HE'S NOT HANGING THERE ANY MORE: What comes to mind when you picture Jesus? For many people, it would be the traditional crucifix image of Jesus hanging dead on the cross in utter weakness. It's not wrong to think of Jesus this way, but the problem with this being our 'image' of Christ is that we begin to think of Him as powerless, and therefore irrelevant in our lives. Today Paul reminds the Corinthians and us that Jesus is "not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you (v3)." Remember that the omnipotent (all powerful) creator & preserver of all that is has made you one with Him, and let that power be made known by the way you turn away from sin.
WEAK = STRONG: You've probably heard often about how the weakness Jesus demonstrated as He allowed Himself to be tortured and nailed to a cross ultimately became His strength as He rose victoriously three days later. Today you are reminded that although living as a Christian is looking weaker and weaker by our society, this weakness will also be transformed into power when Christ returns again. But this transformation is not just a far off promise, rather v4 lets you know you live in this power right now.
TEST TIME: The school year is fast upon us once again, and that means it's test time once again. Yet everyday is test day for you as a Christian! "Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith; test yourself (v5)." Unfortunately, while he tells us to test ourselves, Paul doesn't specify the test question, but the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism makes for an excellent daily exam:
As you face a new day, what is your only comfort in life and in death?
A) That I have a great job
B) That I have a beautiful family
C) That I have a comfortable house and nice car
D) That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
BENEDICTION: This Latin word literally meaning "good word." Every worship service at Worthington CRC and many other churches ends with a benediction: a blessing from God for you as you begin a new week. 2 Corinthians ends with not one, but two benedictions. Memorize them so they can come to your aid when you're struggling to pass the test we just looked at:
The God of all love and peace will be with you (v11).
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you (v14).
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The One who appeared weak on earth, but remains all powerful, reigning over all things.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to enable you to 'rejoice and to strive for full restoration, to encourage one another, to be of one mind, and to live in peace.'
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: