Be The Church Week 4
2 Corinthians ch 4
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.
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.. The Truth about Evangelism Vs 1-6
Three things to remember (and understand) about evangelism:
A… Lost People are blind vs 3-4
Lost people are spiritually blind people! They literally can’t see how good God is. They can't see how beautiful Jesus is. Sin (and satan) have them blinded.
What are some ways that sin within us and satan without us have us blinded?
Here are a few!
- Twisting scripture
- He inspires doubt
- Contradicting truth
- He misrepresents God
Here’s the deal: We shouldn’t get mad at people because they are blind! If anything it should light a passion in us to pray for them and talk to them about Jesus!
B… We are God’s messengers. (Ministers; Missionaries; ambassadors)
This is Paul's point. To be saved is to have a ministry.
In the new covenant, we have all been filled and empowered with God’s Spirit to be witnesses. (Acts 1:8)
We are God’s messengers. His army to go and tell. To take Ground for His kingdom!
Listen to how he says it later in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old
has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to
himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s
sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of
reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God
were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf:
Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so
that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God has rescued us to be a part of His rescue team!
That God would save us… Then send us out and use us to save others!
You see… God may save, but He sends us out and uses us as tools to do it! God has always used redeemed people to redeem more people! It’s truly amazing to think that God doesn’t just want to do something in us but he wants to do something through us! He makes us family and then wants us to take part in the family business! Making Disciples!
C.. Ultimately, God alone saves! (He shines the light)
He does the saving.
Paul says “He made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
The same way God spoke and this earth came to be. He shines His light and dead people come to life! The pressure to save is not on us. This is huge for us to understand. It’s not our job to save… it’s our job to share the Jesus that can! It’s our job to boldly and faithfully share the gospel.
We should do our Job and then let God do His job! Our job isn’t to figure it all out. Our job isn’t to try to make dead hearts come to life! You couldn’t make your own heart come to life! Our Job is to Go make Disciples of All Nations! When we step out in faithful obedience… God promises to Go before us and promises to use us for His glory. He promises to “be with us.”
This is why every salvation is an absolute miracle! God is literally bringing dead people to life! (spiritually) And He only does it through the Gospel! Period!
When we understand this it should produce 3 things in our lives.
1… Compassion 2… Missional Living 3… Prayer
Why should God’s sovereignty in salvation produce these characteristics? Compassion, mission, and Prayer. And Is your life characterized by them?
Be Honest! Do you see any missional urgency in your life? If your small group was to follow you around 24/7 would they find you living on mission, sharing your faith, and evangelizing others with the Gospel?
2.. The Truth About Ministry Vs 7-12
Remember three things when it comes to ministry.
A.. Ministry is Hard.
This explains why Paul says things in his letters like “pouring myself out like a drink offering.” And “I count my life worth nothing.”
Sometimes people have a rose-colored view of ministry. They think if you live for Jesus, everything is easy and successful. But the reality is … ministry is hard. Life on mission is difficult.
It’s difficult for a few reasons.
1.. We are sinful!
Ministry is self-denial! It is literally counting others more significant than yourselves. And self-denial itself is difficult because we are sinful people.
Ministry will be a battle! It will lead us to repentance and dependence often!
2.. People are difficult
Ministry would be easier if people weren’t involved.
TRUTH! People are MESSY! You see we all have baggage. We all have sin. We all struggle to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Many times… We have this rainbow and butterfly picture of ministry in our head.
We tell someone they need Jesus and we think their response will be,
“you know what… your exactly right!” They repent and God saves them.
Or maybe we see a brother or sister go astray and we think if we lovingly confront them then they will say, “I’m so glad you came after me brother, thank you for calling me out.”
The truth is… that's not likely people's first response!
3.. Opposition is inevitable
We have a real enemy! When you’re on the front lines of ministry… you will face spiritual warfare! Satan hates… hates… hates to see people saved and growing. And when you become a conduit for God in this world… He hates you and wants to destroy you.
In this passage, Paul is telling us what awaits us if we live on mission… Difficulty!
He summarizes it this way:
11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’
sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12
So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
Are you ready to sign up for that? Why would we? Because it’s worth it!
B… Ministry is worth it!
Honestly, it is all that matters. People's Eternity hangs in the balance. Souls are at
Stake. Lives are on the line.
Luke 16:19-31- Lazarus and the Rich man!
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and
lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus,
covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s
table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when
the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich
man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he
looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he
called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to
dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in
agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your
lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad
things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides
all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so
that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone
cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn
them, so that they will not also come to this place of
torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let
them listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone
from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do
not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if
someone rises from the dead.’
I don’t read this passage to scare you. I read this passage to say that
there is nothing more important. There is no greater calling in our life.
C… Ministry isn’t optional
FACT - To be a Christian is to have a ministry!
This is the glory of the New Covenant. To ignore it is to be flat-out
disobedient. Saved people live sent.
We live in a world that would love to convince you that it’s not your job or
responsibility to live on mission.
Sin will tell you that it’s not your problem.
Difficult people are going to make you want to quit.
Satan is going to distract with things that have no eternal value.
But at the end of the day… nothing else matters. You see… Everything becomes
clear when you imagine standing before God. There will be two things that matter
in that moment!
1.. your salvation!
2.. Salvation of others!
At the end of the day, when you see someone you love come to faith in Christ, it
makes all of the hard stuff that you went through worth it!
Have you ever personally thought of ministry as optional? (Or know someone else
Can you testify to ministry being worth it even through the difficulty?
How does knowing these truths better prepare you for the ministry that God has for you in making disciples?
3… The Truth About God! Vs 13-18
The reason Paul says that “we don’t lose heart” is because we understand the
truth about God.
The truth is that God is with us in our sufferings!
The truth is that God is at work in our suffering!
He is transforming us. He is saving others. Even when we can't see it… God is
working! These truths are what sustain us when we are in the storm.
Paul makes an incredible statement:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far
outweighs them all.
Paul says that every difficult thing that we've faced in this world will be more
than worth it in glory!
It will make the struggles of this world light and momentary. Then Paul ends
with a final charge to us… He says that because of these glorious truths… here
is what we do.
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
We fix our eyes on Jesus!
We walk by faith, not by sight!
We persevere through whatever comes our way… knowing that it will be worth it in glory!
Do these things characterize your life?
Eyes fixed on Jesus.
Walking by faith Not just sight.
Faith characterized by perseverance.
Why is fixing our eyes on Jesus the ultimate answer for everything in the Christian life?