Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

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2 Corinthians 5-6

November 4th, 2012 by Vic

2 Corinthians 5-6

“How different am I?”

November 4, 2012


In chapter 4 Paul was talking about his sufferings and afflictions that God was using for His glory.  He has just said, “Don’t allow your focus and priorities of life to be determined by what you see.  What you see is temporal.  Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.  There is an ad on TV right now that really irritates me.  A very proper-looking lady tells us she had a very happy marriage with her husband until he died.  She does not think we should deny anyone the happiness she found in marriage.  She says, “It’s a principle of fairness.”  “We are all God’s children.”  However the Bible says same sex marriages are not a principle of fairness but sin and a slap in God’s face.  Disobedient children do not find happiness.  Is happiness found in marriage?  Happiness is a by product of holy living.


We hear a lot about being tolerant.  Do Christians need lessons on tolerance?  The world is telling Christians that they should be more tolerant.  Jesus commands us to be more loving.  Which is really better?  We are not like other religions.  We are to love our enemies.  When someone asks you about your relationship with your kids do you express how you are learning to be more and more tolerant?  To be tolerant is really to be arrogant and condescending.  Wouldn’t it be better to love one another as God has loved us?  Why do people want us just to tolerate them?  Probably because they do not know the love of God that makes Christians different.


One bumper sticker tells us to coexist, but the bumper sticker does not use the hammer and cycle.  Do we coexist with terrorists and tyrants?  Isn’t it better to love than coexist?


In chapter 5 we hear the heart of Paul longing for fellowship.  Chapter 6 concludes with several promises God has given us.  God will be our Father and we will be His children if we obey and separate ourselves from the world’s ways.  Don’t just blend in.  Don’t think like the world.  Don’t use the world’s values.  God did not make you to be a clone.  You are different.

Now in 5:1-11 Paul lists some of the things that he does then in 12-19 he talks about why he does it.  We can see again the motivation of Paul’s heart and compare our actions and motives to his.


1. We can take a risk for Jesus’ sake because we know our tent will be replaced.  He compares our body to a tent, a temporary dwelling place (1).  We are not citizens of this world.


2. We groan because we look forward and anticipate something much better (2-5).  He mixes metaphors and compares our body to a tent and also clothes.  It would really be nice if we were given our robes of righteousness over this present tent and that the robes would just swallow up or dissolve this tent so we as a person would never be naked without a body.


When Christ returns we will be totally robed in God’s righteousness.  For now God has given us a part of Himself, His Spirit, in this body as a down payment or earnest money.  This word for pledge or deposit was also used for an engagement ring.  The Holy Spirit is our engagement ring.


3. We are confident with our engagement ring (6-8).  Whether we are in this body or without this body we will be with the Lord.  We walk by faith now and not by sight.


4. We keep working and doing what pleases the Lord (9-10).  We continue to present our bodies a living sacrifice in ministry to others.  All Christians will appear one by one before the judgment seat of Christ to receive what is due us for our deeds.


5. We are persuading men of the gospel (11).  We want men to know God’s ways.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.


Now the focus seems to shift to Paul’s motivation.


1. We want you to be proud of us (12).  Some critics were saying that Paul was a little crazy, that he couldn’t be a true apostle.  Look at all the controversy he was causing.  We serve a God of peace.  But Paul responds, “If I appear crazy, God will use it for His glory.  When I appear sane and rational to you, then I rejoice because you understand.”


2. The love that Christ has demonstrated toward us compels us to do some things the world sees as irrational.  They can’t logically understand that Christ Jesus, the Son of God could die for our sin (14-15).  He has already taken the punishment for our sin.  We must choose to believe.  He died so that we should no longer live for our own selfish desires.  We can live for Him who died and rose again on our behalf.


3. We focus on the things not seen (16-17).  We no longer put a lot of value in this body.  In Christ old things have passed away.  In Christ we are new.


4. Because God reconciled us, we are excited about our ministry of reconciliation (18-19).  Isaiah 59 says our sins have separated us from God.  God has been reaching out to us, but our ears couldn’t hear and our eyes couldn’t see because of our sinful ways.  Jesus died for our sins so we can be reconciled to God; so we can hear and see God.  If you trust and obey, God will forgive your sins and purify your heart.


5. Paul says that we are ambassadors for Christ (20).  With the authority of Christ and His kingdom we beg you to be reconciled to God.  As ambassadors we have dual citizenship so we can represent the Kingdom of God in this world.  We urge all the sinners to look at the cross that was lifted up for their healing.  Like Moses lifted the snake on the pole in the wilderness?  Jesus became sin on the cross; he became the snake on Moses’ pole.  We must look to Him for healing.   He experienced separation from God.  (“My God why have you forsaken me?”)  Now we can live lives pleasing to God if we receive the gift He is offering.


Ambassadors live among a people who speak a different language and live a different way of life.  He is judged by those who sent him and not the country he is living in.  He wants the people to become more like the citizens of the mother country.  Before the final battle comes, the ambassadors are brought home.


6:1-10  As coworkers together with Christ we urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  Don’t let your grace lie unused.  Don’t use your grace just for yourself.  Share your grace.


6:2 Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thought; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”


Are you a Christian right now?  If not, why not?  Will you call on the Lord in a year?  Do you assume you are god and have control of your next breath?  You only have control of the now.


6:3 Paul now gives us his credentials for ministry.  He does not want to be offensive in anything that would discredit the gospel message he preaches (3).  He does not name any names.  He does not mention that he was trained under Gamaliel, the best Jewish scholar in the world of that day.  He uses parallel prepositions (in, by, as) to write his résumé.


Paul says, “We do our best to walk in purity as servants of God…in…by…as…  The ‘in’ expresses what happened to him (4-7b).  The ‘by’ expresses how he did it (7c-8b).  The ‘as’ expresses the ironies of his ministry (8c-10).


6:11-13 Paul wants to have fellowship with them.  He says he has wronged no one, he has corrupted no one, he has taken advantage of no one.  In 7:2 he begins another plea for their fellowship.  He does not rebuke them, but invites them to be open and honest with him.  He has been open and honest with them.  Love will expand your heart.  Selfishness will shrink your heart.


6:14-7:1 This paragraph has been used by some as a criteria for marriage.  If verse 14 is talking about marriage then verse 17 is commanding divorce.  What does yoked together mean in this context?  A yoke bound 2 animals together to bear a burden going the same direction.


Deuteronomy 22:10 says do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.  Yokes were custom fit for teams.  A poor fit meant chaffing and crippling.  Nature teaches that some things are incompatible.  You don’t sew wool with linen.  You don’t sow wheat with tares.


Jesus fellowshipped with unbelievers, but he did not become a ‘yoke mate’ with them.  Paul seems to be using the metaphor ‘yoked together’ to identify those relationships where we are going the same direction with the same purpose.  Paul asks five questions that illustrate the need to be separate and avoid association with evil.  He probably has in mind false apostles as well as unbelievers.  Notice the synonyms for yoked together: partnership, fellowship, harmony, common, agreement.


1. What partnership has righteousness and lawlessness? (Ethics)

2. What fellowship has light with darkness? (Morals)

3. What harmony has Christ with Belial? (Syncretism)

4. What has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (Faith)

5. What agreement has the temple of God with idols? (no other gods)


There are things in this world that a Christian cannot associate with.  There are some things a Christian cannot do.  It may relate to his job, his social life, his family, or his own desires.  How different are you in your thinking and attitudes?


God does not want Christians to be yoked together with the world or the world’s ways.  Do you remember the story of Balaam’s talking donkey?  Balaam was going to meet an enemy king in Moab (Numbers 22-25).  God used the donkey to remind him how important it was to speak only the words that please the Lord.  The king of Moab had heard that Balaam was a great prophet.  He wanted to hire Balaam to curse the children of Israel.  He assumed all prophets could be bought with a price.  Three times Balaam tried to find a way and a place where he could curse Israel and use words that would not make God angry at him.  He was trying to obey the letter of the law.


Some of this story is in Revelation 2:14.  Balaam could not speak a curse against Israel, but he told the king that he could get God mad at Israel if he would send some sexy ladies to Israel and entice the young men to commit sexual immorality.  Numbers 25 says the men were seduced and began worshiping the gods of their girl friends.  God sent a plague to destroy those who were worshipping Baal.  26,000 died.


Satan has the same strategy today.  He is trying to seduce the children of God with the things of this world.  Be careful about going into business with an unbeliever.  His values, ethics, and financial focus will be different.  Don’t be tempted to date an unbeliever.  A 20 year old cannot know what will be best for him 20 years from now.  He would be wise to believe that God’s plan is best.  If you are unequally yoked you will have problems– maybe about tithing, maybe about the education of your children.  Being unequally yoked will cripple you.


God has made some promises to those who separate themselves from the ways of the world.

1. I will dwell in them.

2. I will walk among them.

3. I will be their God.

4. They will be my people.

5. I will receive you.

6. I will be a Father to you.

7. You will be My sons and daughters.


THEREFORE, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord.  And do not touch what is unclean (17).


God is making some promises to us.  These promises should intensify our motivation to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (7:1).  Are you motivated to purity?


Peter says, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts… since you have in obedience to the truth purified your hearts (1 Pet 1:14-22).”  We are purified by obedience.  We obey because we love, honor, and fear God.  If you call on God as Father then honor Him (1 Pet 1:17).  He has given you these promises so that you can participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Pet 1:4).


Come out from their midst and be separate is an imperative.  You are to be different from the world.  You have been born again.  Leave the ways of the world and subscribe to a new kind of purity or you cease to be the people of God.  This is not a physical separation, but an ethical and moral separation.  Do you want to enjoy the promises of God?  Obey.  Follow directions.


What idols or attitudes do we need to remove from our hearts so God can live in us and walk among us?  Growing in Christ (perfecting holiness) requires continual cleansing.  To be content and satisfied with an unholy life is to receive the grace of God in vain (6:1).  Living a holy life is done in the fear and reverence for God.


1 Peter 2:1-5



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