of God,” John here delves into what is known and what is unknown.
As obedient Christians, then and now, we know we are a child of God if we have been obedient to the gospel message, but we do not know exactly how we will appear at the resurrection and in the afterlife.
We do, however, know that our mortal body will be fashioned into a glorious resurrected body and that it will have the same kind of appearance that Jesus has. People once saw Jesus in His human body; but, at the time referred to in this verse, everyone shall see Him as He really is in His glorified state.
What an overpowering thought that should propel us to be diligent in our faithfulness to Him so that we will be able to behold Him someday.