2 COR 6:11-13 & 12:20,21
INTRO: While there are very familiar sections of the New Testament book of 2nd Corinthians, there are sections which are probably unfamiliar to many of us. The two letters to the church in Corinth are filled with apostolic concern. Here was a church which owed its beginning to the preaching of Paul. In 1 Cor 4:15 he tells them, I have begotten you through the gospel. But it was a church which struggled with so many perils. It was a church which someone had convinced that Paul was not the man they thought him to be. In fact, could they even be sure he was a apostle? In this second letter there is frequent reference to such questions. He must remind them, Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you... (2 Cor 12:12). Some things to see here?
I. JESUS IS THE YES TO ALL OF GODS PROMISES
A. 2 Cor 1:17-20 - The message is not in doubt!
1. apparently there were some questioning Pauls sincerity, credibility
2. and if the messengers credibility, motives were uncertain, could his message be trusted?
3. so, at the very outset Paul is defending himself ... and his message
B. And the great truth is this: Jesus is the yes to Gods promises!
1. in other words, Jesus coming, His death, His resurrection confirm all of Gods promises as true, dependable
2. Jesus is the amen - the let it be so of all that God has revealed
3. because Jesus came, there need not be any uncertainty, doubt
II. REALITIES OF LIFE WITH/IN THE LORD
A. 2 Cor 4:7-9 - Handling the hard realities
1. at v. 2 the apostle seems to be answering more critics
2. at v. 5 he reminds them that he has been their servant for Jesus sake
3. when we are the servants of Christ, when we serve others for the sake of our Lord, there may come some realities which are difficult to bear
B. But the wonderful thing is that we can bear them with the future in view
1. troubled, but not distressed - perplexed, but not despairing
2. persecuted, but not forsaken - cast down, but not destroyed (Ps 27:10)
3. what is the secret? 2 Cor 4:17,18 & 5:1 - we must learn to look beyond this moment in time to outcomes - how? by keeping the great YES in view ... He will not forsake us in the hard realities which come our way (see 2 Cor 6:4ff)
III. LIVING WITH NEW STANDARDS
A. 2 Cor 5:14-17 - Here is another reality in Christ
1. the Corinthians lived in the very seat of immorality
2. acting the Corinthian was an expression describing a life of shameless immorality!
3. but Christians are no longer living to themselves! (v. 15)
B. In fact, we are new creatures in Christ!!
1. and in Christ there are new standards for life and behavior (note 5:9,10)
2. his judgments are not made by the worlds standards; his values are not those of the world
3. the great truth: the love of Christ constraineth us - whether it is His love for us, or our love for Him ... that love molds, shapes, directs along new standards
IV. THE RECONCILED LIFE
A. 2 Cor 5:18-20 - Estranged? Or reconciled?
1. the old life was certainly one of estrangement - Eph 2:1
2. people given to self will, self indulgence quickly move away from God
3. but God moved to overcome that separation (Rom 5:8 & 1 Jno 4:19)
B. So, reconciliation - a wonderful word
1. but keep in mind who moved - it was not God, but man
2. so it is always man who must be reconciled to God
3. Col 1:21-23 - and reconciliation in through Christ - the great YES!!
V. TENDER APOSTOLIC CONCERN
A. 2 Cor 11:1-5 - Godly jealousy!
1. these were not just any Christians - they were people he knew personally
2. these were people whom he had espoused to Christ
3. I well know exactly the feelings of the apostle, the concerns ... when I hear of people whom I taught becoming unfaithful, of marriages in which I have officiated being broken by divorce, of children I have helped to rear leaving the Lord, I am personally devastated
B. He was afraid they would find false teachers appealing
1. why would they? because of questions about his apostleship, perhaps
2. and they were subtle, deceitful - note 2 Cor 5:13-15
3. tragically, the reason for his concern is just as real now - this is not a piece of ancient history! Teachers in the Lords church, appealing and attractive, are leading people away from the truth ... and without much challenge or opposition
CLOSE: Near the close of this letter is this piece of advice - examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves (2 Cor 13:5a). I suggest that this apostolic advice is needful even now.
Cecil A. Hutson
October 19, 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)