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"Commendations of a Ministry"
2 Corinthians 6:1-10
Wednesday AM Bible Study
August 27, 2008
Theme: Paul saw himself and his co-wokers as "workers together" with God. It was through their "ambassadorship" that God was making His own appeal that lost sinners to be reconciled to Himself (5:20). Now, in these verses, Paul describes how he and his co-workers 'commended themselves' in their ministry.
I. THROUGH THE NATURE OF THEIR APPEAL (vv. 1-2).
A. Paul spoke of himself and his co-workers as "workers together". Though the word "with Him" do not appear in the original language, the implication is that God Himself is the One with whom they work. This is seen not only in 5:20-21; but also in 1 Corinthians 3:9.
B. Thus, it is in this context that Paul and company make an authoritative appeal to the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain. This isn't suggesting that they might lose their salvation. Rather, it's stressing that, having received the grace of God, they must carefully build on that faith and move forward (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-17). Paul makes this appeal on the basis of Isaiah 49:8; urging the Corinthians to seize the opportunity God is giving them. A ministry that is characterized by a dependence on God in making a scriptural appeal to enter into and grow in the grace of God is a greatly commended ministry!
II. THROUGH THEIR CARE IN MINISTRY (v. 3).
A. Paul and company also sought to insure that there was nothing in the conduct of their ministry that would "give offense in anything", so that it would not be "blamed".
B. There's a great deal of difference between the message being an offense and the messengers being offensive. Our message—the message of the cross—is its own offense (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). But may it always be that our message is what causes the offense—and not the manner in which we proclaim it.
III. THROUGH THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO THEM (vv. 4-10).
A. Paul now gives a list of particulars that commended their ministry. They are not the kinds of things that people would ordinarily point to in order to endorse their work as that which comes from God. But in giving this detailed list, he shows that his ministry is truly commended "in all things"; and that he and his co-workers truly prove themselves to be "ministers of God".
B. The list can be divided by the prepositions and adverbs used (in the original language):
1. The "ins" (vv. 4-7a; based on the preposition "en"). These can be divided up in the inner experiences, outward circumstances, personal disciplines and spiritual resources that characterized Paul's ministry.
2. The "throughs" (vv. 7b-8a; based on the preposition "dia"). These show the kinds of couplets that stretched Paul's ministry and reveal how God sustained him through all extremities.
3. The "as's" (vv. 8b-10; based on the adverb "os"). These characterized the things that Paul and his co-workers were perceived to be in contrast to what they truly were.
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