2 Corinthians 2:12-4:6 – Walking through 2 Corinthians Series

Introduction

We’ve been studying the apostle Paul through 2 Corinthians. Paul is a passionate man. Contrary to the perverse definition of the world, passion means to have a strong emotion, for which you are willing to suffer greatly.

2 Corinthians shows us just how passionate the apostle Paul is. He was told on the outset of his work that he would be made to suffer. What is peculiar about him is that he considered it an honor to suffer for the name of Jesus. This is what marks the apostles and the early disciples.

So today we shall continue looking to this pattern in Paul, that we too might be such a peculiar people who count it all joy to suffer various trials.

Restless for the sake of the weak – 2 Corinthians 2:12-13

  1. Not knowing how the Corinthians were doing kept Paul from working in Troas.
    1. He needed to see Titus and get an update.
    2. 2 Cor 7:6-7
      1. Paul speaks of God yet again as the God of comfort.
      2. This time the God who comforts the:
        1. depressed
        2. lowly
        3. downtrodden
        4. humbled
      3. From this we get a sense of why Paul couldn’t put his hand to the plow in Troas just yet.
        1. Now we know from Acts 20:6-7 that he did come back.
          1. This was on the return journey from this very trip.
          2. Even though he had to leave early the first time,
          3. there were brethren ready to receive him on this return leg of the journey.
          4. Even when Paul is in despair for the Corinthians he is doing better than most.
        2. And we know from 2 Tim 4:13 that he also stayed in Troas once again for a time before his death.
      4. So let’s not get it in our head that Paul in weakness was idle.
        1. Rather he was simply moved to seek out the well being of his beloved Corinthians.

Thanks to God all victory is had – 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

  1. He meets up with Titus
    1. and rather than giving us details of that meeting,
      1. he allows this outburst of joyous praise to God fill in the details.
The fragrance of Christ
  1. Matthew 28:18-20
    1. The result:
      1. All who go carry the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him.
      2. In our teaching,
      3. In our thinking,
      4. In our doing.
    2. We must go and be lead in triumph in Christ.
      1. The perishing
        1. are dead in their trespasses
        2. and heading to the second death.
      2. Those being saved
        1. are born again
        2. made alive unto God through Jesus Christ
        3. awaiting life everlasting in heaven above.
    3. In neither case is the final life of death come.
      1. The faithful are protected through the power of God in faith (1 Peter 1:5)
      2. The perishing are likewise not fully lost,
        1. for they can yet turn while life remains in them.
The hard truths taught
  1. These are the hard truths that we bring.
    1. They will not make a man popular,
      1. for far many more perish than live.
    2. But the truth they remain.
  2. This is the two edged sword of truth,
    1. the live adore it,
    2. the perishing despise it.
  3. To carry this sword is a sober responsibility.
    1. To be a minister of the word of truth
      1. is to preach it forth without adulteration
        1. and without self interest.
      2. The self interested preacher will always end up corrupting the truth in some manner or another.
        1. He may not even be aware that he has done so;
          1. for his self interest blinds him.
    2. He makes the word of God minister to him
      1. instead of he being a minister of the word.

The mighty works of Spirit and the conversion of the gentiles is commendation from God – 2 Corinthians 3:1-3

Paul the builder of the Lord
  1. Paul laid the foundation at Corinth
    1. with Christ as corner stone.
    2. It is absurd that he would need letters of commendation to them
      1. or even more absurd
      2. from them.
The epistle on the heart
  1. Paul is not blustering or bragging.
    1. It is a statement of fact
      1. that the conversion of the Gentiles and the signs worked among them was a huge deal in the world.
      2. In Acts 14&15 (Acts 14:27–28, Acts 15:3, 12) we see them telling the brethren of the signs and wonders done
        1. and the many conversions
        2. and a great joy is had among the brethren
          1. that God would so richly pour out his mercy upon man kind.

Confidence through Christ, Adequacy from God – 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

  1. Paul could get down in the mouth like all of us do.
    1. But he was always confident in his relationship towards God
      1. because of what he had through Christ Jesus.
    2. He knew, and we should know
      1. that our relationship with God
        1. is not really dependent upon our own power.
      2. Rather, it is actually dependent upon the Christ.
        1. Who was sent from God to redeem those who would have faith.
  2. God is more than capable to make us adequate as servants under this new covenant.
    1. So then let us serve the life giving Spirit.
      1. The word of God is not the Spirit,
        1. but it is the seed sown into the hearts of men
          1. where by the Spirit of God may germinate
          2. and come to full fruition.
        2. So we are not a people of the Law
          1. but of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

The glory of law surpassed by the Spirit – 2 Corinthians 3:7-11

  1. Through Adam all men die
    1. Yet through Christ all men can live.
Ministry of the Spirit v Ministry of Death
  1. Letters on stone
    1. Letters on heart
  2. with glory
    1. surpassed by the Spirit like a candle in the sun.
  3. Moses a servant in the house of God
    1. The Son and full heir of God.

The veil under Moses vs the unveiled under the Lord – 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

  1. The Jews could not take the smaller glory shown in Moses
    1. they were hardened
    2. their eyes veiled so as not to see.
  2. The Lord is the Spirit
    1. He sets us free from the law that condemns
      1. to do good works of faith.
    2. We stand in His presence
      1. being transformed into the likeness of His image.
        1. By a renewing of mind and heart
          1. where upon the truth of God is written …?…? and where it is practiced.

Mercy received means Christ Jesus as Lord preached – 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

  1. The grace that we live in moves us to be daily moved closer and closer to our Lord.
    1. We look to His pattern and plan and live accordingly.
  2. The minister of God must not be a schemer,
    1. but rather walking in the pure word of God.
    2. Our lives must manifest His truth
      1. and in so doing commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
  3. The perishing do not see.
    1. They are blinded by the Devil
      1. who is the God of this world.
        1. For when Adam and Eve rebelled against God
          1. they chose for man kind a new master;
          2. the Devil, the father of lies.
  4. But we who would preach or teach,
    1. we must persevere in truth.
    2. We cannot, we must not project ourselves before the people;
      1. let us rather set forth the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ our King.
  5. It is the love of Christ that must move us in our lives
    1. A deep regard for the glory of Christ is a far higher motive than regard for the good of man.
    2. The glory of Christ is the only true source for one’s seeking the good of men.

It is our mission to serve the Lord all of our days. We must be moved by the grace and love of the Lord. So much has been done for us on this account.

Having been reminded of these things, how shall you change your life? What is tarnishing your image of Christ?

If you have not put on Christ yet in baptism, why do you delay? What is it your are waiting for? What is it you think you gain in the wait?

The kingdom of heaven is established, the King reigns supreme and calls all men to follow Him.

Hope everlasting, joy eternal await those who embrace Him; pain, sorrow and eternal torment await those who reject Him.

Choose today whom you shall serve.

Appendix A: Appendix of Verses | by order of appearance

  1. 2 Corinthians 2:12-13
    1. 2 Corinthians 7:6-7
      1. Acts 20:6-7
      2. 2 Timothy 4:13
  2. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
    1. Matthew 28:18-20
      1. 1 Peter 1:5
  3. 2 Corinthians 3:1-3
    1. Acts 14:27–28, 15:3, 12
  4. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
  5. 2 Corinthians 3:7-11
  6. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18
  7. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6