Study Notes

2Corinthians 4:1-6

Paul has been telling the Corinthians about the glory of the ministry of the Spirit. That life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ. And he continues into chapter 4, saying...

4:1-4 Craftiness And Adulterating The Word Of God

Paul says, "Hey, there are lots of guys with their own hidden agendas. There's lots of people preaching Christ plus something. Lots of "ministers" teaching Jesus and them."

In Philippians 1, Paul said that some were preaching Christ from envy and strife, out of selfish ambition with impure motives. They are savage wolves who...

Acts 20:29-30 "...come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them."

Beware of people who add to the Word of God. Who claim that Christ can only be learned about in their church, in their books, in their ministry. That you can only be saved by being baptized in their church. They are savage wolves.

Paul says, we're not being crafty in our ministry. We're simply teaching the unadulterated Word of God. Nothing added, nothing mixed in. I believe that this is why we see such a lack of zeal for the Bible today, because so many people have added so much to the Word of God. The psalmist said,

Ps. 119:139-140 My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Thy words. Thy word is very pure, Therefore Thy servant loves it.

The servants of God will love His Word if it is pure, presented without addition or subtraction.

God has commanded us not to add or subtract from it. In Deuteronomy, He said,

Deut. 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

At the end of the Bible, we read,

Rev. 22:18-19 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

The Pharisees confronted Jesus about why He and His disciples didn't obey the traditional hand-washing ceremonies,

Mark 7:5-9 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?" And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

So why is it that the church that claims to follow Christ is guilty of adulterating the Word of God all over again? Why is it that we continue to add and subtract to it? Why is it that we continue to add man's traditions to God's commandments?

The God Of This World

Three times in the gospel of John, Jesus called satan "the ruler of this world." (12:31, 14:30, 16:11) He is called "the prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2, and in 1John we read,

1John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Satan made uncontested claim to the kingdoms of the world to Jesus in the wilderness:

Luke 4:5-7 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours."

You see, for all the countries in the world, all the kingdoms, there are in fact just two kingdoms that exist. And every human being belongs to one of them. There is the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of the world. And because we're born into sin, we're all born into the kingdom of the world, of which satan is the ruler. Jesus told the Jews,

John 8:23-24 And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you shall die in your sins."

That's all it takes to trade kingdoms - believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:13 says that God...

Col. 1:13-14 ...delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

If you belong to the kingdom of this world, you will die in your sins and be separated from God for all eternity. Fortunately, the visa application to transfer kingdoms is so easy - all you need to do is

Rom. 10:9 ...confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved

Veiled To Those Who Are Perishing

So the devil is the one who blinds the unbelieving. As we read in the parable of the soils, the seed that fell on the road was snatched up by birds. Jesus said that this meant:

Matt. 13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart..."

So if you're a citizen of the kingdom of this world, and your heart chooses not to receive the Word of God this morning, then satan, the god of this world, has blinded your mind again.

Christ Is The Image Of God

Last week, we looked at the Scriptures regarding the fact that the Spirit is the Lord. The Holy Spirit is God. This week, let us take a little time to Scripturally address, "Who is Jesus Christ?" Is He God, is He "a god," or what?

The simplest answer to that is, of course, that Jesus Christ is God. John opened his gospel with the statement,

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

But of course, the Jehovah's Witnesses have re-written the Bible and added an "a," so that it reads, "...and the word was a god." This cannot be substantiated in the Greek construction, but they do it anyway. They claim that Jesus is "a god," but not "God." Seems to be a stalemate debate-wise, doesn't it? Fortunately, there are plenty of other places in the Bible to prove the point. We will look at several, but certainly not even be scratching the surface at all of them. We will divide them into four groups: Prophecy, Performance, Proclamation, and Personal Claims.

1) Prophecy

The psalmist wrote that the Father made "His angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire."


God the Father calls Jesus Christ God.

When the birth of Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah, we read,

Isa. 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

So Jesus Christ is proven to be God by prophecy.

2) Performance

Most of us know that all through the Bible we read that God is the Creator. The Bible begins with the statement,

Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

But the Bible also tells us time and again that Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things. As we read in John 1,

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

This is re-stated by Paul in Colossians 1:

Col. 1:16-19 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him

So Jesus Christ is proven to be God by His performance.

3) Proclamation

Jesus was proclaimed to be God by many, including Himself. When Thomas said he wouldn't believe in the resurrection unless he touched the wounds of Christ, it was only eight days later that he had the opportunity:

John 20:26-29 And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace {be} with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed {are} they who did not see, and {yet} believed."

Thomas wasn't the only one who called Jesus God. Paul, writing to Titus, said that we are...

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;

Simon Peter began his second epistle by saying,

2Pet. 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ

And the apostle John in 1John 5 wrote,

1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

So Jesus Christ is proven to be God by proclamation.

4) Personal Claims

Finally, today the enemies of Christ say that He never Himself claimed to be God. That is simply not true. As a matter of fact, the enemies of Christ back then clarify this for us:

John 10:31-33 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out {to be} God."

Jesus was teaching the disciples, and...

John 14:8-9 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and {yet} you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father...

Jesus also made seven "I AM" statements, claiming to be God Himself, the voice in the burning bush. Some of those include when He said,

John 8:56-59 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw {it} and was glad." The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him...

Two chapters later, we find Him saying,

John 10:27-31 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given {them} to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch {them} out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." The Jews took up stones again to stone Him.

And earlier, Jesus had said,

John 8:24 "...Unless you believe that I am, you shall die in your sins."

Although I have chosen to save you a few hours and skipped over dozens upon dozens of additional verses, there can be no doubt about what the Bible says. Jesus Christ is God.

4:5-6 Not Us But Jesus

Paul finishes up the point here by saying, "Hey, we're not preaching ourselves or our ministry like so many others. We're preaching Jesus Christ as Lord. The only time we come into the gospel message is that we are your bond-servants because of Jesus."

John 13:12-15 And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined {at the table} again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for {so} I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you."

Jesus was in the highest place, yet made Himself lowest by serving the disciples. He said, "This is your example." Are we serving one another in love and humility? Galatians 5:13 says,

Gal. 5:13 ...through love serve one another.

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