Sunday, October 4, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 9 – God’s Grace

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 speaks of remaining in God’s Grace even in hard times


  As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,

“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.

    I.      GOD’S GRACE
a. We urge you  not to receive God’s grace in vain
                                                     i. Grace - GRK charis (χάρις), meaning the state of kindness and favor towards someone, often with the benefit given to the object (person receiving) by extension of a gift.
1. LAT gratia, where we get our word “Gracious”

                                                  ii. Paul urges Corinth (as well as all readers) not to receive God’s grace (His gracious gift) in vain.
1. Vain - κενς (kenos), meaning empty, both literally and figuratively

2. In other words, receiving God’s grace (salvation), but gaining nothing from it

3. You are no further ahead now than before you received it
4. You are not growing, maturing

b. In the time of my favor I heard you
                                                     i. The time of God’s favor is The Church Age
1. The dispensation of time we are currently in

2. This dispensation will last until the rapture according to scripture

                                                  ii. There are 8 dispensations of time in scripture;
1. Innocence (Adam & Eve in the Garden) Edenic Covenant
a. Ends at Fall

2. Conscience (Abel begins outside Eden) No Covenant
a. Ends at Flood

3. Government (Noah after flood) Noahic Covenant
a. Ends at Abram’s calling

4. Promise (Abram’s calling) Abrahamic Covenant
a. Ends at Exodus

5. Law (Moses at Exodus) Mosaic Covenant (10 Commands) Old Testament
a. Ends at Birth of Christ

6. Grace (Christ as Head) New Covenant
a. Ends at Rapture

7. Righteousness (Christ as King) Still New Covenant - The great Tribulation, judgment of Israel and the nations.
a. Ends at final Judgment

8. Perfection (God is All in All) New Order
a. New Order Covenant in 2 Peter 3:13
b. Unlimited Space
c. Unending Song
d. Unspeakable Joy
e. Undimmed Glory
f. Unending Kingdom
g. Uninterrupted Fellowship
h. Ends NEVER!

c. Now is the time of God’s favor
                                                     i. The dispensation of Grace

                                                  ii. God is overlooking our sin and giving us Grace (Salvation)

                                               iii. Now is the time to receive!
1. Because there is no other time it will be offered!

                                                iv. Paul warn not just receive Salvation (God’s Grace) and do so in vain...with no change

                                                   v. Allow Him to do a work in you, to bring you to repentance worthy of forgiveness!
1. Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

2. in other words, Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.

a. We put no stumbling blocks in anyone’s path
                                                     i. We live by what we teach
                                                  ii. We are not saying one thing and doing another
                                               iii. We are “doers” of the Word
                                                iv. Our lives are examples of what we preach

b. As servants we endure all things
                                                     i. We do not use excuses to live abhorrently

                                                  ii. Hard times are no excuse for living in contradiction to the Word of God

                                               iii. As servants of God we have great endurance;
1. afflictions
2. hardships
3. distresses
4. beatings
5. imprisonment
6. riots
7. hard work
8. sleepless nights
9. hunger
10. living in purity
11. understanding
12. patience
13. kindness
14. in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love
15. In truthful speech and in the power of God
16. with weapons of righteousness in the right hand

17. and in the left, through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report, genuine yet called imposters, beaten but not killed, sorrowful yet always rejoicing, poor yet making many rich

18. Having nothing, yet possessing everything

c. Why? To lead others to God’s grace (Salvation)
                                                     i. This is why we endure hardships

                                                  ii. This is why we work sometimes with no worldly reward

                                               iii. This is why regardless of what others say about us, we continue in the power of the Holy Spirit

                                                iv. Continue to share the truth of the Gospel

                                                   v. So that others may receive the Grace of God during the only time in history when it is going to be allowed!

a. We speak freely and our hearts are open to you
                                                     i. Those hearing the truth often call you hateful
                                                  ii. Say you are judging them
                                               iii. Telling them how to live
                                                iv. But our hearts are truly open in love, true love of I Corinthians 13
                                                   v. What can be more love than the love of I Corinthians 13?

b. We are not withholding our affection from you
                                                     i. Because when we preach God’s Grace, Salvation for any who call on His name, we are showing you the ultimate love, a message that will save you for eternity!

c. You are withholding from us!
                                                     i. Some reject the message of the cross, and do not treat us in the same manner as we are treating them.

                                                  ii. We show them love, they reject the cross and accuse us

                                               iii. They are the ones who are truly withholding love, not us as they accuse

CONCLUSION - Remaining in His Grace in all times so that we may serve Him

“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

In the time of Grace (now) I heard out to the name of the Lord.

In the day of Salvation I helped you...He will respond, and give to you the Holy Spirit, for strength, encouragement, equipment, and He will help you get through.

In all times, good and bad, easy and tough, remain in the Lord’s Grace, keep His Salvation by being His servant.

Allow Him to continue to do a work in you, until He calls us home.

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

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