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

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 24, 2024 6:00 am

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

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 24, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shows you a sobering promise about what happens when you live a godly life.

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Skip Heitzig

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. Today on Connect with Skip Heitziger, Pastor Skip shows you a sobering promise about what happens when you live a godly life. Now, did you know that you can help change lives for eternity by sharing God's word with more people through Connect with Skip Heitziger? Your generous gift today can help connect people all over the world to the gospel so they can have eternal abundant life in Christ. Your support will also help keep these messages coming to you and so many others around the world, strengthening your Christian walk. You'll help grow this ministry to reach more people all across the globe. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give generously and share God's love with others. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for changing lives. All right, now let's hear what Skip has for us today. We're going to be in 2 Corinthians 6. 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 are already believers. They're children of God. Why would you tell people who are already saved, children of God, they don't receive the grace of God in vain? And, you know, 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 ultra calls from time to time and sometimes people that come and respond to those ultra 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 their 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 them. 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 a kid.

I didn't 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 on 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. Martin Luther would give you a similar testimony, but he would say, it was the rituals, it was the confessional, it was the practice of my Catholicism that kept me shielded and sheltered from a relationship with Christ. So he introduces the subject of salvation, because the door to get into the kingdom of God is very low.

Nobody can get in standing straight up. You know, when we go to Israel, and some of you have been with us to Israel, you know that I don't get really excited to go to Bethlehem. First of all, Bethlehem anymore these days is not what it used to be, so the last few times we haven't gone to Bethlehem.

But I do love one particular thing about going to Bethlehem, and that is when you go into the church of the Nativity, which a few of the local churches claim this is where Jesus was born, though it is uncertain. It's just a tradition that stems back to like the third or fourth century. But when you go into this church, the door to get in is only a few feet tall, and it's not like a normal-sized door. Now they built that in ancient times so that animals wouldn't get in.

So horses and large animals wouldn't make through the opening and get into the church building. But what I like about it is you watch these, you know, proud tourists get off the bus and march toward the church, but they got to bow really low to get in. I think that is perfect. That's how you approach Jesus. You get low. You get down.

You don't stand straight up. And so quoting Isaiah, in an acceptable time, I have heard you. In the day of salvation, I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. It's always the best time right now to make a spiritual decision.

No matter where you are in your life, you could be an advanced believer. You need to take a next step. We talk about next steps. Now's the time to make that step.

If you don't know the Lord, now's the time to receive the Lord. Not to wait. Some people say, well, you know, I plan someday to do that. Well, if you do plan someday to do that, why not today?

If there was a medicine that instantly cured whatever ails you, could be a migraine, or—and you say, you know, someday, someday I'm going to take that. Until then, I'm just going to wallow in my pain and misery. We would say that's not a smart decision.

That's not a wise person who says that. Today is the acceptable time. Today now is the day of salvation. That's why we always make that appeal. Now.

Do it now. He continues, verse 3, we give no offense in anything that our ministry, our act of service, serving the Lord, may not be blamed. Paul was very careful about how he represented Jesus Christ, to the different places he went, to the different churches he served, because one of the greatest obstacles to people becoming a Christian happens to be Christians. Christians sometimes are the biggest obstacles to other people becoming Christians. They look at Christians and go, I don't want to be one of those.

I know a lot of Christians. I don't see a whole lot of radical, cool, awesome life change. I don't see anything compelling to live for or sacrifice for. And to be fair, the world is always looking for any discrepancy, right?

Any flaw. They're looking. They're combing through every life, every headline, until they can go, aha! We can't live a perfect life, but we have to be careful not to give them too much ammunition either.

They're looking for ammunition to use against us. Don't give it to them by a hypocritical lifestyle. Remember when David sinned with Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan came to him and said, you are the man. And David said, oh, I'm sorry, Lord, forgive me. And he got all emotional and the prophet said, you're forgiven. But by this deed, you have given great occasion for the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. So that was, Paul was sensitized to that. We give no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed.

We don't want to put an obstacle in people's way. But in all things, again now he's establishing his authority here, but in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God. There's that word again.

That's his theme. Ministry, ministers. In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distress. I remember when in my early days of wanting to get into the ministry, going to see my pastor, Chuck Smith. And I was all excited about the ministry. And you would expect somebody in the ministry would go, awesome, man, awesome.

We're so glad you are. Yeah. And he eventually did that with me, but at first he was very cautious. And I remember him saying he even felt like he should try to discourage people who get really emotionally excited about ministry at first. He should dissuade them from it.

And I remember thinking, now why would you do that? I mean, you need all the help you can get, pastor. We need more ministers than we have.

You should be excited when anybody raises their hand and go, here I am, send me. But not Chuck. He was always cautious. And he said this. Here's the rationale. If I can dissuade them by my words from getting into the ministry, they're probably not called. Because there's going to be enough stuff in the ministry that actually happens that will knock them out. And Paul lists that in a few different places in this book. He talks about ministry. Oh, really? You want to be in the ministry?

You need patience. You're going to have tribulation, needs, distress, stripes, verse 5, imprisonments, in tumults, riots, think of Ephesus, labors, sleeplessness, fasting. Not only that, but this church expected Paul to show up. And he didn't show up when he said he was going to show up. And they're all besides themselves. And Paul has to explain in this letter. That also is one of the difficulties in the ministry. Pastors die the death of a thousand expectations. Everybody has some expectation of that pastor, minister, clergyman, chaplain. And they may be realistic expectations, but they may be unrealistic expectations.

But everybody has a few. And when that person doesn't fulfill all those expectations, the pastor gets fired. What do you mean the pastor gets fired? Well, when a person leaves the church because that pastor didn't meet their expectations, in a sense, he's getting fired. And so, that's why I say a pastor dies the death of a thousand expectations.

Paul knew knew what it was like to have people let down because God changed his plans. I've always liked this. This I found in the newspaper some time back.

It was in the column called Ann Landers, so it shows you how far back. And it's called The Perfect Pastor. And here it is. Results of a computer survey indicate the perfect pastor preaches exactly 15 minutes.

So, right off the bat, I'm disqualified. He condemns sin but never embarrasses anyone. He works from 8 in the morning until midnight and is also the janitor. He is 28 years old and has been preaching for 25 years. He is wonderfully gentle and handsome, loves to work with teenagers and spends countless hours with senior citizens. He makes 15 calls daily on parish families, shut-ins, and hospital patients.

And he is always in his office when needed. If your pastor does not measure up, simply send this letter to six other parishes that are tired of their pastors and then bundle up your pastor and send him to the church at the top of the list. In one week, you will receive 1,643 pastors.

One of them should be perfect. This is why Stuart Briscoe used to say there's three qualifications for the ministry. You need to have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhinoceros. Because no one can fulfill all the expectations that people have. And so you have to be willing, as Paul said here, to be very patient. Because if you're not patient, you'll get into what is next on the list, tribulation.

I was driving my car down the freeway, I-25, and I heard a radio broadcast. It was an odd statistic I heard where a university—I think it was Berkeley, if I'm not mistaken—but I thought it was a West Coast university, did a survey of all the things they expected of their clergymen and tallied up the hours necessary to fulfill what people expect from that minister. And they came up with this, that the average churchgoer expects the minister to put in every week 135.5 hours of time. If he put in 135.5 hours of time every week, that would leave him with 4.5 hours a day to himself, during which time he must sleep and eat and do any extracurricular activities.

What that little study was obviously meant to show is, ain't nobody can do that. So Paul knew he had disappointed them. Paul knew he had not met up with their expectations.

But he's letting them know, listen, let me just tell you, that's just part of it. There's the sleeplessness. There's the tribulation.

There's the stripes that is being beat with a cat of nine tails. Imprisonments, riots, labors, sleeplessness, and fastings. Now, in all fairness, when I started in the ministry here, when I came to Albuquerque, I did pretty much everything. I brought my own PA system with me.

Every week I set up the PA, plugged in my guitar, went and made copies of the songs on sheets, passed them all out, sang the songs, put the guitar down, taught the Bible study. Money came in. I balanced the checkbook and got that ready for people to inspect.

I did counseling, and I had a full-time job and was newly married. That's how we started. But as time went on, I knew one of the first things I needed to do was find qualified people to come alongside. And I loved to delegate things. So when somebody said, hey, you know, I'm a musician.

You are? Good, you can lead worship next week. I mean, you know, I was just passing plates off to different people to do different things, and pretty soon it turned into a staff. But at first, you know, you do all the grunt work, you do all the leg work, the hard work, but then you pass it on as time goes on. So he lists the ministry, and he goes on. I just barely touched on it in verse 5. In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in sleeplessness, in fasting, by purity, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness, on the right hand and on the left. So he talks about the trials he goes through and what equipment, what ammunition, what wherewithal and power he approaches it with. Word of God, power of the Holy Spirit, etc. Kindness, patience, all that.

That's how I meet all of those challenges. Have you ever stopped to consider the promises that Jesus made to his disciples who were following him, but soon he would leave the ministry into their hands? I'm sure this blew their minds when Jesus said these words. I'm reading out of Luke 21. They will lay their hands on you and persecute you and deliver you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake, but it will turn out as an occasion for a testimony. Therefore, settle in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom in which your adversaries, enemies, will not be able to contradict or resist.

You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends, and they will send some of you to your death. Now we love the promises of God, don't we? We underline God's promises. We talk about great and precious promises.

They are. But not all of them. They're promises, but this didn't sound probably too great to these disciples.

Oh, they're going to beat you up, and some of you are going to get killed because of it. And so he says, he closes that section, in your patience, possess your souls. 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. Ever turn the overhead lights on when somebody has been asleep and they've grown accustomed to the dark? Do they greet you warmly when you turn on the lights that way? Or open the curtains? Wake up!

Time to wake up! You don't know what might come out of their mouth. They're not too amenable to that. And Jesus said, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Neither will they come to the light, lest their deeds should be exposed. So unbelievers, those in darkness, have a built-in antipathy toward the light. You come and bring the light of the gospel. It convicts them. It shows them up. It comes with the idea that they are a sinner and need forgiveness.

They don't want to hear that. So great persecution is the result of the Great Commission. Living for God has a high cost, but it is so worth it.

That's Skip Hyten. Teaching from his series Expound, 2 Corinthians. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskipp.com. Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you quickly reference everything the Bible says about the end times. 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's 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. Connect with Skip Heitzig exists to bring more people into God's family and connect listeners like you to his unchanging truth.

That's why we make teachings like this one today available to you and others on air and online. If you've been encouraged by today's program, please consider giving a gift to help others around the world connect with God and be strengthened too. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Listen again tomorrow as Skip shares that preaching the gospel will always lead to persecution of some form. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-24 12:12:29 / 2024-04-24 12:21:19 / 9

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