CONFIDENT IN GOD: The Basis of a Real Ministry
The Difference a Ministry of God’s Word Makes
2 Corinthians 2:12-3:1
Jerry A Collins
v It more important to teach or evangelize?
v Is it the knowledge of God or experience of God I seek?
v Is the Word of God the truth or not?
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us (A. W. Tozer). And this is what a ministry of the Word attempts to develop—your concept of God. We can define the ministry as making known the knowledge of God vs 14. What we hope to do is capture the heart and minds of people with an accurate and comprehensive knowledge of the God of the Bible. As you engage people in life a primary concern of yours is explaining the knowledge of God you have revealed to you in the scriptures. This knowledge will conflict with so many ideas people have of God. Paul faced this on Mars Hill. This is the difference a ministry of the Word of God makes because it is from this Word that we make our case and explain he knowledge of our God. And what does this ministry consist of? What are its priorities and emphases?
ESTABLISHING BELIEVERS IN THE WORD CAN TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER EVANGELISM
two verses 12-13 eventually link to 7:5 where the arrangement to meet Titus at
1. In this ministry people believe the gospel and are being saved 12. Linked together is ‘the gospel of Christ’ and an ‘open door…in the Lord’. We do not know exactly what this door was but a favorable opportunity has opened up for the gospel to be received well, heard, and believed.
2. In spite of the opportunity the concern for believers takes
precedence 13. Titus was supposed to meet Paul with a report of the
response of the Corinthian believers to his sorrowful letter to them. Titus was
a no-show causing Paul no peace of mind, an inability to concentrate on the
open door opportunity. So he left traveling to
OUR MINISTRY IS MAKING KNOWN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD THROUGH HIS WORD 14-15
Thanksgiving should always be given to God and directed to him. There are two reasons this is so with our ministry of the Word:
1. God who always keeps leading us in triumph in Christ 14a. This suggests that in relation to Christ there is always hope for victory. This is always the case. Serving on the side of Christ is never a losing proposition. Even a despairing personal circumstance—like no rendezvous with Titus—will end up being a good thing. God will see that anything related to the ministry of His Son is successful.
2. God keeps manifesting knowledge of Himself through our ministry of the Word 14b. The idea is that He is making clear who He is through our ministry everywhere. God does not ask you to experience him but he does demand that you know him. From God’s perspective this knowledge is like a fragrance diffused everywhere in the world. That fragrance he says is the knowledge of God in every place it is spoken and understood. So teaching, preaching and discipling is not so is we can have a following but so that the knowledge of God is manifested.
3. Manifesting the knowledge of God in Christ is an offering, well
pleasing to God 15. God’s pleasure is always connected to the devotion given
to His Son. The ‘aroma’ is like an odor of a sweet smell. I remember our
(1) They will receive it as the means of their salvation, just as these Corinthians had done through Paul’s’ ministry of God’s word. His preaching was the very first ministry of the gospel there .
(2) Then it becomes a message that damns people who refuse to receive the knowledge given in the gospel. Rejecting the death, burial and resurrection of Christ leaves one with no other option to save them from their sin. So we learn that our job is to proclaim the truth about God, His Christ, His Word and will, but our job is not to convert anybody. When one believes the multiplying effect is well pleasing to God and to the ones who have received that Word—they are saved and thanksgiving given to God. Rejection does not necessitate convincing but does leave one in a state of condemnation that only the HS is capable of convicting them of.
KEEP A VERTICAL FOCUS IN YOUR MINISTRY OF THE WORD & GOD WILL USE THAT MINISTRY
The temptation will be to use the Word of God to lord it over people. You will use it to make a name for yourself or to have a following or to get butts in your seats. But the ministry of the Word is much deeper than that—the ramifications larger.
1. This ministry makes a difference eternally 16. If someone does not receive Christ the odor becomes a fume. They move from spiritual death on earth to eternal death in hell. So our ministry of the Word becomes a fume from death to death. When one believes they move from spiritual life on earth to eternal life in heaven. So this word is a sweet smelling aroma form life to life. What ramifications there are! This twofold consequence is staggering as Paul declares ‘and who is adequate for these things?’ The answer is no one! This becomes a major theme in the letter—1:9; 3:5-6; 4:7; 12:9—we are not adequate in ourselves but it comes only from God. Yet He uses us anyway! But there are those who use this ministry for self-interest.
2. There will always be those who merchandise the Word 17. They only have a horizontal focus and ‘peddle’ the Word. They are hucksters who use God’s Word for profit—false teachers who are diluting and distorting the Word motivated by profit from it. If you serve people with the Word you will use the Word and people to get what you want. If you serve God with the Word you will give people the truth so they can have what they need. So our ministry of the Word must always be ‘in the sight of God’ before it is in the sight of people. You will be tempted to give people what they want to hear rather than the truth God declares they obey!
1. Disciple people don’t just settle for their salvation.
2. Teach people the knowledge of God, not have an experience with God.
3. Speak the gospel and don’t make it acceptable to people.