The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.
I. The Explanation of his actions. 1:3-2:17 Now we turn to –
II. The Exhortation to understanding. 3:1-7:4
A. The influence of the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 3:1-18
The difference in the message of those troubling the church was in the Judaizer’s teaching of grace + law. Paul reminds them of God’s working through him to them in grace which led to liberty. He spoke to them of the influence he had on them which revealed itself in their lives.
The ministry of Paul was questioned, yet the proof of the ministry was in their own selves. Their testimony of salvation was the testimony of Paul’s ministry! The message for us today is seen in these three things –
1. Our influence on others is a reflection of who we are! 2 Corinthians 3:1-3
a. Influence for good. For example – Andrew
John 1:40-42 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
b. Influence for evil.
1). The power of evil.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2). The practice of evil.
2 Samuel 13:3,4 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
2 Samuel 13:32-33 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.
2. Our relationship with God is the basis of who we are – law or grace.
2 Corinthians 3:4-16
We are not saved by the Law! The law was never designed to save, it was designed to convict of the need to be saved –
Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
This group that had come into the church in Corinth was trying to influence them to deny grace and embrace the law – saved by grace/kept by law. The law was good in that it informed man that –
a. We are lost and under condemnation – we cannot keep the whole law.
b. We are loved in that God gave His Son that we might have eternal life!
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Not because they did not keep the law, but because of their unbelief! –
Ephesians 2:8-9 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.
3. Our reflection should be that of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:17,18
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
His working inwardly will be revealed outwardly – Does the image of Jesus Christ reflect law or grace?
The conclusion of the matter is this – Do those around us see Jesus in us? We do have an influence on others of one kind or another. What do people see in you?
If they do not see Jesus Christ exalted by us in our lives, there is something wrong and now is the time to settle the matter. Will you pray and ask the Lord to reveal whatever it is in your life that needs to be repented of, confessed and turned from to walk worthy of Him?
Who do you reflect in your life –