The Purpose of Your Existence.

Paul continues to call the Corinthian believers alongside himself to participate in protecting the church. Every believer has a role to build up and protect the church, not destroy.

C.S. Lewis said, "Since it is so likely that [children] will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage." 2 Corinthians 10:12 shows that unbelievers love to promote themselves and compare themselves. Paul offers himself as a contrasting example, not just for pastor-teachers to follow, but for every believer.

There are many philosophies that can demand our attention. Some of them are good and reflect the influence of common grace. But no human philosophy or cause is worth giving our lives to; only the Gospel work of shepherding souls is worthy of being the purpose of our existence.

Secularism is fluid, but Jesus offers stability. Don't be distracted by anything less that doesn't have eternal value. You can discern a false believer if they are divisive, impersonal, and not listeners. Genuine believers strive for unity; their spiritual work is personal and humble.

The word "boasting" in this context did not have the same negative connotation as it does in our culture (2 Corinthians 10:13-14). It meant to express a high confidence in something deemed valuable or noteworthy. James warns against boasting of something evil (James 4:13-16), but Paul boasts about spiritual growth (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

The Gospel message and plan for its advancement are both God's, and He gets the credit for its success. This is the intent behind phrases like "Lord willing" and "praise the Lord" after receiving a compliment. We love giving testimonies about sharing the Good News because these are opportunities to do what God has called us to do. This is our primary role in the church. When we lose this mission, we cease being a true church.

To "measure" is to draw a line (2 Corinthians 10:15-16). Paul stayed in his own lane as he preached and ministered to the Gentiles just as God had called him (Galatians 1:11-17, 2:7-9, Romans 15:15-21). God marks out the boundaries of our influence and promises spiritual fruit as we labor there. God has put us in life situations to reach specific people with news of the Gospel. As we work together, the sphere of our Gospel influence is enlarged.

Studying God's Word, individually or together, can't be separated from a sense of Gospel mission. This should be a matter of prayer every time believers meet to disciple one another. In these ways, the testimony of a church is protected in a community when Christians are seeking unity and not comparing themselves to one another.

Vance Havner said, "The devil is not fighting religion. He's too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity so much like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against it." Distractions in our culture are loud and insistent. We must not let them pull us away from the Gospel.

Application Points

  • What is the individual believer’s role in protecting the spiritual health of the church? Why is this not only the pastor’s job?
  • How does focusing on Gospel mission protect the church?
  • What is the purpose God has for your life? Do you have a burden to share the Good News? Pray that God would help you own this as your role. Pray about this with your discipling partner.
  • What sphere has God placed you in? Who can only you reach with the Good News? Pray for opportunities to share Jesus with them.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Ephesians 1:3-23 – the purpose of our existence