Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Tim Potter
- Category: 2 Corinthians
- September 19, 2021
The Virtues of Spiritual Soldiering.
Last week, we looked at the first two of four virtues found in 2 Corinthians 10:1-6. Passion is seen in calling others to work alongside oneself for Gospel progress. Being principled requires courage to be godly rather than worldly.
It is clear that there will be foes of Gospel progress even within the church. Our verses this week teach that we oppose unbelief with an arsenal that is not physical. Our primary weapon is the Gospel itself, a living and breathing reality. We cannot truly claim to possess the Gospel if we have a merely intellectual grasp of its content. It must be put into action.
We wage war if unbelief surfaces inside the church trying to distract believers with human ideologies. It is not our job to defeat unbelief everywhere outside the church. We witness the Gospel to the world, because the world isn't able to move past its sin on its own, and it's only getting worse. Within the church, Christians are to address unbelief in a meek, gentle, courageous, principled way.
Satan seeks to stop Gospel progress in one locale, which will also influence other believers and more churches. We cannot allow him to stop us.
2 Corinthians 10:4 speaks of the importance of skill and partnership in combating unbelief. It is easy to spot: any person using human means to distract from Gospel progress. In contrast, our weapons are not of this world, but an ability sourced in God. Our primary weapon can eliminate an unseen enemy in hiding. The Gospel has the power to transform a soul!
A Jewish philosopher named Philo defined the word "fortress" as "a prepared speech of persuasive words against the honor of God." Greek philosophers taught a stronghold concept as a defense of individual autonomy. Spiritual enemies require spiritual weaponry.
Our primary weapon is the Gospel itself (Romans 1:16). The message may be scorned by the world, but it is feared by dark powers. We use it to protect spiritual life. Discipleship relationships are where we train for spiritual battle.
2 Corinthians 10:5 focuses on Jesus Christ; He is the knowledge of God and the One we obey. Unbelief loves to divide and distract and adulterates the Gospel with religious works. The church must eliminate the influence of human intellectual reasoning that distracts from the Gospel mission. These ideologies may not be immediately dark, but they must be put in their proper place so that Gospel progress can continue.
2 Corinthians 10:6 indicates that Paul himself might not have to assist if the Corinthian church is spiritually strong enough to address the unbelief in their midst. We should beware of those who like to fight alone; they are the most vulnerable to spiritual attack (2 Peter 2:1-2).
- We cannot truly claim to possess the Gospel if we have a merely intellectual grasp of its content. Do you simply know about the Bible, or are you putting it into action?
- Evangelism makes dark spiritual forces afraid. So does a Christian community living righteously, worshipping together, and hoping in Jesus. Is this how you live?
- Is any human idea distracting you from making Gospel progress in your life or pursuing Gospel mission with those around you? How will you use God's Word and prayer to put this distraction in its proper place?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Mark 10:45, John 17:1-5 – Christ's mission.
- Proverbs 21:22 – Another use of "stronghold."
- Ephesians 6:10-20 – Spiritual warfare and weapons.
- 2 Timothy 4:7-8 – Using our weapons with skill and the right disposition.
Quotes to Ponder
This constitutes an admonition to the church and particularly her leaders, for the temptation is ever present to meet the challenge of the world, which is under the sway of the evil one, with the carnal weapons of this world, with human wisdom and philosophy, with the attractions of secular entertainment, with the display of massive organizations. Not only do such weapons fail to make an impression on the strongholds of Satan, but a secularized church is a church which, having adopted the standards of the world, has ceased to fight and is herself overshadowed by the powers of darkness.— Bible Commentator Colin Kruse