Connect Group Guide

                            Be The Church Week 3

                            2 Corinthians 2:12-17 & 3:1-18



Important Announcements!

Mark your calendar for October 16th! This is the day we will be having our Fall Festival. Connect Groups have a huge part to play in this. More details coming soon.

Talk with your group some more about doing a Missional Community Project!

If you need a list of ideas, contact Blake Hardiman or Ethan Floyd.


Theme: Paul is trying to get the Corinthians to see him in his true light! The Corinthians are questioning his decisions and quite frankly are caught up with some “super-apostles” who were in the church of Corinth. They were obsessed with worldly credentials and outer appearance. They were wondering how Paul could be legit and at the same time go through the trials he was going through. Let’s just say that the relationship between Paul and the Corinthians was complicated at this point. The book of 2 Corinthians is about Paul trying to reconcile with the Corinthians and get them to see him in his true light. An apostle called by Christ to make His name known among the Gentiles

A few things we Learn from these passages!

1.. A Fragrant Life

Paul knew what God called him to. God wanted Paul to speak the “aroma” of the knowledge of God everywhere he went! God wants us to do the same thing and we can learn a few things from Paul as we try.

A… Love God’s People vs 12-13

Even though God opened up a door for Paul in Troas, Part of Pauls's heart was still in Corinth. The truth is Paul let the Corinthians into his heart. They didn't make Paul's life easy all the time but Paul had a pastor's heart towards them. Paul knew that The Gospel was at stake. Paul's love for them was sacrificial and it shows us and challenges us to be the same way towards God’s people. The truth is Everyone is messy! 

How did Paul love them the way he did?

How do you love people who have sinned against you?

Paul viewed himself as the chief of sinners! The Gospel was Paul’s power. Paul was able to love others the way he did because of the way Jesus loved Paul the way He did! 

Were you “worthy” of God’s love? Did you deserve it?

How does the Gospel change the way we are able to love others?

Does your love for others around you cost you spiritual or physical sacrifice?

B… Proclaim God’s Gospel vs 14

God wants to use you to spread the aroma of the knowledge of God everywhere you go! (The Gospel) 

Romans 10:14-15 says this perfectly

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news

Paul uses sensual language! It hits our senses. Like cookies in the oven, or like road kill on the side of the road… 😬  Paul says as we follow Jesus we should smell like Gospel! People should sense Jesus in our life by how we live and by the Gospel we proclaim!

Who is not believing because you are not sharing?

What does it look like to be an aroma of the knowledge of Christ in your everyday life? 

Be Honest… how good a job are you doing at being an aroma of Christ to those around you?

C… Depend on Jesus vs 16

Paul - “Who is equal to such task?" That's a good question!

Paul says… “God makes us competent.”

Before you can be sufficient in Christ you got to first be insufficient with self! God is using no one who doesn’t need him! (That person doesn’t exist)

If you ever have feelings of inadequacy to do what God is calling you to do, that might not be a bad thing. That might be a good thing! 

We need God’s help in everything that we do for him! 

From ministering to our kids as parents, from serving and leading in the Church, to sharing our faith, God wants us to be dependent on Him.

Beware of being spiritually neutral! It’s easy to come to a place where we are depending more on our own power and strength to do what God has called us to do instead of relying on him to work in us and through us! God isn’t as interested in us being comfortable as He is in us growing into whom He’s called us to be! God seems to use us the most in His kingdom when we come to the end of ourselves! 

How can our excuses reveal our own distrust or selfishness? 

What would change in your life if you believed that your ability to do what God was calling you to do came from God himself and not fleshly athleticism or fleshly knowledge?

Why do you believe it is so hard to depend on Jesus and not your own comforts?

2… A Solid Ministry

Vs 6 “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant”

To be a Christian is to have a ministry. 

Paul shows us what it looks like to have a strong ministry! Some of these things may seem counter-cultural.

What are a few things that Paul had or did?

A… He had Living Credentials 3:1-3

If the Corinthians wanted to see Paul's letter of recommendation or credentials all they had to do was go look in the mirror! They were Pauls living proof that his ministry was legit because of what God was doing through him into their lives! 

The greatest success in the kingdom won’t be your impact on paper, it will be your impact on people. It won’t be on how many degrees you have, it will be on how many disciples you’ve made. It won’t be on how many times you’ve read the Bible it will be on how did you love people? It won’t on how much we learned about the Bible, it will be how we lived in light of it! 

People are the mission! 

People are made in God’s image. People are lost in sin. People are in need of the Gospel. People will go to heaven. People will go to hell. People will need a savior. Jesus died for People. Jesus said go make disciples of all nations. (Peoples)  

The Christian’s life is to be a conduit that the Gospel flows through to others! 

Do you have living credentials? Who’s life has been changed by the Gospel because you were a tool of Grace?

Who’s life is going to change this year because made known the aroma of the knowledge of God?

Spend some time praying for God to use you to reach others with the Gospel!

B… He was Confident in Christ 3:4-5

The Content of Paul’s Confidence was Christ himself.

One common theme that runs through the Bible is the theme of God taking ordinary people and doing extraordinary things in them and through them and then giving the glory to Himself! 

Moses is a great example of this! 

David Garland

“When the God of all things used Moses as His minister, why did He choose for Himself a man of stammering speech? And slow of tongue? His answer: Because this displayed all the more His divine power. For just as He chose fishermen and tax-gatherers to be preachers of truth and teachers of piety, it is by means of a weak voice and slow tongue that He put to shame the wise man of Egypt. Paul agreed that the same applies to God’s choice of him to be a minister of the Gospel.”

God doesn’t need your strength… God wants to give you His strength!

Men may throw broken things into the trash but God doesn’t use anything until He breaks it first! 

Martin Luther says it like this.

“God created the world out of nothing and as long as we are nothing God can make something out of us!

What excuses keep you from being used in the kingdom?

What are your biggest insecurities? How could God use them for His glory?

C… He owned his calling vs6

To be a part of the New Covenant is to be a Minister!

In chapter 5 Paul calls this the “Ministry of Reconciliation.”

Translation - God rescues us to be a part of His rescue team!

One of the cool things about the new covenant is that God tore the tent down and the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant and now God dwells fully and forever in everyone who comes to faith in Christ!

We are Trophies of Grace - God's work in us!

We are tools of Grace - God's work through us! 

Are you on God’s rescue team?

What does being a minister of reconciliation look like in your life?

3.. A Better Covenant  3:7-9

Vs 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!  

A… The old Covenant

The Law is Glorious! - The Law isn’t bad, it is just misunderstood! 

It was never supposed to be a ladder to climb up to get to God, it is an X-ray to show your heart your need for Grace! The Law doesn’t give us righteousness but shows that we need a savior to give us righteousness. 

1.. It Brings sin to the Light! (But doesn’t cure it)

The law does two things at the same exact time.

it shows us everything that we were meant to be, and at the same time it shows us everything that we’re not.

2.. It insights us to sin more when misunderstood.

Romans 7:5 says “it arouses our sin.” It can produce self-righteousness in our life causing us to try to earn righteousness instead of realizing we can't produce righteousness on our own. The Natural disposition of the human heart in self-works righteousness! (Paul is a great example of this)

3.. It’s powerless to change the human heart!

No Law or rule ever has changed the human heart… it has always be the Holy Spirit of God! Period! 

B… The New Covenant

The Old Covenant Reveals The New Covenant Indwells

This is why Paul says in Romans 1:16

“I’m unashamed of the Gospel for it is the POWER unto salvation.

It Brings Righteousness vs 9 (Right standing)

The law on its own would eliminate sinners’, but the Holy Spirit in our Hearts Illuminate Sinners!

The HS Takes the Blood of Jesus and Applies it to our Hearts! Moving us to obedience

It has Permanence  vs 11 vs 13

Hebrews 10:1

The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.

It brings Hope vs 12

Baby in a manger - That's God with us

Jesus on a Cross - That's God for us

Holy Spirit of God - That's God in us!

It gives Confidence vs 12

Jesus is the Victor!  -  Leading us in on his triumphal procession!

It replaces our old heart with a New Heart  vs 14-16

And now our Heart beats for the things God’s Heart beats for! 

It brings us - Freedom vs 17 - 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  The HS positions me in Christ & when were in Christ were free from sin & Judgment

It transforms our life - Transformation vs 18  

18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image

Beholding the glory reflected off Moses face would kill you, but gazing at Jesus gives you life!

Remember: What we’re beholding is what we’re becoming

Tony Merida says

  • “As we gaze at Jesus eating with sinners and scoundrels - we become more loving.
  • As we gaze at Jesus weeping over Jerusalem - we become more compassionate.
  • As we gaze at Jesus preaching boldly to the Pharisees - we become more bold.
  • As we gaze upon Jesus, loving children - we become more tender.
  • As we gaze upon Jesus suffering with no vile in return - we learn how to endure hardship.
  • As we gaze upon Jesus forgiving sinners at the cross - we become more forgiving.
  • As we gaze upon Jesus giving up everything for our salvation - we become more generous.
  • As we gaze upon Jesus who rose from the grave - we become more alive in our faith.
  • As we graze upon Jesus merci in restoring Peter - we become more merciful.
  • As we gaze upon his eyes like fire and feet like bronze - we become more pure.

This is how we change! This is how we are transformed! 

Holiness isn’t the way to Christ…. Christ is the way to Holiness!

There is 1 FIX to all of this! 1 FIX to everything we’ve talked about today!

C..  Look to Jesus

We look to Jesus to find life, but we also look to Jesus to live life! 

What has your utmost attention?

Why is beholding Jesus the answer to the Christian life?

If Looking to Jesus truly is the answer to transformation… what is your next step in making that happen?