Friday, September 25, 2020

78. 2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians (Thru the Bible #45) J. Vernon McGee. 1977/1996. 156 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: The author of the epistle is Paul. Paul had written 1 Corinthians from Ephesus where he had been engaged in a great ministry. He had written, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:9).

I am reading the Bible in 2020 using the daily M'Cheyne (Robert Murray M'Cheyne) plan. I thought it would add a layer of substance to in addition to the four chapters a day, to also read commentaries for those chapters. For that I am using Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. But the plan goes through the New Testament (and Psalms, I believe) twice. So now that I've finished Henry's commentary for the New Testament, I am tackling the New Testament commentary section of J. Vernon McGee's series.

This is not my first time reading J. Vernon McGee. I've read probably twenty or so of his commentaries. (Most recently his volume on 1 Corinthians.) 

Overall, I like his laidback, casual, straightforward, tell it like it is approach to teaching Scripture. There is something so grounded and down to earth about him. Each reader is "his" friend. It's hard not to feel like he is a friend too.

In this volume, he has a lot to say about the Word of God. He is so very quotable when he gets on the subject of Bible reading and actually believing what you read.

  • My friend, if you are not sure that He is God, you are not sure of anything. And they were sure of the Word of God. They rested upon it at all times.
  • If you are in the will of God, it makes no difference where you are or how you are or what your circumstances may be, you are in a wonderful, glorious place. You may even be lying in a hospital bed. If that is the will of God, that is the proper place for you.
  • So much is being said today about love. It is sloppy theology to say that God saves us by His love. Now it is true that God loves us. Oh, how He loves us! We just don’t know how much He loves us. It would break our hearts if we could comprehend how much God loves us. But God does not save us by His love. The Scriptures teach that we are saved by God’s grace.
  • He saves us by His grace. Why? Because He is also the God of all mercies—the father of mercies. Mercy means that God so loved us that He provided a Savior for us because He couldn’t save us any other way.
  • Anything that we have today is a mercy from God. He is the Father of mercy. In fact, He is said to be rich in grace and rich in mercy.
  • He is the God of all comfort. He will comfort you in the hospital. He will comfort you at the funeral home when you have a loved one there. He can comfort you in any place at any time. He is the God of all comfort.
  • My friend, if today you are on a bed of pain, and you are in the will of God, that bed can become a greater pulpit than the one preachers stand behind.
  • The gospel is something God has done for us—it is good news. We have not only the faithful God, but the sure Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Any man who stands in the pulpit today has a tremendous responsibility to rebuke what is wrong. Many of the saints don’t like this.
  • A faithful pastor shows his love by preaching the Word of God as it is rather than “buttering up” the congregation.
  • Sometimes the Devil gets us to shut our eyes to gross immorality.
  • We need to remember that we are all capable of any sin. Whatever the other man has done, we are also capable of doing. When such a man repents from his sin, he is to be restored in the spirit of meekness. He is to be brought back into fellowship.
  • To me it is very simple—the proof of the Word of God is what it does. They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. God put it like this: “O taste and see that the LORD is good …” (Ps. 34:8). This is His challenge to you.
  • What is it that makes God happy? The thing that makes God happy is that He is a lover of men and He delights in mercy. He wants to save man. We are told in Micah 7:18: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”
  • My friend, in the Word of God we see Him.
  • Do you want to be Christlike? Then spend time looking at Jesus.
  • All the religions of the world say, “Do, do, do.” The gospel says, “Done.” The gospel tells me that God has done something for me; I am to believe it; I am to trust Him. The only way I can come to Him is by faith. That is my approach to Him. “But without faith it is impossible to please him …” (Heb. 11:6). In contrast to this, the religions of this world all say, “Do.”
  • It is a glorious thing to preach the gospel, but it is an awful thing to preach it if down underneath there is a lack of sincerity, a lack of being committed to Him and having a conviction about Him.
  • Believe me, my friend, you and I are helpless when we give out the Word of God. There is an enemy opposed to us, and he blinds the minds of people.
  • We cannot have our way and His way in our lives. We need to make up our minds whether we are going to follow Him or not.
  • Let us not preach a watered-down, sunshiny gospel. Our God is a holy God, a righteous God. It is this holy God who loves you. It is this holy God who wants to save you. But, my friend, if you don’t come to God His way, you will have to come before Him in judgment.
  • There is many a pulpit from which is never preached a sermon on hell. There are few sermons on punishment, few sermons on judgment. As a result, God’s judgment is almost a lost note in Protestantism today. The Lord Jesus said that He had come to seek and to save that which was lost. My friend, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We need to fear the judgment of God. We need to recognize that we are going to be held accountable to Him.
  • In other words, if you are declaring the full counsel of God, you can do it in a loving manner. You don’t have to bring down thunder and lightning. However, we need to recognize and we need to state very clearly that men are lost. If we do say that, we are not commending ourselves; that is, we are not trying to become popular.
  • May I say to you that if you are without Christ, it is not a psychological adjustment that you need. You are a hell-doomed sinner, and you are on the way to hell. What you need is Christ!
  • May I say that there is a real need in this land of ours. The United States is one of the greatest mission fields today. People in our land are on the way to hell. You rub shoulders with them every day.
  • You don’t have to shed tears to soften the heart of God. He loves you. He wants to save you. Why? For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [2 Cor. 5:21].
  • An offense here doesn’t mean hurting people’s feelings. I don’t think anyone can serve in the church today without hurting the feelings of someone.
  • There are a great many Christians who consider themselves separated. They wouldn’t think of doing this or of doing that. Yet they gossip and have the meanest tongues, never realizing that that very thing is worldly and unclean. Or they go in for the latest in dress or for gluttony and yet consider themselves to be separate from worldliness. I don’t mean to sit in judgment—and we ought not to sit in judgment on each other—yet I feel I must point out these things because we need to be very, very careful. It is very easy to talk about the things of God, to claim the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, to say we love Him, to consider ourselves separated unto Him, and still not in reality be separate from the world and separated unto Him.
  • God says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, … and touch not the unclean thing.” Don’t be a Christian unless you mean it. Don’t say that Jesus satisfies you if He is not really satisfying you. This is what Paul is talking about. Then there is this glorious promise: “And I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” You will be the kind of son or daughter who brings honor to the Father.
  • We need to have confidence in the Word of God. It is the sword of the Spirit.
  • We, too, need to have confidence in the Word of God. We need to have a firm confidence in the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. This must be more than just a creed. I listened to a preacher who said he believed in the verbal inspiration of the Bible. He quoted poetry and some cute clichés and some pert epigrams. He had every form of philosophical argument but no exposition of the Word of God. May I say to you, that is not confidence in the Word of God, nor is it using the Word as a weapon.
  • The second weapon is the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • I cannot overemphasize the need of more simplicity in getting out the Word of God. So many of our young preachers are the products of seminaries which are trying to train intellectuals. I was listening to one of these men the other day, and I couldn’t tell what he was talking about. After about fifteen minutes, I was convinced that he didn’t know what he was talking about. They try to be so intellectual that they end up saying nothing. What he needed to do was give out the Word of God. Oh, the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus!
  • When the Devil saw that persecution would not stop the church, he changed to a different tactic. He joined the church. He began to hurt the church from the inside. He still does that today. He attacks the validity of the Word of God, and he tries to discredit the gospel. If that doesn’t work, he tries to discredit the man who preaches the gospel.
  • We still face the problem today of the preaching of another Jesus, another spirit, another gospel.
  • It is our business to try to reach folk with the gospel so that they will be in heaven someday.
  • Although I cannot tell you much about heaven, I can tell you about the One who is in heaven. We can talk about Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are to fix our eyes on Him. My, how this epistle has emphasized that! Beholding Him, we will become like Him in many ways. The pilgrim journey through this world will be a great deal easier if we will keep our eyes fixed on Him. The sun won’t be so hot, the burden of the day won’t be so heavy, the storms of life won’t be so fierce if we keep our attention fixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We should declare the Word of God and not spend our time defending it. God doesn’t ask us to defend it. He asks us to declare it, to give it out.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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