TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1 WE DO NOT ACCEPT TESTIMONY FROM MEN, BUT GOD ALONE
- 2 WE UNDERSTAND THE HEART OF MAN CAN CHANGE, BUT GOD’S HEART & WILL REMAINS THE SAME
- 3 WE RECEIVE NOT TESTIMONY FROM MAN OF OUR GOODNESS, RIGHTEOUSNESS, ETC.
- 4 WE SEEK TO PLEASE GOD
- 5 WE ARE GIVEN AS GIFTS TO HIS BODY, BUT WE MUST SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE
- 6 OUR PRAISE COMES FROM GOD ALONE
- 7 THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION IS COMMITTED TO US, BUT GOD WILL TRY MEN’S HEARTS
- 8 WE STRIVE FOR THE HEARTS OF GOD’S PEOPLE TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST
- 9 THE GRACE & TRUTH OF CHRIST MUST BE SET FORTH PLAINLY
- 10 IT’S NOT GOD’S MINISTERS WE BOAST ABOUT, BUT RATHER GOD’S PROMISES
- 11 BY THE GRACE AND POWER OF GOD – WE LIVE LIVES THAT ARE FREE FROM SIN, GUILT, SHAME, AND CONDEMNATION
- 12 GOD’S MINISTERS NEED THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS & PROTECTION OF THE LORD TO SPEAK THE TRUTH PLAINLY AND IN LOVE
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness (Malachi 3:1-3)
THERE ARE TIMES IN EVERY MINISTER’S LIFE WHERE OUR FAITH SEEMS TO BE ON TRIAL, OUR OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD AND COMMANDS TESTED, AND THOSE WHO COME TO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD OR EVEN PART OF THE WORK GOD IS DOING AMONG US DESIRE TO DO THINGS THAT ARE CONTRARY TO THE WORD OF GOD.
MAY THIS POST GIVE US THE MIND OF CHRIST IN THIS MATTER SO WE MAY CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH AND FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD AND PROPHECIES OF GOD FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.
IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT AND HIS STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN US DURING OUR TIMES OF WEAKNESS.
YET, AS BOTH MINISTERS AND ESPECIALLY HIS PROPHETS, WE SPEAK THE TRUTH IN THE SIGHT OF GOD COMMENDING OURSELVES TO THE CONSCIENCE OF EVERY MAN – IN SINCERITY AND IN TRUTH.
AND WHILE WE DO THIS, LIKE OUR LORD WHO GAVE HIMSELF FOR HIS BRIDE, WE DESIRE ALL OF GOD’S PEOPLE TO BE FREE, DELIVERED, STRENGTHENED, AND GROWING INTO THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF JESUS DAILY.
As God’s Ministers…
WE DO NOT ACCEPT TESTIMONY FROM MEN, BUT GOD ALONE
Luke 2 – THE WORDS OF JESUS WOULD BE WORDS FROM HEAVEN THAT WOULD CHANGE THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO WOULD HEAR, AND EVEN THE WHOLE WORLD.
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40 And the CHILD GREW, AND WAXED STRONG IN SPIRIT, FILLED WITH WISDOM: AND THE GRACE OF GOD WAS UPON HIM.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
WE UNDERSTAND THE HEART OF MAN CAN CHANGE, BUT GOD’S HEART & WILL REMAINS THE SAME
John 2:23-25 – JESUS KNEW THE HEART OF MAN COULD TURN ON HIM AT ANY MOMENT. EVEN WHEN MANY DESERTED JESUS FOR THINGS HE TAUGHT, HE WAS NEVER MOVED. ONLY THE FATHER’S WILL MOVES JESUS (READ JOHN 6). PETER WAS GIVEN KEYS OF THE KINGDOM, NOT BECAUSE OF HIS ZEAL FOR THE LORD, BUT BECAUSE IT WAS REVEALED TO HIM BY THE FATHER WHOM JESUS IS. STILL KNOWING THIS – HE DENIED OUR LORD THREE TIMES.
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.
24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and HAD NO NEED THAT ANYONE SHOULD TESTIFY OF MAN, FOR HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN MAN.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
WE RECEIVE NOT TESTIMONY FROM MAN OF OUR GOODNESS, RIGHTEOUSNESS, ETC.
John 5:31-47 – PEOPLE MAY THROW “PRAISES” YOUR WAY, YET JESUS DOES NOT ACCEPT THE TESTIMONY FROM MEN. LIKE JOHN THE BAPTIST WHO SPOKE TRUTHFULLY TO PROMINENT PEOPLE, OUR MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN JESUS REMAINS STEADFAST.
31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.
34 Yet I DO NOT RECEIVE THE TESTIMONY FROM MAN, but I say these things that you may be saved.
35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.
39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
41 “I DO NOT RECEIVE HONOR FROM MEN.
42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
44 HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE, who receive honor from one another, and do not SEEK THE HONOR THAT COMES ONLY FROM GOD?
45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
WE SEEK TO PLEASE GOD
Galatians 1 – AS GOD’S MINISTERS, WE STAND IN GOD’S GRACE AND SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE AND THE SIGHT OF ALL MEN. SOMETIMES THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE. EVEN OUR OWN HEARTS CAN BE DECEIVED BY THE APPLAUSE AND APPROVAL OF MEN.
BUT WE MUST REMEMBER, LIKE JESUS – HE DID NOT COMMIT HIMSELF TO ANY MAN. SOME WHO SAY HOSANNA TO JESUS TODAY MAY BE YELLING CRUCIFY HIM TOMORROW. HE HAS BEEN GIVEN A NAME UNDER HEAVEN BY WHICH ALL MEN MUST BE SAVED. YET, THE SAME NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMOUSLY USED AS A CURSE WORD IN THE MOUTH OF THOSE WHO HEARTS ARE FILLED WITH BITTERNESS. FOR SOME, MEN LOVE THE DARKNESS MORE THAN THE LIGHT (Read John 3).
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But THOUGH WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL UNTO YOU than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For DO I NOW PERSUADE MEN, OR GOD? OR DO I SEEK TO PLEASE MEN? FOR IF IT YET PLEASE MEN, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. 20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 24 And they glorified God in me.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
WE ARE GIVEN AS GIFTS TO HIS BODY, BUT WE MUST SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE
Ephesians 4:7-16 – AS GOD’S MINISTERS, WE SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. NOT ONLY THIS, BUT WE PRAY FOR ALL GOD’S MINISTERS AND PEOPLE TO BE PERFECT, EVEN AS JESUS IS PERFECT.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST:
13 TILL WE ALL COME IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH, AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, UNTO THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 BUT SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, MAY GROW UP INTO HIM IN ALL THINGS, WHICH IS THE HEAD, EVEN CHRIST:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, MAKES IN INCREASE OF THE BODY UNTO THE EDIFYING OF ITSELF IN LOVE.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
OUR PRAISE COMES FROM GOD ALONE
Romans 2:28-29 – AS NEW CREATIONS IN CHRIST AND HEIRS OF SALVATION, OUR PRAISE MUST BE FROM GOD AND NOT FROM MEN.
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
I Corinthians 4:4-6 – WHEN OUR LORD AND MESSIAH COMES, THERE WILL COME A TIME WHEN EACH MINISTER WILL RECEIVE THEIR PRAISE FROM GOD. UNTIL THEN, CONTINUE THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST. MAKE FULL PROOF OF OUR MINISTRY.
4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and THEN SHALL EVERY MAN HAVE PRAISE OF GOD.
6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION IS COMMITTED TO US, BUT GOD WILL TRY MEN’S HEARTS
I Corinthians 2 – AS MINISTERS, EVEN THOUGH SOME THINGS GOD GIVES US ARE HARD TO TEACH AND PREACH, IT’S GOD WHO PRUNES THE HEARTS OF HIS PEOPLE SO WE ARE A GLORIOUS BRIDE OF CHRIST FREE FROM ALL THE INFLUENCES OF THIS WORLD AND READY FOR HEAVEN ITSELF!
1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, WE WERE BOLD IN OUR GOD TO SPEAK UNTO YOU THE GOSPEL OF GOD WITH MUCH CONTENTION.
3 FOR OUR EXHORTATION WAS NOT OF DECEIT, NOR OF UNCLEANNESS, NOR IN GUILE:
4 But AS WE WERE ALLOWED OF GOD TO BE PUT IN TRUST WITH THE GOSPEL, EVEN SO WE SPEAK; NOT AS PLEASING MEN, BUT GOD, WHICH TRIES OUR HEARTS.
5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as you know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
6 NOR OF MEN SOUGHT WE GLORY, NEITHER OF YOU, NOR YET OF OTHERS, WHEN WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN BURDENSOME, AS THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST.
7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children:
8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, BECAUSE YOU WERE DEAR TO US.
9 For you remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
11 As YOU KNOW HOW WE EXHORTED AND COMFORTED AND CHARGED EVERY ONE OF YOU, AS A FATHER DOES HIS CHILDREN, 12 THAT YOU WOULD WORTHY OF GOD, WHO HAS CALLED YOU UNTO HIS KINGDOM AND GLORY.
13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe.
14 For you, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. 18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
19 For WHAT IS OUR HOPE, OR JOY, OR CROWN OF REJOICING? ARE NOT EVEN YOU IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AT HIS COMING? 20 FOR YOU ARE OUR GLORY AND JOY.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
WE STRIVE FOR THE HEARTS OF GOD’S PEOPLE TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST
2 Corinthians 3 – AS MINISTERS, OUR WORDS (WHICH ARE SPIRIT) CREATE THE IMAGE OF GOD ON THE INSIDE OF OUR HEARERS. THERE IS OFTEN A DIFFICULT LINE WE ARE FORCED TO WALK IN. A LOVE FOR GOD THAT IS MORE THAN LOVE FOR SELF OR OTHERS. THEN A LOVE FOR OTHERS THAT DESIRES TO SEE PEOPLE TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST GOD INTENDED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 YOU YOURSELVES ARE OUR LETTER, WRITTEN ON OUR HEARTS, KNOWN AND READ BY EVERYONE.
3 YOU SHOW THAT YOU ARE A LETTER FROM CHRIST, THE RESULT OF OUR MINISTRY, WRITTEN NOT WITH INK BUT WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD, NOT ON TABLETS OF STONE BUT ON TABLETS OF HUMAN HEARTS.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT BE EVEN MORE GLORIOUS?
9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the MINISTRY THAT BRINGS RIGHTEOUSNESS!
10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
12 Therefore, SINCE WE HAVE SUCH A HOPE, WE ARE VERY BOLD.
13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.
14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS…
THE GRACE & TRUTH OF CHRIST MUST BE SET FORTH PLAINLY
2 CORINTHIANS 4 – AS GOD’S APOSTLES, WE UNDERSTAND HOW ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT THIS IS TO SET FORTH THE WORD OF GOD PLAINLY SO THAT EVERY MINISTER IN THE HOUSE OF GOD IS BUILDING ON THE FOUNDATION OF CHRIST WITHOUT BLAME.
1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”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.
7 But WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY TO SHOW THAT THIS ALL-SURPASSING POWER IS FROM GOD AND NOT FROM US.
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
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.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,
14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
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.
AS GOD’S MINISTERS AND PEOPLE…
IT’S NOT GOD’S MINISTERS WE BOAST ABOUT, BUT RATHER GOD’S PROMISES
2 CORINTHIANS 6 – AS GOD’S MINISTERS, WE REMIND THE SAINTS OF GOD TO STAND ON GOD’S PROMISES. ALTHOUGH GOD REVEALS MYSTERIES, THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN. AND AS GOD’S APOSTLES, WE ARE NOT HONORED. RATHER, BY THE WORD AND SPIRIT OF GRACE AND TRUTH, THE PEOPLE’S HEARTS ARE SCRUBBED CLEAN OF THE FILTH OF THIS WORLD.
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!
9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.
19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
AS GOD’S MINISTERS AND PEOPLE….
BY THE GRACE AND POWER OF GOD – WE LIVE LIVES THAT ARE FREE FROM SIN, GUILT, SHAME, AND CONDEMNATION
2 CORINTHIANS 6 – AS GOD’S MINISTERS, WE ARE VERY AWARE THE THINGS WE ARE DOING MAY BE DISCREDITING THE TESTIMONY OF GOD IN OUR LIVES, FAMILIES, OR MINISTRIES.
1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 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.
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;
9 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.
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
GOD’S MINISTERS NEED THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS & PROTECTION OF THE LORD TO SPEAK THE TRUTH PLAINLY AND IN LOVE
2 Thessalonians 3 – AS GOD’S MINISTERS, OUR GOD WHO BEGAN THIS WORK IN EACH OF US WILL PERFECT US. YET, WE ASK FOR AND NEED THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS TO HELP US TO MINISTER TO EACH PERSON IN A MANNER THAT TREATS EACH PERSON IN CHRIST AS THE UNIQUE CREATION GOD MADE THEM TO BE.
1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith.
3 But THE LORD IS FAITHFUL, and HE WILL STRENGTHEN YOU AND PROTECT YOU FROM THE EVIL ONE.
4 WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD THAT YOU ARE DOING AND WILL DO THE THINGS WE COMMAND. 5 MAY THE LORD DIRECT YOUR HEARTS INTO GOD’S LOVE AND CHRIST’S PERSEVERANCE.
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.
13 And AS FOR YOU, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, NEVER TIRE OF DOING WHAT IS GOOD.
14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
16 Now may the LORD OF PEACE HIMSELF GIVE YOU PEACE AT ALL TIMES AND IN EVERY WAY. The Lord be with all of you.
17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.