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II Cor. Chapter 6:1-18

Memory verses for this week:  1 Pet 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

Introduction:     Last week in Chapter 5, we studied about how the earthly tabernacle (our body) will be changed into a glorious body fashioned after the Lord Jesus Christ.  This will happen when Christ returns to take His children out of this old world at the rapture, which may be any day.  This week we discuss what we will face as ambassadors for God. 

I.  The Trials of the True Gospel Ministry 

2 Corinthians 6:1  We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

In the first three verses of Chapter 6, Paul undertakes to show what sorts of trials that true ambassadors for Christ must face.   We in the church work together to urge men and women to receive the gospel.   We never want to see someone believe in vain, and miss the opportunity to be saved.  And if Satan can trick or blind us, he will try to do so and keep us from knowing the truth.  Mike and I visited a man this week that made a profession of faith when he was six years old, and either he believed in vain, or Satan has him so confused that he doubts his salvation.  We should so know God’s word, that we have confidence in our salvation.  And if we don’t, we should turn to Christ and accept Him for our salvation.  It is a gift of God, and 100% of God.  We have to have faith, we have to repent, but these two are truly gifts from God also.  Many who truly have been saved don’t live like they are.  God would have all men to be saved, and after that to take up their cross daily and live for the honor and glory of the Lord.  Verse 2 comes from Isaiah 49:8.

Isaiah 49:8  Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 

Those that would put off salvation after being drawn to God by the Holy Spirit frustrate the purpose of the gospel.  Now is the acceptable time.  Putting if off one more day may be an eternal mistake. 

 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

Paul and all other true ministers seek to give no offense.  In other words, they do their best to not cause a stumbling block before any person.   If the saved live like the lost, the service of God may be blamed.  Remember that when others look upon your life and my life, they picture Jesus Christ.  Is that a good image they see?  It should be.   But our arch enemy is out to destroy each of us daily.  If he can get us to sin and fall, he destroys our testimony and we become of non effect.

4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,  5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 

These verses go over some of the testings and trials that a minister of God faces.  Paul was a man who had faced adversity on virtually every had.  Here afflictions necessities, and distresses refer to things more or less providential and outside the direct agency of men.  Stripes, imprisonments, tumults, and troubles are brought on the servant of Christ by evil men.  Labors, watchings, and fastings are things which the gospel minister willingly takes on himself in order to further the work of God.

I’m sure many of you have heard of the great preacher of old named Harry Ironside.    Dr. Harry Ironside tells about the time he as a young preacher preached in a place for three days and didn’t have a thing to eat during those three days. He was preaching to a group of people who thought he was living by faith, and they surely did let him do it. No money was given him for food. On the fourth morning he was debating whether to stay in bed for breakfast or to get up and tighten up his belt another notch when he noticed a letter being slipped under the door. He got up and opened it and all it said was, “Enclosed is an expression of Christian fellowship,” and there was a ten dollar bill in it. That morning he went out and had the best breakfast he had ever had in his life.

“In afflictions, in necessities, in distresses.” There are a great many folk living today who know what these are. The younger generation doesn’t know. That is what has made the generation gap.    [1]

6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

These are characteristics that the true minister should have.  The word translated “pureness” comes from a root meaning holy.  Holy speaks of being pure and not defiled with things that contaminate.  Being set apart and sanctified for the Master’s use.  The knowledge is speaking of knowing the Word of God, while “longsuffering” refers to the patience we should exhibit in face of the trying circumstances that befall us.  “Kindness” makes others feel at ease with us as we love others as we desire to be loved.  Paul wanted his message to go forth with power from God, and that is what that line “by the Holy Ghost” denotes.  By preaching the truth with sincerity in the power of God, the message came over “loved unfeigned.”  This means with sincerity of love from the heart and without pretence.   And when we preach the truth God’s way, and work through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will bring forth results of this work.

8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Paul speaks of many things in these verses, pairing things with others that seem to be the exact opposite of the other.  Yet all of these things spoke of what Paul faced and how he lived in his day to day life.  Paul was both honored and dishonored.  Those that knew him and perceived him for who he was truly honored him.  But Paul had his enemies also.  Because of this, both good and evil reports were circulated on him  He is called a deceiver and yet he spoke the truth.  In the world, Paul was practically unknown.  But in true Christian circles, he was man well known.  In his trials, many times he came near death, yet God delivered him and he lived on.  He was chastened, but not killed.  He was sorrowful, and yet was always rejoicing.

Romans 9:2  That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

Philippians 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.  

While Paul was poor in regards to earthly goods, he was truly rich when it came to spiritual wealth.  To the world, he may have seemed to have nothing, yet actually he possessed all things.  If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you should never view yourself as poor.  We are joint heirs with Christ, and have become the sons of God by the sacrifice Christ paid there on Calvary.  We may have no money, but we are rich beyond belief when it comes to peace and spiritual gifts.

Romans 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

II.   The Call to Separation

11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. 13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 

Before urging the Corinthians to be Christians that were truly separated for the Lord, Paul makes an appeal for their love.  Many in this church came to know the Lord through Paul’s ministry, and Paul had a great love for these people.  When you are involved in the spiritual birth (or even just the growth of spirituality), you have a bond with those with whom you are involved.  And if our hearts are right before God, we want all of us to live that God might receive honor and glory through our lives. 

J. Vernon McGee had this to say about these verses: 

Paul is opening up his great heart of love, and he stirs up the hearts of those who love him. The interesting thing is that he apparently also stirred up the hearts of those who hated God and His Word and who tried to work injury upon those who loved Him and loved the Scripture. We find that was true in the early history of the church, and it is true today. If you stand for God, you will find that it will really cost you something.

We come now to an important passage of Scripture. It is a section which has been often abused and misinterpreted. Some folk try to make it hard as nails, unyielding and unloving. Yet what Paul is saying here is coming from the tender heart of a man whose heart was almost breaking because of his great concern for the Corinthian believers.  [2] 

 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said,  I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  

Apparently, those in the Corinthian church were hindered in their love for Paul due to having fellowship with unbelievers.  You and I have to realize that we are to be the salt of the earth, and if we put our salt out in the wrong places continually, it will lose its effectiveness.  We have a command from the Lord to not yoke our selves together with unbelievers.  Does this mean we are to have no contact with the lost?  Of course not.  How could we be a witness to the lost man or woman if we have an attitude of no concern.  But when it comes to who we constantly fellowship with, and in a greater way, who we choose to become our partners for life, we are to select other Christians.  That is not to say we can’t have a group of people over and invite some of the lost to be a part of our group.  But they need to be in the minority, with the Christians making up the major part of the group.  If we don’t do it that way, instead of us influencing the wicked to do good, they may entice us to do evil.  So we must be careful. 

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We see contrasts between the Christian and the unbeliever in these verses.  On the side of the Christian, there is righteousness, light, Christ, faith, and the temple of God.  On the side of evil, we have lawlessness, darkness, Belial, unbelief, and worshipping of idols.  God commands the Christian to come out from among the unbeliever.  While we are in the world, we are not to be a part of it.  The person who will separate himself fro m the world will be one who is blessed of the Lord. 

I John 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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