1 這是我第三次到你們那裡去，各樣事情必須憑兩三個證人的口，才能確定。 2 我第二次到你們那裡去的時候說過，現今不在你們那裡，再預先對那些從前犯了罪的和其餘的人說：我若再來，必不寬容， 3 因為你們在找基督藉著我說話的憑據。基督對你們不是軟弱的，相反地，在你們身上是有能力的。 4 他因著軟弱被釘死了，卻靠著 神的大能活著。我們在他裡面也是軟弱的，但靠著 神向你們所顯的大能，也必與他一同活著。 5 你們應當察驗自己是不是持守著信仰，也應當考驗自己。難道不曉得基督耶穌是在你們裡面嗎？（除非你們是經不起考驗的人。） 6 我盼望你們曉得，我們不是經不起考驗的人。 7 我們祈求 神，使你們不作甚麼惡事。這並不是要顯明我們是經得起考驗的，而是要你們行善；我們呢，就讓我們作經不起考驗的人好了！ 8 我們不能作甚麼事違背真理，只能維護真理。 9 當我們軟弱、你們剛強的時候，我們就歡喜；我們所求的，就是要你們完全。 10 因此，我趁著不在你們那裡的時候，把這些話寫給你們，到我來了，就不必憑著主所給我的權柄嚴厲地對待你們。這權柄不是要拆毀你們，而是要建立你們。 11 最後，弟兄們，你們要喜樂，要完全，要受安慰，要同心，要和睦。這樣，施慈愛賜平安的 神必與你們同在。 12 你們要用聖潔的親嘴彼此問安。 13 眾聖徒都問候你們。 14 願主耶穌基督的恩惠， 神的慈愛，聖靈的契通，常與你們眾人同在。
- 哥林多教會是牧者的噩夢，但他們的新生命在裡面燃燒；他們教會的問題又多又難，但他們知道生命正被塑造中。雖然保羅和他們曾有惡言相對，保羅仍稱他們為朋友，并鼓勵他們要喜樂，為他們祝福。這表明我們在教會中，雖有強烈的 爭論，我們仍然是弟兄姐妹，是好朋友，可以繼續鼓勵，彼此祝福。
1This will be my third visit to you. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." 2I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you.
5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. 10This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
11Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13All the saints send their greetings.
14May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
- The church at Corinth was a pastor’s nightmare, but their new life was ablaze in them. Their problems are many and serious. But, they knew that their lives were being shaped for some grand and eternal purpose. In spite of some hard words exchanged between Paul and them, he called them “friends” and encouraged them to “keep their spirits up” (v11). And he wished them the best by blessing them(v14). This demonstrates that even though we can have strong disagreements within the body of Christ, we can still be friends, still encourage one another, still hope the best for each other.
- What about my church? Can I still keep friendship with someone at church even though we hold different opinions? Pray for our church that it will be filled with people who are true reflections of God’s love and power.
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the 2011 “Spiritual Journal” book.