Methods of Paul’s Ministry
Read (2 Corinthians 6:1-13)
Paul appeals to the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain. They were saved and reconciled to God when they received Jesus Christ. But that does not guarantee their practical Christian living. Paul wants them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 to remind them that now is the time to grow in grace (2 Corinthians 6:2). Paul was careful not to give offense to anybody so that the ministry may not be discredited (2 Corinthians 6:3). He tries to overcome misunderstanding by explaining the hardship he endured for the gospel. The list of hardships Paul endured is given in verses 4-5. Paul says “We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love and the power of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 6:6). The weapon of their spiritual warfare was not carnal but righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11). He was in the front line of spiritual warfare. Paul says “We were close to death but still alive. Beaten but not broken. He was sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, poor; making many rich, we own nothing and yet we have everything” (2 Corinthians 6:8-10; Acts 16:25). Regardless of adverse situations, Paul served God faithfully and never compromised his message. Paul addresses the Corinthians with deep emotion of a father to his children (2 Corinthians 6:13). Paul spoke to them openly from his heart. But because of their lack of love they did not receive him (2 Corinthians 6:12). Paul wants the Corinthians to open their hearts to him, so that they may be blessed. As we appreciate the gospel, our hearts grow tender toward others even if they lack affection for us.
You are the Temple of the Living God
Read (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Believers and unbelievers have different perspectives. Paul calls us to live in a way that reflects the fact that we belong to Christ. As Christians, we should avoid anything that would compromise our relationship with Jesus. They should not enter into any relationships that would force them to discredit Christian testimony and weaken them spiritually. They are saved to reflect the fact that they belong to Jesus. Just as Christ has nothing to do with Satan, believers have nothing in common with nonbelievers. Light has nothing to do with darkness. The expression “Belial” is a reference to Satan, the wicked one (1 John 5:19). The believer is the temple of God and heirs of His promises (6:16, 17). The church is also referred to as the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). God wants to dwell in us and to be known as our God (2 Corinthians 6:16; Exodus 25:8). This is true of all those who put their faith in Christ (Galatians 3:14). Believers are members of God’s family (6:18). This does not mean they should avoid all interaction with nonbelievers. Jesus himself spent time with sinners, tax collectors and socially outcasts to share the message of salvation. Christians must have an evangelistic purpose in all that they do. Pray that God would protect us from situations that force us to compromise our loyalty to Christ and keep our hearts sensitive to his gospel.