II Corinthians 1:21-24

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Text: II Corinthians 1:21-24

PRINCIPLES OF ACTION

INTRODUCTION:

Everyone who is saved has a Christian ministry with someone. It is not just the pastors and missionaries. This ministry might be a ladies Bible Study, it might be a Sunday School class, it might be a children's church, it might be your own children, or it might be someone you have just led to the Lord. It might be a husband, or wife, or friend, or neighbor.

We need to realize that our ministry must be a God-appointed one and that it should be Scriptural.

Now something that all of us should desire is to have a quality ministry. Whatever we do for the Lord, we should want to do to the best of our ability. There is no room for the idea that anything is good enough for the Lord. We desire excellence. We desire to do our best.

Everyone can do an excellent job once in a while, but we desire to do our best at all times. The only way we can consistently do our best all the time is to develop good principles of action and adhere to them. Paul had certain principles of action which he mentions in II Corinthians 1:12-24 and in this message I want to urge upon us that we both study and adopt as our own Paul's principles of action in his ministry.

We have already seen Paul's first principle of action -

I. HE BEHAVED HIMSELF IN SIMPLICITY AND GODLY SINCERITY - 1:12-13

II Corinthians 1:12-13 - 12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end.

We have also already seen Paul's second principle of action -

II. HE WILL REJOICE IN THOSE WITH WHOM HE WORKS AT THE RAPTURE - 1:14

II Corinthians 1:14 14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

We have also seen Paul's third principle of action -

III. HE DESIRES THAT THOSE WITH WHOM HE WORKS BENEFIT FROM HIS MINISTRY - 1:15

II Corinthians 1:15 15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit.

How can I help this person? How can I be a blessing to this person? How can I benefit this person?

We have also seen Paul's fourth principle of action -

IV. HE DOES NOT VACILLATE - 1:16-20

He does not chart a zig-zag course.

II Corinthians 1:16-20 - 16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. 17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? 18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

We have seen that -

1. Paul's intent was not fickle. It was definite and not vacillating - v. 17

We have also seen that -

2. Paul's word was not fickle. It was definite and not vacillating - v. 18

We have also seen that -

3. Christ, Whom Paul proclaimed, was also not fickle. He was definite and not vacillating - v. 19

II Corinthians 1:19 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.

We have also seen that -

4. None of the promises of God in Christ are fickle. They are all definite and not vacillating - v. 20

II Corinthians 1:20 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Just as Paul behaved himself in simplicity and godly sincerity, just as Paul will rejoice in those with whom he works in the day of the Lord Jesus, just as Paul desires that those with whom he works benefit from his ministry, and just as Paul does not vacillate, we should also adopt these principles of action in our various ministries. Paul's fifth principle of action is -

V. HE RECOGNIZES THAT HE HAS BEEN STRENGTHENED IN CHRIST ALONG WITH THOSE WITH WHOM HE WORKS - 1:21

According to verse 21, it is this same God Who is not fickle Who has strengthened Paul's relationship with the Corinthian believers.

II Corinthians 1:21 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.

God the Father is the One Who has established the relationship of Paul and the Corinthian believers and has also set Paul apart for ministry with the Corinthian believers and others.

Now introduces a slight change of direction.

He which stablisheth us with you in Christ . . . is God is the One Who establishes us and anointed us with you in Christ . . . is God, a reference to God the Father.

Stablisheth is establishes, strengthens, is establishing, or is strengthening. Its tense indicates that this establishing or strengthening is continuing even as Paul writes this letter.

Us is Paul. It may also include Silas and Timothy.

With you indicates that Paul's relationship with the Corinthian believers is continually being established and strengthened.

In Christ indicates what this relationship consists of, and it suggests in the person and work of Christ as Christians.

Just as Paul recognizes that he has been strengthened in Christ along with those with whom he works, we should also recognize that we have been strengthened in Christ along with those with whom we work. Paul's sixth principle of action is -

VI. HE RECOGNIZES THAT HE HAS BEEN ANOINTED BY GOD - 1:21

It is this same God, Who is not fickle and does not vacillate, Who has set Paul apart for his missionary endeavors along with Silas and Timothy.

II Corinthians 1:21 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God

And hath anointed us, is God, which is used in the sense of and set us apart is God. It is used in a figurative sense of a divine anointing in which God has set us apart for special service under His divine direction.

Is God identifies God the Father as this One Who is establishing Paul with the Corinthians in Christ and Who has anointed Paul for his special service as well as Silas and Timothy.

Just as Paul recognized that God had anointed him in his ministry, we should likewise recognize that God has anointed us to accomplish His purposes in our various ministries. Paul's seventh principle of action is -

VII. HE RECOGNIZES THAT HE HAS BEEN SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT BY GOD - 1:22A

II Corinthians 1:22 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Who hath . . . sealed us, which refers to God the Father, suggests Who marked us. Hath . . . sealed is used to mark someone with a seal as a means of identification in the sense of marked. He marked, not only Paul, but also the believers in Corinth as being genuinely His own.

Also suggests in addition to establishing Paul in Christ and having anointed him. What is true of Paul is also true of the Corinthian believers.

Just as Paul recognized that God had sealed him with the Holy Spirit, we also must recognize that God has likewise sealed us with His Holy Spirit. Paul's eighth principle of action is -

VIII. HE RECOGNIZES THAT HE HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIS HEART - 1:22

II Corinthians 1:22 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Who hath . . . given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts likewise refers to God the Father.

The earnest is the first installment, the deposit, the down payment, or the pledge.

Of the Spirit refers to God the Holy Spirit and indicates what this earnest (i.e. the first installment, the deposit, the down payment, or the pledge) of our salvation is. The Holy Spirit Himself is the promise that there is more to come in our salvation.

In our hearts suggests in us, i.e. in Paul.

As was true with Paul, the Holy Spirit of God indwells all believers from the time of their salvation, guaranteeing the completion of their salvation. Paul wrote similarly in Ephesians 1:13-14 -

Ephesians 1:13-14 - (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Just as Paul recognized that he possessed the Holy Spirit, we should also recognize that we possess the Holy Spirit. Paul's ninth principle of action is -

IX. HE RECOGNIZES THAT HE DOES NOT HAVE DOMINION OVER THE FAITH OF OTHERS - 1:23-24A

II Corinthians 1:23-24 a - 23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 24a Not for that we have dominion over your faith. . .

In verse 23 Paul advises the Corinthian believers of the reason he had not yet come to Corinth. It was not because of any fickleness or vacillation on his part. The reason he had not come to Corinth was in order to spare them from disciplinary action which he would have had to take if he had come.

Moreover I call God is I call upon God or I am calling upon God, and indicates something Paul is doing as he writes this epistle.

God is God the Father. In His omniscience, God knows the truth and is able to testify regarding what Paul is writing.

For a record is as a witness or as a testifier.

Upon my soul suggests that God alone knows the real reason deep within Paul's soul regarding why he had not yet come to Corinth.

That to spare you is in order to spare you or for the purpose of sparing you. The implication is clear that if he had come, he would not be sparing the Corinthian believers from what he deemed they needed.

I came not as yet (i.e., I came not yet) unto Corinth in spite of the mess the church was in.

It was better that he had written and dealt with the issues through a stern letter he had sent between his writing of I Corinthians and II Corinthians than that he go there and deal harshly with the issues in person. He had apparently done this in his painful visit referred to in II Corinthians 2:1 when he came to them in heaviness, and it was an unhappy experience he had no intention of repeating.

Although he had apostolic authority, he was reluctant to use it unnecessarily. He wanted to give them time and opportunity to get straightened out with the Lord.

II Corinthians 1:24 a - Not for that we have dominion over your faith. . .

Paul states that he does not lord it over the faith of the Corinthian believers and reminds them that they stand by their own faith.

Not for that is simply not that.

We have dominion over your faith is we lord it over (i.e. exercise authority over, domineer over, control, or rule over) your faith (i.e. belief or trust). Here faith speaks of the lives they are living as believers.

Just as Paul recognized that he does not exercise control over the faith of others, we also must recognize that we do not have control over the faith of others. We can help them by teaching them correctly, but they are ultimately responsible for their own faith. Paul's tenth principle of action is -

X. HE HELPS OTHERS TO RECEIVE JOY - 1:24B

II Corinthians 1:24 b - . . . but (we) are helpers of your joy. . . .

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to having dominion over the Corinthian believers' faith.

(We) are helpers pertains to their working together with the Corinthian believers and is understood in the sense of fellow workers.

Of your joy, which refers to the experience of gladness, suggests that Paul has worked with the Corinthian believers to produce joy in their lives. They have joy in knowing that their sins have been forgiven and that they are on their way to heaven. Joy is also produced in them as part of the fruit of the Spirit, i.e. love, joy, peace, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23 ).

Just as Paul recognizes that he helps others to receive joy, we must also recognize that we are to help others receive joy. Paul's eleventh principle of action is -

XI. HE RECOGNIZES THAT OTHERS STAND BY THEIR OWN FAITH JUST AS HE DOES - 1:24

Paul states that the Corinthian believers stand on their own by their own faith.

II Corinthians 1:24 c - . . . for by faith ye stand.

For introduces an explanation of why Paul did not lord it over the Corinthian believers' faith and why he was a fellow helper of their joy.

By faith ye stand.

By faith is by means of faith or in faith, speaking of the realm in which they stand.

Faith is belief or trust which has been placed in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ye stand indicates that they have taken a stand in the past and are still standing as a result of their having stood in the past. Paul is not seeking to control their faith. They are standing on (or in) their own faith.

CONCLUSION:

If we want consistency in our ministries and if we want to do our best at all times, we must develop some principles of action by which we operate. Why not adopt these that the Apostle Paul adopted many years ago?