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?  



The two verses 12-13 eventually link to 7:5 where the arrangement to meet Titus at Troas on his return from Corinth is picked up. On not finding Titus Paul moved across to Macedonia, there the storytelling resumes in 7:5. So the narrative breaks at 2:14-7:4, which is a long section describing Paul’s apostolic ministry.


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 Macedonia wanting to find Titus about the news of Corinth as well as assured of Titus’s personal safety. It’s interesting that he left the favorable evangelism opportunity to find Titus to learn how the church in Corinth responded to his disciplinary letter. There is a possible hierarchy here. Believers living in obedience to God’s Word are more important than evangelism. Evangelism is not just about getting people ‘saved’ so they can go to heaven. Evangelism is linked to the responsibility of discipleship. Salvation is not just about getting people to heaven. It is to have people living godly lives and giving praise to God through their obedience to His commands in His Word. Even for the apostle Paul, having people believe the gospel, was only the beginning of the responsibility, not the end of it. When you lead one to Christ understand the responsibility you now have to disciple this person and grow up in the knowledge of God.



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 apartment in Dallas while in seminary and in the bedroom was my study. A large sliding window opened in the spring allowed the whiff of lilac as I studied. A sweet aroma I summon to this day. God desires to discovery people who strongly support a heart after His own (2 Chronicles 16:9). Later, Paul will add his own testimony ‘we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him’, 5:9. Now people will respond one of two ways to this knowledge.

(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 10:14.

(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.



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.