Monday, March 7, 2011

Pressing On

Pressing On
“Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Many times in life we are faced with great decisions and most of the time these decisions are really tough to make. But as Christians we can be assured that when we turn to our Father for His assistance in these matters, He will make whatever we decide to do great for the furthering of His kingdom: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can be assured that God is working for our benefit.

As Paul was writing to the congregation in Corinth he made some encouraging reminders to help them in his absence. First of all, he encouraged them to rejoice. Although they might have had faith in Paul, they also had to understand that it is God that does the blessing. It is His love that guides and protects the church, not Paul’s. Their reason to rejoice was never in Paul but in the salvation offered only in Christ.

The second encouragement was to “be made complete.” This is a Greek word that implies allowing God to complete His work in you. Paul wanted the congregation to continue to rely on God for the strength needed to continue in their efforts to further the kingdom, even in his absence. I am reminded of Paul’s words to another congregation: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). God’s work will continue to flourish in the Lord’s church if we will continue to allow His love to mold us into the people He can use to bring glory to His name. The church is in the process of being mad ecomplete.

Paul’s third encouragement was to stay united in their efforts and “be like-minded and live in peace.” Satan uses the world in which we live to hinder God’s work through the church. The world does not understand God’s love and therefore cannot understand the work of God’s church. The Maryville congregation will be successful as we unite our minds in “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), remembering to always set our own personal desires aside to assure the unity found in devotion to Christ. This can only be done by studying God’s word together and reasoning through the Scriptures to know the will of God. When the minds of the Christians in Maryville are united in Christ, nothing can stop the work they are partaking in together. The world has no power over hearts solidified in faith (1 John 5:4).

Finally, Paul encouraged the Corinthians by reminding them whom they serve. Our God is the God of “love and peace” and He will always be with the faithful (Matthew 28:20). His love is unconditional but is fully received through obedient trust in His power to save the soul. His peace comes from the knowledge of His grace and the acceptance of the salvation He offers through His Son. Paul knew that the only way to success was to rely on God’s wisdom, grace and love. He also knew that if the congregation in Corinth would the worldly temptations to rely on the flesh, God would grant them love and peace.

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