2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 4:13-15

How to Develop a Growing Flock While Vulnerable, Part 2.

Last week, we studied the believer's reality of possessing great spiritual treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7). The rest of our passage describes further realities that believers are assumed to enjoy.

How to Develop a Growing Flock While Vulnerable, Part 1.

A vulnerable person is defined as someone in need of special care, support, or protection because of innate disability or risk of abuse. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians addressed issues of sin and carnality in the church and prescribed corrective paths. The believers there received this rebuke and began to change. Then came another threat to their growth: false ones within the church. In this second letter, Paul has redirected their hearts to the comfort of God, his own integrity and love for them, intentional gospel ministry, and the greater glory of New Covenant. Next he rehearses how wonderful God’s transforming grace is to them on a personal level.

The Message of Gospel Ministry.

God’s nature is unity (Deuteronomy 6:4). When we are baptized into Christ, we are one with Him and with each other spiritually (John 17:11, 20-22). David and Solomon both praised the importance of unity among God’s people (Psalm 133:1, Proverbs 6:17-19). Anyone who dismisses the unity God has created and spreads strife unnecessarily is considered an abomination. The job of believers in the church is to maintain the unity of the Spirit in peace (Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 4:2). God’s people love what God has provided and persevere in unity.

Manifesting the Change of Christ to All People.

As Paul continues to write according to his theme of ministry integrity, he turns to the quality of Christian relationships. This is one way people can suffer in a local church. When they are persuaded that Jesus is not enough, their relationships inside the church struggle, and they don't know how to develop redemptive relationships in the community. When unsure of the permanence of their relationship with God, then people have no foundation from which to build other relationships and no message of how the Gospel changed them.

The Motivation and Activity of Ministry with Integrity.

Paul's discussion of ministry with integrity permeates 2 Corinthians through chapter 7. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 can be divided into 5 sections which we will study over a couple weeks.

Our Freedom to Be Bold in Spiritual Growth.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 teach us about the power, boldness, and freedom we have in Christ to grow in Christ-likeness.

Our Freedom to Be Bold in Christ.

Among a remnant in Corinth, a disrespect for Paul was growing because of religious people who taught that one needed to do religious works to be saved. As a result, the Corinthians distrusted Paul and his behavior and plans for ministry.

There have always been religious intruders in the church who seek to dethrone the sufficiency of Jesus. Beware of anyone who undermines the sufficiency of Christ in salvation and spiritual growth or who undermines a messenger of Christ’s sufficiency.

The Comparison of Glories.

God created the moon to be the lesser light of the night sky and the sun to rule the day (Genesis 1:16). When the sun comes up, the light of the moon no longer seems bright. Paul makes a similar comparison between the Old and New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3:7-11, using a typical rabbinical comparison of the lesser to the greater.

The Greater Glory of the New Covenant.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 compares a life lived under the Law with a life lived under grace. Paul knew the Corinthians had begun to lose their Gospel influence when they began embracing the false message of the Judaizers. The Law, even though divinely given, could not transform a person. No standard can change a heart. Its splendor is to convict.