Perhaps Helen Zille and Julius Malema (very different South African politicians) meeting for a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich? A Sumo wrestler partnering with petite, ballet dancer on Strictly Come Dancing? A Stormers rugby fan going out with a Sharks supporter?!
Alternatively, one could think of ridiculous partnerships: playing tennis with your dog, taking your cat to the movies, or playing chess with a newborn baby.
It just wouldn’t be good or helpful. It would be mismatched, even inappropriate.
In the church in Corinth there were unhelpful, mismatched partnerships.
Some in the church were partnering with the new preachers that breezed into town.
Corinth was a powerful City where people were impressed with power. Paul’s gospel about a crucified king sounded very weak and his life of hardship and struggle seemed very unimpressive.
The new preachers looked and sounded much more powerful.
Some church members were impressed by the appearances and rhetorical skill of these new ministers.
As church members yoked themselves to the new preachers and their false gospel, it lead them back to their previous sins and old, unhelpful habits.
False gospels always lead to incorrect thinking and wrong living.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a famous actor, businessman, politician, and former professional bodybuilder.
He grew up in Austria in humble circumstances and in his teens committed himself to bodybuilding – and to be the best bodybuilder.
At age 20 he won the Mr. Universe title.
Arnold would train six days a week, twice a day when preparing for a contest. Moreover, he would also train each muscle group three times a week.
It was rumoured that Arnold would need to train with at least three different training partners because no one could keep up with him.
He is a magnificent example of commitment, dedication, hard work, single-mindedness and enduring hardship for the sake of the prize – and he won the prize.
The Apostle Paul knew that for Christians there is an even greater, grander, eternal prize that motivates them. He knew that we, as Christians, must answer to Jesus and either receive reward or rebuke.
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
2 Corinthians 1:12 ESV
South Africans have been angered the last couple of months by the shocking revelations that have come from the Zondo Commission on State Capture.
We have all been reeling from the massive admissions of huge corruption.
We’ve seen that, as the Bible teaches, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
The testimony of ex-Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi has been especially shocking. Politicians and business leaders were bribed with hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Rands.
Angelo Agrizzi blew the whistle. Why did he come forward
with the truth?
He claimed that the reason is related to a near death
experience he had in 2016. A tumour on
his heart resulted in a risky surgery and a short time in a coma. After this, he wanted out of the wrongs of
Bosasa, where he had been for nearly 19 years.
His conscience couldn’t take it anymore.
He could no longer live this double-life of deceit.
He craved a clear conscience.
In 2 Corinthians 1:12, the Apostle Paul commends his integrity, reliability and clear conscience to the Corinthians.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Affliction and suffering are a God-ordained part of the
normal Christian life.
One of the reasons God ordains affliction, suffering and illness in the Christian’s life is that he or she can in turn help others who are going through similar affliction, hardship and illness.
Many Christian groups have dedicated “Healing Services”. Typically, the pastor calls the diseased, disabled or despairing person to the front and claims their healing in Jesus’ name.
However, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, we read that God has ordained that Christians face affliction for a purpose – to help, encourage and comfort others facing affliction.
It may well be God’s will to heal the diseases, disabled or despairing Christian (through miracle or medicine), but that’s God’s work not ours. We should certainly pray for God to heal people, but it’s always with the caveat, “Your will be done, not ours”.
It may also not be God’s will to heal as God may have an even greater purpose in mind.
Pastors certainly do not have the power or authority to
claim healings in Jesus’ name.
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:4-6
The lights were turned down low and the music played softly. The pastor entered majestically through the church doors and immediately all the beams of light were turned on maximum strength and focused on him.
There was an expectant hush in the crowd. The anointed “Man of God” (as the pastor
liked to call himself) had arrived.
His teeth sparkled and his eyes twinkled as he reached the
God had revealed to the pastor the secret of walking in His
favour and blessing.
The pastor didn’t need a Bible as God revealed his Prophetic Word – sometimes contradicting the Bible – directly to the pastor; but that was no problem as the Spirit was clearly at work.
The pastor’s sermons were awesome: Jesus died for your sins, sickness and sorrow. No more suffering. No more second-best. No more sub-standard Christianity. You simply need to have enough faith.
This was real, victorious, triumphant Christianity!
God was clearly working through this Man of God and the
church was growing.
Another man, known as the Apostle Paul, had started the church, but it turned out that he was a bit of a loser. He was constantly suffering, continually facing hardships, not a great orator, not a rich man, always working, and he never even asked for money.
What kind of a church leader is that? No thank you, not for us.
We want a super-sized Christianity. Not the weak, suffering, faith-without-sight Christianity the Apostle Paul had to offer.
For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.
You may have seen the classic film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Terminator (Arnold) is sent back in time to protect a young boy who will grow up to lead the resistance and protect the world against Judgment Day – a complete nuclear holocaust.
The Terminator was sent to prevent Judgment Day.
The Bible also speaks about a Judgment Day.
Not a nuclear holocaust, but a day when every single human being that has ever lived will stand before God to give an account of themselves.
However, the real Judgment Day, unlike the movie, is unpreventable.
The doctrine of the judgment of God or the notion of a Judgment Day sounds like complete lunacy to the post-modern, post-Christian world of our day. Our world despises any kind of authority or accountability that might limit my self-expression or self-government.
We can’t even handle someone telling us that we parked badly, let alone the truth of a Judgment Day.
But, just because we don’t like something, doesn’t make it untrue.
You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
Malachi 3:9-10 ESV
How much does God want us to give?
Do we rob God by not tithing?
Are we still required to give a 10% tithe of our
income? Are we robbing God if we don’t?
I believe that paying the tithe is no longer required.
We do not live in Old Testament times and there is no more
tribe of Levi to support.
We live under the rule of King Jesus and he calls us to
serve him, not just with 10% of our money, but all our money.
In the Old Testament, one out of every seven days was holy
to the Lord; under Jesus, every day is holy to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, one of the twelve tribes of Israel was
set apart to be in God’s service; under Jesus, all God’s people are in God’s
The Old Testament was a shadow of the reality that came in
In the New Testament, we find no command or instruction to
pay the tithe.
Holy Scripture sets
forth everything that is necessary for our salvation. Consequently, nobody
should be required to believe as an article of the Christian faith, or to
regard as necessary for salvation, anything that is not found in Scripture or
that cannot be proved from Scripture…
Therefore, Scripture is to be our highest authority, not
tradition, experience or reason.