Preaching Outline for the Book of Ecclesiastes Message Three

Ecclesiastes 2:12 –26

Solomon reported that satisfaction and happiness in life cannot be found in education, experiences, escape from the world. He has not given up the search and Solomon begins –

I. The Review Ecclesiastes 2:12a “and I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly…”

Solomon stated that he might have missed something in his initial investigation and decided to return and examine his comparison of wisdom with madness and folly more carefully. Keeping to our theme of traveling the highway of life, have you ever exited off the highway looking for a place to satisfy your hunger, thirst, or just needed a rest, but very quickly decided you had better turn around. What you were looking for was not on this road, but – you just had a nagging thought that if you had gone just a little farther, the road may have taken you to the place you were searching for. Is it possible that you gave up too quickly? The further down the highway you travel and the more roads you search, finding no answers, you think, “I should go back to that one and look again”. You then make a U turn, not going back to the right road, the highway of God, but stopping short of going to God, you keep to the highway “under the Sun”, and return to the exit of ‘madness and folly’.

As Solomon returned to this place, he justified his actions and determined he had pure motives –

II. The Regard for his duty Ecclesiastes 2:12b “For what can the man do that cometh after the king…?”

Because of what he knew and what he had, he felt he had a great responsibility to himself and mankind to search out the meaning of life. The general principle the Lord spoke in Luke 12:48 “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” motivated Solomon in his service to mankind to give himself wholly to this investigation.
Solomon reported on what he discovered and we may read in the next few verses –

III. The result of his investigation Ecclesiastes 2:13-26

A. The difference between wisdom and folly is great. Ecclesiastes 2:13, 14a
Even men without God who work in the daylight have a great advantage over those of the night.

1. They perceive good opportunities and can direct their way.
2. They are protected from danger. God’s natural order in creation reveals this. It is no mistake that man should be safe in his house when dark replaces the light and the dangerous animals begin to roam at night!
Psalms 104:20-24 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
God reveals that danger is in darkness –
Proverbs 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

B. The disappointment. Ecclesiastes 2:14b-17

Solomon was broken when he came to the conclusion that the great and the ordinary come to the same end. And who is going to remember the ordinary any more than the great. Have you ever heard of the British cruise ship Titanic? The ship had hundreds of men deep in the belly of the ship shoveling coal into the boilers to keep the ship alive. Also, the crew consisted of brilliant and respected men and women. The captain, the engineers, the navigators, the physicians. All the best that could be chosen to guide this super luxury ship to its destination. One night, it struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. It was on its first voyage. It sank into the depths of the ocean taking the wise and the unwise to their deaths. Because of the fame of the ship, people remember some of them, but in time they will all be forgotten. The rich and famous, the poor and unknown. Death brought them to the same place – no return and no remembrance.
“Therefore I hated life…”

C. The despairing king. Ecclesiastes 2:18-23

2:19 “…wherein I have labored…”
2:21 “…to a man that hath no labored…”

Time Inc., Money stated from their survey – Indeed, 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and a stunning 90% by the third, according to the Williams Group wealth consultancy.
Solomon was despondent! He was going to be dead and not able to do anything about the waste of all that he had accumulated. What he thought would bring him happiness had turned into an evil burden on his life.

D. The decision from this report. Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 “There is nothing better…”

Man may as well enjoy what he has worked for now. We learn from this that God has supplied all with the creation to manage, to supply needs, and to enjoy.

We have seen many people who have come to this conclusion –
Driving down the highway we see a large motorhome coming up beside us. We look over and there is an older couple enjoying the drive. They wave at us and pass on ahead. We say to one another “That is a good way to spend your retirement years. It looks like they are really enjoying life.” As they pass on, we read a sign that they had posted on the back of the motorhome. It said “We are spending our children’s inheritance”! This is what Solomon is saying in 2:24. If we live in this world and are of this world, and all that we have is “under the Sun”, we may as well spend it all. It is the only enjoyment we will have!
The important need for man to realize is that God did not provide his creation to man to satisfy nor sanctify himself. The creation is to declare the greatness and God.

Psalms 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

All of the world will not satisfy you or make you happy! Wisdom is a great advantage to man “eyes in his head”, as much as light over dark, but in the end we meet Death – the great equalizer.

But, we thank the Lord that life is not only “under the sun”! Death is coming,

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: But –
Death is not the end of all things. If man has believed God and trusted Him through faith in His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, he will immediately go into the presence of God to live with Him forever. If man has not believed in God, he will immediately to hell and be separated from God forever.

Have you trusted the Lord as your Saviour?

Are you living for Him every day as your Lord?

Are you witnessing to others of Him as their only Hope?

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Preaching outline for the Book of Ecclesiastes message 2

Text: Ecclesiastes 1:14 – 2:11
Solomon reviewed his plan and how he was going to approach his search for purpose in life. After discussing his purpose we note three things that immediately caught his attention: Prestigious Institutions, Pleasurable Experiences, and Private Estates.

I. Proposed course of action. Ecclesiastes 1:14-16
Solomon’s desire was to discover the way for mankind to live in peace and happiness in himself and with others. He witnessed man’s frustrations daily as they sought to accomplish the impossible. Solomon described attempts as trying to –

A. Straighten the thing that is crooked.
B. Sum that which is unknown. It is impossible to add unknown quantities, yet man sets himself to know the unknown.

Continuing with the theme we set forth in the introduction, traveling the highway of life, we will describe what Solomon saw and how he determined to use his wisdom to gain knowledge and then through that knowledge, apply wisdom which would result, he believed, in having peace and happiness.
He looked first to –

II. Prestigious institutions – higher learning, research and development. Ecclesiastes 1:17,18

A. He sought answers through knowledge – academic achievement. 1:17a

He concluded that knowledge is a wonderful thing, and that used wisely could be a great benefit to people, but in itself, it does not satisfy. Notice the words he used: vexation of spirit, grief, sorrow. These words do not portray peace or happiness. Knowledge is wonderful, but we must know that it reveals to us how much we do not know and how much there is still to learn. The goals that are reached are temporary, like arriving at a point on the horizon and then looking beyond, another horizon is in sight and we begin our journey toward it. Grief and sorrow are the results unless wisdom and knowledge are based in Godly contentment in our hearts.

Failing to find the answers-

B. He sought, as so many others do in the universities of the world, answers through rebellious activities. 1:17b,18

If those of the past had no answers, then everything from the past must be challenged. Many of the rebellions against society have been born in the institutions of higher learning. Again, this was vanity.
Disappointed with this discovery, Solomon turned to –

III. Pleasurable experiences – what we might call today an integrated resort. Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

It is interesting to note that as Solomon stated “There is nothing new under the sun…”, these new titles simply described old practices. People are looking for relief from their ordinary experiences in life, they are looking for happiness and believe they may find it here. He checked in and sought answers in –

A. Entertainment Ecclesiastes 2:1,2

1. He sought relief in the comedy club, listening to all of the jokes and stories. “mirth”
2. He sought relief in the shows which fed his lustful thoughts. “pleasure”
3. He sought for relief, but found no satisfaction. All that he experienced was a few hours of diversion which did not bring him any peace or happiness. 2:2

B. Escape through wine and strong drink. Ecclesiastes 2:3

He determined to continue his search for the source of happiness, but would relieve himself from the stress of his investigation through drinking.

The term ‘happy hour’ has been traced to a number of sources without any conclusive statement as to when it actually began.
If you want my opinion, it has always been and Solomon spoke of it much in the same context as those of today –
One investigation came up with this conclusion – “Eventually, the ideas merged, and people began using the phrase frequently to refer to a jolly time had when drinking with friends during the late-afternoon and early-evening hours.
It only makes sense that such a time would be revered. You’ve just completed a hard day’s work and aren’t quite ready to head home or to weigh yourself down with a meal. But you need to shake off the day and kick up those heels. What can possibly be better than going into the perfect establishment to partake of cocktails and convivial chatter?”

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Realizing that he had not found the answer to his quest in these things, he turned to solitude through –

IV. Private estates. The attempt to re-create an Eden for himself – the perfect environment. Ecclesiastes 2:4-11

Notice in these few verses how many times Solomon referred to himself. All of this work was for his benefit. He was going to be Adam in his own creation of the Garden of Eden. Creating it according to his own plan and having dominion through his own power.
People are seeking peace and happiness today through protection and privacy from the world. We know that we can live more securely in a private estate, but is peace and happiness only available for those that have the opportunity to live in these places. Are the billions of people who will never be able to live in this kind of estate denied any possibility of happiness?
Solomon’s conclusion was that none of these searches gave him the solution that he was seeking. None of the places he tried brought him peace. The advertisements promised great things, but none of them were true.
Again, Solomon has posted warning signs that will help us to know that what we are seeking is not found in any of these things. Joy, peace, and happiness are from God, not from those things of the world.
Are you trusting in the Lord today?

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Preaching Outline for the Book of Ecclesiastes Introduction

1 Samuel 13:14 “…the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people…”

Psalm 78:70-71 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
Solomon knew that the Lord had chosen his father, David, to be king over Israel and established his throne over Israel forever. Solomon was born into privilege but he learned that this does not solve man’s problems or bring happiness or contentment. Two of his brothers had been killed, one was murdered by Absolom and then Absolom was killed in a rebellious war against his father, David. Solomon was forced to execute his brother and his cousin due to their rebellious acts against his position as king. He knew very well the difficulty involved in families. Solomon became king at the age of 40 years old. His eldest son, Rehoboam was born just before his ascension to the throne. Solomon may have known the struggles that parents faced in raising their children. In the book of Proverbs, he gives advice to “My Son” more than twenty times. We know that when Rehoboam took the throne following his father’s death, he was self-absorbed and sought only the good of himself and his friends. Solomon must have noted his son’s rebellious attitude and that of the friends he surrounded himself with. Most parents seek answers of how to bring their children up to love the Lord and bring glory to Him in their lives. I do not believe that Solomon was any different.
Facing the tremendous problems of leading the nation, judging the people, and guiding his own family, he may have determined to find the way to peace and happiness. His discoveries are recorded in this book – Ecclesiastes.

Introduction. In this book, Solomon the King seeks to discover the purpose of life. Solomon determined to utilize all of his vast resources – wisdom, power, finances that God had blessed him with – to discover and reveal the purpose of life and answer the question – how can a person be happy and satisfied. He thought that if he could not answer the question, no one could. One very important statement must be noted in order to understand the truth that the Holy Spirit led Solomon to write down. Remember that this book is the inspired Word of God, absolutely accurate in every detail, but we need to know that Solomon did not seek God’s wisdom in this search. Please mark this statement in your Bibles and refer to it as you read the book ; Ecclesiastes 1:16 “I communed with mine own heart…”. Solomon did not seek God’s wisdom, he used the ability that God gave him, but this still only amounts to man’s wisdom
To illustrate what we will see, let’s imagine Solomon driving down the highway of life, going before us. He began his journey with God as his guide, but soon he took a turn away from the direction that God was leading and he went his own way. He was still blessed with his position, his power, his wisdom, and his wealth but now he was without his guide, Jehovah. What he discovered was a highway littered with wrecked, frustrated, discontented, discouraged lives. He recorded this journey and provided warning signs for those who were following him. We are preaching through this book with a theme that Solomon has blessed us in warning us of what is ahead. The Lord is helping us to avoid the dangers along this road of life and to truly know how to have a pleasant journey, reaching our destination with joy in our hearts.

He opened the book setting forth His –

I. Perception. 1:1-9

As we read Solomon’s introduction to this book, we should remember that as the King and judge of Israel, he was faced each day with the problems that his subjects brought before him to answer. Due to his reputation for great wisdom, he also received those coming from outside his kingdom to seek an audience with him. He would become familiar with the troubles of the great leaders and the ordinary citizens. It would soon become apparent to Solomon that the problems only differed in the amount of people affected: family, community, state, country… Essentially the problems are the same.

He noted that the problems of life brought on emotional feelings –

A. Resentment. 1:1-3 Life is frustrating. The word that Solomon used is ‘vanity’. It means that is seen as worthless, quickly changing, as smoke or vapour. Where is the profit in this life, for it all seems –

B. Repetitive. 1:4-9 Another word can be used to describe his feeling – it is monotonous! It just goes on and on and on and on…

1. The evidence from the natural world. 1:4-7

a. The Earth
b. The Sun
c. The Wind
d. The Rain

That which the generations of old experienced, we also experience today and those coming after will experience the same. Man comes and goes, but the natural world continues.

2. The evidence from human experience. 1:8,9

Man struggles day after day to provide for himself and his family. His senses instruct him that he must go forth day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and then he dies and is put into the earth which continues on its path throughout the ages. The earth does not slow even for a moment to acknowledge a man’s passing.

Because of what life seems to be to him, he reveals his –

II. Perplexity. 1:10,11

He sees it but he does not understand it. Have you seen something that you know means something, you KNOW it means something, but you do not know what that something is?

When I was 18 years old, I was driving my car to go into the city of Washington. I had to go through a city on the outside of Washington to get to the bridge to cross the river. This city was always changing, new buildings, new roads, old roads rebuilt. I knew my route and was driving quite fast when I saw a warning sign. On this sign were three letters – D I P. I thought to myself what in the world does D I P stand for? While in the process of wondering, my car dropped out from under me and then flew up into the air. I hit the ground hard and it was all I could do to stay on the road and not wreck the car or hit someone else. Then I realized, the letters – D I P – did not stand for anything. They spelled out a word – DIP. While working on the roads, a large dip had formed and they put up a warning sign. Guess what? It did not help me – I did not understand what I was being warned about. Now I learned from that time on when I saw a sign that warned of a DIP, I put on the brakes and slowed down. But since that time, there have been thousands of other roads and multitudes of other warning signs that I saw. Some I understood and obeyed. Some I saw and did not understand, paying the consequences. Some I thought I understood and tried to get by, for example – speed camera ahead. Is there really a speed camera or are they bluffing? You know how all of this works in so many aspects of life.
Life just seems to keep pushing us back day after day. We know the past but we very seldom learn from it. We just keep repeating our mistakes. We do not know the future, but we do know that it will be no different from now. We may have gotten a past problem, but it is still there, waiting for the next person to come along. We will be facing one that someone has faced going before us. Remember what World War One was called? The war to end all wars. It was so terrible that the world believed no one would go to war again. Yet in less than 20 years the world was at it again with World War Two.

What is the point? Where is the profit in all of this life?

These thoughts led Solomon to His stated –

III. Purpose. 1:12,13 Can life be worthwhile?

If there are any good and meaningful reasons for man’s existence, Solomon determined to discover them.

A. He would find it. “…seek…”

B. He would investigate that which he found. “…search out…”

He would use all the resources that he had to discover the meaning of life.
“I just want to be happy”. Is this possible? To what extent and how long with it last? Each step of the way through this book we will discover through Solomon that there is a recurring theme – The meaning of life is God and we come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Have you believed in Him yet?

While the man without God just sees days come and go, a repetition, a rat race, the man who has his trust in God see the same days come but each one brings the blessings of God –

Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

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Rules are a good thing

As I was considering the wonderful love of God for us and the blessing of commemorating His birth this month, I thought again about He patience and longsuffering with me in life.
Psalm 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

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We started out in Fairfax, Virginia, with $70.00 each. Tom and I were going on an adventure for the Summer. We had Trailways bus tickets and would ride from coast to coast and from Montana to San Diego. Both of us had worked after school and saved up the money. Our parents told us that if we saved up our travel money, they would purchase our tickets. They also supplied us with some of the travel gear that we would need. We each had a duffle bag which contained a sleeping bag, a few changes of clothes, and a travel shaving kit. I would not need to use my shaving kit for another 6 years, but anyone that knows my mother knows that she believes in having what you need in case you need it. We also each had a cooler (plaid vinyl) that held 6 cold drinks along with…

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Second Corinthians Complete Preaching Outline

The Bible, God’s Word, is an amazing library stocked with historical accounts, doctrinal instruction, practical instruction, defense of the faith, social ethics and so on. It is incredible in the truth and knowledge it contains and every day it is fresh and powerful – instructing, guiding, correcting, blessing, building those that study its volumes.
We are beginning a study, preaching through the Second letter of Paul to the Corinthians. This letter would be found in the library under the heading of Biographical work. It is a letter written by Paul to defend his life’s work. It is sad that on occasion one is forced into this position. We would hope that the evidence of our lives would not be tampered with by jealous or ignorant men, but sin is seeking to have its way in the lives of men and slanderous accusations of wrongdoing are to be expected. The Lord warned of this when He spoke to the disciples these words –

Matthew 10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

The Lord ever served and pleased His Father, going about doing good, and yet men fabricated false evidence in order to disparage His person, destroy His work, and deliver Him to be executed.

We will preach this letter with this in mind, a biographical treatise with the subheading of ‘The Defense of the Faithful’.

Introduction: 2 Corinthians 1:1,2

A. The writer – The identification of the writer, his authority, and his associate.

1. The Writer – Paul, the founding missionary preacher of the church at Corinth.
2. The authority – an Apostle of Jesus Christ, called into this ministry by God.
3. The associate – Timothy, the missionary preacher and associate of Paul.
(Well known to the Corinthians)

Acts 19:21-22 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.

1 Corinthians 16:10-11 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.

B. The recipients.

1. The church at Corinth primarily.
2. The saints in Achaia.
The letter was to be circulated to include the church in Cencherae, to the east of Corinth, and churches and saints northward to Macedonia including Athens.
3. The slanderous lies, rumours and gossip were centered in Corinth but would spread quickly as people traveled and told the things that they had heard – (without verification)
Solomon spoke of the Results of these destroyers –

Proverbs 26:22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

And the Recommendation –

Proverbs 22:10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

C. The reality of his love for them.

1. The expression of goodwill. 2 Corinthians 1:2
Note that Paul expressed this same love for other churches –

Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:28, 2 Thessalonians 1:2

These churches seemed to hold the apostle in great regard, loving him and the ministry of the Word of God.
It is a time of rejoicing in one’s heart to tell someone you love them and pray for the Lord’s blessings on them when they return that love to you, but what about when they are questioning your motives and your ministry. At the very beginning of this letter, Paul manifest the love of the Lord in his care for them.

2. The experience of God’s blessings through the Lord Jesus Christ is drawn upon in Paul’s desire for the Corinthians.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

3. The expectation of Paul.

a. The saints to listen, believe, and accept the truth.

1). Grace and peace do not come through Paul, they come through the Lord!
2). Grace and peace are manifested in the life of Paul, but are not produced by him.
b. The saints to accept Paul simply for who he is –

1). A man saved by the wonderful grace of God.
2). A man called by God as an Apostle to preach the gospel.

1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

3). A man sent forth by God to establish churches.

1 Corinthians 3:9-11 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

4). A man given by God to teach the church, growing to maturity –

Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

And in all of these things we will see in the letter, we will see that which has been repeated often – we will see Paul as a man, flesh and blood, emotional, strong, weak, filled with joy and also sometimes filled with anger. He is a man and the point is that the ministry is about the Lord working through a man that is willing to keep on through wonderful blessings and incredible hardships. He was a man and we will see that he desired that they would know him as a man that loved God and through Him, loved them. He cared for their souls and the ministry of the Lord and so he put himself in the position to write this letter. He could have just walked away – it would have been easier, but he did not. He wanted to see them right with God. He wanted to see the church in one accord in the doctrine of God reaching out to the unbelieving world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

I. The Explanation of his actions. 1:3-2:17

Paul was not one that sought trouble and had no desire to be a martyr. Trouble faced him and followed him everywhere because of his testimony for the Lord and the preaching of the truth. This trouble was not unique to Paul. We are told about the threats and the beatings that Peter and John endured. The death of the deacon Stephen, even with the approval of Saul, and later the murder of the Apostle James, brother to John.
We also read of the danger faced by the believers in the the churches of Thessalonica –

1 Thessalonians 3:2-4 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

– and individuals such as Aquila and Priscilla who it is said that they laid their lives on the line for the ministry – “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks…”

The Comforter of Paul was the Comforter of all these and they were blessed together by God.
He continues his letter to them by reminding them that it is of God that they are all in this together facing danger in the world and receiving blessings from God. Here Paul is –

A. Rejoicing in the blessings of God. 1 Corinthians 1:3-7

1. The comfort is of God. 1 Corinthians 1:3 He is “The Comforter”!

John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Ephesians 2:14 “For he is our peace…” –

2. The comfort is sufficient. 1 Corinthians 1:4a “…all our tribulation…”

As believers we share many blessings that come only through the relationship with God –

a. We share in salvation.
Hearing the Word of God – the only means of salvation.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

b. Conviction: The work of the Holy Spirit –

John 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

c. Repentance and confession of sin –

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

d. Calling upon the Lord for salvation –

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We are all the same in this.
We share the blessings of God, not because of who we are, but because of who he is!

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.

We share in service –

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We share in provision –

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

We share in protection. This does not mean that we are not going to be hurt, injured, or die, but that God is with us through all of these things, His grace being sufficient and we will reach our promised destination – eternal life in His presence, serving Him in Heaven.

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

3. The comfort is shared. 1 Corinthians 1:4b-7

Derivatives of the word ‘consolation’ are used eleven times in five verses. We have the privilege of being blessed together. Paul has been sharing that he, along with all of the other believers, has been blessed above measure by the Lord. We have this blessing ourselves To receive these blessings of God, you must be saved – be a child of God. Have you trusted Him?

B. Rescued from danger by God. 1:8-11 (the prayers of the saints)

While some spoke evil of him, Paul knew that some of the members loved him and prayed for him. He was addressing both groups – those that loved him and those that spread lies about him. He had already told them that he rejoiced in the blessings of God and revealed that he loved and cared for them. He then began to inform them that he had been in great danger and he told them how he was rescued and was being kept safe.
We will use the simple formula that reporters follow when they are investigating a news story – What, who, and why.

1. What had happened? – 2 Corinthians 1:8,9

Paul shared with them that they had been in such danger that they thought they were as good as dead, there was no way that they would survive. He told them that the only way that they came through the danger with their lives was that God intervened and saved them. It was wholly of God that they were alive! Paul had faced death many times and he had lived. This instance he was speaking of to them was most likely the trouble he faced in Ephesus, causing him to change his plans and leave the city earlier than he had planned.

Acts 19:26-28 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

2. Who was involved? 2 Corinthians 1:10

Paul testified in his life to the mercy of God in protecting him. We will look at just three examples of God’s protection –

a. Prior to being attacked – His escape from Damascus, let down from a window in a basket.
b. In the midst of an attack – when he was stoned to death and God revived him at Lystra.
c. Following an attack – being beaten and imprisoned in Philipi.

In all of this he gave glory to God. God will keep us from danger, keep us in danger, and keep us following danger. We are the Lord’s!

3. Why was he kept safe? 2 Corinthians 1:11

a. The prayers of the people – “Ye also helping together by prayer for us…”
b. The will of God.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

God’s will was being worked out through Paul and the people had a part in this work – a partnership!

1). Paul followed the Lord’s commission –

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Acts 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

Romans 15:24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.

2). Paul followed the Lord’s directions. Sometimes his ministry took him into the presence of danger and at other times into times in which they enjoyed the fulness of blessings, for instance the missionaries were blessed by the reception of the gospel in Philipi and then arrested and put in prison not long after in the same city. They were blessed in Berea and then were forced to leave by an angry group that had pursued them from Thessalonica. The Lord protected Paul and those preachers that traveled with him, but we see that he understood the need for the power of the Lord in the preaching of the Gospel –

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

-and the protection of the Lord as they ministered His Word to the people.

2 Thessalonians 3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

3). Paul thanked the people for their prayers brought forth by love for God and for him in the work of God –

“…that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”

He sent a message of encouragement to those that cared for him – he knew that not all of the church had turned against him and he thanked them for their faithfulness.

He sent a message of exhortation to those that opposed him – they should know that God was blessing and keeping him – he was in the center of God’s will and they should repent of their deeds and support the ministry of the Word in truth!

There is no perfect person except the Lord.
There is no perfect church because it is made up of imperfect people – but we should determine in our hearts and minds to know God’s will and do it.

2 Timothy 2:15-16 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

C. Rebutting the accusations. 1:12-24

Paul states that he was honest and steadfast in –

1. His conscience. 1:12-14 It is no mistake that he began with conscience. He identified himself with everyone of them – as all men have consciences and are influenced by them. Paul stated how his conscience had been approving his life and this statement may be used to challenge the readers of their own state of mind – can you say the same?

a. What is the ‘conscience’?

A simple definition offered by Dr. Roy Zuck is that it is “the inner knowledge or awareness of, and sensitivity to, some moral standard.” That standard may differ with each individual ….. but even so the conscience is the faculty of man by which he has an awareness of some standard of conduct.

b. Who has a conscience? God tells us in His Word that every man has a conscience –

2 Corinthians 4:2 “commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

c. What does the conscience do?

1). As defined by the world.

It is often said that one should let their conscience be their guide, or follow your conscience. This was often termed the “new morality” and it stressed the thought that each person is free to determine for themselves the standards of their conduct. By following “the dictates of one’s conscience” the person can justify whatever conduct they may desire, for if a person is persuaded that a thing is right, then for him it cannot be wrong. This is simply the old immorality of man’s sinful nature which was defined in the book of Judges as “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”

Many organizations that claim to be churches follow this philosophy! They do not hold that the Word of God should determine their attitudes or actions – it is conscience that controls! This is religion operating on the authority of the slogan “if it feels good, do it”!

2). As defined by the Word –

a). A man’s conscience can be trained by the will of the flesh (sin)

(1). The defiled conscience. This involves the rejection of known truth until the truth is no longer accepted as the guide in the right way.

Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Defiled means that it has been soiled or stained and can no longer be of use. Remember the Lord’s words in –

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

(2). The evil conscience.

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

The natural guide of man does not direct to righteousness. The value has been changed, reset to the approval of the flesh.

Illustration: Garmin GPS would continuously notify us “Please maintain speed limit”. She was like our conscience trying to convince us to stay at 70 miles per hour. Our choice was to either keep our speed at 70 or change the settings. This is what we do with our conscience. This is what Paul wrote of in Romans –

Romans 1:21-23 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

(3). The seared conscience.

1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

They have hardened their hearts against the truth of God.

Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

b). A man’s conscience can be transformed by the Word of God. Romans 12:1,2

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.

Since he had turned to the Lord for salvation, Paul had learned of Him and lived in such a way that he could depend upon the judgment of his conscience as taught by God –

Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Conclusion: What can we do to have this testimony that we may honestly share with others –

Study:

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Meditate:

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Live:

Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Paul stated that he was also honest and steadfast in –

2. His confidence. 2 Corinthians 1:15,16
What was he referring to that he would have confidence in? Note that he wrote –
“…that we are your rejoicing…”

Paul sincerely believed that the people appreciated the Lord’s ministry to them through him! Their lives had been changed because of his preaching and teaching. He was not boasting in pride – he was rejoicing in the change in their lives wrought by God through His Word. It was this confidence that we see –

a. His pleasure. To visit them again and preach the truth again. 1:15
Note his zeal in the calling of God to him as the apostle to the gentiles.

Romans 1:10-12 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

God had given him, the Apostle to the Gentiles, to them and he was excited to
preach to them –

Ephesians 2:20-22 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

b. His plan. 1:16 His initial travel plan was to visit them from Ephesus, then continue on into Macedonia. He changed these plans for reasons we will come to later. The important thing that he wanted them to know is that he counted them as close to his heart and he had reasons for the changes in his plans.

Paul stated that he was also honest and steadfast in –

3. His convictions. 2 Corinthians 1:17-2:4

The turmoil in the church caused Paul to consider carefully the outcome of an immediate visit.

a. His consideration. 1:17

Paul declared that when he changed his mind about visiting them, the decision was not made lightly, without good reason. The word he used “lightness” means levity (not being serious) or double minded. The decision was not based on his own convenience, making life easier on himself. He made the decision carefully, in accordance with –

b. His character. 1:18-21 Paul sets forth that he was steadfast due to the character of –

1). God the Father. 1:18 He is truth and in Him is no falsehood.
2). God the Son. 1:19,20 He is truth and without falsehood.
3). God and Father and God the Son gave them the ministry of truth. 1:21
4). God the Spirit ministered the truth in them. 1:22

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

The unity of the truth as spoken of by Paul is testified of by the Lord Jesus Christ –

John 16:13-15 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

c. His concern. 1:23,24
Paul had no intention of being the conscience of the church. He had no desire to take the place of God in their lives! His desire was to direct them in the truth, the Word of God, and encourage them to submit to the Lord and walk worthy of Him.
Paul was a truth teller. He told the truth and acted accordingly. We, as believers, are also to be truth tellers and have this testimony for the Lord in the world. The world system operates upon a lie –

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

We are to be truth, a light, in this world of darkness. Jesus has commanded us so –
“Ye are the light of the world…” We are to reflect Him that He might draw men to Him for salvation –

John 1:1-14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Paul’s desire was not to command them, but to direct them to their Lord and that they would confess and turn to Him for restoration of fellowship –

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

He wanted them to walk according to the Word of God and had given them time to read, study, believe, and become what God would have them be.

We have seen that Paul had written to the church explaining his concern that if he visited them before the divisive issues had been settled, the rift would only increase. His desire was that each member would submit to God and walk in the truth! Unity in the church would be manifested by their unity in the Lord! In this second chapter, Paul continues to deal with them about unity.

D. Reasoning with the church to be united. 2 Corinthians 2:1-11

The church is to be founded on the Lord Jesus Christ and built up in His Word. Each church is the body of Christ and should be able to be recognized as such by both believers and by the world. The church in Corinth had become a confusing mass of activity which was not recognized by believers and confusing to the world.

Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

1. Resolve their issues with him. 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 Refer to 2:4 –
Paul sets forth his feelings for them in the strongest terms –

a. “…anguish…” Root of ‘angina’ a pain in his heart
b. “…tears…” His emotional outpouring of his –
c. “…love…” His love for them seeks unity in the Lord.

2. Resolve their issues with one another. 2 Corinthians 2:1-11

One of the issues that revealed deep divisions in the church was that of the hesitation of some to discipline the member that had sinned. He had sinned in such a way that even unbelievers in the community were shocked. Some members of the church were defending the man because of their ties to him. He was of their group and they would rather ignore his sin instead of confronting him. Paul instructed them that they, the entire church, needed to be right in their actions by following God’s Word and confront him with the desire for him to repent, and if he refused to repent, remove him from the church. The instructions had been followed and the man had been removed from the church, but the divisions had remained. Now it seems that those who agreed with Paul were holding a hard line, hesitating to forgive the offender! Paul instructed them to forgive and restore the man which is in accord with the will of God revealed through the Word of God.

These issues are with us today and trace back all the way to Cain and Able who disagreed about God’s will in worship. This disagreement escalated into division among brethren and ended in a murderous rage. It is a dangerous situation in the church and the way is opened for Satan to scatter the church or keep the church from its purpose. It simply becomes a religious meeting.

E. Related his desire to visit them. 2 Corinthians 2:12-13

Paul’s desire to hear a report about them from Titus prompted him to travel toward them and intercept Titus along the way.

F. Reminded them of the results of the preaching. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

1. Paul used the triumphal entry of Roman legions as they led their captives into the city.
Incense would be lighted to give an aroma as they entered the city. 2:14-16

a. The victors would smell the incense burning and prepare for their victory celebration.
b. The captives would smell the incense burning and prepare for their execution.

Throughout history, the gospel is sweet to those who believe but it is bitter to those who reject it. It is, as Jesus is to unbelievers, an offense.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Peter 2:7-8 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

And to the pretenders –

Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

2. Paul shared another well known illustration declaring his honesty in preaching the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 2:17

a. The ‘many’. ‘They’ as those dishonest salesmen in the market who put good products over the bad, deceiving their customers.
b. Paul and the missionaries were honest in their preaching of the Word of God.

The Word of God had been preached in power and truth and the evidence was seen in their own lives. They needed to come together in truth and commit themselves wholly to the work that God had prepared them for –

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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?

4. Our response is manifested in our service unto the Lord. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Paul, in his own defense and under the influence of God – Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; – declared that he had determined above all things to rely on God for the following things –

a. Courage. 4:1 “…faint not…”

1). The definition of the word used. “to give in, to lose courage”
2). The desire was to be strengthened by the mercy of God to not lose heart!

Paul encouraged the Hebrews as to how to keep their courage and not to faint, not to get discouraged and quit. He was able to encourage them through the power of God working in his life –

Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

b. Commitment to truth. The results of ministry belong to God are not to be forced.
4:2
Today we are involved in the culture of success. We put pressure on ourselves to meet standards set by the world and sometimes are inclined to use less than honest methods to reach those goals. While Paul declared that he could speak to all men of all cultures and standings about the gospel, he did not modify the truth to make it more attractive to them. He was not involved in ‘seeker sensitive ministry’.

1). Are numbers of those saved, baptized, and instructed important to God? Yes!
2). Are numbers of those saved, baptized, and instructed the measure of success? No!
Notice that Paul never mentioned congregation size or building programs. He commended the churches for their faith, their hope and their love!

1 Thessalonians 1:7-8 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

c. Consistency 4:3-6
Paul’s ministry was the preaching of the Word of God. He was convinced that the –

1). Opposition was spiritually conceived. 4:3,4

Remember how Satan had contemplated how he could destroy the testimony of Job? This is his pattern, to know all about the person he plans to destroy. We see this same plan in Satan’s temptation of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 4: 3-9 – each suggestion was carefully presented to appeal to Jesus.

a). The lust of the flesh Matthew 4:3 food Passion
b). The lust of pride Matthew 4:5, to be ministered unto Position
(Note that Satan used Scripture – Psalm 91:11,12. Refer to –
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
He was not tempting Jesus to destroy His life, but to prove His deity before the priest)
c). The lust of the eyes Matthew 4:8,9 kingdoms Possessions

2). Overcoming the spiritual blindness is the work of the Spirit of God and cannot be accomplished by physical means. We refer to Paul’s letters to other churches –
Romans 1:15-16 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 10:13,14,17 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? …..So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

1 Corinthians 1:17-21 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

3). Obedience to the Lord is the testimony of the Lord in His servants. 4:5a,6
They presented Jesus Christ and then themselves, the servants of Jesus Christ. Note his testimony to Timothy –

1 Timothy 1:15-16 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Our family and friends see a difference in our lives –

1 Peter 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

Do they see a difference in our lives?
Do we present the message of the Gospel in word and in deed?

2 Peter 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

B. The Influence of the Work of God. 2 Corinthians 4:7-17

1. The power of God working in man. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

a. The declaration. 4:7
Paul reminded the church that men are just vessels of clay. When one inspects a vase that they believe may be valuable, they look for the maker’s mark. It is not the clay, it is the talent of the Maker that sets it apart. Another important aspect of the vessel is how useful it is. The value is based on that which the vessel contains. Paul testified that they were vessels of clay, but that their strength was in that they were filled with God.

b. The demonstration. 4:8-10
The children of God have the same troubles and trials as all men deal with, but the believer’s have the advantage – the power of God working in them for God’s glory!

2. The purpose of God. 2 Corinthians 4:11-15 (vs. 15 – His glory)

Paul informed them that the dangers and life threatening situations that he and the other missionaries faced were similar to those that Jesus faced in His ministry on earth. They were encouraged by the Lord’s example –

a. The Lord’s warning. 4:11,12
“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”

Luke 4:27-30 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

John 8:59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

John 10:38-39 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

John 19:16-18 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

They were not only encouraged by the Lord’s example, they were enabled by the Lord. They were not living in their own power, but through the Lord’s power –

b. The Lord’s witness in their lives. 4:13-15

1). The Preaching. 4:13

a). Believing God involves hearing His Word, and the Holy Spirit working that Word into our hearts and minds, mixing it with faith, resulting in a new life, a living spirit, a new creature in Christ Jesus!

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

b). Believing God involves speaking.

(1). God’s Word is not seed to be kept in the storehouse, it is to be broadcast out into the world.
(2). God’s Word is not dead, it is living and struggles to get out and accomplish its purpose!

Jeremiah 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

2). The Presentation. 4:14
Paul was looking forward to a glorious time as we stand together before our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! To see Him, face to face!

Colossians 1:27-28 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

3). The Proclamation. 4:15
As these vessels are used as service pieces unto the Lord, they may be chipped, cracked, broken, old and fragile, but throughout it all, they reveal their contents – filled with the blessed Holy Spirit and bringing forth glory unto God!
The worst thing is not to be broken in His service, it is to be set on the shelf and deemed unusable.

Not only did the life of Jesus Christ bring glory to God, but also His suffering and death –

Luke 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

3. The Praise unto God. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Refer to 4:1

Paul completed his thoughts as he began them – “For which cause we faint not…”
All that is now is temporary and will soon pass away. We must keep our eyes on all of that which is everlasting – the glory of God and the souls of men.

Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

4. The Promise of God. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 “…we have…”

Paul declared that he was able to serve the Lord with his whole being according to the working of God in him and through the promise of God to him, and to all that believe. We can be encouraged by those things that we know ‘we have’ through the Lord.

a. Review of that which we have solely by the grace of God –

1). We have redemption. It is all of the Lord.

a). We are sinners in need of the Saviour. “For all have sinned…”
b). We have no hope of ourselves. “…and come short of the glory of God.”
c). Nothing in us pleases God.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

d). The common statement of our day is “you deserve it”. What do we really deserve?
“For the wages of sin is death…”

e). We are redeemed from death unto life only because God loves us and gave Himself for us! “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Romans 5:1,2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

f). He ransomed us from the bondage of sin and death by the only payment that is accepted – His life!

1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

2). We have direction. It is from the Lord. We are saved from death and we are saved to life! If we are to live, we must have directions, which the Lord gives us through His Word and actuated through His Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

3). We have consolation in the Lord. This life is not easy. We are emotional creations and we need comfort and consolation.

Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Ephesians 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

4). We have ministry unto the Lord. Having received His gift and are directed by Him in this life, we have a responsibility to others to share this testimony. Every believer, not only preachers and teachers, has a ministry to tell and show others the Good News of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Paul was reminding the Corinthian church and those others in the area that He was saved by grace, guided by the Lord, and giving them the good news of God, not only for salvation but also for living. Now, they had a responsibility to believe and do. If they were divided in their loyalties, they would not accomplish the will of God. They needed to know the truth of God (Doctrine), adhere to it, and share it.

One of the main questions submitted to Christians is this “If you are right, why are there so many denominations (kinds of churches). The answer is quite simple. Because many do not think that doctrine is important, that the Bible is the standard of our life and directs us into truth. This is why we must know and do God’s Word. We need to be good witnesses unto the Lord –

“And ye shall be my witnesses…”

Paul has defended himself and the missionaries against the accusations from a group trying to gain control of the church. He has explained the truth and exhorted them to consider and understand how God works in them manifesting His power, revealing His purpose, and is worthy of praise. Paul then taught the believers to understand the preeminence of God in their lives. Read 4:18

To speak for Paul we may say that he was saying “You say that I am weak, my health is bad, my body is broken, my speech is poor. You say the truth and that is okay because this ministry is not about me! It is the Lord who reveals His strength in my weakness! I look forward to the day that this weakness of this body is put off and the new body from above is put on. I look forward to that day, but now there is work to be done, service to be rendered and a day of reckoning to face – so I will keep on and proclaim –

4. The Preeminence of God. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 as seen in –

a. Our Person. 5:1-4

The influence of the work of God. We recognize that our being, body-soul-spirit, are of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

When we understand this truth, knowing that God has the preeminence – we bow to him in humility and submission and we echo the words of –

Nathanael – “…Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”
Peter – Luke 5:8 “…he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Martha – “Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
Thomas – “My Lord and My God”.

When is the last time that you just thought about Jesus our Lord and praised Him? Not in church, not in prayer time, not in a time you have set apart to think about Him, but just a time that you thought about how wonderful He is!

1). We serve Him in these temporary bodies. He has the preeminence!

Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

2). We look forward to serving Him into eternity – what we will be.

Revelation 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

The preeminence of God as seen in –

b. His Presence. 5:5-9

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

1). We are conscious of spiritual truth – whether we can see it or not.
“… given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”
The Lord has given us Himself in order that we may know those things which we could not know otherwise!

1 Corinthians 2:12-14 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

2). We are confident that we are accepted in Him.
“…that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”
We are His, not of ourselves, but of Him. Life or death, we are His!

Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

The preeminence of God as seen in –

c. The Proof – our lives. 5:10 – 16

1). Our standing before God. 5:10

Do we look forward to the judgment day?

The day is coming when we will answer for our actions, but not only for our actions – we will answer for our motives, the reason for the actions. Paul told them that he lived his life and ministered unto the Lord with this truth before him – the Judge of all things is keeping records of how we lived – not only what we did, but why. He is going to judge accordingly – some for evil, some for good.

1). An example of the evil works – Seeking the preeminence.

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica

Demas made his choice, but we should take no pleasure in his judgment. If he did not repent and confess, getting his life right with the Lord, it will be a terrible time for him as he stands before the judge and gives an account –

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

2). An example of good works – Seeking the glory of God.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Conclusion: The Lord has commanded us to know His will and to do it “…teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you…” We have been instructed in the Word today. The question is, will we stand before the Lord at this time and ask Him to examine our lives and reveal to us our condition?

2). Our standing before men. 5:11-21 He is an example of God’s workmanship and so he –

a). Set forth his priorities. 5:11-16

(1). Purity. 5:11

(a). He preached with urgency. 5:11a

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

(b). He preached with consistency. 5:11b

[1]. He knew that God knew his heart – the reason he proclaimed the gospel.
[2]. He hoped that the people knew his heart.

(2). Passion. 5:12,13 He had given them all of himself, not just an outward performance.

Paul had the pure motives and the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ and was accused of not acting rationally. People who do not care for the souls of men often rebuke those who do by accusing them of trying to focus attention on themselves, to feel self important by claiming they have “the truth”!

Acts 26:24-25 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

Paul was an example of the servant who followed His Lord!

1 John 2:5-6 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Mark 3:21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

Paul stated that he was the messenger bring the promise from the Messiah. He was not ashamed of this service –
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

(3). Principle. 5:14-16

Paul set forth the purpose he woke up to each day. It was not about self exaltation or personal achievement, it was about the love of God and His purpose. He set forth his reason for living in these simple statements –

(a). Christ died for all and all need to be saved. 5:14a
(b). All men are dead and in need of the Saviour. 5:14b
(c). The saved are not only sons but servants. 5:15

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

(d). The servants are not self seeking, but they are soul seeking! 5:16

“…though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

He was know to them as Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter’s son. His mother was Mary and his brothers and sisters were among them. He is known like that no more!

There were some in Corinth who sought to elevate themselves through claims of having been with Jesus Christ while He ministered in the flesh. While this would be a blessing, it was only an advantage if they knew Him in the Spirit. It is those who know Him in the Spirit that are blessed. Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate spoke with Him in the flesh and how does that fact help them now?
Judas Iscariot, a Jew
Pilate, a Gentile
Judas Iscariot an ordinary man of Israel
Pontius Pilate, a powerful governor of Rome over Israel
They both knew Jesus of Nazareth after the flesh
They are both sharing a place of torment in Hell.
What good would it do to know them after the flesh?
Impressed by their standing in the world? All that they had is gone. Even their names are detestable!
What good did their knowing Jesus only after the flesh do them?

Paul determined to speak to all men equally without fear or favour. Their person, power, or position did not change the face that they were sinners in need of a Saviour!

Paul had declared the preeminence of God in his own life and the expectation of God for all His children. He set forth the believer’s priorities and then he –

b). Set forth believer’s position. 5:17-21 The wonderful truth to the praise of God!
We are –
(1). Redeemed – a new relationship in Christ 5:17a
“… Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:…”

The preeminence of God is seen in that we are saved, not of ourselves, but of Him! He paid the price for our sin, death, and provides salvation to whosoever will come to Him in faith –

Romans 5:6-9 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

We are –
(2). Renewed. 5:17b
“…he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

God did not just promise to save us when we die and get to Heaven. He did not say “Do the best you can and when you die, look me up and I will see what I can do for you”. He completely changed us now at the moment of salvation. The believer is not becoming a new creature, he has been made a new creature! Have the old things of your life passed away? Have the things of God replaced them?

Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

We are –
(3). Reconciled. 5:18a “to bring together”
“…who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ…”

God did not make peace with man through a treaty of compromise! God did not change – man must change (repent) and surrender unconditionally.

Colossians 1:20-22 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

God has accepted our surrender in Jesus Christ –

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We are –
(4). Representatives. 5:18b-20 As ambassadors, we must remember –

(a). Who we are representing – the Lord. This may sound very basic, but it seems that it is an easy thing to forget!

(b). Why we are representing the Lord. People are lost, condemned to eternal separation from God in Hell.
(c. How we are to be representing Him – proclaiming the Gospel that they might be reconciled to God.

We are –
(5). Righteous. 5:21

We did not become righteous. God has made us righteous in Him. This is the message of the ambassador of Christ – the same that Paul declared in –

Romans 1:15-17 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

C. The Influence of the Will of God. 2 Corinthians 6:1,2.
Read 2 Timothy 2:2

Paul exhorted Timothy and Titus as pastors of churches to instruct the churches in this ministry. We need to know God’s Word and be able to share the truth of it, being able to share the application of it. Paul exhorted Titus to teach the people how to be examples for each other (Titus 2:1-7). We need to know how to live the life God has given us. We are Ambassadors – it is OUR ministry! Let’s look closely at this verse today and see what Paul is teaching us.

1. We have a ministry of learning. “…and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses…”

a. This ministry begins with believing.
b. Believing develops into caring – to be concerned.
c. Care leads to studying.

1). We know very little when we first believed.
2). Even after study, the knowledge needs to be applied or it will be lost to us.

2. We have the ministry of knowing. “…the same commit thou to faithful men…”
In order to commit, there must be trust!
a. there must be a relationship among the brethren.
b. there must be fellowship as friends.
c. There must be knowledge of one another as fellow-labourers. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. Note especially vs. 19

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

3. We have the ministry of willing service. “…who shall be able to teach others also.”

a. Willing to know doctrine. This is truth. What it is.

1 Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

b. Willing to teach doctrine. This is the application of truth. What it means.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

c. Willing to live doctrine. This is the method to use the knowledge. How it works

This leads to the following exhortation in 2 Corinthians 6 which we will look to next week. Today we want to assure ourselves that we desire to do the will of God. We must follow the pattern of the Lord –

Hebrews 13:20-21 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

We all have a ministry that begins with salvation. Everyone has a part in serving the Lord.

We have learned from Paul’s exhortation to us, through his letters to the Corinthians and to Timothy, that we have a ministry and we are to apply ourselves to this ministry with all that we are. This is the nature of Paul as he noted in his letters to the church in Rome –

Romans 1:15-16 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

We are to be willing servants of the Lord and apply our service knowing the Truth (what it is), teaching the Truth (what it means), and living the Truth, (how it works).
Today will look to God’s Word and learn from this portion of Scripture what is involved in living the will of God. We understand that there is a difference between knowing and doing. We also understand that some do not ‘do’ because of what they know! There are times that being a child of God comes with a price and we must be willing to bear that price for the glory of God. You may never be called upon to suffer as a Christian and we honestly pray that suffering will never be necessary in your life, but if it comes we must be prepared to face it.
In 2 Corinthians 6:1,2 we are told that we have received a ministry and a mandate. We must not waste that which the Lord has given. Paul’s defense of faithful service is threefold, using the words ‘in’, ‘as’, and ‘by’.

c. Willing to live doctrine. This is the method to use the knowledge. How it works

1). Steadfast in the Lord. 6:3-10. As examples, Paul set forth –

a). Their honesty. 6:3, 4a. “…giving no offence…approving ourselves…”
As in every area of life, ministry requires that we reject those negative aspects of our nature and manifest the positive. Paul spoke in detail to this issue in Colossians 3:1-17 and also Peter exhorts us –

1 Peter 5:1-3 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

b). Their endurance. 6:4b,5 “in”

Paul was writing with twofold authority in this case which the Corinthians were well aware of – the leadership of God and Paul along with the missionaries with him had personal experience “in” all of these things. Note some examples recorded by Luke in the book of Acts –

Acts 13:45, 50 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming……
But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

Acts 14:19-20 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Acts 16:19-24 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

If they did not love the Lord, the saints, and the lost, would they continue “in” these troubles to preach the gospel and to teach the truth? They could keep on because of –

c). Their empowerment. 6:6,7 “by” By God’s power
The grace of God was working in their lives. He gave them both –

(1). Their motives. 6:6a We may refer back to Paul’s statement to remember the attitude which drove their actions – read 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

(2). Their might. 6:6b,7

(a). The preparation. 6:6b,7a No accusation can stand or reproach attach itself –

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

(b). The power. 6:7b Refer to Ephesians 6:10-18

d). Their example. 6:8-10 “as”. House built upon the Rock.

Referring back to the opening statement –
2 Corinthians 6:3-4 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God… ‘
Paul now declares the stedfastness of their love –

(1). Whether applauded or derided
(2). Whether afflicted or protected
(3). Whether affluent or impoverished

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Paul had learned to set his heart on those things that were of eternal importance. His motive for preaching and teaching was pure, not seeking to promote himself but seeking to glorify the Lord. He and the other missionaries had learned from the Lord that which is truly important in life –

Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The Lord’s will was the delight of his life. We see the influence of the will of God in action in this letter. What about you? Do you see yourself reflected

Now we see the exhortation to be –
2). Separated unto the Lord. 6:11-18

(a). Their attitudes. 6:11-13

Why did Paul turn to this theme following his declaration of being steadfast in the Lord? What was he instructing the believers to do?
First, he told them that they should love him as a father in the ministry of God. He told them that he had loved them and that he had said and done all that he could do to convince them of that love –
2 Corinthians 6:11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

(1). Their love was due him.

Paul loved the Lord and loved the souls of Corinth. He traveled to the city and preached the good news of salvation to them. He followed in the foot steps of Jesus and now looked for the believers to return that love. They were to love the Lord –

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

…and they were to love the Lord’s servants –

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Paul then told them that he was not keeping them from showing him love. He was not doing anything to keep them away from him. They were the ones who were not offering their love to him.

1 John 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

(2). Their love was not being stopped by him.

2 Corinthians 6:12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

(3). Their love should have been given to him as he had given his love to them.

2 Corinthians 6:13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

(b). Their actions. Right actions are based on right attitudes. 6:14-18

Here Paul takes them back to the opening statement in this chapter – “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” Paul instructed them by God’s grace –

(1). Do not listen to false accusations. Paul loved them and they should love him.
(2). Do not live according to false teaching.

We must understand that truth and lies do not mix. They are opposed to each other. The poison of a lie is obvious. If you take a lie and add truth to it, it is still a lie. If you take truth and add a lie to it, it becomes a lie. Truth cannot be mixed with anything but truth!

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

When we get saved, God cleans us from all unrighteousness. While we are still in these bodies of flesh and will commit sin, we are no longer sinners by nature. We have a new nature which is guided by the Spirit of God. Before we were saved, we thought just as the demons thought – notice what they said when they faced Jesus – Matthew 8:29 “…they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of God?” When we get saved, our cry to God changes. Note –

Romans 8:14-15 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
God has given us grace that we may be able to live for Him. Therefore we are to be –
Separated together in right thinking and actions –

[a]. Separated from unrighteousness. 6:14-16 The practice of the world.
As we learn what we should do, we should then just do it! This involves a twofold commitment –

[1]. Putting old things away. (Putting them behind us)
[2]. Keeping old things put away. (Not going back to the old things)

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…”

[b]. Separated unto righteousness 6:17,18 The presence of the Lord.

“…and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Conclusion:

Ephesians 5:6-8 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Are you a child of God having trusted in Him by faith through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ?

3). Sanctified unto the Lord. 7:1

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

a). Righteousness of man is unacceptable to God.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
But, God has provided –
b). Righteousness of Jesus satisfied the just demands of God.

(1). His active obedience. Absolute obedience and holiness.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

(2). His passive obedience. He yielded Himself to the death on the cross.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

He has made each believer holy before God.

Hebrews 10:5-10 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

This is our position – we are “…in Christ…”
This being stated – what does Hebrews 12:14 refer to?
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Our responsibility!
It cannot refer to positional holiness – it must refer to practical holiness!
The problem – we immediately begin to make excuses because we now know God’s expectation – “Do you mean that God expects me to live a holy life”? The answer is YES, and we go all negative as we imagine the list of prohibitions that face us now. Do not get hysterical – let’s look at this holiness.

c). Righteousness of the believer brings glory to God.

(1). The believer is a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Positional)
(2). The believer is equipped by God to live a holy life. (Practical)

1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

(3). The believer is educated by God and enabled to live this life.

John 14:15-17 If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 16:13-14 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Titus 2:11-12 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;

d). Righteousness of the believer is commanded. It is required for –

(1). Fellowship with God.

Ephesians 1:12-15 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
(Negative)
Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

(2). Personal well-being.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

(3). Effective service.

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Negative)
(4). Assurance of salvation. Galations 5:22,23

1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Is there evidence of practical holiness in my life. Remember Matthew 7:21-23

III. The Earnest Desire for Unity. 7:2-16

Following his explanation in chapters 1 and 2 and exhortation in chapters 3 through 6, Paul revealed that he had received information from Titus that they were improving – that for the most part, they loved Paul and they had treated Titus with respect, caring for him as they should care for the man of God.
An interesting and valuable lesson we have from Paul here is the pattern he used in dealing with a very difficult situation. The pattern is simple – negative and then positive. He dealt with their loss of confidence in him and then he referred positively to the information that Titus had delivered to him. The false teachers were still in the church and divisions remained, but Paul would deal with them more specifically in the latter part of this letter. For now, he had defended himself and the ministry and was preparing to challenge the church to fulfill their responsibility in serving the Lord.
He had reminded them of their foundation, the Lord Jesus Christ, and restored his authority in order to exhort them to their faithful service unto the Lord. In chapter seven, he reinforced his love and appreciation for them and exhorted them to be single minded in their purpose.

A. The Confession of his undying love for them. 2 Corinthians 7:2,3

1. The declaration of his actions. 7:2 He had been honest with no other intention than to instruct them in how to know and do God’s will.
2. The declaration of his care for them. 7:3

Care is placed in the heart of God’s men for those He sends them to. I think of the English missionary David Livingstone. He arrived in Africa in 1840 and served the Lord faithfully until his death there in 1873. He had been requested many times by those in England to return and retire, to teach and lecture. He was told that it was too much of a sacrifice to spend his life in Africa, to which he replied –

“For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.”
The men of Africa of who served the Lord alongside him knew where his love was placed. When he died, they wrapped his body and carried it to the coast to be returned and buried in England – but before they prepared his body, they took his heart and they buried it in African soil. They said that is where it belonged.
The Spirit that was in Paul is in each of us who are saved and we have the privilege of submitting to God as Paul did, and as David Livingstone did, and as millions of other faithful saints of God have whose names we do not know.

David Livingstone spoke of times of wavering, the soul being troubled. Paul had experienced those things, but he also experienced –

B. The Comfort of the Lord to overcome. 2 Corinthians 7:4-7

1. The resolve to press forward. 7:4,5

Note the words that Paul used to describe the difficulties that they faced: “Tribulations, troubles, fightings, fears”. He was attacked physically and emotionally, yet he refused to allow these things to overcome him and stop him. He trusted the Lord and kept on. He depended on the Lord –

Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

2. The reunion with Titus. 7:6

It is a wonderful thing to be used of God to encourage others. I have spoken many times of this most important ministry of faithfulness. Is this your ministry? Is God using you to be an encouragement to others?

3. The rejoicing in the good report. 7:7

Proverbs 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

C. The Confidence in his actions toward them. 2 Corinthians 7:8-11

1. The charge brought against them. 7:8
Not just an accusation, but making them aware of their sin with the purpose of repentance.

As the children of God, we should not enjoy charging someone with wrongdoing. It is painful to see those you love grieve in guilt and shame over their sin. It must have been terrible for God to listen to the cries of David, the man after His own heart, as he cried out in desperation over his sin.

Psalm 32:3-5 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.

God kept His correcting hand upon David until David confessed his sin.

The Lord has told us, as a father chastens his child, there is no pleasure in this correcting –

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Often a parent will cry over the correction of the child, but the parent must not relent because it is for the good of the child. Paul had thoughts of being too harsh, maybe he could have corrected them another way, “…though I did repent…”, but he knew in his heart the correction was needed.

2. The challenge to repent and do right. 7:9

They had been confronted with their sin after a Godly manner – prayerfully and forcefully. God had been involved, convicting them of their sin –

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

The people were sorry, some that they had been caught, but most, that they had been wrong –

3. The choice they could make. 7:10 They could –

a. Reject the truth in anger.
b. Receive the truth and repent.

Paul thanked the Lord for their choice and commended them for –

4. The change brought about through repentance. 7:11

A change in attitude and action had taken place. Through the confrontation of God’s Word and conviction of God’s Spirit, they had changed from being –

a. Unrighteous in their pride

1 Corinthians 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

To being –

b. Righteous in their humility and submission to the Lord.

The church had followed a determined course of action: changing their attitudes, confessing their sin, and correcting their actions. In doing this, they were restored to their fellowship with the Lord and with the Apostle Paul.

D. The Commendation for their submission. 7:12-16

1. The desire for them to repent, understanding his purpose. 7:12

The actions of the family, the sinful relationship that Paul rebuked them of in 1 Corinthians 5, had consequences for the church. Paul did not single out the offended or the offender, but he wrote to the entire church to reprove them and exhort them to repent, discipline the offending member, and restore the unity in the Lord. Paul had already instructed them in the importance of every member of the church and how the actions of one will effect the whole. Refer to 1 Corinthians 12:14-27
Note the illustration of how one person’s rebellious acts effected the whole nation of Israel.

a. The instructions given to the people –
Joshua 6:18, 19, 24.
b. The Inhabitants were being judged due to their rebellion against the Lord and their wealth was confiscated, dedicated to the use of the Lord.

Leviticus 18:24-25 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

c. The iniquity of individuals visited by the Lord.

1). His judgment of mercy was bestowed on Rahab and her family members because of their belief and trust in God.
2). His judgment of death upon Achan and his family because of their sin.
Joshua 7:1, 10, 19-26
Note that Achan had options –

a). He concealed his sin.

His iniquity was known by his family and possibly by others involved in the battle who chose not to accuse him. The items that he took could be concealed, but not easily. The silver would be about the size of a 6 inch cube, the gold a three inch ball, and the cloth would be easily noticed being so different from what the Israelites had been wearing for the past 40 years of wandering in the wilderness! It was not from that region and would be easy to identify as different from what they had! He took things that he had to conceal from others and would not be able to use, bringing forth only guilt and eventually, condemnation.
b). He could have repented and taken the silver, gold, and garment to the collection point and told them that he had found these items and was bringing to the storehouse.

They found that sin affected everyone! Paul knew this and instructed the church to deal with the sin!

2. The delight in their reaction. 7:13-15

Titus brought a report of their repentance.

a. Callous to caring. 7:13
If you will read 1 Corinthians, you will see the changes needed. Now they are no longer hard hearted and self serving, divided . They had turned from –
3). Rebellious to repentant.
2). Hateful to harmonious.
3). Suspicious to supporting.
4). Accusing to accepting.
5). Selfish to sharing.

Titus came with rejoicing and encouraged Paul and the missionaries when they saw “…the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.” Titus had seen that the church, for the most part, desired to glorify God in all that they did. He brought with him a –

b. Confirmation of Paul’s expectations. 7:14,15

Paul had shared with Titus prayerful anticipation of the condition of the church. He had established the church through the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and spent a year and a half teaching them the Word of God. He was confident that they knew the truth, they just needed to submit to the truth!

1). They had been instructed in the Word of God, not only in theoretical doctrine, but in practical application, even in how to care for the men of God.

1 Corinthians 16:10-11 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.

Now –
2). They had applied the Word of God to their lives through their actions and gained the heart of Titus and his desire to give a good report of them.

3. The decision that they were ready to take part in the offering for the saints. 7:16

The church had been informed of the offering, but Paul wanted to be sure that they were prepared spiritually to give. All that is involved in salvation and service is a privilege, the gift of God to man. Paul was rejoicing that the church that had been serving itself for so long was now prepared to serve God for His glory and honour.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

IV. The Encouragement in giving. 8:1 – 9:15

A. Introduction in Giving.

We need to introduce this portion of Paul’s letter by defining the categories of Giving. We know of ourselves that there are different motives for giving. The Lord has identified for us some of these motives and it will be a help to us if we study and understand them. We will look at 4 motives today which have to do with this portion of Scripture –

1. The principles of giving.

a. Tithing. Paul is not instructing them in tithing here, but we should be familiar with what tithing is. It is giving ten percent of that which God has prospered us with. This tithe belongs to God and so it is not actually our giving it to Him as it is returning it to Him. God has always kept back for Himself of His own. In Eden, He kept a tree for Himself. Abraham gave a tithe to priest Melchizedek, Jacob promised to give God a tenth, the tithe, of all that God prospered him with. The Law set forth the tithes of the people, where and how they would be collected. The New Testament says little about the tithe, but that does not mean it has been done away with. It was before the Law, during the Law, and following the Law. We are to continue to bring the tithes to the place where God has designated them to be collected, the storehouse – the church.

b. Sacrificial. 8:3a “…for to their power…”. Once the tithe has been given, then we may give another offering out of that which we have. We look at our finances and we determine that, while I could use this money, I am going to give it to the use of others. I am sacrificing my use so that another may use it to meet a need. Many years ago, the missionary Bob Hughes, who ministered in Cebu, Philippines, was preaching at a church in Texas. He was speaking about giving. He said that the pastor told him that he had done some figuring on the amount the people spent each month on cigarettes and snuff, coming up with a thousand dollars a month! The pastor told Brother Hughes “Can you imagine, a thousand dollars going up every month in spit and smoke”. The people could give up something to give more!

c. Faith. 8:3b “… and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.” Have you ever done all that you could do, you had reached the end of your resources and to do more, you had to reach out to others for help? I was watching a television show called “funniest videos” last year. I suppose that they may be thought to be funny afterwards, but not so much in the moment! A young man had set up a weight bench in his room, prepared the weights, and set up a camera to document his achievement. He settled himself on the bench, looked at the camera, and then concentrated on the weights upon him on the bar. He carefully took hold and lifted them off the frame and tried to lift them straight above him. He struggled for a moment and then the weight pressed down on him. He was trying with all his strength to lift the bar but could not. He continued for a moment and then knew he had done all that he could do. He cried out “Mum! Mum! MUM! He had given all he could according to his power, and now he needed help to go beyond his power.
Our situation is not dealing with a physical situation, but the principle is the same. When we desire to give by faith, we need to cry out to God, “Lord please help me to give more” Lord please provide that I may give”. How often do these words come forth out of our hearts unto the Lord? “Beyond their power – giving by faith!

d. Abundance. Another category of giving is out of our abundance. You may be financially well off. You tithe and you give offerings cheerfully, but you have enough that you do not need to give up anything that you need or want – to give sacrificially. You have enough that you never come to the point of needing help to give more. How are you to give through the grace of God? A couple of weeks ago in the youth class, we spoke of Jesus commending the widow woman for giving her two coins in the offering. He also spoke of the wealthy giving much in the offering. Note carefully that Jesus did not condemn the wealthy for giving much. He was speaking to his disciples and sharing that the widow had given more than the wealthy – she gave all that she had while they gave and still had wealth in abundance. He was commending her trust in God. The wealthy can give out of their abundance, knowing that they will not be exalted by how much they give, but with how much they love!

2. The practice of giving. We will examine the practice of giving and the results that follow through the accounts of an honest man and a dishonest couple as recorded in Acts chapters 4 and 5.

a. The Honest givers. Acts 4:36,37

1). The purpose. Acts 4:34a Members of the church had needs, as well as others in the community.
2). The practice. Acts 4:34b,35 Sharing what they had with others.
3). The Praise. Acts 4:36 The love for God and for the people is seen through he actions of Barnabas.

b. The Dishonest givers. Acts 5:1-11

1). The purpose. To received the praise of the people.
2). The presumption. They lied to the church about the offering.
3). The punishment. They lied to God when they lied to the church. They were punished accordingly!
4). The Principle.
“…Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power”?
The money belonged to Annanias and Saphira. God promotes private property and the opportunities of ownership. He did not make a demand upon them. They desired the praise of the people and determined a price they were willing to pay for it. God did not judge them because they did not give. He judged them because they lied about giving.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
We can understand the instruction that Paul gave to the church, as we will see more of as we continue through this letter, that offerings that acceptable to God begin in your hearts and develop into actions. God looks at the reason that you give to determine whether the offering is acceptable or not.

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.

Today, how is your heart? I pray today that each one of us will serve the Lord with a pure heart and that we give ourselves unto Him completely. When He has us, He has all that we are and all that we have.

B. The Example of grace giving. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

1. The condition of the churches. 2 Corinthians 8:2a

a. They were planted in adversity.

Acts 17:4-5 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

b. They produced faith in affliction.

1 Thessalonians 1:5-7 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

c. They prospered in the grace of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:2-6 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:

2. The conviction of the churches to give. 2 Corinthians 8:2b,3

a. They were encouraged in spite of their poverty.
b. They were encouraged in spite of their position in the community – looked down on.
c. They were encouraged by the grace of God in their lives!

Based on this encouragement, they made their demand and put forth –

3. The claim of the churches as to their right to give. 2 Corinthians 8:4
“… Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift…”

“Who are you to tell us that we cannot take part in this fellowship of ministry”!

4. The consecration of the churches unto the Lord. 2 Corinthians 8:5

a. Dedicated to the Lord.

Romans 12:1 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.

b. Directed by His Word.

Romans 12:2 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.

1). Convinced of the principle of giving.

James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

2). Committed to the principle of providing.

God ordained that man would work for his provisions. Even when God supernaturally provided the Manna in the wilderness, men had to go forth each day and collect it, enough only for each day! The people in these churches trusted the Lord in giving what they had, and in seeking more from the Lord to give, determining to work each day for the provision of God. They asked God to bless the work of their hands and provide abundantly. Remember God’s promise of provision in –

Leviticus 25:19-22 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.

They were to trust God to bless their work by being obedient to Him. They would not just sit back and expect God to pick up the check. They would enter into the fields and serve Him though their labour. The Macedonian churches had learned this principle and trusted God accordingly. Gave through the grace of God.

The grace of God is not to be presumed upon, it is to be planned for, seeking the leadership of God.

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

5. The conclusion to be drawn from their participation. 2 Corinthians 8:1

a. God’s grace is sufficient for all of their needs and for their desires to fellowship in the work of the Lord.
b. God’s grace is often unused through lack of faith.

The Macedonian churches took advantage of the wonderful grace of God and did not want to leave anything behind.

C. The Encouragement to grace giving. 8:6-10

The Macedonian churches were manifesting the blessings of God that Paul testified of in his letter to the Thessalonican church at a later date –

2 Thessalonians 1:2-4 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

He trusted that the grace of God and the peace of God that had already been working in them would continue to abound. He praised the Lord for their growing faith and their enduring love for one another, even through persecutions and tribulations. This is the soil in which the seed of the Word of God had grown in them and their example had –

1. Created an urgency to act. 2 Corinthians 8:6

Titus had been involved in organizing the offering in Corinth. Paul urged Titus to return, challenging them by the faith of the Macedonian churches to complete the offering that they had promised to collect, not as they had begun, simply through a desire to help, but now to give according to the grace of God.

Titus was to encourage them that their giving should be –

2. Consistent with the grace of God in every area of their lives. 2 Corinthians 8:7

God desires to have the whole person and to bless accordingly. He perfects the believer in correct proportions that He may build His church to glorify Him.

Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The Lord is concerned how He is manifested to the world!

Ephesians 4:15-16 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

They had everything they needed, yet they had been holding back in this area of giving.

Paul was encouraging them by –

3. Coaching, not commanding. 2 Corinthians 8:8

Paul had provided them with the opportunity to give, not by commandment, but because of their love for the Lord and His people – to have the same mind as the Lord, united in their service, which includes giving. “…let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”

Why, because the Lord gave Himself, committing all to the will of the Father. We need to be –

4. Committed. 2 Corinthians 8:9

The Lord proved the commitment of His love in that He did not hold back anything, but gave Himself wholly unto the will of the Father and for the salvation of man.

a. Serving without love is simply an exercise in religion.

Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

b. Serving with love is the expectation of the Lord.

John 3:16 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.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Conclusion:

Let’s use Peter as an illustration of the people in Corinth and believers today – Prove the sincerity of your love –
Sinking in the sea – I was distracted by the storm
Drawing his sword in the garden – I was confused
Denying the Lord in the courtyard – I was afraid
Forsaking the ministry for fishing – I was discouraged

Jesus did not command Him, He challenged the sincerity of Peter’s love!

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

No more excuses! Commit yourself to the Lord and His will!
The church in Corinth needed to stop making excuses for the failure and commit themselves to the Lord in love!

D. The Explanation of grace giving. 2 Corinthians 8:11-15

1. Paul exhorted them to trust the grace of God, to have right attitudes which would result in right actions. 2 Corinthians 8:11,12 They were to –

a. Reject excuses for not carrying out their previous promises.
Refer to 1 Corinthians 16:1-4
b. Rely on the grace of God to begin again.

2. Paul explained to them that this was not redistribution of wealth.
2 Corinthians 8:13,14
The church should not look at this as communalism but as mutual love!

There is a twofold explanation made –

a. The churches collecting –

1). The gift should not be collected with the poor in the church expecting the wealthy to bear the entire collection.
2). The gift should not be collected by the wealthy in the church to the exclusion of the poor. The poor should have a part in the service to the Lord.

b. The churches receiving – 2 Corinthians 8:15
The gift to the believers in Judah was not a yearly commitment, but a help to get them out of difficult circumstances! They would come to the place to help others in turn.

The ministry and grace of God places everyone on an equal position before the Lord. Remember the blessing of God’s provision when Israel was in the wilderness –

The wealthy could not be purchased, the manna was provided each day and the poor as well as the wealthy could take as much as they needed. All were on equal ground each morning!

Lamentations 3:22-24 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

God’s plan provides all with the opportunity to be involved. The attitude He promotes removes selfishness, pride, manipulation and bargaining for gain. He replaces these worldly attitudes with love, and joy, and peace. These are the fruit of the working of God in us!

E. The Enterprise of grace giving. 2 Corinthians 8:16,17
This ministry of Titus to the Corinthian church was –

1. Initiated by God. 2 Corinthians 8:16
2. Immediately accepted by Titus. 2 Corinthians 8:17
What made the difference in Titus’ willing acceptance? He was –
3. Inclined to serve the Lord.

a. Titus had already determined that he would serve the Lord and he did not set conditions on what that service would be! NOT “I will serve you here, but I will not serve you there”.
b. Titus had learned from his teacher, Paul –
(He had ideas about where he wanted to go, but he willing followed the instructions of God)

Galatians 1:15-17 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Acts 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Titus learned from His teacher Paul and they both learned from their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ!

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Now we come to the testimony of –

F. The Engagement of honest men in grace giving. 2 Corinthians 8:18-24.

Remember that Paul had been accused of wrongdoing and here he is protecting his reputation through the wise choice and recommendation of honest men to safely see the offering to Jerusalem.

Acts 20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.

These men had good testimonies as honest and reliable men who served the Lord. They were willing to leave their homes and venture out on a dangerous journey –

Acts 20:3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.
– carrying cash to the needy saints in Judea, to insure the good testimony of the church. They testify to us today that like as Titus, they were inclined to serve the Lord as He led them.

G. The Earnest desire for their willing participation. 9:1-16

1. The Reminder. 2 Corinthians 9:1-5

We all understand the necessity of being reminded to do things. We create ‘to do’ lists. The company that makes ‘post it’ has built a profitable business on our need to be reminded. We write ourselves notes, make ourselves recordings, tie strings around our fingers, put bands on our wrists…on and on, because we have a need to be reminded! God reveals our inclination to forget in His Word: He shows us that we need to be reminded by giving us –

a. Monuments: things that we see –

Joshua 4:5-7 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

Joshua 22:34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God.

b. Exhortations: things that we hear –

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

1 Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

Paul reminded the church in Corinth of their promise to give. It is one of those situations again that we are familiar with: He told them that he really did not need to remind them, but – just in case – he was going to anyway. Why –

Because he knew their (and our) nature. We simply forget to follow the instructions that the Lord gave us to help us in this life as His children. Most do not intend this to happen. We get ourselves so burdened down that we are not able to do those things that we know we should. God instructs us in how to make it easy on ourselves. –

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Colossians 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

How did Paul accomplish this in his life –

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Clean out our lives! Get rid of all of the things that we have collected that we are no longer going to use in the life for the Lord. If we are going to forget anything, let us forget those things that the Lord saved us out of!

c. Ordinances: things that we do –

1). The Old Testament -Passover:

Deuteronomy 16:3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.

2). The New Testament – Baptist and the Lord’s Supper.

These are ordinances the Lord gave to His church, giving them authority to carry out His will in the lives of those that He saves.

a). Baptism – this ordinance is what can be described as the door to membership in the church. Baptism does not carry with it saving grace or sacramental power. Note Paul’s statement to the Corinthian church –

1 Corinthians 1:14-15 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

(1). The Ordinance commanded. Matthew 28:18-20
(2). The Ordinance defined. Romans 6:3-6
(3). The Ordinance performed.

Acts 8:35-39 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

The second ordinance is a repeating ordinance. The Lord did not set certain times to observe it, but left it to the church to set its own schedule.

b). Lord’s Supper

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:24-25 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

As Paul reminded the church in Corinth about the offering, we learn that we need to be reminded about our daily walk with the Lord and His will for our lives. In order to accomplish this, we need to be obedient to His commands in His ordinances and His instructions – “…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”

2. The Reward in giving. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Dr. Howard Kelly was a distinguished physician who also loved the Lord. In 1895, founded the Johns Hopkins Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Johns Hopkins University. According to Dr. Kelly’s biographer, Audrey Davis, the doctor was on a walking trip through Northern Pennsylvania one spring day when he stopped by a farm house for a drink of water. A little girl answered his knock at the door and instead of water, brought him a glass of fresh milk. He visited with her briefly, then went his way. Sometime after that, the little girl came to him as a patient and needed surgery. After the surgery, the bill was brought to her room and on it were the words, “Paid in full with one glass of milk.”
We never know how the rewards are going to come – but know this, the Lord is keeping the records!

Living a bountiful life –

a. The Principle. 9:6

The intention here is that the believer, who is blessed as the child of God, should give in such a manner as to be a blessing and in turn, he will be blessed. He is living in the environment of blessing! This means much more than just giving in order to receive from the Lord. It is about being a blessing to others. Remember what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus about getting and giving –

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

It is about the believer’s motive and attitude about being a part of something much larger than himself – being in a partnership with God.

Make no mistake – God requires us to plan with purpose for the care of our households –

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

But we are to seek His guidance in the use of that which He blesses us with!

Notice Jesus’ condemnation of pride and selfishness in the parable recorded in Luke 12:16-21

1). The Lord Provided. Luke 12:16
2). The Lord Provoked. Luke 12:17-21

a). God’s knowledge. He knew how big the man’s barns were.
b). God’s blessing. He gave bountifully to the man.

(1). Enough to fill his barns.
(2). Enough to share with others in need.

c). God’s condemnation. “…thou fool…” Why did God call the man this?

Psalm 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

The man received the blessings of God and yet never asked how they should be used! He never thanked God nor sought His instruction! He actually denied God in his life!

The Principle is that God is investing in our lives, this partnership, and we must do our part! We are then instructed in –

b. The Practice. Read 9:7

1). The intention in giving. “…as he purposeth in his heart…”
The believer should give –

a). With purpose. To be a help.
b). With praise ‘cheerful’.

2). The illustrations of giving.
Living a bountiful life is not the same thing as living an extravagant life! It is about using your abundance as led by the Lord. Refer to the Biblical examples of this bountiful life –

a). Abraham. Bountiful provision for strangers (travelers)
b). Boaz. Bountiful provision for community. (reapers in his fields)
c). Barnabas Bountiful provision for brethren. Selling property and giving.

3). The importance of spiritual dedication in giving.
A bountiful life does not mean that we will have a trouble free life! Lessons from Job, a spiritual man who lived bountifully –

a). His testimony. Job 1:3; 4:2-5

Job 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
Job 4:2-5 If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking? Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

b). His trial.

Job 6:8-9 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!
It was not about loss, it was about confusion! Why is this happening to me?

Job 9:33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.

c). His triumph. Job 42:1-6, 10 Many give up too soon!

Job’s trust in God saw him through his loss of all things of this world, with God blessing him abundantly and being a testimony for all who will listen for almost 4,000 years. This is living bountifully – by the measure of God, not man.

Wait on the Lord, trust Him! With this trust comes –

c. The Promise. 9:8-11 “… which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.”

Living in the middle of God’s blessing, whether little or much, will cause us to be thankful to God and this testimony will be seen by others to the glory of God!

Living in the middle of God’s blessing, whether little or much, will cause us to be thankful to God and this testimony will be seen by others to the glory of God!

c. The Promise. 9:8-11 “… which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.”

God supplies enough for the poor. How, by giving overabundance to His children who then may share with others in need. Living in the middle of God’s blessing, whether little or much, will cause us to be thankful to God and this testimony will be seen by others to the glory of God!

This was an extremely important opportunity in the early days of the churches to show their love for one another and especially their unity in the Lord. The Apostle Paul had been and would continue to teach the truth that there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile in the mind or heart of God in relation to His church.

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

The Jews had resisted God’s love for the Gentiles and the Lord instructed them through the working out of His Word through the lives of His people. Remember the difficulties that they had already faced –

Peter and the Cornelius –
Acts 11:1-3 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Peter and Barnabas in Galatia –
Galatians 2:11-13 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

The churches that were mostly Gentile memberships were now proving their love for the Jewish believers in Jerusalem. They were involved in breaking down the walls that had divided them. The Lord had commanded –
“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…”
The churches needed to see the world, not according to cultural identity, but as all people being separated from God through sin and in need of being saved!
“…there is none righteous, no, not one.” “For all have come short of the glory of God.”

The Gentiles were sending a message to the Jewish believers – “We love God, we love you, and we want to help.” Through this we see –

3. The Result in giving. 2 Corinthians 9:12-15

Through their obedience to God we note these blessings –

a. Provided for their needs. 9:12

It is a blessing to note that the phrase ‘supplieth the want’ literally means ‘completely filling up the deficiencies’… Anything that was needed was provided!

1). They were blessed physically. “…supplieth the want of the saints…”
2). They were blessed spiritually! “…is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God”

b. Proved their love. 9:14

1). They said that they loved God.
“…their professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ…”
2). They showed that they loved God!

1 John 3:17-19 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

c. Prayer was lifted up for them. 9:15

Sometimes I believe we do not take this as seriously as we should. Look at how the Son of God and His people in those days spoke of prayer –

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

1 Thessalonians 5:17, 25 Pray without ceasing. Brethren, pray for us.

d. Praise unto God was manifested. 9:16 He is Worthy!

The hymn writing said it well as he considered the Love of God –

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

The wonderful result of living unto the Lord and giving as He directs is to realize that God is using each one of us for His glory and we can sing praises unto Him!

Have you been living so as you are praising God for your life each day?
Have you been looking unto Him for His will to be done in your life?

V. The Evaluation of his authority. 2 Corinthians 10:1-11:4

Paul returned to his defense of the faithful in the remainder of this letter. The theme is followed from chapter 10, verse 1 to chapter 13, verse 10. This morning we will note his introduction, which is a warning to the men who have made false accusations against him in order for them to secure positions of leadership in the church.

Paul gave them warnings –

He warned them –

A. Not to underestimate him. 10:1-18

He had confidence, not in himself, but in the Lord. He knew to whom he belonged and who he served –

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

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.

He set forth in these first six verses his intentions toward the false teachers and those in the church who followed them.
He wrote of the authority and approach he would take in this defense by defining his power. It was a –

1. Superior power. 2 Corinthians 10:1a “…meekness and gentleness of Christ…”
“…beseech…” He called their attention to notice –

a. His attitude. He was relying on the Lord who, even in judgment, offered grace and mercy to those who would repent.

Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth…

b. His advice. He learned, gave, and followed his own advice –

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Paul would not compromise doctrine, but would confront with the sincere desire of repentance and restoration.

2. Sensitive power. 2 Corinthians 10:1b-2

Paul made a request of them, asking them to consider his position (which they had put him in), and submit themselves to God in all humility so that he would not have to confront them in judgment, but would forgive them. He told them that –

a. He was prepared to confront. “…I think to be bold…”
b. He would prefer to forgive. “…that I may not be bold…”

Could Paul be bold when necessary? We do not know what information they had, but we know he would confront –

1). The adversaries of the Gospel.

Acts 13:8-11 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

He did not limit his confrontations to the enemies of God. He also dealt with –

2). The actions of friends that affected the preaching and practice of the Gospel.

a). Barnabas. Acts 13:37-39 His desire to bring Mark on the missions journey.
b). Peter. Galations 2:11-14 His fear of the Jews at the church in Antioch.

Paul would boldly confront any that did wrong, but he would rather that they would repent and submit themselves to the Lord and one another in unity, serving the Lord. While this was his great desire, he wanted those rebellious leaders to know that he had the power necessary to withstand them. He had –

3. Sufficient power. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

a. It is Spiritual power. 2 Corinthians 10:3,4
Not found in man’s strength. Paul told Timothy –

1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

True power is from God –

Zechariah 4:6 “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Paul was introduced to this power in the preaching of the deacon Stephen. The could kill Stephen’s body, but not his message because the message was the Word of God. This message continued to convict Paul. God’s Word is a –

b. Subduing power. 2 Corinthians 10:5

God’s power worked long after the flesh was dead, because the Lord is ever-living.

Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

This power not only subdues, but it secures –

4. Secures. 2 Corinthians 10:6 It is continuous. It is ready to deal with any sin which rises up again.

Note Peter’s recognition of the power of God and His longsuffering mercy –

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

God’s power is real and ready – but in mercy he gives time for people to repent. Paul reminded the Corinthians of this fact!

We also need to realize that God’s power is a separating power –

When received – it keeps us safe in Him.
When rejected – it cast us away, separated forever from God in Hell.

Paul desired that the church realized this truth. God directed Paul to write this so that we might realize this truth.

Beginning in verse 7, he wrote that his authority was founded upon a –

5. Sanctifying power. 2 Corinthians 10:7-18

God had set Paul apart to –

a. His position. 10:7-12 His authority was given by God.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

1). Authority was invested by God in Paul’s preaching, teaching, and writing!
2). Authority was invested by God in Paul’s person as His servant.

a). The wise servant will evaluate himself according to his obedience to God’s will for his life.

2 Corinthians 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

b). The unwise will evaluate himself according to the abilities and actions of others.
“…but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

3). Authority was invested by God in the offices that He established for His church.

a). The requirement of the children of God – To know and respect the offices as noted in –

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Only two offices exist in our day – evangelists, pastors and teachers. Believers are commanded to submit to the authority of these officers –

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

b). The requirement of the called of God: to love –

1 Peter 5:2-4 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

(1). To love God. “…the Chief Shepherd…”
(2). To love God’s people “…feed the flock…”
(3). To lead “…being ensamples to the flock…”

God had set Paul apart to –

b. His place of service. 10:13-18
His authority was based in the direct guidance of God.

Paul was not interested in staying in Corinth and taking up the office of the pastor. He was not trying to move these false teachers out of their positions in order that he might have assumed it. He was trying to get the church to understand their mission – the mission that Jesus Christ has set forth for His church :

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

The church could not carry out the mission of God until they had the mind of God – the right leadership. The church had not be planted to provide preaching opportunities for others. It had been planted at the direction of the Lord for His glory to reach out to Corinth and from Corinth to the world with the Gospel. Paul was correcting the church by reprimanding the false teachers and educating the members.

He revealed their motive –

1). The ministry of the false teachers was directed by convenience.
There’s was an
a). Easy ministry. 10:15 “… of other men’s labours…” An office not an opportunity
b). Exalted place.

3 John 9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

c). Envious of God’s servants.
They preach louder and longer to overpower the simple preaching of the truth!

Philippians 1:15 “…Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife…”

2). The ministry of Paul was directed by God.

Acts 16:6-10 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

a). God had directed Paul to Achia with its cities of Corinth and Cencrea.
b). God was directing Paul to preach at Rome.

Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

c). God was directing Paul to preach beyond Corinth, beyond Rome, and unto Spain.
“…to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you…”

Romans 15:24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.

Paul explained that the ministry was about God, not about him.

2 Corinthians 10:17-18 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

We must listen to Paul today! The Lord has given this message to His churches today as well as then –

We may not be in a dangerous situation, dealing with false preachers and teachers.
We may not be in a dangerous situation, dealing with proud and arrogant leadership.
But –
We may be in the dangerous situation of forgetting our first love, the Lord Jesus Christ!
We may be in the dangerous situation of ignoring our responsibility – “Preach the Gospel to every creature”!
We may be in the dangerous situation of thinking that the church only exists for our pleasure –
– to help us and encourage us in times of need.
– to provide moral teaching in an immoral world.
– to provide a place of spiritual enjoyment, thinking we are fulfilling our responsibilities to the Lord, yet knowing in our hearts that we are empty inside.
– to be like those that visited Ezekiel and enjoyed the service –

Ezekiel 33:31-32 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

His purpose in life was to exalt the Lord and finish the work the Lord had given Him. His purpose was not to build himself a kingdom, but to go forth and preach God’s Kingdom!
And Paul was able to know that, whatever the response of the people, they would know this as Ezekiel knew –

Ezekiel 33:33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.

Because we know the date of the Roman governor’s rule over Achia, we can determine the approximate time Paul arrived and began preaching, establishing the church in the city of Corinth about 51 ad. He stayed in the city, teaching them daily, for about one and a half years. He then departed to another city and left the church to grow in the Word of God. The time that he is wrote this letter to them was three years afterward, so the church was about five years old. Sometime during these three years, some false preachers came and were trying to take over the leadership of the church. Many of the church members trusted the Apostle Paul and contacted him, letting him know what was happening. Paul wrote this letter to the church to encourage the faithful and to tell the false teachers that they needed to repent and be right with God. The false teachers accused Paul of not being a real apostle and that his letters did not mean anything to them. Paul has written in these chapters, giving them evidence of his authority and telling them to be faithful to God! In these verses, chapter 10:1 to chapter 11:4, Paul gave them two warnings –

He warned them –
A. Not to underestimate him. 10:1-18 which we saw last week.

He also warned them –

B. Not to be unfaithful. 2 Corinthians 11:1-4
We really need to understand what Paul told them because it is important for us to know these truths today! As he began –

1. He asked them to be patient with him. 11:1,2

a. He had seen them saved, baptized and taught the Word of God.
b. He had seen them start out right. He had given them instructions in righteousness and corrected them when they were wrong. His heart’s desire was for them to be pure for their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Illustration: Imagine how you would feel if you saw your children being influenced by children that did not want to do right and that had no respect for you? You would speak to your children, tell them that these are not good friends, and trust that they will listen to you. But, what if they do not? They tell you these are their friends and that you do not understand. Then you will be more forceful and warn them of the danger they are in and ask them why they are making wrong decisions! You taught them better than that! This is what Paul is doing.

2. He advised them of the danger they were facing. 11:3,4
He warned them that –

a. God’s simple plan could be perverted.
The plan to destroy the work of God has never changed. Why? Because it still works!
Note Paul’s statement in –

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

1). Satan introduced his plan to destroy God’s work –
1
Genesis 3:4-6 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

2). Satan introduces this plan to each generation.

a). The way Satan works –

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

b). The warning given to beware of Satan’s devices –

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The church gets caught up in these lies –

(1). The lust of the flesh – “we want to have the things that the world has”
(2). The lust of the eyes – That which we see that someone else has and we feel that we have to have it. We get angry at them because they have something better, do something better, the attention that they receive seems to be better –

In business there is nothing wrong with creating a better product, but with the Lord, there is nothing better!!
(3). The pride of life – “look what we have done…”

John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

He encouraged them to hold to –

b. God’s simple plan as presented.

1). Conversion is simple.

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.
1
2). Commitment is simple.

a). Obedience in baptism. Acts 8:35-38

Acts 8:35-38 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

b). Obedience in knowledge. 2 Timothy 2:15
c). Obedience in service. Ephesians 2:10.

3). Church is simple.

a). Location. Communities
b). Leadership. Pastoral. One person with three responsibilites: Pastor, elder, bishop.

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

4). Commission is simple. Matthew 28:18-20
a). Seek the lost in the community.
b). Seek the Lord’s direction to reach the world.
1
Paul has warned the Corinthians and us that we should not change God’s plan. Satan will even come to us and suggest “This is too easy, it cannot be right”! But, when we see what the Lord has done for us, we see that it has not been easy – He did all of the hard things in order to make it simple for us!

Make sure that you are living out God’s will through the simplicity of His plan!

God did not make a complicated –
Plan of salvation
Plan for obedience
Plan for the church
Plan for service

VI. The Evidence of Authority Presented. 2 Corinthians 11:5 – 12:13

Paul built a case for his authority and integrity with the following evidence and arguments and throughout he identified those were falsely accusing him as the deceivers that they were. He began with the presentation with his –

A. Financial accountability. 2 Corinthians 11:5-12 He set forth his –

1. Position. 2 Corinthians 11:5-7

a. His calling as an Apostle was genuine. 11:5

Paul compared himself to the false teachers who claimed to be ‘the best of the apostles, above even them’. He mocked their claim and contended he was only less than them in their own minds!

Paul had the confidence of the Apostles and the leaders of the church in Jerusalem –

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

b. His communication of God’s Word was complete. 11:6

1 Corinthians 2:3-4 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Paul used every method of speaking he could to teach the people the Word of God that they might know the will of God – to be saved, baptized, and taught.

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

He preached to them –

Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

He taught them –

Acts 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

c. His conduct among them was blameless. 11:7

1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

2. Practice. 2 Corinthians 11:8,9

Paul had not demanded that his provision be supplied by the Corinthians. His depended upon the Lord to meet his needs –

a. Through his own labour.

1). His work in Corinth.

Acts 18:2-3 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

2). His work in Ephesus.

Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Acts 20:33-34 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

b. Through the support of churches. “…the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied…”

As the churches were established, they began to send money to the missionaries to supply their needs and give them more time for the work of the ministry of the Word of God.

3. Plan. 2 Corinthians 11:10-12

Paul had determined that he had been faithful in his service unto the Lord and he would not change just to please men! He challenged the false teachers to serve God as he and the other missionaries were serving!

In conclusion, we should note –

4. The Pattern that is set forth in God’s Word is that which we follow today.

a. The Churches Serving – reaching and teaching their cities.
b. The Call of God in His churches Sending – responding to the call of God.
c. The Cooperation of His churches Supplying – relying on God and one another.

Therefore according to the commands of God – Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15

Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly and simply to the lost
Praying for the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon their lives that they may ask “What must I do to be saved”? Once they are saved –
Present the step of obedience to the Lord in baptism, being introduced into the membership of the church
Provide them with the Word of God, preaching and teaching, that they may learn and do all that the Lord commands us to do. Sunday preaching service, Sunday School, Bible Study, Prayer meetings …
Protecting them with the truths of the Bible that they may know the difference between the truth and a lie!

Has God called you to serve Him? You may say to yourself – “I am serving God here in this church”. Just remember that God does not call a man to send Him out from a church who is not already serving in his church”!

Acts 13:2-3 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

B. False Apostles exposed. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Paul wrote of Satan’s evil work in chapter 11, verse 3. The importance of this deception is brought out by Paul mentioning Satan’s work again in these few verses. He wanted the church to know who was directing the teaching of these false apostles. The terrible thing is that these men may not have even known that they were wrong in what they were doing. Many times men believe the lies they tell. We can understand this though, because God tells us that Satan blinds the minds of those that do not believe, so that they believe a lie.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

He then uses them to keep the unbelieving blind and keep the believing confused. We must be aware and know that this is what Paul is trying to help us to understand – Satan’s servants present themselves in the same way that he does. Remember how he tempted Eve in the beginning? Genesis 3:1-8
Read and remember – take note of –

1. His careful approach. Genesis 3:1a
He was called ‘subtil’. He did not do anything to frighten Eve when he came to talk to her.
2. His concern for her welfare. Genesis 3:1b
He talked about what she could not have – did she have enough to satisfy her needs?
3. His challenge to God’s Word. Genesis 3:4
God did not mean what He had said. How could she possibly be separated from God?
“God would never cast you away – He created you and put you here”!
4. His charge against God’s purpose. Genesis 3:5
God simply did not want them to know what He knew. He was jealous and did not want His own creation to know all the He knows, His perfect knowledge.

Eve was deceived because she had not prepared her heart to resist temptation.
When anyone tells you that God does not mean what He says, or they say that they do not need to do God’s work God’s way – according to His Word – walk away immediately!

Do not be too shy to ask them what they believe about Jesus.

2 John 10-11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (the doctrine of Christ), receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

After warning them about the false teachers, Paul asked the people to listen and consider what he had to say about his ministry unto the Lord –

C. Fair hearing requested. 2 Corinthians 11:16-21

He asked the church to have patience with him as he presented his case to them. He admitted that he was humbling himself, acting in a way that Jesus never did –

1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

But Paul believed that it was necessary at this time for the good of the church. If the church members were so willing to believe those false teachers that did not really love them,

2 Corinthians 11:19-20 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

– would they at least listen to him and think about what he said? Paul then began to tell them what he was going through, what he willingly faced, because of his love for God and for them. He wrote about how he –

D. Faced adversity. 2 Corinthians 11:22-33

Today I want to make sure that we are prepared to recognize false teaching and false teachers. Paul’s love for them was so great that he begged them to listen to him, it is the least thing that we should do is also take time and listen to him.

Conclusion:

How do we know that men are false teachers?
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

How do we “try the spirits whether they are of God…”?

Know His Word –

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Know His will – Stay close and seek His leadership –

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We are given very clear instruction from the Lord through the writings of Paul to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 6:13-18

How do we know God’s will for our lives?
Be doing everything that you know you should without even praying about it. Then, seek His direction through prayer and seeking direction through His Word.

VII. The Evaluation of his purpose. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13:10
Paul summarized his purpose as he began the conclusion to this letter. He repeated that he was disappointed that he was forced to defend himself and the missionaries with him. He stated that –
A. He should have been Respected. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13
He had performed the ministry of an apostle among them.

1. The power of God was seen through Paul’s ministry.
2. The provision of God was seen through Paul’s labour. (not lazy)

B. He should have been Received. 2 Corinthians 12:14
Paul loved the people that God had sent him to – and not only this church but all of them. Note how he referred to himself in relation to them –

1. A parent. 2 Corinthians 12:14 “…the parents for the children.” Provision
2. A Father. Instruction

1 Thessalonians 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
3. A Nurse. Care

1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

As Paul exhorted us to have the mind of Christ –

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

We know that he displayed the mind of Christ in his own life through ministering to the Lord’s children –

Ephesians 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Tender Care!)

4. A Brother. Note how Paul speaks of this relationship –

a. My Brother.
2 Corinthians 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
b. The Brother.
2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
c. Our Brother.
2 Corinthians 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
It is a wonderful thing to know that while he had authority over them as an apostle, he had fellowship with them as brothers in Christ. He was one of them!
Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
C. He should have been Rewarded. 2 Corinthians 12:16-21
Paul should have been rewarded by their submission to God and faithful lives, being a good testimony unto the Lord. Instead of rewarding him, they had become suspicious of him through the accusations of the false teachers. He wrote that his ministry among them had not been to gain –
1. Possessions. 2 Corinthians 12:16,
The teachers had claimed that Paul did not accept support from them, deceiving them into trusting him so he could ask for large amounts of money for special projects, which they would willingly give, and he would keep the money for himself.

a. He rebuked their claim. 12:16,17 The sarcastic reply “I tricked you – really”?
Paul rejected deceitfulness – It was not his practice before he reached Corinth –
1 Thessalonians 2:3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
When he was in Corinth –
2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Or after he departed –
1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
b. He required of them proof. 12:18

2. Position. 12:19 He was seeking to build their faith in God.
3. Power. 12:20,21 He did not want to be forced to correct them publicly.
Paul desired that they would all come together in unity. He prayed for repentance and restoration to a right relationship with God and among themselves.

This has been the theme of his writing to them throughout this letter. To know and to do the will of God. This is the theme for each one of us and we should search our own hearts to know that we are in the center of God’s will. If so, we should encourage others by sharing God’s Word with them.

D. He will be Returning. 2 Corinthians 13:1-10

1. His Confidence. 2 Corinthians 13:1
Paul was confident that they should believe the evidence that had been presented to them. He had more than enough witnesses that would testify of his integrity, even more than the Law demanded –
Deuteronomy 19:15 “…at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”
He had witnesses from the membership of the church at Corinth – the household of Chloe, the household of Stephanas, along with Fortunatas and Achaicus. He also had witnesses from the other churches – Aquila and Priscilla who were now at the church in Ephesus. And also others that were traveling to take the offerings to Jerusalem. His ministry was well known.
2. His Challenge. 2 Corinthians 13:2-6
Notice that he is challenging the false teachers, those that have believed them, and the silent majority – those that stood by and let the false teachers divide the church.
“…I write to them that which heretofore have sinned, and to all other…”
Paul challenged them to examine their own faith. If they knew that they were saved, then they must realize that their salvation came through Paul’s preaching.
“Since ye seek a proof of Christ … Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” When they proved their faith, they would be proving Paul’s ministry among them!
John the Apostle taught of this identification in the faith –
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
3. His Concern for them. 2 Corinthians 13:7-9
Paul has written this letter in defense of his faithfulness to God in order to refute the accusations of the false apostles. In doing this, he has said much about himself, but he wanted the church to know that his concern for himself has been because of his identification with God’s truth. Paul has no desire to exalt himself and has been careful to represent himself as what he truly believed himself to be, a servant of Christ. He told them that his personal testimony must be reflected in their lives, as members of the church in Corinth, because they must all be seen to walk in the same truth –
“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”
4. His Care. 2 Corinthians 13:10-12
He reminded them of his care for them and his concern that when they meet, they would be able to rejoice with one another in truth and the authority invested in him as an apostle would be used for their edification – building up in the truth, and not to their destruction.

Conclusion –
As much as Paul desired that they had their lives right with God when he returned, it was not about him but about his Lord, Jesus Christ. It was not so much Paul’s return to them that was so important. It was having them prepared for the Lord’s return that was burdening his heart!
Note the promises recorded about the return of Jesus Christ –
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
For praise of God among men –
Colossians 1:27-29 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
For presentation unto the Lord –
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
As we arrive at the conclusion of this letter we want to ask –
Are you ready to meet the Lord today? “…Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…”

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Second Corinthians Message Thirty Five

VII. The Evaluation of his purpose. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13:10
Paul summarized his purpose as he began the conclusion to this letter. He repeated that he was disappointed that he was forced to defend himself and the missionaries with him. He stated that –
A. He should have been Respected. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13
He had performed the ministry of an apostle among them.
B. He should have been Received. 2 Corinthians 12:14
Paul loved the people that God had sent him to – and not only this church but all of them. Our Brother.
C. He should have been Rewarded. 2 Corinthians 12:16-21

D. He will be Returning. 2 Corinthians 13:1-10

1. His Confidence. 2 Corinthians 13:1
Paul was confident that they should believe the evidence that had been presented to them. He had more than enough witnesses, even more than the Law demanded –
Deuteronomy 19:15 “…at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”
He had witnesses from the membership of the church at Corinth – the household of Chloe, the household of Stephanas, along with Fortunatas and Achaicus. He also had witnesses from the other churches – Aquila and Priscilla who were now at the church in Ephesus. And also others that were traveling to take the offerings to Jerusalem.
2. His Challenge. 2 Corinthians 13:2-6
Notice that he is challenging the false teachers, those that have believed them, and the silent majority – those that stood by and let the false teachers divide the church.
“…I write to them that which heretofore have sinned, and to all other…”
Paul challenged them to examine their own faith. If they knew that they were saved, then they must realize that their salvation came through Paul’s preaching.
“Since ye seek a proof of Christ … Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” When they proved their faith, they would be proving Paul’s ministry among them!
John the Apostle taught of this identification in the faith –
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
3. His Concern for them. 2 Corinthians 13:7-9
Paul has written this letter in defense of his faithfulness to God in order to refute the accusations of the false apostles. In doing this, he has said much about himself, but he wants the church to know that his concern for himself has been because of his identification with God’s truth. Paul has no desire to exalt himself and has been careful to represent himself as what he truly believed himself to be, a servant of Christ. He told them that his personal testimony must be reflected in their lives, as members of the church in Corinth, because they must all be seen to walk in the same truth –
“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”
4. His Care. 2 Corinthians 13:10-12
He reminded them of his care for them and his concern that when they meet, they will be able to rejoice with one another in truth and the authority invested in him as an apostle will be used for their edification – building up in the truth, and not to their destruction.

Conclusion –
As much as Paul desired that they had their lives right with God when he returned, it was not about him but about his Lord, Jesus Christ. It was not so much Paul’s return to them that was so important. It was having them prepared for the Lord’s return that was burdening his heart!
Note the promises recorded about the return of Jesus Christ –
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
For praise of God among men –
Colossians 1:27-29 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
For presentation unto the Lord –
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
As we arrive at the conclusion of this letter we want to ask –
Are you ready to meet the Lord today? “…Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…”

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Second Corinthians Message Thirty Four

VII. The Evaluation of his purpose. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13:10
Paul summarized his purpose as he began the conclusion to this letter. He repeated that he was disappointed that he was forced to defend himself and the missionaries with him. He stated that –
A. He should have been Respected. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13
He had performed the ministry of an apostle among them.

1. The power of God was seen through Paul’s ministry.
2. The provision of God was seen through Paul’s labour. (not lazy)

B. He should have been Received. 2 Corinthians 12:14
Paul loved the people that God had sent him to – and not only this church but all of them. Note how he referred to himself in relation to them –

1. A parent. 2 Corinthians 12:14 “…the parents for the children.” Provision
2. A Father. Instruction

1 Thessalonians 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
3. A Nurse. Care

1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

As Paul exhorted us to have the mind of Christ –

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

We know that he displayed the mind of Christ in his own life through ministering to the Lord’s children –

Ephesians 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Tender Care!)

4. A Brother. Note how Paul speaks of this relationship –

a. My Brother.
2 Corinthians 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
b. The Brother.
2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
c. Our Brother.
2 Corinthians 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
It is a wonderful thing to know that while he had authority over them as an apostle, he had fellowship with them as brothers in Christ. He was one of them!
Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
C. He should have been Rewarded. 2 Corinthians 12:16-21
Paul should have been rewarded by their submission to God and faithful lives, being a good testimony unto the Lord. Instead of rewarding him, they had become suspicious of him through the accusations of the false teachers. He wrote that his ministry among them had not been to gain –
1. Possessions. 2 Corinthians 12:16,
The teachers had claimed that Paul did not accept support from them, deceiving them into trusting him so he could ask for large amounts of money for special projects, which they would willingly give, and he would keep the money for himself.

a. He rebuked their claim. 12:16,17 The sarcastic reply “I tricked you – really”?
Paul rejected deceitfulness – It was not his practice before he reached Corinth –
1 Thessalonians 2:3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
When he was in Corinth –
2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Or after he departed –
1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
b. He required of them proof. 12:18

2. Position. 12:19 He was seeking to build their faith in God.
3. Power. 12:20,21 He did not want to be forced to correct them publicly.
Paul desired that they would all come together in unity. He prayed for repentance and restoration to a right relationship with God and among themselves.

This has been the theme of his writing to them throughout this letter. To know and to do the will of God. This is the theme for each one of us and we should search our own hearts to know that we are in the center of God’s will. If so, we should encourage others by sharing God’s Word with them.

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