Study on the Book of 2nd Corinthians

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Division 1 — “The God of Paul”

Lesson 1: "God and His People" - II Cor 1:1-2

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

As we begin this study of the second epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, there are five main divisions of this book we will study. They are:

1-    The God of Paul. (II Cor 1:1-11)

2-    The personal defense of Paul. (II Cor 1:12- 2:11)

3-    The ministry and its description. (II Cor 2:12- 7:16)

4-      The ministry and its financial collections. (II Cor 8:1- 9:15)

5-    The minister’s answer to his critics. (II Cor 10:1- 13:14)


Tonight we will begin with Division 1, The God of Paul which is further broken down into two lessons, God and His people and God and suffering. First let’s look at “God and His people.”


2 Corinthians 1:1-2 says, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”


-Introduction:

This is the introduction of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, but note a striking point. Note how God and His people are stressed. God is the source of all that concerns His people. Four things here:

          -1.  God is the source of the believer's call (v.1).

-2.  God is the source of brotherhood among believers (v.1).

-3.  God is the source of the church and of all saints (v.1).

-4.  God is the source of grace and peace (v.2).


#1) God is the source of the believer’s call.

Look with me again at 2 Corinthians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia.”


God and God alone is the source of the believer's call. Paul says that he is "an apostle...by the will of God." By "apostle" he means that he has been called to be a messenger, an ambassador, a witness, a teacher, a missionary, a sent one, and a minister for God. Paul says that he has been called by God to serve God. He has been appointed by God to be the messenger of God. He has been chosen by God to work for God. God is the source of his call and appointment.


Paul's work and employment are due to God! What he does in life—his work and ministry—he does because God chose him to do it. His life's work is not due to men; it is not even due to his own choice. It is due to God and to God alone.

Note that the very first thing Paul does is stress his apostleship. Some of the Corinthian believers were questioning and denying Paul's call by God. He said in 1 Corinthians 9:1-2, “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.”


Thought 1. A believer does not serve God because he chooses to serve God, nor because other men choose him to serve God. A person does not preach and teach or minister and pastor because he thinks the ministry is a good profession to enter. A person serves God because God chooses and gifts him to serve. God is to be the source of the believer's call, not men.


"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (John 15:16).


"Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)" (Galatians 1:1).


"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12).


Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8).

#2) God is the source of brotherhood among believers.

Paul calls Timothy in verse one "our brother," which means that he was a brother in Christ. Timothy was a young man who had been led to the Lord at a very early age. Paul had sensed God's call upon Timothy's life, so Paul encouraged him to give his life to the ministry. This Timothy did, serving and ministering with Paul all over the Roman world.

Note that Timothy is with Paul in the district of Macedonia (probably the city of Philippi) while Paul is writing this letter to the Corinthians. Apparently Timothy had just returned from the mission tour which Paul had mentioned in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul had said that Timothy was on a mission tour making his way to the Corinthians, but he also said that there was a possibility that Timothy might not be able to extend his mission tour as far as Corinth. And so, we do not really know for sure if Timothy ever reached Corinth or not.

The point here is this: the messenger of God, no matter how great his call or ministry, is not better or superior to other believers. Just think of Paul, who he was and what a great ministry he had. His call and ministry were to be respected, but his great call and ministry did not make him a superior person. He served God not because he was a better person, but because God had a work to do and out of His sovereign mercy God had called Paul to do it.

Thought 1. The messenger of God is not above other servants; he is a brother to all other servants. Regardless of his call and ministry, he is one among all brothers who serve under the will of God.

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).

"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" (Phil. 2:3-4).

#3) God is the source of the church and of ALL saints and believers.

Look again at verse one where he says, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia.”


Note this: Paul is writing not only to the church at Corinth, but to all the other churches in Achaia. He knew that writing would help all the churches, so he wanted the letter to be circulated among them all.


#4) God is the source of grace and peace.

Look again at 2 Corinthians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”


-The word Grace meansthe favor and blessings of God; the undeserved and unmerited favor and blessings of God; the depth and richness of the heart and mind of God; the kindness and love that dwells within the very nature of God. God's grace covers all of life.

No other word so expresses the depth and richness of the heart and mind of God. This is the distinctive difference between God's grace and man's grace. Whereas man sometimes does favors for his friends and thereby can be said to be gracious, God has done a thing unheard of among men: He has given His very own Son to die for His enemies. AMEN!!!

Several things about God’s grace:

1-    God's grace is not earned. It is something completely undeserved and unmerited.


"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephes. 2:8-9).


"But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:4-5).


2-    God's grace is the free gift of God. God extends His grace out toward man.


"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).


"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)" (Ephes. 2:4-5).


"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:11-14).


3-    God's grace is the only way man can be saved.


"If through the offence of one [Adam] many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (Romans 5:15).


"I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:4).


"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9).


"[Salvation] which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:6-7).


4-    Grace means all the favors and gifts of God. It means all the good and perfect gifts of God, all the good and beneficial things He gives us and does for us, whether physical, material, or spiritual.


"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephes. 1:7).


"That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephes. 2:7).


"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).


"And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 1:14).


*Next Lesson: “God and suffering.”



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