Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Tim Potter
- Category: 2 Corinthians
- February 21, 2021
Healthy Churches Encouraged by Eternal Promises Are Lighthouses for Gospel Mission.
This will be true until Christ comes. This purpose is reflected in our church's mission statement: "Grace Church of Mentor exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christ-likeness." Every Bible-believing church has been given this Gospel mission. Our Savior intends us to live His life, and His disciples demonstrated this. Both men and women tremendously affected Gospel progress in their areas in the New Testament.
The church in Corinth initially knew Gospel progress, but carnality had halted their growth. Paul's first letter addressed this sin, and they responded well. Forgiven, they continued to grow, and Paul encourages them in Christ. He doesn't want them to become distracted again, so he addresses potential problems and highlights eternal promises.
Leading up to today's passage, Paul has detailed the Christian's brand new purpose, specifically how we view and approach people with Gospel mission. (See also 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.)
The proprietary rights to the Gospel are all God's. The message of reconciliation is exclusive because it's of divine origin. In the eternity before time, God decreed to save those He permitted to fall. (See 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 and Ephesians 1:3-14.)
At the moment we were born again, we were made friends with God through Christ (reconciled, 2 Corinthians 5:18). "This was not just a polite ignoring or reduction of hostility but rather its total and objective removal." 2 Corinthians 5:19 says that this is not just in our personal past but it continues as God offers salvation to every soul. A wonderful relief is that God does not keep a record of our sins. God's active application of His reconciling promise is that He will no longer remember our sin (Hebrews 8:12). This is all God's doing (1 John 4:7-14).
Reconciliation of sinners to God is Christ's doing, and He mercifully incorporates us in that mission by giving us the opportunity and responsibility to join Him in ministry. This ministry includes both serving and speaking His message. All spiritual gifts are necessary and to be used to the end of Gospel mission.
The word "ambassadors" in verse 20 originally meant someone who is older, referring to the wisdom that comes with age. We are given spiritual maturity in Christ. Regardless of how we feel, God has made us carriers of His message.
Paul urged the unbelievers among the church to be reconciled to God as he urged the believers to be reconciled to God's missional purpose.
2 Corinthians 5:21 is a parenthesis in this context but contains perhaps the most comprehensive statement of justification in Scripture. Christ legally incurred our sin and God's wrath on the cross so that God could impute us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This reminded the Corinthian church that they were still ambassadors despite their sordid past. You will never be involved in the ministry of reconciliation if you focus on your failures after you've been saved. Ambassadorship is not granted on the basis of our sanctification but our positional justification. If we are right with God, even if we are still healing from a past sin, we speak on the basis of Christ in us and not our own integrity. Those who are entangled with worldliness and sin are not even thinking to be missional.
- Each individual saint has the personal opportunity to both serve and speak. This mission includes the responsibility to speak the Gospel message to others. Do you know unsaved people well enough that they would hear this message from you? If you pray for it, God will give you such relationships and opportunities. The outcome of how they respond is up to Him.
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- 1 Peter 4:9-11 – Spiritual gifts and how to steward them.