“The Light of the Gospel Ministry- Ministry Integrity and
I. The Ministry: Honest – Not Deceitful (verses 1-2)
A. 1. Because the “light” of the gospel is so clear; (salvation through Jesus Christ).
2. Because it reveals so glorious truths, and all obscurity is taken away.
3. Because we are permitted to behold the Gospel as in a mirror of the glory of the Lord,
(2 Corinthians 3:18). Since the glories of the gospel dispensation are so great, and its effects on the heart are so transforming and purifying.
B. Because we have ‘this ministry”- (your calling) as we received mercy we faint not
Superior and more glorious to that of the time of Moses because it's the kind of ministry that the Holy Spirit acts upon the heart of the people and causes their lives to be changed from lost to saved by Jesus Christ. It's a ministry wherby people are saved and justified through the purity of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We renounced the following things: “hidden things” (vs. 2)
"Here it means, to renounce, or disown; to spurn, or scorn with aversion. It occurs no where else in the New Testament; and the sense here is, that the apostles had such a view of the truth of religion, and the glory of the Christian scheme (2 Corinthians 3:13-18), as to lead them to discard everything that was disguised, and artful, and crafty; everything that resembled "deceit" and "fraud." The religions of the pagan were made up mainly of tricks, and were supported by various deceptions practiced on the ignorant, and on the masses of people. Paul contended, that he and his fellow-laborers had a such clear view of the truth, the glory, and holiness of the Christian scheme in Jesus Christ, that their views lead them solemnly to abjure and abhor all such dishonest tricks and wicked devices. "Real truth" never needs such arts; and no cause will long succeed by mere trick and "cunning"craftiness.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
1. Dishonesty- That is, shameful , disgraceful conduct; clandestine and all secret arts, (sorcery, tarot cards, tea leaves and palm readers, soothsaying and witchcraft.etc..) which were in themselves shameful and disgraceful. They are examples of all "underhanded" dealings; all dishonest artifices and plans. All of these were common among the pagans, and in all probability, the false teachers used some or all of these in the propagation of their opinions at Corinth.
Remember: Pure religion is never closed but "open" and "public". It is a religion that 's plain and straight forward. "Pure religion" has no alliance with cunning, and trick, and artifice. Therefore, it is "that type" of religion (the Christian Religion) that should be defended "openly" and "boldly"; stated clearly and explained with clarity. It is a work of promotion of light (things pertaining to Christ, and not of darkness.
2. Cunning craftiness- acting shrewd and slick deceptive practices
3. Handling God’s word with deceit- corrupting or disguising the truth of God, To falsify, adulterate, corrupt, by Jewish traditions, etc.
C. But by manifestation of the truth: (vs. 2b)
Telling the Gospel in “plain truth”, not using a mixture of philosophy , psychology, or any other false man-made doctrines, traditional teachings sayings, or dogmas. The Gospel needs no other” add-ons” to validate its self standing truth Jesus is the “Way…the Truth…and the Life….and the only way to Eternal Life…Period!.
D. By commitment: “Commending ourselves to every man’s conscience.”
That’s a course of life, and a manner of preaching that shall be free from dishonesty, and art, and trick, will be such as the consciences of people will approve. Paul sought such a course of life as should accord with their sense of "right," and thus serve to commend the gospel to them.
II. The Gospel Message: Jesus Christ is Lord (verse 3-6)
A. The Gospel Message is not hid to those who are saved (vs. 3)
B. The Gospel Message IS hid to those who are lost
Satan (the god of this world) has blinded their minds, hindering them from seeing the “light” of the “glorious” gospel of Jesus Christ. He knows if they get a glimpse of that light, they will repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. It’s not that the Gospel isn’t preached to them.
Barnes Notes states: "Satan rules in the hearts and lives of all wicked people—and the world is full of wicked people. They obey him, and submit to his will in executing fraud, rapine, piracy, murder, adultery, and lewdness; in wars and fights; in their amusements and pastimes; in dishonesty and falsehood. The dominion of Satan over this world has been, and is still almost universal and absolute; The Bible says that he is the god of this world. The world pursues his plans; yields to his temptations; neglects, or rejects the reign of God as he pleases; and submits to his scepter, and is still full of abomination cruelty, and pollution, as he desires it to be". This is why Jesus firmly said: “My Kingdom is not of the world!”
C. The Preacher/ Teacher/ Witness does not preach (promote) themselves. (vs. 5)
God’s called and dedicated servants preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, sitting at the right hand of God as our great High Priest and soon to come back for us first, then 7 years later to set up His 1000 year reign in the Millennial Kingdom.
That meant "the called" are the servants of the church in time of trial, temptation, and affliction. They were to devote themselves to the comfort of the afflicted. They were to be the guide to those who were perplexed. They were to aid the tempted. They were to comfort those that mourn, and they were to sustain and console the dying. They were to regard themselves as the servants of the church to accomplish these great objects; and were to be willing to deny themselves, and to take up their cross, follow Jesus and to consecrate their time to the advancement of God's "Holy Mandate"
What the Ministers preach, theTeachers teach and the Witnesses witness is the "Glorious Gospel " of Jesus Christ for the following reasons:
(1) Because of His divine nature, He is the Son of God . He was sent by God to save. (John 3:16-18) Jesus sacrificed his life and shedded his blood to pay the sin debt man owed.Also because of his exact resemblance to God in his divine attributes and perfections;
(2) Because of His moral attributes as Our Mediator, as showing forth the glory of the Father to people. He "resembles" God, and in him we see the divine glory and perfections embodied, and shine forth. It is from his "resemblance" to God in all respects that he is called his image; and it is through him that the divine perfections are made known to people. It is an object of special dislike and hatred to Satan that the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on people, and fill their hearts. Satan hates that image; he hates that people should become like God; and he hates all that has a resemblance to the great IA THAT IAM!
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Question: How can it be said that a minister “preaches themselves?
(1) When their preaching has a predominant reference to their own interest; When they preach or teach to amplify their reputation, or securing a personal advantage in some way, or when their goal in preaching is to exalt personal authority, or extend personal influence, promoting only their own welfare.
(2) When they preach their personal opinions, not the gospel of Christ, or when they derive their teachings from their intelect or personal bias and abandon the pure teachings of the Bible itself.
(3) Whenever they place more emphaisi on their personal accomplishments; speak much more of themselves; that is,, when “self” is primary, and the “gospel” is secondary; thus,prostituting the ministry to gain popularity; to live a life of ease; to be respected; to obtain a livelihood: to gain influence; to rule over a people; and to make the preaching of the gospel merely an opportunity of self advancement..D. We are your servants for Jesus sake (vs.5b)
E. God has shined in our hearts (vs.6)
God gave us illumination in our hearts so we can give illumination in your hearts about the Gospel; that you would have a tangible example of what God can do for you if you let Jesus in your heart.
III. Because it the Power of God Alone The Reason (verse 7)
A. Ministers are frail, imperfect, and fight off sin daily, sometimes failing.
When you consider our imperfections are considered; our frequent errors, and some who are guilty of immoral and unethical behavior and how few of us live in any considerable degree as becomes the followers of Our Savior,, It is wonderful and amazing that God blesses our labor as He does. What’s even more amazing is not that no more are converted under their ministry, but it is that SO MANY are converted, or that any are converted at all. The reason this is so is it is done by the power of God alone. Not by might…nor by power (human) but by the Power (Holy Spirit) of God ALONE!
It was once said by noted Pastor and Biblical expositor Dr. Mack K. Carter: "Since God knows that His gospel must be filtered as it comes through a filthy vessel that God scraps the dirt off His Word as it comes through the human vessel and the Holy Spirit places that filtered Word into the heart of the unbeliever."
B. God often uses of the most feeble, frail, unskilled, unlearned,and weaker of his servants to accomplish the greatest effects. It is not splendid talents, or profound learning, or distinguished eloquence, that is always or even commonly most successful. Often the ministry of such is entirely barren; while some humble and obscure man shall have constant success, and revivals shall attend him wherever he goes. It is the man of faith, and prayer, and self-denial, that is blessed; and the purpose of God in the ministry, as in everything else, is to "stain the pride of all human glory," and to show that he is all in all.
C. The Ministry: A Ministry of Suffering, yet unconquered (verses 8-18)
A. The Paradox of Suffering: (vs. 8-12)
a. Troubled, yet not distressed
b. Perplexed, but not in despair
c. persecuted, but not forsaken
d. cast down, but not destroyed
e. always bearing the “dying” of Jesus in our own body
f. we live, yet always delivered unto death for Jesus sake, so the life of Jesus can also be manifested in our same body.
g. So death works in us, but life works in those we minister to.
H. We have the same faith- we speak to you what we believe that the same God (Jehovah) that raised Jesus Christ from the dead will do the same for you and me. All we go through in the ministry is for your sakes. (vs. 13-15)
Point: Paul wanted to show the Corinthian Church is the great lengths a minister, teacher or witness who has totally dedicated themselves to the mission work of evangelism goes through, the dangers they placed themselves in and the personal persecution they’re exposed to just so another person gets to hear the good news of the gospel and ultimately confesses Jesus Christ as personal Savior and their Lord.
IV. Conclusion: Look beyond the visible toward the Future (In Glory) (verses 16-18)
A. We don’t lose heart- because our future in eternity with Jesus Christ is far greater than anything we suffer in this present age outwardly we die a little everyday- our body is decaying...yet...inwardly, we are renewed (strengthen) day by day. It's worth what we go through to see that many are saved and few are lost.
B. Our “light” afflictions are temporary- compared to the payoff in glory.
C. We look beyond what we physically see and experience which are temporary because all of our experiences don’t compare to what God has laid up for them that love HIM.