Faithlife Sermons

Right Motives for Ministry

Apostolic Defense - 2nd Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:38
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It’s a matter of heart

Paul has methodically been addressing and defending not only his apostleship but building up, encouraging the church at Corinth along the way of this glorious ministry they too have been entrusted with. A ministry of reconciliation.
Heart matters we have seen:
Comfort (2Cor1:3-7)
Comforted in our distress so we can comfort others
Deliverance (2Cor1:8-24)
Delivered from our suffering and strengthened beyond our measure, but in accordance to God’s
New Covenant (2Cor3:4-18)
The fading glory of the Old law, covenant and the increasing glory of the new.
This ministry 2Cor4:15)
This glorious ministry of the new covenant, of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ.
This assurance, confidence (2Cor5:1-8)
The assurance and confidence that we can have in our resurrection just as Christ was raised from the dead.
The confidence we can have knowing to be absent from the body is to present with the Lord.
I may have mentioned this last week, not sure, but what we believe and how we behave will, or must, go together. Duty and doctrine are linked together. What God has done for us must motivate us to do something for God. As we look at our passage this morning you see the king of “therefore’s” will not leave us longing for uses them several times. Remember whenever we see a therefore we need to ask why is it there, it is a link to something before or something that he is about to say, so pay close attention to them.
This section moves from explanation of the resurrection and the glorious ministry to the application, the motivation for ministry. A few quick things before we get to our passage to help us be prepared for it.
Question: What is the purpose of ministry as a Christian?
We will see from Paul some specific answers to this in our passage this morning.
Paul was above board on everything, nothing was held back. And we can learn as Christian workers to have the right motive and right heart as well as the right message. (below is not on your outline)
1 Thessalonians 2:3–4 NASB95
3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.
Paul in our passage this morning is going to give three acceptable motives, to have the right heart for ministry.
The fear of the Lord (2Cor5:9-13)
The love of Christ (2Cor5:14-17)
The commission of Christ (2Cor5:18-21)

Motive: Fear of the Lord

Motive, according to Oxford dictionary: a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious. Paul had no other motive except to preach Christ and Him crucified. He did the same in all the churches and it was out of reverential fear of the Lord.
Now let’s look at our passage:
2 Corinthians 5:9–10 NASB95
9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:11–12 NASB95
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 12 We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.
2 Corinthians 5:13 NASB95
13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture:
Question: What is Paul, apostles, ambition according to (v.9)?
To be pleasing to Him, whether at home or absent.
Question: what is going to happen when we appear before the judgment seat of Christ (v.10)?
Each one may be recompensed according to what he has done, good or bad.
Question: Because of the fear of the Lord what is the aim, the goal, the intention (v.11)?
To persuade men!
(below question not on screen)
Question: Look at (v.12-13) what is Paul saying, in your own words?
We are not trying to draw attention to ourselves or accomplishments we have done, it is a matter of heart not sight.
(Insert fear of the Lord picture here)
In (v.11) you see “knowing” the fear of the Lord. Having an understanding of the fear of the Lord will hopefully help you and I to have the right attitude about it. If we are honest there are many how lack this attitude of a reverential fear of the Lord. You can see it in the preaching and in the teaching in many places that people don’t understand what it is. Again look back to (v.10)
Now there are some things we can learn from our passage about the fear of the Lord and Paul’s motives
It is our ambition, we labor (v.9; Ref: Gal1:10; Rom12:1; Php4:8; Col3:20; Heb13:20-21)
I think we can agree there are different kinds of ambition, selfish, worldly but then there is holy that is pleasing to God.
Paul did not live to please man, but God (Gal1:10)
Galatians 1:10 NASB95
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
It pleases God when we offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Rom12:1)
Romans 12:1 NASB95
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
It pleases God when we bring our offerings to Him (Php4:18)
Philippians 4:18 NASB95
18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
It please God when Children submit to parents (Col3:20)
Colossians 3:20 NASB95
20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
It pleases God when we allow Jesus Christ to work out His perfect will in our lives (Heb13:20-21)
Hebrews 13:20–21 NASB95
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
For we must all appear (v.10; ref: Rom14:8-10; 1Jn2:28)
So maybe people are not ambitious for the Lord, but what we can know is every person will appear before the Lord.
Our works will be judged and rewarded (see Rom14:8-10; 1Jn2:28)
Paul was ambitious to meet the Lord, and wanted to meet Him with confidence not with shame.
This appearing is at the “judgment seat” this is also called the “bema seat” in the Greek it is the place where decisions, judgments were handed down by rulers, also awards were given to victors in the Olympic games. This is not to be confused with the “Great white throne judgment found in (Rev20:11-15) where Christ will judge the wicked
Our character, our heart of service will be revealed at the judgment seat of Christ, worthy works, unworthy worthless works. A place where we will account for our ministry works (Rom14:10-12)
Romans 14:10–11 NASB95
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.”
Romans 14:12 NASB95
12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
Oh mark down that it is a place of reward and recognition too, 1Cor3:10-15, 4:1-6)
For because of the fear of the Lord we persuade men (v.11-13)
God is going to judge His own people, think about what will happen to those who are lost, those who do not respond to the gospel.
The terror found in (v.11) is not fright, dread or horror, it is meant for holy reverence of the awesomeness of the occasion when we stand before the Lord.
The truth about each one of us will be revealed and Jesus Christ will commend us for those things that were well pleasing to Him.
Three quick things in preparation for this day, I forgot to give you this previously.
Maintain a clear conscience (2Cor5:11; 2Cor1:12)
Do not depend on the praise of men (2Cor5:12, 3:1)
And, ignore the criticisms of men (2Cor5:13)
(Transition) It is smart that we, each one of us, to examine ourselves to see if we are ready to face the judgment seat of Christ with confidence. For we will give an account and we want it to be a good account. This is all a good motive for Christian service (ministry)

Motive: The Love of Christ

Fear? Love, do they, can they relate to one another? Can they dwell in the same heart? Consider (Ps2:11) as then we will look at another great motive for ministry, the love of Christ.
Psalm 2:11 NASB95
11 Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
How can such emotions, fear, love dwell in the same heart? Certainly we can look at the love of children for parents and the fear too for respect for their parents, in general at least.
Now let’s look together at the passage, glean from it then will bring in some points to help elaborate the point.
2 Corinthians 5:14–15 NASB95
14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
2 Corinthians 5:16–17 NASB95
16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
(Insert gleaning from the scripture PowerPoint here)
Question: In looking at (v.14) why was the conclusion of one died for all drawn?
Because of the love of Christ controls us
Question: According to (v.15) who are we to live for now?
For Him who died and rose again on our behalf
Question: Jump down to (v.17) If anyone is in Christ he is what?
A new creature, the old passed away, new things have come.
For the Love of Christ
His love seen in His sacrificial death (1Jn4:19)
1 John 4:9 NASB95
9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
His love for us seen even when we were ungodly sinners (ref: Rom5:6-10)
At the right time Christ died for us, even when we were ungodly sinners.
Love proven for the world (Jn3:16)
God sent the Son because of His great love for the world.
Love proven for the church (Eph5:25)
Christ gave Himself up for us, the church
Love proven for sinners (Gal2:20)
Galatians 2:20 NASB95
20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
He died so that we might die (2Cor5:14; Ref: Gal2:20)
He died that we might live (2Cor5:15-17; Rom6:4, 7:4; 1Jn4:9)
I have we just looked at (Gal2:20), so no need to go back to that but let me touch on others.
Romans 6:4 NASB95
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Died so we may be raised to walk in newness of life
Romans 7:4 NASB95
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
Died and raised so we might bear fruit for God.
Died so that we might live through Him (1Jn4:9 previously read)
We are to die to self so that we may live for Him and He lives through us. - If a lost sinner has been saved by grace through faith how can they be anything be living the rest of their life in the love of Christ living for Christ?
A few quick thoughts before moving on.
Our place as a new creation gives us a new outlook on God, and the fear of the Lord and a new relationship with man. We want to walk in the spirit and teach others to have spiritual eyes to see and then walk in the spirit. To no longer live for the flesh.
Our place as a new creation gives us a new view of Christ, Lord and Savior, but many have lost the reverence of Christ and have replaced it with other things that are of the flesh and not of the Spirit, where music has become the center of the assembly instead of the Word filled with the Spirit to lead people to become a new creation.
Our place as a new creation gives us a new view of people around us. We see people as lost sinners in need of the Savior. You want to share the love of Christ with them.
Our place as a new creation should look at other Christians as part of the new creation too. Not judge by education, position, possession or any other thing. To see them as the same as it says in (Gal3:28) - no Jew, Greek, bond, free, male nor female, all one in Christ!
(transition) Still one more point to make this morning before we break.

Motive - The commission of Christ

This section here starts with an emphasis on reconciliation that will carry through into the next chapter.
2 Corinthians 5:18–19 NASB95
18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:20–21 NASB95
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Question: How are “we/us” reconciled to God according to (v.18)?
Reconciled to Himself through Christ, who gave us this ministry of reconciliation.
Question: Think about this, pay attention, look at (v.19) who has been committed the word of reconciliation?
He had committed “us” to it, meaning the apostles.
There is much more regarding this ministry of reconciliation to go that was entrusted to the Apostles and given to us now through the Word and we will pick up on this next week.
(Prayer) (Exit)
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