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2 Corinthians 6:1-7:1 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 23, 2024 6:00 am

2 Corinthians 6:1-7:1 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 23, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shares a teaching about how you can depend on and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in ministry.

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You see, if I'm carrying my own message or I as a preacher make up some sermon that I think is clever, some new awesome truth that I just think is, oh man, the world needs to hear what I think and what I have to say, then I'm going to degenerate to the level of just hopefully working for him. But when I confine myself to the message he has given, his word, by the power of the spirit that he supplies his Holy Spirit, now that's powerful. That's working with him.

Far greater results. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip shares a teaching about depending upon and cooperating with the Holy Spirit in ministry. Now here's more about this month's resource to help you understand everything the Bible has to say about the future that's coming. The book of Acts says we need to understand the days we live in and how we should be spending our time, energy, and finances. The first step is information, and this month to complement Skip's series, The End is Near, we're offering the excellent Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy by Tim LaHaye and Mark Hitchcock. This 450-page hardcover book is a reference guide to what the Bible says about the end times, covering over 150 topics from Armageddon to the wrath of the lamb. The Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is a comprehensive survey from the world's foremost experts on biblical prophecy. Here is what Tim LaHaye said about the importance of understanding what the Bible says concerning the future. To me, the signs of the times are evident, that we're in the last days.

In fact, I call them the last days of the last days. I believe that the people that had a great deal to do with the early church were the expositors of the scripture, but gave Christian evidences. Why do we believe what we believe? And one of the reasons we believe what we believe is because of prophecy. This Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is our gift to you this month when you encourage the growth of Connect with Skip with a gift of $50 or more. Make your financial vote of support at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. With the Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy on your desk, you'll find yourself reaching for it frequently as events in these days speed forward. Receive this excellent hardcover book with your gift.

Go to connectwithskip.com or call 1-800-922-1888. Okay, we're in 2 Corinthians 6 as we begin today's lesson with Skip. You know, a lot of Paul's books have different emphases. Sometimes Paul will write a letter that is an encouragement. Other times he'll write a letter that is instructional. Other times he'll write letters that are polemical.

That is, he wants to argue a point and correct something. This book of 2 Corinthians is a one-off letter in that it is more like a personal journal of Paul, where Paul, a little bit unlike the other books, puts his heart on the line for people to see. He's raw in this book.

He's transparent. Not that he's ever dishonest, but just really honest here about his feelings, about his struggles. And so 2 Corinthians has a more personal tone to it than the other letters.

We have already noticed that, and we will notice it again. We've noticed how Paul will talk about and has talked about the struggles he had personally around the world for the sake of the gospel with fellow believers. He'll mention it again in chapter 6 here.

He'll mention it in great detail in chapter 11. And on the first night that we were going through 2 Corinthians, our first study together, I mentioned that there were four reasons why Paul wrote 2 Corinthians. And all the four reasons begin with the letter E. Number one, to encourage. To encourage this church to forgive a brother who had sinned, and the encouragement was to bring him back into the flock, bring him back into fellowship. The encouragement is you have kicked him out, rightly so, because I told you to do so in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. But obviously, he has repented, and it's been enough for him. It's sufficient, were Paul's words. So now bring him back.

Restore that relationship. So number one, to encourage them to do that. Second reason is to explain to them. To explain to them his change in plans. He had promised to come there, but he said, Lord willing, I'm coming there. They didn't like that Lord willing part. They just said, Paul said he's coming.

He didn't show up. So they thought he was not trustworthy. So he wanted to explain how the Lord edits his life and changed his plans.

So to encourage, to explain. Third reason he wrote 2 Corinthians is to enlist their help. Paul believed that if there was a church that was struggling, other churches should come alongside that struggling church, especially since the church that was struggling was the one in Jerusalem, the first church, the Jewish church. And since the blessings that the Gentile believers enjoyed, self included, this church included, have its roots in the Jerusalem church, Paul thought we should take care of this mothership. She's in dire strait.

She's in great necessity. People have lost their jobs. They're greatly persecuted by the Jewish Sadducee party because of the resurrection. So Paul believed that the Gentile churches should pitch in financially and he was collecting money from them. And his plan was to go to Jerusalem, which he did go and deliver that money to help them out. So it was a love offering to enlist their help for this love offering for the church of Jerusalem.

And then finally, the last reason is to establish himself as an authority. He did have the Lord's blessing and authority on his life, but he needed to establish that among the Corinthians because evidently people had come in to the flock in Corinth and were telling stories about Paul and saying that Paul had impure motives and Paul didn't have the authority. He wasn't one of the original 12. He didn't come from the church in Jerusalem. And they were making up these stories, dividing the flock against Paul.

So partly to establish his own authority. You know, you get the impression as you read 2 Corinthians, not just 2 Corinthians, but several letters that not everybody appreciated Paul, which is sort of hard for me to imagine, not appreciating Paul. You know, it's because we, 2,000 years later, realized the influence and impact this man had. And you wonder, how could anyone turn against the great apostle Paul, who had a miraculous conversion, who gave his life from one place to the next, traveling around sharing truth with people, starting churches?

But they did. I guess it's sort of the same reaction I had when several years ago I attended a small little conference at a church in Dallas, Texas, and the one who was teaching us was Chuck Swindoll, Dr. Charles Swindoll. Always admired him, always loved him. But he was telling us about the trials in his own personal ministry and how that people in his own church mounted up to throw him out. And I remember being shocked by that.

I'm thinking, throw out Chuck Swindoll? Are you nuts? Are you crazy?

Are you out of your brain? I mean, one of the most godly, anointed men of God in the Scriptures, and yet somebody would rise up to expel him, especially for the reasons they were giving. It was just absurd. So I get the impression, likewise, that not everybody appreciated Paul. Who were these knuckleheads? Well, sometimes, as we have seen, they became known as Gnostics. Not in this church, but at the Church of Colossae, the one that we have been studying or had been studying on Sunday morning for the last six months, a group of people that bought into philosophy and mysticism and believed that there was a pathway to God that only they knew of, and they would bring people along into this personal, private way of getting to know God deeper, deeper, deeper.

But you couldn't know know God in a deep way by just having Jesus or following the teachings of Paul. So the Gnostics, that was one group that he had to contend with. Quite another group, and this seems to be the group here in 2 Corinthians, are a group we call the Judaizers. Now these people showed up, first off, in Jerusalem in Acts chapter 15. Paul and Barnabas went on their first journey, came back to the church in Jerusalem, the mothership, and this group arose and said, unless you are circumcised and keep the laws of Moses, you cannot be saved. So they made law keeping, Old Testament keeping of the law, and the ritual of circumcision, two things that you must do, works you must accomplish in order to be saved. Well, Peter and Paul and Barnabas unleashed holy, righteous indignation on these people and said, no, it's only by faith in Christ. Look, even the Gentiles, even non-Jewish people are calling on the name of the Lord everywhere, and they were sharing this report.

It seems that this kind of group, a Judaistic group, has come to Corinth, which is an odd place for a group like that to come, because Corinth was a very liberal city and a very ungodly city, very Gentile city, but evidently this group came into the church, and were influencing people against Paul with their Judaistic practices. And so, he has to explain, and he has to establish his own apostleship over and over again, and he has done that, we have seen. Now, when we get into chapter 6, again, he gets personal, but I want to follow a train of thought so we can get in and you can understand why he says what he says. You know, here's the problem with reading the scriptures the way we do it. Paul, when he wrote, or Matthew when he wrote, or John when he wrote, or Peter when he wrote, did not write on the paper chapter 1, and then chapter 2. Chapters didn't come along for hundreds of years, and they were put in there simply so you and I could have a reference. We could say, turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 6, rather than open your scroll and find, oh, about almost halfway down, you know, it would be just so much more difficult. So, somebody came along and said, let's divide the chapters up so we can have references, and that's a good thing, but the guy who did it, I don't necessarily think he did a fabulous job. He did an okay job.

I don't know that I'd do any better. Maybe I would, but there are some places where he just kind of doesn't follow the thought, and Lord willing, we'll see one of those places tonight, and that's chapter 7 verse 1, which belongs to the previous thought. So, we're going to try to make it all the way through chapter 6 into chapter 7 verse 1. But in chapter 6, he is talking about the ministry, the calling of God on his life. Do you know that you are called by God for a particular ministry, a particular act of service, and one of the most exciting, adventurous pursuits you can ever undertake is to discover what God has called you to do while you're on this earth? What your strengths are, what your gifts are, where you fit best in the body of Christ, and to exercise your giftings accordingly.

It is so rewarding. So, let me just follow this train of thought. So, look at chapter 4 verse 1. Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. The ministry he is talking about is the New Testament, the New Covenant, because in chapter 3, he makes a contrast between the ministry of condemnation, Old Testament, and the ministry of righteousness, New Testament, New Covenant. So, he says, we are now servants or ministers.

That's what the word servant or minister means. We are ministers. We have received this ministry. Down in verse 7, we have this treasure, the treasure of this message, the gospel message. We have this treasure in earthen vessels.

Our bodies are like clay pots. We house a life-changing message. Of all the things that happen in Washington, D.C., in Congress, in the White House, at Buckingham Palace, at 10 Downing Street in London, in the British Prime Minister's office, at their parliament, in the governments of the world, all the different initiatives that are undertaking, none of them has the power and capacity to change a life so radically as to get a person from earth to heaven. You have that message. You have that treasure. What you have treasure, what you know and what you could share is far more important than any state of the union, than anything that happens in Beijing or in Russia or Ukraine or Europe or South America.

You have this treasure in clay pots. We've been given this ministry. We share together in that. And then go down to verse 18 of chapter 5, chapter 5 verse 18. Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ and has given us, here it is, the ministry of reconciliation, telling people how they can make it from earth to heaven, how they can get reconciled or be made right with God. And now chapter 6 verse 1, we then, as workers together with him, also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, in an acceptable time I have heard you and in the day of salvation I have helped you.

Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. First of all, notice that Paul says at the beginning of verse 1 in chapter 6 that we are workers together with him. Far more than just working for him, we work with him. I love working for the Lord, but I much prefer working with the Lord, having his power work through me, carrying the message, his message.

You see, if I'm carrying my own message or I as a preacher make up some sermon that I think is clever, some new awesome truth that I just think is, oh man, the world needs to hear what I think and what I have to say, then I'm not going to do it. Then I'm going to degenerate to the level of just hopefully working for him. But when I confine myself to the message he has given, his word, by the power of the spirit that he supplies, his Holy Spirit, now that's powerful. That's working with him.

Far greater results. You have his presence with you. You have his power available to you.

You are a worker together with him. And he says, we plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain, for he says. Now you'll notice in your Bible when it says, for he says, that you have the next words indented a little bit, right? And usually in a smaller font, probably, I'm guessing.

Is that right? That's because he's quoting something from the Old Testament. He's quoting Isaiah chapter 49 here.

And it's one thing you notice about Paul. When he writes a letter, he often quotes what he knows to be truth from the books he grew up reading, the Old Testament, the prophets. He's quoting Isaiah 49, which is an interesting passage of Scripture.

You don't have to turn to it, but let me just explain. It's one of what are known as the servant passages of Isaiah, where God addresses the servant of the Lord. And sometimes the servant is Isaiah. Sometimes the servant is Israel. Sometimes the servant is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

And the context makes it clear. So there are a few different servants of the Lord. What's interesting about chapter 49 of Isaiah is God addresses Israel, his servant, and tells Israel, his servant, about Messiah, his servant. And when he addresses Messiah, his servant, sent to Israel, he says, the one who is going to bring the one who is going to bring salvation to the ends of the earth, to the Gentiles. And then after saying that this servant, this Messiah that is coming, is going to bring salvation to the ends of the earth, he writes, in an acceptable time, I have heard you. In the day of salvation, I have helped you. Paul pulls out this verse, says, God has given us this ministry.

We're working together with him, and we plead that you don't receive the grace of God in vain. Now, why would he say that to a church when in church you're addressing people who have already received Christ as Lord and Savior? They're already believers. They're children of God. Why would you tell people who are already saved, children of God, hey, don't receive the grace of God in vain, and, you know, of salvation that is promised in the Messiah, now's the acceptable time.

Why? Because not everybody that goes to church is necessarily saved. I give altar calls from time to time, and sometimes people that come and respond to those altar calls, or people who have been, maybe they're there for the first time, maybe they've been there for six months, maybe it's been years. I talked to one gal who sat in church for several years before she said, you know what, I've been fighting this way too long. I'm going to give my life to Christ today.

And she did. Sometimes people think they're saved just because they belong to a church, just because they attend the church. Religious people are the hardest people to reach. You know, give me a heathen any day. Because heathens know they're heathens. Unbelievers know what they lack. Religious people don't.

They go, oh, no, you know, I think I'm fine. I've always sort of held God in high regard. And, you know, they have some, they tip their hat to some understanding and acknowledgement of God, but nothing on the personal level, nothing too authentic.

And sometimes that religion, that ritualistic shell protects them from the truth penetrating. My brother Bob was like that. He hid behind his religion.

What was fascinating about my brother Bob is that he was indeed an all-outraging heathen. I knew it. He knew it. He rode his motorcycle. He was part of the Hell's Angels.

He rode with him. So, you know, it's hard to say, yeah, I ride for the Hell's Angels, but I'm a believer in Christ. Really helped me get my mind around that. But he was sure I was baptized when I was going to have to worry about God. And I have found in my own family on a personal level, as well as for years, hardest people to reach are people who don't understand how bad off they really are. And their religion just pacifies them to the point where they're insensate to their needs. So I think he is keeping that in mind and realizing you've got some people among you, they claim to be believers, but they're introducing these ideas of you've got to keep the laws of Moses in order to be saved. Don't assume that everybody among you is saved.

So don't receive the grace of God in vain. You know, you've probably heard of Augustine, right? Saint Augustine? Augustine, after he made a commitment to Christ, looking back in his previous life, he admitted that for a long time, it was his pride that kept him away from God. He prided himself in his intellect. He prided himself in his superior status. And it was sort of like, you know, God really needs me because I am just so totally awesome.

But it was that pride that really kept him from being used. It wasn't until he was broken that he really began to be used by God. Working with the Holy Spirit, it's powerful stuff. That's Skip Hyten with a message from the series, Expound, 2 Corinthians. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com.

God has revealed himself in his will through Scripture so that we can know him and connect with him in a meaningful way. That's why we share these messages, to help you connect to God through his word and grow in your relationship with Jesus. And when you support this ministry through your generosity, you keep these teachings you love available to you and to so many others around the world, helping others grow and connect with God. Just call 800-922-1888 to give a gift today. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate.

That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Come back tomorrow to hear a sobering promise from Paul about living a godly life. Paul said all who live godly in Christ Jesus, finish it out, will suffer persecution. That's a promise. If you live godly, you will suffer persecution. Why? Because people are in darkness, that's why. And you have the light, that's why. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-23 05:10:12 / 2024-04-23 05:18:59 / 9

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