You Have Sufficient Credentials – 6-10-22

…to do the work you are called to while He works in you.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Second Corinthians chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Christ’s Epistle

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

The Spirit, Not the Letter

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the [a]Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Glory of the New Covenant

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [b]by the Spirit of the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Or spirit
  2. 2 Corinthians 3:18 Or from the Lord, the Spirit

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

As Paul continues to speak to each of the issues the Corinthians have, we started to see one of the issues was Paul’s appointment (job as a missionary, church founder, evangelist, pastor and apostle). Other traveling preachers, peddling their version of the gospel (as Paul described them as peddlers in yesterday’s reading) would come with their credentials or letters of commendations to give them accreditation.
Whenever you step back away from a lie of the devil, you see how ridiculous it is. But these poor people of Corinth fell into the trap of the lie completely. Being 2000 years removed from the lie, it is easy for you and me to see how ridiculous it is.
You see Paul founded the church and stayed and built it up. They did not ask for credentials then. The reason they even know about Christ is because of Paul. Therefore the fact that they believe and have grown ARE Paul’s credentials. Instead of questioning him, they could be writing these commendation letters for him.
But let us look into the spirit. The spirits of better-than-you, pride and division snuck in the second Paul left them the first time and Paul spoke against it and no doubt was praying daily against it in the church. SO, guess who was fighting back – spirits of better-than-you, pride and division. Humans, yes people, were getting hurt and used by the enemy while the enemy attacked the church and Paul.
And here we see Paul fighting back again, with truth. With the authority in Spirit. And still trying desperately to reach the people and give them Biblical wisdom.

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?”

Paul’s works where knows throughout the Roman Empire. Paul could have easily asked another church for a letter of commendation. This is not about the letters. It is about the fact that these people ARE the witness of what Paul does. Sadly, this church is like his child. He dropped a seed to plant a lot of churches – but this is the one he stayed at and watered and grew.

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”

Isn’t it always a matter to the heart? Where are our hearts today?
Anyone following the news? Did you see California? It grieves me. Have you see our energy crisis? In Florida, my son’s uncle lives there and the gas pumps top off at $100. They cannot buy more than $100 from any given gas station. He said he has to drive around to a couple gas stations to fill the tank of the big work truck. How long until they deny your payment cards, because you already bought from another station? So they are already rationing gas. I went to buy my dog food – and the selves were empty, her kind of food as well as many others were gone. I am thankful that she likes this new kind, but it is more expensive than the last kind. This is reaching every aspect of our lives. I have a very dear friend 30 miles away and my son lives 30 miles in the other direction and it is already difficult to get to them. We are being isolated again. The enemy is oppressing.
What is my point? NOW more than ever before in our lives, we MUST check our hearts. Do our hearts reflect our savior or a lie from the enemy? Do our hearts glorify God’s work in our communities or are we at odds with our brethren? Check our hearts! Mind our hearts. Be the witness of what the Lord did IN us, but also what the Lord did through every seed sower, every water bearer who watered, everyone who turned us and pointed us to the sun. Yes, be a witness of the path the Spirit took and all that was built and done in the spirit to get us here. Remember our flesh is not the reality – but the spirit, where God is, is the reality – be kingdom minded.

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,”

I have heard it a billion times God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called. In and of ourselves, in flesh we are NOT even worthy of any calling, to handle this message, or to even be loved – However God comes in and loves us anyway and fills us up with everything we need for the life we live, the work we have before us, and He is our sufficiency.

who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Now He is not saying degrees, diplomas, letters or recommendation, letters of commendation, and any other written credentials are going to pick up a sword and kill us. BUT what he is saying is that is NOT how the Spirit works. Spirit is life – it is eternal, lasts forever. And paper will pass away.
It is kind of like… and Paul teaches from an Old Testament lesson – because how can we understand the new and the spirit if we haven’t yet learned from the old.

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,”

So Moses spent time with Jesus. Moses’s face shined when we left the presence of the Lord – did you know that?

how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”

So now, that the Old Testament has been fulfilled by Christ and the Holy Spirit can dwell INSIDE of us and not just rest upon us – shouldn’t we glow all the more when we spend time with Him?
I know when I meet someone who lives in the Spirit, who has spent time with Jesus. I can also tell if it is fresh or faded. Because the Spirit in me bears witness. I don’t know if I would describe it as glowing. But it is beautiful.
So yes, others know if you spent time in His presence. It is something we do in private and think no one knows; but others do know.

For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.”

Paul has already told us a million times that the Law condemned us – so what he is saying is that Moses’s laws had glory. Which is true – they were given by God and people knew because Moses was still glowing from being in His presence.
Now we are in the ministry or time of righteousness, imputed to us by our faith. And when God gives us righteousness he can come with all his glowing glory and swell inside us.

10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.”

More glorious. Sadly, my Spirit does not witness many in more glory. My Spirit witnesses few who spend quality time basking and glowing in glory. If we believe this – then believe it and spend the time on your relationship that you should.

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”

I get fixated on small things sometimes. And as a teen I got hung up on this and my youth pastor was so exasperated with me and did not give me a resolve. How can a veil be unlifted and taken away by Jesus? How does it remain today and since Jesus’s work on the cross is finished, the veil is also lifted? That poor man. I was taking this metaphor the wrong way.
In my mind I took ONE Old Testament and placed a veil over it. And then, Jesus completed the work of the cross and the veil is lifted, so there is no veil there and then I could not understand why it was still there. It is because the veil is between each of our eyes individually and the Old Testament. It might have been clearer if he said the veil is over each of our eyes. But it can’t be, because it is only the scriptures that are veiled from our sight.
So finding a better way to explain it …

15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.”

As a teen, how can the veil be over a book and over my heart? I remember the day when the veil of this mystery was lifted and the truth revealed to me. I literally look up at God and roll my eyes for making me part of His object lesson.

16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

Let me suggest that like this verse was still clouded to me as a believing teen. We all still have layers of veils over the Bible. Some verses do not mean what we think they mean and some have multiple meanings and each time we learn a deeper truth. These things are revealed to us as we grow and work on our relationship with God and study the word. BUT there is definitely a huge breakthrough once you turn to Jesus.
Literally, I have seen people who could not make sense of the Bible, turn to Jesus and get hungry and couldn’t read enough of it as every time something new came to light. I have also met professing Christians (with little fruit) unable to understand the Bible – what we have here is someone who professes they believe but doesn’t – they have not turned to the Lord. Best thing to do with them is keep giving them the salvation message, over and over, and hope (and pray) one day they turn.

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Now, Paul is free from this nonsense the Corinthians are trying to put on him. But just because he is free, doesn’t mean he is insensitive to the fact that they are not free. Which is why he is writing this out. Remember, Paul is hoping to show his love to these people and be restored. So when we are in a conflict with others, although we are free from their nonsense, we must also remain sensitive to the fact that they are not. That does not mean you need to go to them, Paul didn’t. And you don’t need to subject yourself or come under some bondage of obligation to them. Paul did not. Distancing yourself from someone harmful – speaking lies is not wrong and as a matter of fact it is Biblical to flee from them.
Restoration will not look like it did before the breech, and it will take time. They too must find that they are free in Him.

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

And once we are free we must ALSO be transformed into the same image from glory to glory.

You see, we will all get back on the same page as we grow in the Lord. We cannot sit stagnant waiting for it. We must move forward and grow – with or without them we must keep our eyes on Jesus. It doesn’t seem very Christian – but let God do the work in them that He has to do. And humble yourself to the work He wants to do in you.

Well, that is the week – it went by so fast. Join us this weekend for more wisdom reading and we’ll come back to a line by line discussion of 2nd Corinthians on Monday. Be blessed.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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