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Relationships: The Integrity Factor    2 Cor. 1:3-12,; 2:14-17    Aug. 01, 2010


Introduction

          Do you know of several people who demonstrate the quality of integrity. Because of this lesson I have thought of many church relationships where the people relate with integrity. In fact on very few encounters with people of the church have I ever faced a relationship where integrity did not permeate the relationship. It leads me to say think, about Relationships: The Integrity Factor, and you will think about church relationships.


 

1.   Remember The Integrity Factor As We . . Live For Others. 2 Cor. 1:3-7

       A.   Live For Others. . Sharing God’s Comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3-5

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.

       4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of

       affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

       5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so our comfort overflows through Christ.

 

       B.   Live For Others. . Suffering With Them For Christ. 2 Cor. 1:6-7

6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort,

       which is experienced in the endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer.

       7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share

       in the comfort. HCSB


       On one occasion I went to a hospital to share some of God’s comfort with a man who had both of his legs cut off below the knees and as I sought to find out how he felt, he said, “I can’t kick!” The man’s relationship with Christ was so strong he could give comfort to others rather than just receiving comfort. We will be blessed as we try to share the comfort Christ gives with others. I like the statement,”the God of all comfort.” If we need comfort He provides it and gives us a ministry of sharing comfort. As we try to live in Christ for others we will need to share in the sufferings of Christ. Many people are called upon to suffer for Christ and it helps for other Christians to share His comfort.


 

2.   Remember The Integrity Factor As We . . Live In God’s Strength. 2 Cor. 1:8-11

       A.   Live In God’s Strength Enriched By . . Trusting In The Lord. 2 Cor. 1:8-9

8For we don't want you to be unaware, brothers, of our affliction that took place in the province of

       Asia: we were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life.

       9 However, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves,

       but in God who raises the dead.

 

       B.   Live In God’s Strength Enriched Through . . Thanksgiving Prayer. 2 Cor. 1:10-11

10 He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us; we have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again. 11 And you can join in helping with prayer for us, so that thanks may be given by many on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.


       How do Christians receive the Lord’s strength? In a sense we receive it automatically because we received Christ as Lord and Savior. In addition His strength comes to us as we trust Him. Trust grows through experience and becomes like a second nature. We learn trust through Bible study, prayer, and witnessing.

I believe the Lord grows our trust as we depend upon Him. Paul speaks of being delivered from a terrible death

and gives thanks for that and ask others to pray with him and for him for additional thanks to be given. What an example Paul displays.

 

3.   Remember The Integrity Factor As We . . Live For God’s Approval. 2 Cor. 1:12; 2:14-17

       A.   Live For God’s Approval With A Genuine . . Sincerely. 2 Cor. 1:12

       12 For our boast is this: the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world,

       and especially toward you, with God-given sincerity and purity, not by fleshly wisdom but by God's grace.        

       B.   Live For God’s Approval Spreading The . . Scent Of Christ. 2 Cor. 1:14-17

       14 But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and spreads through us in every place the

       scent of knowing Him. 15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and

       among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent

       of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? 17 For we are not like the many who make a trade in

       God's message for profit, but as those with sincerity, we speak in Christ, as from God and before God.


       Don’t you like to watch people who demonstrate genuine sincerity? I like to see it in every kind of endeavor but especially in Christian applications. The world presents some real phonies who expect you to believe their phoney rhetoric. It is insulting that they think we are so dumb that we believe them. As Christians we need to give a definite contrast and we can do this through God’s grace. When it comes to being a Christian, how do you smell? Do you leave the scent of Christ wherever you go and whatever you do? Some Christians leave a self righteous smell that is not attractive. If we really seek to let Christ radiate in our lives then His scent will be left everywhere we go. It will leave a desirable scent and will attract others to Him. It will certainly magnify Relationships: The Integrity Factor. Amen? Amen!