OVERVIEW OF 2 CORINTHIANS
Spiritual ministry must be conducted in reliance upon God’s power. Every believer has been given a spiritual gift for service. A sense of inadequacy should accompany the call to faithfulness in ministry.
1 Peter 4:10-11 presents 5 Guidelines for the Exercise of Your Spiritual Gift in Mutual Ministry:
Mutual Ministry is the Responsibility of all believers — “each one”
Mutual Ministry is for the Benefit of the Body — “serving one another”
Mutual Ministry is a Stewardship from God
Mutual Ministry is a Conduit (Pipeline) for the Resources of God — Examples of ministering in word and deed
Mutual Ministry is For the Glory of God through Jesus Christ
Peter seems to divide spiritual gifts into 2 categories: gifts of speaking and gifts of service. As I think about the responsibility of those entrusted with gifts of speaking, I ask myself “What is involved in “speaking the utterances of God?””
Who is sufficient for such things? Who is adequate for such a ministry? The answer is found in 2 Corinthians.
The apostle Paul finds himself in 2 Corinthians under attack by certain false apostles who are questioning the legitimacy of his ministry. He responds with a very strong defense of his ministry — pointing to his reliance upon the grace and power of God for ministry. Those areas where he is being attacked for supposed weaknesses are actually areas where God is working in a special way to demonstrate His power and grace.
DON’T MISTAKE MEEKNESS FOR WEAKNESS
Key Verse: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (12:9)
GOD VINDICATES THE LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY OF NEW COVENANT MINISTERS BY TRANSFORMING THEIR APPARENT WEAKNESSES INTO A DEMONSTRATION OF HIS GRACE AND POWER.
LOOK AT 4 AREAS WHERE GOD TRANSFORMS APPARENT WEAKNESS INTO A DEMONSTRATION OF HIS GRACE AND POWER
I. (1:1-11) INTRODUCTION: THE WEAKNESS OF PHYSICAL SUFFERING FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST – PHYSICAL SUFFERING PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR GOD’S GRACE AND POWER TO BE DISPLAYED IN COMFORT AND DELIVERANCE
Insight Into Paul’s Apostolic Calling And Pastoral Heart: “indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (1:9)
II. (1:12 – 7:13) THE WEAKNESS OF PERSONAL INADEQUACY – PERSONAL INADEQUACY PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR THE GLORY OF THE NEW COVENANT MINISTRY TO BE DISPLAYED IN MINISTRY INTEGRITY AND RECONCILED RELATIONSHIPS
Paul’s Confidence In His Ministry Integrity And His Commitment To Reconciled Relationships: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves (4:7)
III. (8:1 – 9:15) THE WEAKNESS OF POVERTY THRESHOLD – GENEROUS SACRIFICIAL GIVING – POVERTY OF FELLOW BELIEVERS PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR GOD’S GRACE AND SUFFICIENCY TO BE DISPLAYED IN GENEROUS CHRISTIAN GIVING (OFFERED FREELY FROM THE HEART AND ADMINISTERED WITH INTEGRITY)
Paul’s Plea For Practical Demonstration Of Fellowship In God’s Gracious Work Of Generous Giving: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (9:8)
IV. (10:1 – 13:10) THE WEAKNESS OF PAINFUL PERSONAL ATTACKS – PAINFUL PERSONAL ATTACKS AGAINST SPIRITUAL LEADERS PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY FOR LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY TO EASILY BE DISTINGUISHED FROM COUNTERFEIT AUTHORITY
Paul’s Aggressive Defense Of His Legitimate Apostolic Authority: “For this reason I am writing these things while absent, in order that when present I may not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me, for building up and not for tearing down.” (13:10)
(13:11-14) FINAL CHARGE / GREETING / BENEDICTION
How can I embrace Weakness and Boast in it to Showcase God’s Power and Grace?
Boast in Physical Suffering for the cause of Christ – Rejoice! / be comforted
Boast in Personal Inadequacy – be made complete
Boast in Poverty Threshold – Generous Sacrificial Giving – be like-minded
Boast in Painful Attacks – live in peace