Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 201/260: Read 2 Corinthians 9

Attitude—how many times will we come back to that idea when we study the New Testament? After spending some time with the concept of a “willing mind” in chapter 8, Paul shifts to the disposition of the one involved in the act of giving in chapter 9.

When you give, don’t do it because it is commanded. Do it, but do it because you want to, and do it because it brings you joy to help another person. Make it purposeful and heartfelt, “not grudgingly or of necessity.”

We read in the book of Proverbs about some of the things that God hates: “A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Paul takes the opposite approach and tells us what the Lord loves: “a cheerful giver.” And when we have the proper attitude in our giving, the apostle says that “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

God will bless those who give liberally and cheerfully. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

2 Corinthians 13:5. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Pray

Pray for the proper attitude in obeying God’s commands.

Sin vs. Sacrifice

The Widow's Two Mites

Luke 20:45-21:4

I. Pride and hypocrisy go hand-in-hand

    A. The dangers of these attitudes (Luke 20:45-46; Matthew 6:1,5,16; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 3:2-6; Luke 14:7-11)
    B. Evil attitudes lead to evil actions (Luke 20:47; 18:11-12)

II. The sacrificial widow

    A. God’s people are supposed to take care of widows (Luke 21:1-4; Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-21; 27:19; James 1:27; 1 Timothy 5:3-6)
    B. She was selfless in her sacrifice (Luke 21:3-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 12; Galatians 6:10)

A View of God in the Eyes of Nahum

View of God in the Eyes of Nahum 1:2-3,7

Nahum 1:2-3, 7

I. Bad news (Nahum 1:2)

    A. Jealous (Exodus 20:4-5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Matthew 6:33)
    B. Avenges (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 12:25, 29)
    C. Furious (because of impenitence)
    D. Mercy in the Old Testament (Exodus 33:17-19; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 13:5; 23:6)
    E. Wrath in the New Testament (Romans 1:18; 2:5-6; Ephesians 5:5-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)

II. Good and bad news (Nahum 1:3)

    A. Slow to anger (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 103:8; Jonah 4:2; James 1:19-20; Galatians 5:22-23)
    B. Great in power (creation, deliverance, miracles)
    C. Will not at all acquit the wicked (Psalm 1:5)

III. Good news (Nahum 1:7)

    A. The Lord is good (Psalm 31:19; John 3:16)
    B. A stronghold in the day of trouble (Psalm 46:1; 61:3)
    C. The Lord knows those who trust in Him (1 John 2:3-5)

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 200/260: Read 2 Corinthians 8

How important is your attitude? If you do a favor for someone, but you complain the entire time, how do you think that person feels about your effort? Your attitude can invalidate any good deed you may do.

The Corinthian church told Paul that they wanted an opportunity to help their brothers in need, and the apostle now tells them it is time to “complete the doing of it.” Certainly, they were not expected to give more than they had. Yet, they were encouraged to do all they could in fulfilling their desire.

“For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” That “willing mind” is so important when helping someone. Had they begrudgingly fulfilled their promise, would it be as appreciated? If their attitude was such that gave the impression of saying, “I said I would do it, so here you go,” with a huff, what would the recipient think? How would it make them feel?

Friends, we need to be joyful when we help those in need, whether we are giving of our time, money, or talents. Smile and say a kind word, without complaining about any difficulty you may have experienced. It will be remembered more fondly by both the recipient and by you.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

2 Corinthians 9:7. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Pray

Pray for an occasion to show joy while helping a brother or sister in need.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 199/260: Read 2 Corinthians 7

When you get caught doing something wrong, are you sorry you did it, or sorry you got caught? Paul wrote to the church at Corinth about “godly sorrow” that “produces repentance leading to salvation.” The church was confronted with sin, and because of their godly sorrow, they changed their ways.

When one is just sorry he got caught, though, he doesn’t change. He just finds ways to hide his sin. Or his heart hardens so that it doesn’t even bother him to do it in the open.

Yet godly sorrow, the kind that leads to repentance and then to salvation, has an impact on a person that goes far beyond getting caught. Godly sorrow causes one to be more diligent in his faithfulness, examining himself to be sure he is walking according to the will of God. Godly sorrow causes indignation—getting mad at sin in one’s own life and at the encouragement and tolerance of sin in society. Godly sorrow produces fear, knowing that one who remains in sin is separated from God. What a terrifying thought! Godly sorrow produces desire and zeal to vindicate oneself, to get back into right standing with the Almighty.

Confronting sin should never be done in order to embarrass one who has fallen into temptation; the aim should be the restoration of that person’s relationship with God.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

2 Corinthians 9:7. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Pray

Pray for forgiveness for your own shortcomings, and for wisdom in helping others to get on the right track.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 198/260: Read 2 Corinthians 6

Eternity is an urgent matter. When the Philippian jailer learned from Paul and Silas what he needed to do in order to be accepted by Jesus, Luke says that “immediately he and all his family were baptized” (Acts 16:33). He did not want to waste a single second outside the body of Christ, once he learned about the body of Christ.

In a passage addressed to the Servant of the Lord, Isaiah prophesied, “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages” (Isaiah 49:8).

By inspiration, Paul makes application of the passage to the gospel age, writing, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” We do not know if we will have a tomorrow, or a next week, or a next year. There is urgency—once we know the truth, we must accept it and obey it.

One of mankind’s greatest talents is that of procrastination. Finishing work minutes before the deadline, cramming for a final exam the night before, always going up to the very last second to complete a task. Yet, in the case of life, we do not know when that last second will come.

One’s soul is too precious to be subject to procrastination.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

2 Corinthians 9:7. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Pray

Pray for a sense of urgency in obeying and teaching the gospel.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 197/260: Read 2 Corinthians 5

Are you nervous about the Judgment Day? Paul expressed his confidence that on the last day, he would be accepted by the Lord. He wrote, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

For some, though, that may not inspire a great deal of confidence. Those who have not been living by the faith of the Word, who have rather put their trust in their own merits or in the faith of others, will not have a leg to stand on when the last day comes.

Will L. Thompson, a member of the church of Christ who lived from 1847 to 1909, wrote a hymn about how that last day will be seen by various people. First, he calls it a “great day,” pointing to the fact that “the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left.” Next, he says it is a “bright day…but its brightness shall only come to them that love the Lord.” Finally, it is a “sad day…when the sinner shall hear his doom, ‘Depart, I know ye not.’” Brother Thompson asks repeatedly, “Are you ready for that day to come?”

How do you see that great day that is coming? Will it be a bright day, or a sad day? “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

2 Corinthians 9:7. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Pray

Pray for forgiveness when needed, and for boldness to do the will of the Lord always.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 196/260: Read 2 Corinthians 4

Paul suffered many things throughout his ministry. Reading through the book of Acts, one sees persecutions coming from both Jews and Gentiles, stonings, imprisonments, and more. What was Paul’s opinion of these struggles?

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” Whatever he faced, Paul knew there was something better waiting for him beyond this mortal life.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.”

As Christians, we should be able to look past the difficulties of this life and see the glory that awaits us in eternity. Our focus should be on getting there and taking as many people with us as possible. “For the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

I don’t know who said it originally, but there is truth in this statement: “Being a Christian doesn’t change what you deal with, but it changes how you deal with it.”

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

2 Corinthians 9:7. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Pray

Pray for wisdom and patience in the struggles of this life, and thank the Father for the eternal reward that awaits you.

The Authority of Jesus (Luke 19:47-20:8)

The Authority of Jesus Luke 19:47-20:8

Luke 19:47-20:8

I. The Jewish leaders’ question

    A. The Lord’s rebuke of the Pharisees (Luke 11:37-52) and the Pharisees’ opposition to the Lord (Luke 11:53-54; 6:7)
    B. Their prejudiced question (Luke 19:47-20:2)

II. The Lord’s question

    A. John’s baptism—from God or from men? (Luke 20:3-4; John 1:6, 29, 34-36; 3:26-36)
    B. Their claim of ignorance (Luke 20:5-7)

III. Rebellion and dishonesty leaves one with no hope

    A. They refused to answer His question, so He refused to answer theirs (Luke 20:8; John 20:30-31)
    B. We must accept the truth of the gospel and obey it (James 1:21-25; Matthew 28:18; Mark 16:16)

Mission: Possible (With God)

Mission Possible With God

Job 42:1-6

I. With God, it was possible “back then”

    A. The Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-6, 14-15)
    B. God’s promise to Abram (Genesis 15:1-6; 16:1-2; 17:15-19; 21:2)
    C. God’s deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 3:11-12)
    D. The evangelization of the world (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:5-6)
    E. Preaching even to Caesar (Acts 23:11; 25:1-12)

II. With God, it is possible “today”

    A. 7.8 billion people in the world, but the church is losing 300 preachers each year
    B. Individual Christians have a responsibility to be active in the work of evangelism
    C. Don’t know enough? Study and learn! (2 Timothy 2:15; 2:2)
    D. Utilize sound resources like oabs.org to increase your personal knowledge

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)