Sunday, August 23, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 4 – MINISTERS OF NEW COVENANT

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth began with letting the church know that Paul was happy to hear that the church had received and responded correctly to his first letter.

Remembering James 5:19, 20 " My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."  

Paul explained why he didn't visit them and that he was pleased they had responded well to his first letter, even though not all had repented.

Last week we looked at Paul encouraging the church to allow the offender of incest return to the congregation, because he had truly repented and turned away from his sin, therefore he had been forgiven. Paul said that his punishment by the church forcing him to leave the congregation was enough, and that since he had repented and was forgiven, they must allow him back.

Paul reminded them that it was not that long ago, they too were not living as God wanted them, and they repented, and were forgiven by Paul.

Paul reminds the church in Corinth, and us as well, that forgiveness to those who have repented is essential, not only because we are commanded to do so by Christ, but because when we forgive, we keep Satan from having a way to outwit us.

Satan will use our unforgiveness as a weapon against us in his schemes.

As long as we have unforgiveness against someone who has repented, we are being disobedient to the Lord, which in turn allows a foothold for Satan to work against us.

Satan is always looking for an area of our lives where we are being disobedient, which allows him room to work his schemes against us.

This week Paul explains how our presence as servants of Christ is a pleasing aroma to God, and a double edge sword to those who are perishing...bringing death and life...

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE II Corinthians 2:12-17
 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

a.      Paul was lead by the Holy Spirit to Troas to preach the Gospel
                                                                         i.      The Lord had opened a door there

                                                                      ii.      An opportunity for ministry

                                                                   iii.      Revelation 3:8 "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."

b.     But I had no rest in my spirit
                                                                         i.      Due to the problems in Corinth

                                                                      ii.      Paul addressed these in his last letter to the church (I Corinthians)

                                                                   iii.      Therefore, he could not take advantage of the open door in Troas because he was stressed.

                                                                     iv.      Too troubled that Corinth may be lost and other churches may follow

c.      Why was Paul so stressed?
                                                                         i.      Because he expected to meet up with Titus in Troas, and get news about Corinth's response to his epistle to them.

                                                                      ii.      However, Titus was delayed, which stressed Paul even more
                                                                   iii.      So Paul moved on from Troas eventually meeting with Titus in Philippi and receiving the good news of their repentance

a.      Thanks to God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ
                                                                         i.      We triumph because of our faith

                                                                      ii.      We show our faith by giving thanks, and praising God

                                                                   iii.      Doing so gives the Holy Spirit room to work in our lives and bring victory!

b.     God uses His followers to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere!
                                                                         i.      I Corinthians 1:23 " but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles..."

c.      Aroma spreads all around
                                                                         i.      If you wear cologne or perfume, it has an effect on everyone around you, without you trying to do anything.

                                                                      ii.      I you are a pig farmer who doesn't shower, it has an effect on everyone around you, without you trying to do anything.

1.      What is our aroma?
a.      Luke 6:45 "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

b.     Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

c.      Matthew 28:18-20 "Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

a.      Among those who are saved and those who are perishing
                                                                         i.      Because of the cross, to God we are the pleasing aroma of Christ

b.     We are an aroma to everyone around us!
                                                                         i.      To some we are the aroma of death (those who reject the cross)

                                                                      ii.      To some we are the aroma of life (those who accept Jesus and the cross)

                                                                   iii.      Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

                                                                     iv.      Who is equal to such as task? The Gospel!

c.      We are not as many others who preach
                                                                         i.      Corrupting the Word of God
1.      Preaching other than truth

                                                                      ii.      Remember Paul's letter to the church, in I Corinthians
1.      "Do not go beyond what is written"

2.      They were listening, believing and teaching false doctrines

3.      They strayed from Paul's teaching, and the written Word of God.

                                                                   iii.      "We preach God in sincerity"

Paul states, "In the sight of God we preach Christ"

God is observing all our efforts.

He will only accept what is done in Christ, everything else is loss.

Remember Paul's words from I Corinthians 3:12-15

" If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames."

If anyone builds {does} on this foundation {Christ}

The materials you use {the things you do}

Will be brought to light {set before the Lord} and revealed by fire {judged by Him} on that Day {Judgment Day}

If what you build {what you did was built upon Christ for Him} survives the fire {judgment}

You will receive a reward.

If it is burned up, you either did not build upon Christ, or you did it for yourself, not Him, and you will suffer a loss {not receive a reward for your work}

But you will be saved, escaping eternal damnation.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 2 – THE SPIRIT OF WHAT IS BEST

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

This is the second recorded letter from Paul to the church in Corinth, written in 57 A.D., the same year as I Corinthians.

While the message of the first letter Paul sent to the church in Corinth focused on calling the church to repent from their adulterous behavior, suing one another in public secular courts, behaving in an unscriptural manner, believing themselves to be more spiritual than others because of certain practices they invented, and believing and teaching false doctrines brought into the church by either Coptic Gnosticism, or converted Jews who do not believe Jesus died on the cross, this second letter's message was that of comfort and ministry.

At this time, Paul learned his first letter accomplished what it was meant to, and the church as well as specific individuals addressed had thoroughly repented.

However, there were new perils in the church. Judaising teachers, armed with letters of introduction from the church in Jerusalem. They were trying to get believers to convert to Judaism.

They preached a gospel other than Christ, denounced the Apostleship of Paul, and caused much hostility towards him. This brought about the writing of this second epistle.

In this Epistle, Paul praises the Corinthian church for obeying his previous letter; he urges them to allow the restoration of the repentant transgressor, to warn a few who had not repented, to warn them against false teachers, to vindicate his apostleship, and to urge them to pay what they promised for the poor in Jerusalem.

This letter from Paul is unlike others, in the sense that it does not continuously flow. There are times where you can feel Paul become upset about certain issues, then return to his natural flow.

This letter is basically broke into three parts. Chapters 1-7 he explains his delay in visiting, giving an account of his sufferings, Chapters 8-9 he exhorts the church, encouraging them to keep their promises, and Chapters 10-13 Paul's tine changes there is sternness and irony as he vindicates his Apostleship, and proves his right to their love and respect.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE II Corinthians 1:12-24
12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?
18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[c] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

a.      Integrity and godly sincerity
                                                                         i.      Our conduct in the world

                                                                      ii.      Our conduct in our relationship with you

                                                                   iii.      We are not different in the way we treat you

b.     Communications that are understandable
                                                                         i.      The letter that was sent was clear

                                                                      ii.      It was written in love

                                                                   iii.      It was easy to understand

c.      You understood in part
                                                                         i.      There are still some who refuse to repent

                                                                      ii.      There are some who still think they are "more" spiritual by means that are not scriptural

                                                                   iii.      There are some who still go "beyond the written Word of God"

                                                                     iv.      There is still some who refuse to repent of sexual immorality

                                                                        v.      There are some who still think Jesus did not die on the cross

                                                                     vi.      There are some who do not listen to all Paul says because they do not think he is an Apostle

a.      I wanted to visit you twice
                                                                         i.      Once on the way to Macedonia

                                                                      ii.      Once on the way back

b.     It did not happen, but this was for your sake
                                                                         i.      Some thought Paul was "changing his mind"

                                                                      ii.      His yes was no, he was being fickle, unstable

                                                                   iii.      Some said he could not hear from the Holy Spirit

                                                                     iv.      However, Paul said he DID hear from the Spirit of God, and that was the letter he had sent to them, and the fact he did not visit was for their sake!

c.      Yes is still yes
                                                                         i.      God is unchanging, and so is His Spirit

                                                                      ii.      And the Spirit of God wants what is BEST for us

                                                                   iii.      What was best for the church in Corinth was a letter

                                                                     iv.      Paul dealing directly with them face to face was not what God wanted

a.      The letter took place of Paul's first visit
                                                                         i.      They should thank God for sparing them a face to face with Paul

                                                                      ii.      They were in a lot of trouble, but had faith

                                                                   iii.      God wanted them to work it out for themselves

                                                                     iv.      The letter Paul sent guided them to do that

                                                                        v.      Those who listened to Paul's letter repented, and got back on track with God

b.     We are working for you, not lording over you
                                                                         i.      Paul states a truth here

                                                                      ii.      No church is "over" another

                                                                   iii.      These denominations have it wrong, there is no hierarchy of churches

                                                                     iv.      All churches are autonomous

                                                                        v.      Follow the scriptures

                                                                     vi.      and work together for the Lord, not ruling over one another

c.      It is for your joy!
                                                                         i.      Because they stood firm in the faith

                                                                      ii.      They could boast as well of the Lord

                                                                   iii.      For they returned to the Word, and was once again in a right relationship with God

                                                                     iv.      Not because someone lorded over them, forced them, etc...but because Paul gave them the truth of the Word, they read it, understood it, and returned to it.

                                                                        v.      That was their joy and boast that the power of God was working in their lives!


If we are like Paul, we listen to the Holy Spirit, and when we help people return to their relationship with God, we need to listen to the Spirit of God, and do it His way, not ours.

God knew if Paul showed up face to face with the church in Corinth, his head would have would not have been good, but God wants what is best for us.

God's first will is that all are saved and come to knowledge of Jesus Christ.

God's Second will is the Great Commission.

God's third will is our personal way that we fulfill His second will, which is unique to each of us as God created us, and is completed through the power of the Holy Spirit, by the use of the Spiritual Gifts.

If we are like the Corinthian church, we need to not be so prideful to think that anyone who is trying to help is "lording" over us, trying to have dominion or power over our faith or our relationship with God.

Like the Corinthian church, sometimes we need correction, which happens when we stray from the written word of God.

We cannot make up our own religion, ignoring scripture, saying things like;

·        Me and Jesus have our own thing
·        I know the scripture says this, but I believe...
·        I've always been told...

Nothing matters beyond the written Word of God.

You may have a personal relationship with the Lord, but you do not have your "own" thing.

If the scriptures say it that trumps anything you think or believe.

What you have "always been told" or "always thought" does not matter if it contradicts the written word of God.

If you stray, the Lord WILL send a believer to bring you back.

Like the Corinthian church members, you can listen to what the Spirit says, repent and be right with the Lord, or you can refuse to listen, and remain lost in your sin.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!