Sunday, August 24, 2014

On 8-31-14, 2 Corinthians 8:1-14 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as A Community Shares Its Resources or Generosity in the Midst of Poverty

A Community Shares Its Resources
Or
Generosity in the Midst of Poverty
 2 Corinthians 8:1-14
International Sunday School Lesson
August 31, 2014
                                                                                 


Commentary
By
Jed Greenough

I think if we are willing to admit it we all know how we should give.  I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but what Jesus said about the matter means more to me than what Paul had to say on the issue. 
We see Jesus talk on the matter in Mark 12:41-44, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.  Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.  Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of her wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.””
In Luke 6:30a He said, “Give to everyone who asks you…”
And if we were to think about how Jesus gave we know that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8b.
So we have our examples and we know how He wants us to give but it is always necessary for our leaders to tell us as a whole to do it and to do it generously.  But today in this scripture and in sermons past to which I’ve listened I have been rubbed the wrong way!
Now sometimes it might be out of guilt and that is great that I hear the message but other times there is something about it that galls me and that bothers me about myself.  I am just putting that out there, I don’t have an answer for it, I am just being honest with an observation.
Being a fan of Paul’s I am keenly aware of the Paul bashers out there and we in fact know that denominations have sprung up like weeds to teach what they want as opposed to what Paul instructed.  So I am really leery of fueling anyone’s animosity towards him or the Bible but when I read these words he wrote they aren’t to me the same Paul and I think in that I find a clue as to why He sounds a bit off to me.
When your Pastor has to give service to this subject I would think in most cases it is not what they want to being doing on any given worship day but it is a necessary chore unfortunately.  Let’s not hold it against them or Paul because if we gave as Christ gave they wouldn’t have to bring it up so often.
For Discussion:
1.      Give examples of God giving.
2.      Give other examples of giving in the bible.
3.      Give examples from your life.
4.      How much should a church give rather than spend on itself.
5.      Discuss the balance of a church spending on itself rather than giving of its wealth.
6.      Discuss a church with much abundance and its giving when there are churches that struggle for reasons that are not their fault.
7.      What does your church have in place to give to those who need?
8.      What do you have in place to give to those in need?
9.      Discuss to whom you should be giving?
10.  Discuss when you should not give or not give further?
                                                                                                               
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved



Sunday, August 17, 2014

On 8-24-14, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:1-4 or 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:2-4 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as An Appeal for Reconciliation

An Appeal for Reconcilliation
 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:1-4 or 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, 7:2-4
International Sunday School Lesson
August 24, 2014
                                                                                 


Commentary
By
Jed Greenough


In last week’s commentary I touched on our appreciation or lack of it for what Paul endured for the sake of the gospel and for our sake.  I mentioned how often times in scripture we pick out what speaks to us at that moment.  If that is all we did last week we might have passed over some of what Paul endured.
If that is what we did we get another chance for appreciation and enlightenment as again we see mention in general terms the hardships that Paul endured or as Paul put it, he endured “in great endurance.”
As this leader of early Christians this shepherd and teacher distinguished one suffering from another by separating them into: troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, riots aimed at him, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger.  It is a litany again that we should remember.
What I think too though that it should show is where and how he placed himself despite his station as an apostle.  It should show the role that the leaders, and shepherds and teachers of our church today should pursue.  They may not yet in this day have to endure these things but they should prepare for that day because it could come soon!  It will be too late to practice when that time arrives.
The rest of us should appreciate these positions for what they go through for our sakes.  We must make room for them in our hearts as Paul says in chapter 7 verse 2.  I know that is difficult from my own life but Paul tells how it’s done in the preceding verse, “…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
We have to make a conscious choice to pursue holiness and we owe it to God to do so as again Paul said in 6:1, “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.  For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
Again, I know from experience it isn’t easy but only when we are truly holy will we truly act like Paul or love as he entreated.

For Discussion:
1.      Discuss receiving God’s gift of grace in vain.
2.      How might our teachers, leaders, shepherds etc. put stumbling blocks in someone’s path?  This is a sensitive but vital matter to discuss in an intelligent but sensitive way.
3.      Discuss Christians today who might be enduring some of the things that Paul experienced.
4.      Discuss being prepared to endure ourselves.
5.      Discuss speaking freely to each other as Paul mentions in 6:11.
6.      Discuss pursuing holiness for God’s sake if not our own.


Upcoming Lessons:
8-31-14  2 Corinthians 8:1-14 A Community Shares Its Resources or Generosity in the Midst of Poverty
 

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved