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Paul & Corinth
Paul had left Corinth to go to Ephesus. He had sent two letters to Corinth (one lost and 1 Corinthians) previously. Paul sent Timothy (2 Cor 4:17; 16:10-11) to Corinth and some disturbing news came back. False apostles had arrived (2 Cor 11:13) slandering Paul and his ministry. Paul temporarily left Ephesus and went immediately to Corinth. This painful visit (2 Cor 2:1) was not successful in Paul’s view. Paul wrote a severe letter (2 Cor 2:4) and sent it with Titus to Corinth (2 Cor 7:5-16). Paul’s final letter to Corinth (2nd Corinthians) is mainly concerned about defending his apostleship (chap. 1-7) and confronting these false apostles (chap. 10-13).
An excellent example of the Christian life
But we come to this passage and we find an excellent example of the Christian life. We know from our Lord’s GREAT COMMISSION that we are commanded each of us to preach the gospel to everyone. But how do we witness? What is our lot as a christian? We could and should look to scripture to answer these questions. Looking through the NT, two clear examples come to mind easily -- obviously the Lord Jesus who did the will of God perfectly and I hope to examine next time hwo Jesus witnessed & preached the gospel. For this study we will look at Paul’s example.
to desire money and not keep it in it’s rightful place. It is too easy to take our eye off the ball and allow ourselves to get too comfortable with these things and not see them as they truly are. It is obvious that Paul believes them to be true Christians as he both calls them fellow workers AND appeals to them that they do not receive the grace of God in vain. . money and status among many other idols. then. We know Satan likes to cause trouble for anyone who has become a force for the truth of the Gospel. but also celebrities. We know too easily today that idols are not just statuettes in a shrine or temple. the Parable of the Talents). <<< eg >>>> It is not wrong for a Christian to be rich. How could they then receive the grace of God. But keeping such an idol in our lives keeps us from being used by God. It is not wrong to have wealth as God has chosen you to be a steward of that money to do what is good in the eyes of God (c. yet in vain? Based upon the context of the passage. After all there were some wealthy Christians in the early church. however. One of the benefits of living in this age is that we can easily see people worship false Gods: not only the false religions.f.Working together with him. It is wrong. we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain (2 Cor 6:1) Paul speaks to the Corinthians as Fellow Workers. the dream job. our answer appears to be shown in verses 14-18 where Paul talks about their continuing association with idols. In the OT we see Joseph and Abraham as extremely wealthy.
but we need to take the initiative. how are we responding to the Great Commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. John the baptist proclaimed “Repent. We are to make an effort of going to people. By teaching/demonstrating (mathēteúsate) and also by going and baptising. and in a day of salvation I have helped you. linked to the verb. The Greek also adds some information on how to make disciples.to make a disciple of. We have a mission field on our door step .“In a favorable time I listened to you. tell us HOW we should DO the verb. baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19) What are we commanded to do? If we look carefully at Matt 28:19 in the Greek we see that there is one verb.” (2 Cor 6:2a) Paul then quotes from Isaiah 49:8 and then hits us with the pointy reminder “Behold. one command μαθητεύσατε / mathēteúsate . In other words HOW we should MAKE DISCIPLES. then what are we doing to proclaim the gospel. for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt 3:2) If now is the Day of Salvation. It is not sufficient for us to live as a hermit in a cave with a sign outside saying “ALL WELCOME”. telling them about the good news of Jesus and to instruct them in the things of God resulting in a public declaration of all those who believe. This need not be travelling up the Amazon or to some far off mountain to witness. Behold. (2 Cor 6:2b) If now is the accepted time. . now is the Day of Salvation”. now is the Accepted Time. These last two participles.
let him be accursed. so that no fault may be found with our ministry. Do we therefore go about our commission in any old manner? As with a military commission there is some expected behaviour and Paul deal with that in the remainder of our passage (v. They have succumbed to liberals who say that we are to change to become more relevant to remove anything that may cause offense. 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: Firstly: We are to give no offense! No Offense? Does this mean we are to water down our message removing that which anybody objects to? Some pulpits have been deceived into watering down their message. Our conduct 3 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way. By implication then there is a time when God will no longer hear. 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one. but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. So witness while you can. No we shall follow the gospel handed down from the apostles. (Galatians 1:6-9) So then what did Paul mean when he said in his first letter to Corinthians: .3-13). 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you. Paul never deviated in the theology of his message.this is the time to preach the truth in a time when God hears the repentant sinner.This is no time to deceive ourselves or others .
so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) .. Our message will cause offense to some: One of the main reasons why the gospel will cause offense is it is too simple.I have become all things to all men. that I might by all means save some. “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. As Jesus taught in the beatitudes: “ . 21b it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21) Each of us must determine in our own conscience whether that behaviour would cause offense. People often do not realise that people will not listen to us because of what we do.as it is written.” (Rom 2:24) We are to BEHAVE and conduct ourselves in such a fashion that our behaviour does not become an obstacle." Ralph Waldo Emerson Our christian character has to shine and our behaviour controlled.. (1 Cor 9:22) In contrast. Paul recalls the behaviour of some of the Jews and writes in Romans 2:24 24 For. let your light shine before others. There is a famous secular quote: "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
It is not some kind of first century “I’m a celebrity get me out of here”. But it mostly occurs with faith (1 Thess 1:3&4.all reflecting his own personal life. Titus 2:2. knowledge.13:10. patience. 8:25. Strong’s dictionary definition (5281) describes it as endurance. James 1:3. genuine love (v6) 3. with joy or rejoicing (Rom 5:3. 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: Paul gives us three ways we are to conduct ourselves: 1. Rev 2:19. 1 Tim 6:11. by great endurance (vv4-5) 2. the Holy Spirit. By Great Endurance The Greek word that is translated endurance is ὑπομονῆ (hypomonē) which appears 32 times in the New Testament. It is also interesting to see that it appears often in the context of the hope of future glory . by the power of God.14. But endurance does not adequately translate the subtleties of it’s meaning. by the armor of righteousness (v7) 1. 2 Tim 3:10. kindness.12). For it is not the kind of endurance that you may go through for the experience or just to get it over with. 1 Thess 1:3). 15:4. by the word of truth.Paul’s biography Paul continues with a series of lists of examples . Examining the use of hypomonē in the NT we see it occurs: with hope (Rom 5:4. Col 1:11). by purity.
hardships.with far greater labors. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. a harbor that knows no storms. danger from robbers. and often near death. Once I was stoned. the fruit that never withers. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. danger from my own people. Paul will later list his many sufferings. 26 on frequent journeys.I am talking like a madman . riots. Chrysostom calls it “the root of all goods. however appalling. sleepless nights. danger in the city. hunger Paul hints at the examples of behaviour that where well know. Three times I was shipwrecked. And nothing is more characteristic of Paul and his sufferings than this type of endurance. calamities. Heb 10:36. far more imprisonments. in faith which results in hope (Rom 5:4) and joy (Rom5:3) in the anticipation of future glory (Rom 2:7).(Rom 2:7. Stephen had been stoned. The apostles and the Christians in the Jerusalem church had suffered badly at the hands of the Jews. beatings. a night and a day I was adrift at sea. a fortress that is never taken.” We endure in: ●afflictions.12:1. imprisonments. danger in the wilderness. . the mother of piety. danger from Gentiles. Hypomonē is the kind of endurance that you willingly submit to the circumstances. James 1:4). 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one . with countless beatings. in danger from rivers. labours. Paul had been imprisoned so many times ( ##### ) he might have been accused of using them as a hotel chain. 8:25.
27 in toil and hardship.Longsuffering).danger at sea. Kindness. We are to endure no in our own strength but by ● ● ● Purity Knowledge Patience (KJV . . As John MacArthur put it “the gospel proclamation cannot be in conflict with personal virtue”. kindness. He does not labour his point there as he wants to instruct his reader on how to endure. The Holy Spirit and Genuine Love Purity The most common excuse for rejection of the gospel is that “Christians are just hypocrites”. by purity. genuine love Paul does not want to leave it to us on how to endure . 2. the Holy Spirit. We are all ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20) and the faithful ambassador does nothing that damages the integrity of His message nor damage the honour of God’s character.he hints at the examples of behaviour in the apostles and the Christians in the Jerusalem church. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) Whatever comes our way we endure! This sounds like a tall order! How can we endure? Paul does not leave us in the dark there. danger from false brothers. through many a sleepless night. patience. in cold and exposure. knowledge. often without food. in hunger and thirst.
and in steadfastness. sound in faith. urge the younger men to be self-controlled. in love. 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children. not argumentative. But the conduct of the christian can. kind. What does the bible say about . God’s word never changes. 6 Likewise. 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned. Take steps to learn the Word of God. so that an opponent may be put to shame. and in your teaching show integrity. self-controlled. working at home. that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:2-10) The whole issue in evangelism is the virtue of the church. So we endure. they are to be well-pleasing. pure. and submissive to their own husbands. Paul instructed Titus to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:” (Titus 2:1) so that: 2 Older men are to be sober-minded. 9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything. 10 not pilfering. dignified. They are to teach what is good. but showing all good faith. 5 to be selfcontrolled. so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works. dignity. having nothing evil to say about us.Paul instructed Titus on how to evangelize Crete (Titus is an epistle on evangelism). How can we prepare ourselves to enable us to endure? Knowledge Know the word. not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
Patience (KJV .our behaviour? “Because we belong to the day. or in quarreling and jealousy. To enable us to do this we must allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity to do his work of sanctification. Learn what is commanded and what is down to christian liberty. showing kindness to those who despise us and accepting their response even if it is persecution. Pray for guidance and seek to change your behaviour. The Holy Spirit and Genuine Love In this moulding we should take active steps to be kind with genuine love (1 John 2:811).Longsuffering). Read them. learn from them.” (Romans 13:13) NLT The epistles are woven throughout with practical examples of living as to bring God honour. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness. by the word of truth. By the Word of Truth . 3. by the power of God. Look to godly men and women in your church. or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living. by the armor of righteousness Paul’s final list rounds off what we need to endure in this world. Kindness. we must live decent lives for all to see. Look to the gospels. You are surrounded by examples of godly life.
Paul is hinting here at the pictures of soldiers he has used in Ephesians 6. Build up your faith in God. devotions and prayer. So what are these weapons? The Shield of Faith In Ephesians 6:16 we see the “SHIELD OF FAITH with which we shall quench the fiery darts of the wicked”. Understand what God has done for you. . However.The first of this list is the word of truth. We are to submit ourselves to God understanding that we will only endure by the power of God. How God controls world empire and the earth’s history in detail: to place Jesus on the cross -. Our prayers should include petitions for understanding and help in applying the word of God in our lives to let it mould us into what we ought to believe.Be prepared for anything. Keep close to our hearts the word of God taking due diligence to personal study of the word. It is the concept of the left hand for defense (the shield) and the right for offense (the sword). By the Weapons of Righteousness Some commentators have said that we should be prepared to fight to the left or to the right . By the Power of God We are not to rely on our own power.to control the lives of men that we come to a point in time that we trust in Him.
A Sword is both and offensive and defense weapon. See how He delivered on His promises. 2. equipped for every good work. The Expected Life of a Christian Finally. Spiritually they are honoured. It can be used to attack and it can be used to parry your enemy’s attacks. the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:16) which is “the Word of God”. See how faithful God has been in the lives of the men and women of the bible. for correction. ask God to increase it and He will do it through the study of His Word and the demonstration of His faithfulness in your life. 17 that the man of God may be competent. Enable us to faithfully preach the gospel (offensive) and fend off attacks of evil (defense) by bring to mind scripture and the promises therein. Many of us are familiar with: 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching.If your faith is weak. how to trust God and to support us when troubles come and help us to endure. (2 Timothy 3:16) And in so studying the Word of God it will prepare us in two ways: 1. Paul describes the duality of those who proclaim the Gospel. outwardly dishonoured. and for training in righteousness. for reproof. To teach us how to live. The Sword of the Spirit Secondly. They are praised by the church .
He kept his mind on the christian life which he called The Race. We must keep the correct perspective. 2 looking to Jesus. yet rejoice. yet we can make people spiritually rich in our involvement in evangelism and in discipling. Let me close with one final reading: 1 Therefore.in their prayers of thankfulness yet unbelieving slander them. We find ourselves in sorrowful situations. Outwardly we are poor. and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. despising the shame. the founder and perfecter of our faith. and sin which clings so closely. (Heb 12:1-2) Beech Hill 2011-03-09 . who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Paul knew this. since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. let us also lay aside every weight. and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. They are treated as impostors yet are true.
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