A God-Centered and Christ-Centered Ministry Is Divinely Supported by the Spirit to the Glory of God.

On Memorial Day, we reflect on the sobering love that gives one's life for a cause. As God's people, we must also value the service of saints in community of God, no less than we do those who serve our country. There is no greater cause than global Gospel evangelism. Sacrifices for our national freedom are great and honorable, but they are not of infinite salvific value.

When God calls us to salvation, He calls us to spiritual servitude as Jesus lived. Christ-likeness is pursuing the life of a servant. For those who are called into the service of the King, relationships among us have to be maintained (2 Corinthians 1:12-14). We need to understand what those relationships are, what are unnecessary distractions, and what is the necessary foundation of those relationships.

In the confidence that God will help us with the difficulties of the future as He has the past, we can move forward together to do God's mission as we interact and overcome relational difficulties.

Our passage today should be understood in the context of ministry integrity (which is the focus of the first 6 chapters of the letter). The sub-section of 2 Corinthians 1:15-24 has its own introduction and conclusion. In the past, the Corinthian church experienced division, disunity, unaddressed immorality, and disorderly worship. Struggles in the church to some degree will never go away. The next struggle Paul addresses is criticism of his ministry over a minor issue.

Fickleness & Faith

The word "vacillating" in verse 17 indicates fickleness, living one's life in constant response to circumstances. The Corinthians questioned Paul's ministry integrity because he changed travel plans. This mundane and ordinary example shows that our archenemy will try to use anything and everything to halt the progress of the Gospel. We always must maintain a Spirit-filled disposition in response.

Churches, Christians, and committees can waste much time arguing over things that are not essential to Gospel progress. With maturity, we learn to "major on the majors and minor on the minors." Those who want to major on minor issues will always be present in the local church; and we welcome them, but with a disposition underpinned by a theological aim to help them grow in Christ-likeness.

In verses 23-24, Paul defends his intentionality as directed by God. Paul's purpose is not to be the ministry police but a fellow worker with the Corinthian believers. He does not seek personal vindication; his goal is just to see them grow. His mature, discerning response chose not to die on that hill but to focus on the cause of their faith. we can be confident that God will control the narrative of every conversation as we face relational difficulties.

Next time, we will find that the core message of any Bible-embracing ministry never changes. This outline will guide our study:

  • Proclamation: God is faithful (verse 18)
  • Thorough Explanation (verses 19-20)
  • Affirmation (verses 21-22)

Application Points

  • Thank God that He has rescued us from the conflict of our sin!
  • Christ-likeness is pursuing the life of a servant. How are you living this out?
  • Learn the difference between major and minor issues and strive to treat them accordingly, so we can always focus on Gospel progress as members of God's army.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Philippians 4:1-5 – Co-laborers encounter an obstacle.