2 Corinthians 10 by Pastor Don
Thursday night is Discipleship class and we have been studying 2 Corinthians 10. (Thurs. 10/30/08)
In the Bible the mysteries of life are explained in a way that we can grab onto, that helps us to make decisions. God loves us so He would not put us down here without understanding the players.
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
God would not put a steward in charge of something that he could not understand. We have a responsibility to seek to understand the mysteries of God.
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
We need to be faithful, and that helps us to understand the unknown, mysteries of God.
2 Corinthians 10:1-2 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
Here a major mystery is unfolded. The church in Corinth was planted, and Paul realized that there were problems with sexual immorality. One of the members was having sex with his father’s wife. Paul became aware of the situation and began to address it. The church was trying to be gracious and not hurt the people’s feelings, but if this situation was not addressed then sexual immorality would have rippled through the rest of the church. Sins that are not dealt with can multiply and become rampant. This was a sin that Corinth could not overlook. Jesus gave us a picture of this with the symbol of yeast.
Pastor Don then told us it was important to be honest about situations before the problem manifests in a more embarrassing manner. He gave an example of taking a person to a fancy restaurant like the Ritz Carlton, and the person comes dressed in casual clothes. If Pastor Don would not tell the person to go home and change into proper attire, they could arrive at the restaurant and be turned away at the door which would cause the person greater embarrassment than if Pastor Don told him in private to wear proper clothes.
Remember in the parable of the Wedding Feast, people were turned away without proper clothes. For us that is righteousness (not in our own strength, but in Christ). For righteousness certain rules abide, and we cannot overlook sexual sin. If the elders say that sex is OK in certain circumstances that are unrighteous, then it could be inferred that you could sleep with anyone in any person in any circumstances.
Today certain churches are allowing sexual immorality within their congregations. This is not just homosexuality, but pornography, adultery, premarital sex, etc. Any sexual immorality is displeasing to God. In our area there is a Methodist Church where the pastor left his wife and two kids to be with his boyfriend. This pastor moved to another church, and yet that sexual immorality still is within it’s congregation and the following few pastors also had problems with sexual immorality. There is no moral basis for sexual immorality. We need to say NO. Jesus loves all, even those who have sexual immorality, but He wants them to change their ways so that they can live their lives to His best plans for them. If sexual sins are not stopped there is no limit to where that immorality can reach to.
Certain organizations that condone pedophilia are lobbying to have seven-year-olds be declared old enough to decide about sex. Where does it end? We need to protect the innocent. The starting point for most of the sexual sins we deal with now is that people did not put a stop to them when they began to emerge. They did not want to reprimand the person, or deal with the situation. Today we are dealing with increasing amounts of sexual sin for it has multiplied because it was condoned in the past.
Paul wrote the Corinthians a very strong letter to tell them to clear up their church. To get themselves straight and in line with God’s Word. Paul spoke in a meek and monotone voice, and at one point when he preached someone fell asleep and fell out of the window. Yet this was a powerful letter.
2 Corinthians 10:2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
Paul is giving them instructions as a Apostle, and letting them also realize the great mystery they have been entrusted with.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
We live in an emotional world, but we do not war in the flesh. We live in a flesh world, we need emotions. Sometimes we need a good cry, a burst of anger, but that is not spiritual warfare. We can’t fight the devil from an emotional standpoint. The demons are not intimidated by a screaming person. Jesus never screamed at the demons. They want to get in your face and spit at you. Why? To provoke a reaction. The demon is not afraid of violence, but the devil and demon is afraid of YOUR FAITH. In most cases Jesus cast out demons when there was not a crowd. And when Jesus cast out demons there was faith behind the words that He spoke.
We have fleshly bodies, minds, emotions, but they are not what we do spiritual warfare with. We do not war ACCORDING to the flesh. We do not take dictates of our emotions, or let them determine how we do battle. All our emotions are reflected in our bodies. When we are stressed it can be tied to major illness.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
There are two faces of warfare, the flesh and the devil. There is a war going on inside us. Pastor Don told us we could be standing near a Dunkin’ Doughnuts and the flesh could be calling you one way, but our weapon to deal with that fleshly desire is not carnal. There is no way to consistently win if we only use fleshly weapons. We may try to beat the flesh down, but that will not help us to break the addiction and bring our body under control. Yes, we do have to make decisions, but those decisions are easier to make if we realize that we cannot accomplish with the flesh what needs to be accomplished in the Spirit.
Yes, you can smash a computer to keep from viewing porn on it, but that does not totally prevent access to porn. The man or woman does have to make a choice. But carnality cannot produce spirituality.
If carnal weapons are used, we will fail. But if the Spirit of Man is dominating the Will of the flesh, self control (one of the fruit of the Spirit) helps our willpower to become unbelievably strong. If our will is not controlled by the Spirit, we cannot do it. We can’t go after the problem effectively with the will and the mind of the flesh.
Yes, we can stop for awhile with the flesh, but just a nip of the “dog” that bit you can cause that habit to rise up again, and often that leads us deeper into carnality. We can’t address problems with satan that way, for he can beat us every time.
If we have a problem we can yell at the person, add to the garbage of it, stomp around in a fit, try to do it ourselves, or be mad, try to lure a person to the right way, refuse to deal with the person until they change, but all these techniques are just shooting ourselves in the foot, and won’t work.
Pastor Don shared how hard it was for him to get his wife to accept a housekeeper coming in once a week. He had to offer it for special occasions, and after time, she became willing to accept the house cleaner. Her work and church duties made it hard for her to keep house the way Pastor Don needed it kept, so rather than yell, he found a solution that worked. He chose to hire a housekeeper to bless his wife. Real love says that I will do without to bless you. This was not battling with the flesh.
Pastor Don told us that when we have a problem we need to pray about it, seek to understand each other better, and help overcome the confusion of the mind or motivation, so that together you can come up with a solution. How can we work this thing out? It takes patience and longsuffering, but we can’t do that from the flesh, we need the mind of God to give us this patience and longsuffering.
Pastor Don told us we need to find the answer to, what would love do for me to get my way? Manipulation is only bad if the purpose is to exploit, steal, or do harm.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds
Mighty IN GOD. The answer is in God, that we can pull down strongholds. Strongholds are fortresses, mindsets, engrained habits, things that we look at and say to ourselves, “We’ve always done it that way.”
Pastor Don told us the story of the Thanksgiving ham, where the wife was cutting two inches off of the base of the ham before putting it in the pan. Her husband asked her why she did that, and she did not know, only that was what her mom did. She asked her mom why the base of the ham was cut off and it turned out it was because the pan was too small for the ham and that was the mom’s solution to make the ham fit the pan.
We need to ask ourselves why do I do what I do? Why do I expect what I expect? Are my expectations based on hope and my hopes based on strongholds? When we are affected by a stronghold we can’t stop it, and we feel under compulsion to do it. It is a habit out of control or inherited. If it is negative it is a curse.
For example if a girl has an alcoholic father who beats his wife, and she marries an alcoholic man who beats her.
The difference between a stronghold and a curse is time – a curse can remain in a family until the third and fourth generation unless something is done to stop it. Either the person turns to God and gets free, or they die a spiritual death.
2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Imaginations, arguments, theories, reasonings, speculations. We need to realize every thought in our head is not our thought. God can speak a God idea to us in the Spiritual realm, but so can the enemy of our souls speak ideas to us, and we must learn to discern the source of our thoughts. When our spirit receives a thought it is from another spirit, who talks with our spirit, and then our spirit talks with our mind/will/emotions to let us know what was said. Our flesh does not always want to hear what our spirit is telling it.
We also need to realize that just like our flesh has feelings, our spirit also has feelings. The Bible tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we can wake up feeling happy and without our realizing it sadness creeps in on us. Praise and worship can help us to make it through another day. We can hear from the Spirit as we are driving down the road, and something puts it in our mind to call so and so. When you call that person, they tell you that they were wishing that you would call them.
When we are communicating in the realm of the spirit it is instantaneous, there is no distance, time and space. How do we know we are hearing from the Lord and not something else? We stay in the Word and compare it with the Word until we can make the distinction. If we are in a faith area and the spirit speaks to us – the debate is over. If it is a flesh idea we can always reevaluate it.
Pastor Don once had the congregation to pray about direction for the church. His secretary took notes about what was said by members of this prayer group. 20 people said something during the course of the evening. After the secretary typed up what was said by the people, when it was read it made a complete message.
God will speak to us, but we have to practice listening. Pastor Don likened it to an FM radio station, where we can lose frequency when we get out of range. God does not stop speaking the same way that the FM radio station does not stop broadcasting, but we need to turn the dial and find the right frequency. We need to stop and tune into God to hear what He has to say for us.
We can know by faith that He is always broadcasting. What God said last Monday if we don’t hear Him then, He keeps saying the same thing until we hear Him, with one exception. If you reject God, He stops broadcasting and waits for you.
Job 29:21 Men listened to me and waited, and kept silence for my counsel
Arguments and imaginations come quick, but they need to be challenged. God says something to us in faith. The devil tries to tell you something else. If you don’t cast down what the devil tries to tell you, then you end up getting pulled into the devil’s argument. People can argue themselves out of what God has promised them. We are to cast down arguments and everything that pits itself against the Word of God. This calls for discernment. We need to get rid of things that take up air space that is not what God is saying.
God can give us a good idea and the devil will substitute a bad idea to take away our Godly one. The ideas planted by the devil will seem like good ideas (we would not follow bad ideas), but they will replace a God idea. If God is telling you to start a business, then do it, but He will not tell you to start an illegal business. Sometimes we can get dissatisfied with our marriages, and satan will plant the idea that the next marriage will be better. But that is not the case, we tend to pick the same sort of person or someone worse.
God cannot bless us if we are overlooking something God wants us to do. So, satan will tempt us with things that look good and Godly, but they may not be what God is telling us to do.
We need to hold every thought captive to Christ. Take our thoughts captive, think about them and see if they line up with Christ. If they do accept them, if not, reject them.
Pastor Don gave the example of a toy train set with switches that can switch a train from one track to another. If you get an idea that is of Christ, satan will try to switch us to another track, getting us off of what God wanted us to do. That other track may also be good works and helpful, but it is not what God is wanting us to do at this time.
If we end up with thoughts that are not of God, we need to switch them for Godly thoughts. We do that by the Law of Substitution.
We were told to imagine a red elephant, we did. Then Pastor Don told us to not think of a red elephant. It is hard to do when you have that image in your mind. The only way to get rid of the red elephant image is to think of something else. It is the same when we want to replace an ungodly thought with one of God’s we have to start saying what God would say, reciting scripture. We can’t think two thoughts simultaneously. One is offset by another. So when we have those thoughts that are not of God, start saying something that is God’s Words.
When your brain implants an idea, synapses build a picture of it in your memory. Pastor Don then told us that if something happens at a young age, for example if a child is sexually molested at a young age, those images remain, and in order to heal and get past that pain, something needs to be substituted for it.
Pastor Don told us that we have to reinforce a picture of what we want to happen and begin to think about that. Traditional psychology often has a person go over and over their past, reliving it and making the images even more vivid. When a person who has been molested thinks about God or Jesus often they cannot think of him as father, for their father caused them pain. It takes time to learn that God and Jesus are not like our earthly fathers, and then we can substitute images of God and Jesus for our earthly father, and then true healing can occur.
What happens is that as we accept Christ in our lives, He begins to change us and our pasts will be healed and we will be changed.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Our physical brain begins to change as more of Christ’s words enter our lives, and our old brain synapses die, and we gain a new mind – the mind of Christ.
We ended the Bible study by reciting the following two verses together.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Hope you have a blessed New Year, and may this year find your mind being renewed as we walk closer and closer to the Mind of Christ.
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