Relationships: The Faithfulness Factor 2 Cor.3:1-6; 4:1-5, 4:15-18; 5:9-10, Aug. 08, 2010
What does faithfulness to the Lord produce? Most of us would say all blessing relate to faithfulness and the grace of God. We will never correctly say we deserved a particular blessing but through grace He gives them of course Relationships: The Faithfulness Factor bears a relationship to our blessings. If we please God we must display faith and faithfulness.
1. The Faithful Factor And: Relying On The Lord. 2 Cor 3:1-6
A. Relying On The Lord To Produce . . Commendations. 3:1-3
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or like some, do we need letters of recommendation to
you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone,
3 since it is plain that you are Christ's letter, produced by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the
living God; not on stone tablets but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.
B. Relying On The Lord To Produce . . Confidence. 3:4-5
4 We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ: 5 not that we are competent in ourselves to
consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God. 6 He has made us competent
to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit
Years ago my grandmother received her paycheck with 15cents more than she earned. She reported it to her boss and he told her, I am so glad you reported that because we want to promote you to a job that requires honesty. That story sticks in my mind. Grandma was committed to relying on the Lord, and because she was faithful she received commendations from man and I am sure the Lord. Paul spoke about the converts in Corinth producing commendations concerning his work among them. This kind of relationship builds more confidence in people but ultimately enjoys a stronger relationship with the Lord. Faithfulness and trust build a reliance on the Lord.
2. The Faithful Factor And: Receiving Additional Mercy. 2 Cor 4:1-5
A. Receiving Mercy To . . Display The Truth. 4:1-2
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up. 2 Instead, we have
renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God's message, but in God's sight we
commend ourselves to every person's conscience by an open display of the truth.
B. Receiving Mercy To . . Declare Christ And His Truth. 4:3-4
3 But if, in fact, our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus.
Paul claimed to display the truth. He did this because the Lord’s mercy worked in his life. If you know the Lord changed your life you also want to declare it to others. Have you witnessed to others that you see some people who seem to have a veil in front of them related to the gospel? I am regularly witnessing to an 84 year old man who says he can’t forgive. As I explain he needs to be forgiven before he will ever be able to express forgiveness he seems to get a blank look on his face. Some in our church continue to proclaim the truth of the gospel to him and I think I see movement but never the less he seems blinded by years of not hearing the gospel truth. Please pray with us as we continue to share with him.
3 The Faithful Factor And: Renewal From The Lord. 2 Cor 4:15-18
A. Renewal From The Lord . . Distinguishing Between the inner and outer man. 4:15-16
15 For all this is because of you, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to overflow to God's glory. 16 Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.
B. Renewal From The Lord And . . Discerning The Difference In Eternal And Temporal. 4:17-18
17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
This outer body of ours, (the physical), is being destroyed day by day. Many need heart surgeries, knee transplants etc.. If you have a few years on you it is not difficult to recognize what Paul refers to when he says, “our outer person is being destroyed.” But thanks be to God we know we are more than a physical body and the inner man is being renewed every year. We can avail ourselves to spiritual ruth and opportunities for Christ
growth that cause out mind to think more about the eternal. A person who discerns the difference between the temporal and the eternal is a twice born person and blessed by the Lord in many ways.
4. The Faithful Factor And Future: Rewards From The Lord. 2 Cor 5:9-10
A. Rewards From The Lord And Our . . Pleasing The Lord. 5:9
9 Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.
B. Rewards From The Lord And Our . . Payment From The Lord. 5:10
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad. HCSB
On one occasion I had a deacon who did not like for me to talk about heavenly rewards. I told him I understood his concern but these rewards are given by the Lord, and He chose to do it not me. The Lord recognizes those who please Him and that always includes obedient acts of faith. He tells us we are not saved by works but we are created for good works. These works can only be produced by His Spirit working in and through us. Paul tells us we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ. This judgement is for believers only. People who never experienced the new birth will not stand before Christ related to rewards. They go to the Great White Throne for their judgement. I am pleased the Lord has given me many friends who have been faithful through the years. Our friendship is based upon Relationships: The Faithfulness Factor. Amen? Amen!