Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters nine through thirteen of this New Testament book. ”But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, yet which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceive; God is not mocked: FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP. FOR HE THAT SOWETH TO HIS FLESH SHALL OF THE FLESH REAP CORRUPTION; BUT HE THAT SOWETH TO THE SPIRIT SHALL OF THE SPIRIT REAP LIFE EVERLASTING. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:1-10). “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; Ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty way, in the multitude of thy mighty men” (Hosea 10:12-13). “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallet up. Israel is swallowed up: Now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure” (Hosea 8:7-8). “Ye how sown much, and bring in little; Ye eat, but ye have not enough; Ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; Ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. GO up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? Saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the lands” (Haggai 1:6-11).
FOR AS TOUCHING THE MINISTERING TO THE SAINTS! Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible those words truly are. Stop and think about the tremendous implications those words have on us within the body of Christ. Permit me to ask you a very pointed and powerful question—namely, when the last time was that you truly gave yourself to the ministration of the saints. What’s more, is I would also like to present to you the question of when was the last time you truly gave yourselves to the ministry of the saints, and actually looked out for the needs of others. When was the last time you were able to look beyond yourself and see the needs which were present and are present within the hearts and lives of others and have given of yourself to meet and minister to their needs? There is something truly astonishing and challenging when reading these words, for they bring us face to face with one of the greatest challenges facing the body of Christ during these days—namely, we don’t know how to minister to each other, nor do we know how to minister to others. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words found in this passage, for they bring us face to face with the absolutely tremendous need that is before us to truly learn how to minister to those before and around us. There is something to be said about those among us who truly know and understand how to live beyond themselves, and how to actually live for others—and not only live for others, but actually give of themselves and give of their lives that they might actually be able to minister unto others who are in need. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the second, the fourth and the sixth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts concerning the ministry of the saints—and not only the words which are found in these chapters, but also the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the hand of the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Phillipi:
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things commong; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they ad all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors land or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Banabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:32-37).
”And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:1-8).
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11).
It is absolutely necessary that we think about and consider the words which are found in these passage of Scripture, for the words contained therein bring us face to face with the tremendous need for a care, a compassion, and an affection toward the saints. If there is one of the things I am becoming increasingly convinced of—particularly and especially during these times—it’s that there is a great need within our hearts and our lives to not only look not on our own interests, but also to look unto the interests, the needs, and the burdens those around us have. Perhaps one of the most difficult things to recognize and understand within our lives is whether or not there is room, whether or not there is space, and whether or not there is capacity for us to not only allow others entrance and access to our lives, but also to be willing to open ourselves up to others. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth, for it brings us to the point and place where we understand that we have not been called to a life where we live solely for ourselves and solely about ourselves. If there is one thing I am finding myself encountering during this time it’s that the days in which we are living in are not only intended on preparing us for the tremendous trial, tribulation and trouble that lie ahead for us, but also the tremendous need among us to look not on our own interests, and to truly open our hearts and our lives to others. I firmly believe that the global pandemic we are presently experiencing is indeed a dry run for what is coming and what lies ahead—namely, a tremendous persecution, hour of trouble and tribulation, and suffering that is going to come upon the world. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we are presently experiencing—even with the doors of our church buildings have been shut for a period of time—is our willingness and our ability to learn how to do church, and our ability to be the church without having and apart from the actual church building. One of the foundational truths that is found during this time is whether or not we are truly able to withstand the times that are upon us, and the times that are coming—and not only the times that are upon us and coming, but also truly be willing to live beyond ourselves and live for others.
The more I read and the more I consider the words which are found within these final chapters of the New Testament epistle of Second Corinthians the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that within these chapters is not only a powerful and prophetic warning concerning suffering, affliction, persecution, trial and trouble; and not only a powerful prophetic warning concerning the spiritual battle, warfare and conflict we have been in and are going to enter into like never before; but it is also about our willingness to live beyond and above ourselves, and truly live our lives for the sake of others before and all around us. I am absolutely and completely convinced that these chapters can be summarized as: Prepare to live beyond yourself, Prepare for unprecedented spiritual warfare and conflict, and Prepare for intense suffering and affliction. PREPARE FOR SELFLESSNESS! PREPARE FOR SPIRITUAL CONFLICT AND STRUGGLE! PREPARE FOR SUFFERING, AFFLICTION, TRIAL AND TROUBLE! As I read the words which are found within these chapters I am absolutely gripped and captivated with a core progression of what is found within these final chapters, as I am absolutely convinced they bring us face to face with that which we can and will face and experience in the coming months, weeks, and perhaps even days. There is not a doubt in my mind that in the coming days there is a great need for us to truly prepare and make ourselves ready for that which can and will face this nation in the upcoming days. I am absolutely convinced that directly linked and connected to the suffering and affliction which this nation will be thrust into is the clarion call for the saints of God to live selfless and sacrificial lives, and to arm and prepare themselves for the unprecedented spiritual conflict, battle, struggle and warfare which is going to be at the very heart of what is going to be experienced.
While writing these words right now I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we want to truly understand the words and language that is found in chapters eleven and twelve, as well as the words which are found in the ninth chapter we must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in the tenth chapter of this epistle. What’s more, is I am convinced that in addition to this we must also give ourselves to the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the second epistle which was written unto these saints, as it is in this chapter the apostle Paul not only directly links the assault and attack of the enemy and adversary, but also links the threats of “another Jesus,” “another gospel,” and “another Spirit.” Even more than this, the apostle Paul also speaks of false brethren which can and will infiltrate the body of Christ and many of our churches masquerading themselves as ministers of light. The apostle Paul would go on to write how this is no wonder, nor is it any marvel as even Satan can masquerade and parade himself as an angel of light. It is within this same passage of Scripture you encounter and come face to face with the words the apostle Paul wrote concerning his own suffering, his own afflictions, his own trials, his own trials, and his own troubles. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the words which are found in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of this epistle, for there appears to be this intrinsic link between the trials, the troubles, and the tribulations we face, and the assault and attack of the enemy and adversary. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within these chapters, for there is not a doubt in my mind that within these chapters there is a powerful blueprint and pattern for what I believe these upcoming days are going to hold. We must not miss the tremendous importance of what is found within these chapters, for I am absolutely convinced that they present with an awesome challenge in the upcoming days, as well as a word of warning and caution which we must needs be prepared for in the coming days. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we hear precisely what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking unto us during these days, as I firmly believe the Spirit is speaking to the body of Christ and calling us to prepare and to make ourselves ready for that which is coming upon this nation and generation during these days. With this being said, I do not for one minute believe that there is any room, nor is there any space to be lax with our prayer lives, nor cavalier with our devotional lives. There is a great soberness and a great seriousness that is before us during these days—such as that which we’ve never experienced.
YOU’VE NOT WALKED THIS WAY BEFORE! YOU’VE NOT BEEN THIS WAY BEFORE! Oh, as I’m sitting here right now I can’t help but get the strong sense within my heart and spirit that we must needs arm ourselves with strength and get unto us endurance and patience, for we have not walked this way before. That which we are experiencing during these days is of such a nature and character that we must needs recognize that we have no context, nor do we have any framework for any of it. I can’t help but hear within my heart and spirit the Spirit of the LORD emphatically declaring unto us that we have never walked this way before and that we have not been this way within and during our lifetimes. In all reality—that which we are presently experiencing is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced within and during my lifetime, and it is something I have never seen before. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that there is a tremendous need within our hearts, within our spirits, and within our lives to be men and women of watching, men and women of praying, and men and women of enduring, for that which is before us is of such a character and nature that we have no blueprint, no model, no playbook, nor any guidelines for what is before us. Even with that being said, however, it is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand that while there might not be any modern context within and among us for what we are presently walking through and what we are presently experience there is one place where we can find all the instruction and wisdom we need for these days. What’s more, is that the wisdom, the instruction, the knowledge, the discernment and the guidance we need during these times is in the exact place where it’s always been. If there is one thing we must needs pay close and careful attention to, it’s that the power is still where it’s always been, and the wisdom and the instruction is still where it’s always been. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this, for although we have not walked this way before, and although we have not been here before there is and there has been nothing that has taken the living God by surprise. It’s actually quite powerful to think about and consider the awesome truth that there is absolutely nothing about what we are walking through and experiencing that has taken the living God by surprise, and that although man might have been shocked and caught off guard for what we have been forced to walk through over the past seven to eight months the LORD our God who knows the end from the beginning is and has been fully aware of what has come upon us and what is yet to come.
I am absolutely and completely convinced that just as the LORD led the children of Israel through the wilderness for forty years with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, so also must the same living and eternal God lead us during and through these days. I do not believe for one minute that we can expect, nor even hope to navigate these days without and apart from being led by the eternal God who sits upon the throne—the eternal God is the Alpha and the Omega, and who knows the end from the beginning. I firmly believe with all my heart that the only way we can hope to navigate these days, and the only way we can hope to withstand and endure these days is through a fervent and effectual prayer life as was mentioned and spoken of regarding the prophet Elijah. The only way we can even think, hope and expect to navigate through the midst of the stormy days we are walking is by devoting and committing ourselves to the reading and studying of the Word of God. There is absolutely no way that we can expect to make it through these days without and apart from fervent prayer and intentional study of the Word of God, for both provide us with absolutely everything we need to endure the days which are before us. What’s more, is that I can’t help but here the words which our Lord spoke unto His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane when He returned unto them and found them sleeping. It was upon coming to His disciples that He asked them if they could not watch and pray with Him for one hour. Moreover, within this same context you will find the Lord instructing them to watch and pray that they might not enter into temptation, for the spirit was truly willing, but the flesh was weak. It is necessary that we pay attention to what our Lord spoke unto His disciples, for during an incredibly dark and dangerous time, and during a tremendous time when temptation was before and all around them, the single greatest thing the disciples could do was to watch and pray. Oh we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this, for if we have any hope or expectation of walking through, enduring and standing during these days we must indeed be a people of watching a people of praying. There is absolutely no room, nor is there any space for men and women who are unwilling and unable to devote themselves to watching and praying, for even Jesus—when delivering His words and remarks concerning the end times and the last days—emphatically declared that we must needs be men and women who must not only have patience endurance during these days, but must also be those who are watching and praying. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginnings of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake, and then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkned, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the signs of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is night: so likewise ye, when ye shall see these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all way; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken; and the other left. WATCH THEREFORE: FOR YE KNOW NOT WHAT HOUR YOUR LORD DOTH COME. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. THEREFORE BE YE ALSO READY: FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT THE SON OF MAN COMETH. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lor delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrties: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:4-51).
With all of this being said, I feel it is absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to the words which I wrote earlier on in this writing when I spoke of preparing ourselves for selflessness, when I spoke of preparing ourselves for tremendous spiritual warfare and conflict, and preparing ourselves for an hour of trial, an hour of trouble and an hour of tribulation such as we’ve never experienced and faced before. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we find within these chapters is a powerful blueprint and pattern for that which we as the people of God are called to—and not only what we are called to, but what we must also make ourselves ready and prepare for in the coming days. It is as you read the words which are found in the ninth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints—as well as the eighth chapter of the first epistle written unto these same saints—we find one of the greatest needs which can, which will be, and which already has been present within and among us during these days. I firmly believe that one of the most powerful and pressing needs that we as the saints of God can and will have in the coming days is that of ministering unto one another—that of living selfless and sacrificial lives. There is a great need for men and women during these days to live beyond themselves and to live their lives for the sake of those before and around them. There is a powerful call in these days to give of ourselves—to give of our time, to give of our treasure, to give of our talents—unto those around us as they did in the days of the early Church. I previously wrote and mentioned the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts, and I believe with all my heart that with the coming spiritual warfare and conflict that is coming upon this nation in the coming days—such warfare and conflict such as we have never seen or experienced before—and with the coming trials, trouble and tribulation that will come upon the world there is a great need for the body of Christ to return to its roots and to its foundation. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that during these days the only hope for the Church—the true Church and body of Christ—to survive is to return to our roots and return to our foundation. We dare not, we cannot, we must not expect that we can and will be able to stand and withstand in the coming days which are before us if, unless and until we are willing to return to our roots and our foundation.
There is not a doubt in my heart, nor is there a doubt in my mind that the words which are found in the ninth chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints bring us face to face with a clarion call and invitation we have been given during these days to return to our roots, to return to our foundation, and to return to the true ministry that was found in the days of the early Church. I have to admit that the more I read the words which are found in this particular chapter found in the second epistle written unto the Corinthian the saints the more I am brought face to face with a powerful invitation that is being given and which has been given unto the body of Christ to return unto her roots and to her foundation—that foundation which is not only centered upon signs, wonders and miracles, but also care and compassion of one another. What I so love about the sixth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is that Stephen, Philip and the other seven deacons which were appointed within and among the early Church weren’t appointed unto signs, wonders, and miracles within and among the body of Christ, but would be appointed unto the care and ministry of widows—and I would dare say not only widows, but also orphans, the poor, the needy, and the afflicted within the body of Christ. While it is true that Stephen would be full of the Holy Ghost and full of power and would be used in and with much signs, wonders and miracles, and while it was true that Philip would also be used mightily in Samaria with much signs, wonders and miracles, there biggest and greatest appointment was unto the care and compassion unto, of and for the saints. Oh dear brother, dear sister—we dare not and must not place more emphasis on signs, on wonders, and on miracles than we do on the ministry of care and compassion for others. If and as you read the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts you will find that the early Church was one that was characterized by unity, by fellowship, by prayer, and by ministry unto another. We must needs pay close and careful attention to this, for there is not a doubt in my mind that during these coming days there is a great need for the saints of God to give of themselves freely unto the necessity of the saints before and around them—and not only to give of themselves, but also live beyond themselves for and unto those around them. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the following words which are found in this second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:
“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as covetousness. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness) being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgiving unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministry they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:1-15).
THE MINISTERING TO THE SAINTS! YOUR ZEAL HATH PROVOKED VERY MANY! HE WHICH SOWETH SPARINGLY SHALL REAP ALSO SPARINGLY! HE WHICH SOWETH BOUNTIFULLY SHALL REAP ALSO BOUNTIFULLY! EVERY MAN ACCORDING AS HE PURPOSETH IN HIS HEART, SO LET HIM GIVE! GOD LOVETH A CHEERFUL GIVER! GOD IS ABLE TO MAKE ALL GRACE ABOUND TOWARD YOU! ALWAYS HAVING ALL SUFFICIENCY IN ALL THINGS, MAY ABOUND IN EVERY GOOD WORK! ENRICHED IN EVERY THING TO ALL BOUNTIFULNESS, WHICH CAUSETH THROUGH US THANKSGIVING TO GOD! THE ADMINISTRATION OF THIS SERVICE NOT ONLY SUPPLICETH THE WANT OF THE SAINTS, BUT IS ABUNDANT ALSO BY MANY THANKSGIVINGS UNTO GOD! THEY GLORIFY GOD FOR YOUR PROFESSED SUBJECTION UNTO THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST! FOR YOUR LIBERAL DISTRIBUTION UNTO THEM, AND UNTO ALL MEN!
The words which are found within the ninth chapter of this second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints are such which must needs be carefully understood and carefully recognized, for the words which are before us bring us face to face with one of the greatest needs in these last days—namely, the need to return unto our roots and our foundation. There is a great and powerful need within and among us in these days to not only return unto our roots and return unto our foundation, but also to not be stingy with the giving of ourselves, nor with that which we give and provide unto others. If there is one thing we must needs consider when reading the words found in this chapter it’s how the apostle Paul not only spoke of those who sow sparingly, but the apostle also spoke of their liberal distribution unto the saints. Oh I firmly believe with all my heart and with all my spirit that with this returning unto our roots and returning unto our foundation we must needs commit and give ourselves unto faithfully ministering unto and among the saints of God. One of the greatest needs that is going to be present during these days is this ministration of the saints, for consider how two of the greatest effects of this pandemic was not only the loss of employment—and with the loss of employment the loss of income and the ability to provide within and for households—but also the loss of life. If we are being honest with ourselves when thinking about and considering the days in which we are living in—two of the greatest needs before us is the need(s) men and women have who have lost employment and who have lost income, stability and peace of mind. You need only go on to the professional network LinkedIn, or any social media platform and you will see all those who have lost their jobs and all those who have wondered how they are going to pay their bills and how they are going to pay their rent. There are countless men and women who are wondering how they are going to put food on their tables, and how they are going to provide for their families and for their children. If there is one thing this pandemic has proven it’s that there is a great ministry that is before us—a ministry of care and compassion. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for there is a tremendous invitation that is before us—and not only a tremendous invitation, but also a tremendous opportunity to give of ourselves and to give liberally and give freely during these days and during this hour.
I am absolutely and completely convinced that with this worldwide pandemic and the aftermath and effect that has been a direct result of it there is both a powerful invitation and a powerful opportunity before and in front of us. There is not a doubt in my mind that we have been given a great opportunity to give of ourselves—and not merely to give of ourselves sparingly, but to give of ourselves freely, liberally, and bountifully—unto the needs of those before and around us. We must needs pay close attention to this wonderful and powerful reality, for with the days in which we are living in I can’t help but think and consider that the Spirit of the living God has called and invited us into a place where we are being and have been called into a place of roots and foundation—a place where we are willing to live beyond ourselves, and a place where we are willing to give of ourselves that others might be blessed, provided for, cared for and sustained. Permit me to ask you who might be reading these words whether or not you are truly willing to give of yourself in order that another might be cared for, provided for, looked after, and sustained. Are you willing to give freely, to give liberally and to give generously of yourself that others might be cared for and looked after? You cannot read the narrative found concerning the early Church and not come face to face with how selflessly they lived, and how as they lived in community with each other they considered nothing they had as belonging unto themselves, but gave freely unto the ministry of the saints and of the body of Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we have witnessed with and as a result of this pandemic is the means whereby the living God is bringing us back to our roots and our foundation of being the church—even during the days of technology in which we are living.
With all of this being said I am completely and utterly convinced that while we must needs prepare and make ourselves ready to live sacrificially and selflessly—to live beyond ourselves that we might give of ourselves unto and for others among us—there is also the clarion call and the powerful warning and word of caution concerning a tremendous hour of spiritual warfare, conflict, and struggle. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in the coming days we are going to witness and experience such a tremendous spiritual warfare and conflict—the likes of which we have never faced and experienced before within these days and within our lifetime. There is not a doubt in my mind that the words which we find in the opening verses of the tenth chapter—and not only the words which are found with this chapter, but also the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the same epistle—bring us face to face with the tremendous opposition and conflict that can and will be manifest among us. What’s more, is I am absolutely convinced we must needs also consider the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints, as well as the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Peter, as well as the fourth chapter of the epistle which was written by James. It is within these chapters we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous conflict and spiritual warfare which the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of. Oh dear reader—the more I walk through these days, and the more I read and study the word of God, and the more I spend time in prayer and meditating, the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that we are being thrust into, and will continue to be thrust into an intense time of spiritual warfare, conflict and battle—the likes of which we have never faced and experienced before. As surely as I believe that we are being invited and given an opportunity to life selflessly and sacrificially beyond ourselves, so also are we being warned of a tremendous hour of spiritual conflict, spiritual warfare and spiritual battle and struggle such as we have never experienced before. Oh there are some reading these words who might already be in the place where they have found the heat and temperature of the fire within their lives being turned up, and have found themselves encountering such great spiritual conflict and warfare which they perhaps weren’t ready for, and most certainly were not expecting or anticipating. It is with this before us I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the following passages of Scripture:
“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with you that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).
“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly manifest among you in all things. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great ting if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:1-15).
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7).
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:8-11).
Oh dear brother, dear sister—it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the words that are found within these passages of Scripture, for the words which are found before us serve as a powerful warning and word of caution concerning the days in which we are living. What’s more, is I am convinced that these words not only point to the days in which we are living, but also the days in which we are about to enter and walk through. There is not a doubt in my mind that in the coming days ahead we can and will enter into an intense time of spiritual warfare, spiritual battle, and spiritual conflict such as we have never seen before. I am absolutely and completely convinced when sitting here writing these words today that we must needs make ourselves ready, and must needs arm and prepare ourselves for the conflict, the warfare, and the battle we will face in the days ahead. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we pay close attention to this, for there is not a doubt in my mind that while we might have experienced spiritual warfare and conflict within our lives up to this point in time we have not experienced spiritual conflict, spiritual warfare and spiritual battle such as that which we are going to face in the coming days. I believe with all my heart that there is a great and present warning and word of caution among us within the coming days and months ahead that we need to recognize the tactics and devices of the adversary and enemy, for even the apostle Paul wrote concerning our not being ignorant of his devices and schemes. Oh if you are reading these words I implore and warn you concerning spiritual conflict, spiritual warfare and spiritual battle such as you have never experienced before. I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is going to be a heightened and increased measure of activity in the spiritual realm, and that the enemy and adversary is going to raise up against you anything and everything he can to try and destroy you and the faith that is within you. What’s more, is that the prophet Daniel wrote and spoke about this when he spoke of that war against the saints in the last days and how there would be a powerful war of attrition that would rise up against the saints of God in the days prior to the coming and return of the Lord Jesus the Christ.
I sit here today thinking about and considering these words and I am finding myself encountering and coming face to face with the fact that there will indeed be a war of attrition that can and will rise up against the saints of God in the coming days, as the enemy and adversary will not only increase spiritual conflict, spiritual warfare, and spiritual battle within the earth, but he will also increase opposition, affliction, persecution, suffering, trial, trouble, and tribulation. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a great and present need within our hearts and within our lives to arm and make ourselves ready for that which the enemy and adversary can and will raise up against us, for as much as we must needs understand that we have not walked or gone this way before, so also we must recognize and understand that we have not experienced this before. I believe with every fiber of our being that many saints during the coming days can and will experience spiritual conflict, spiritual warfare and spiritual battle such as they have never experienced before. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs make ourselves ready and prepare ourselves for spiritual conflict, spiritual warfare and spiritual battle such as we have never witnessed, such as we have never experienced, and such as have never known before. YOU HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED THIS BEFORE! YOU HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED IT LIKE THIS! YOU HAVE GREAT NEED FOR ENDURANCE! YOU HAVE GREAT NEED FOR STRENGTH! YOU HAVE GREAT NEED FOR A FIGHT WITHIN YOU! GET YOU A FIGHT WITHIN YOUR HEART! GET YOU A FIGHT WITHIN YOUR SOUL! GET YOU A FIGHT SUCH AS YOU’VE NEVER HAD BEFORE! Oh if you are reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you must needs encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that you must needs arm yourself, and you must needs make yourself ready for that which is going to come upon this world, and that which is going to come upon this nation in the coming days. This is not a time to be weak and faint hearted, nor is it a time to not have strength and fight within your heart and your spirit. This is not a time to be careless, casual and cavalier within your prayer life and to have a cold and vacant prayer closet. If there has every been a time to arm and gird yourself with the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith to stand in the midst of spiritual conflict and spiritual warfare it is now.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that while there is indeed coming a great spiritual conflict and spiritual warfare such as has never been experienced before, so also is there going to be a great time of trouble, a great time of tribulation and a great time of trial—the likes of which we have not experienced before. Oh if you are reading the words which are found in this writing I implore and intreat you to recognize and understand that you have great need of endurance and strength in the coming days—and not merely strength within and of yourself, but also the strength of Christ within you. Upon reading the words which are found in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing of the afflictions, the sufferings, the opposition, the persecutions, and the trials he experienced in walking with the Lord and giving himself to the work of the ministry. What’s more, is you will find the apostle Paul emphatically boasting and glorying in his weakness, in his infirmities and in his afflictions that he might be counted worthy of the Lord Jesus the Christ. The apostle Paul boasted of that which the Lord Jesus the Christ spoke unto him—namely, that His strength was made perfect in weakness, and that His grace was sufficient for Him. Oh it’s necessary and imperative that we pay close attention to the words found in these chapters, for the words found in these chapters bring us face to face with the underlying and undeniable reality that we are about to enter into a period of suffering, a period of affliction and a period of persecution—the likes of which we have not experienced before. Dear brother, dear sister—please note and please understand that in the coming days, in the coming weeks, and in the coming months we are going to experience an increase in affliction, an increase of opposition, an increase of trouble, and an increase of persecution. What’s more, is that we must needs recognize and understand that the empowerment of the Spirit and the persecution of the saints are intrinsically linked and connected. Oh how many among us want the empowerment of the Spirit, and yet we are unwilling to endure and bear up under the sufferings of Christ? How many of us want the power without and apart from the suffering? I firmly believe that there is coming a great time of trial, trouble, and tribulation upon this world—yea, even upon this nation—and the saints of God not only need to make themselves ready, but they also need to be able to help stay and steady others in the coming days. Consider if you will the following words which are found in both the eleventh and twelfth chapters of this second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths of. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings, often, in hunger and thirs, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).
“For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I will take pleasure in infirmities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:6-10).
Oh dear reader I leave you with the absolutely tremendous warning and word of caution that we must needs prepare and make ourselves ready for that which is coming before us in the coming days. There is not a doubt in my mind that a great invitation, a great door, and a great opportunity has presented itself, and will continue to present itself before and unto us—namely, a door to return to our roots and return to our foundation, and to truly be the church and to do the church without needing a church building to do so. There is not a doubt in my mind that in the last days—in the coming days—the Spirit of the Lord is going to bring us into a place where we can and will live and flesh out the manifestation of the early church, in order that to the degree and measure we might be willing to return to our roots and our foundation we might truly experience the empowerment of the Spirit such as never before. With that being said we must needs understand that we have been called to give of ourselves liberally and freely without holding back and without withholding anything from those in need. What’s more, is that we must needs pay close and careful attention to the awesome and tremendous truth that we are being warned and cautioned that we are about to enter into days of heightened and increased spiritual warfare and conflict—the likes of which we have never experienced before. There is not a doubt in my mind that we are going to enter into days of increased and enhanced spiritual conflict and spiritual warfare such as we have never experienced before, and there is a great need to arm ourselves, to get unto us strength, to get within us a fight, and to arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith. Furthermore, we must needs prepare ourselves and make ourselves ready for that which is coming unto and upon this nation and upon this world, for I truly believe with all my heart that there is coming an intense time of trial, trouble, and tribulation. Not only this, but I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a great need for patience and endurance in the coming days, for the spirit is truly willing while the flesh is indeed weak. We have a great and powerful need for the strength of Christ and the grace of Christ to be manifested within our hearts and our souls in the coming days, for it was indeed Jesus the Christ who—when speaking unto the seven churches of Asia—spoke unto those who overcame, as well as those who heard what the Spirit is speaking unto the churches. Oh that we would truly get us an overcoming heart and an overcoming spirit whereby we might stand and withstand in the coming days which are before us.