II Corinthians 6:6-8a

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 6:1-8 a

Aim: To show that a believer's life must be consistent with his profession

OUR CREDENTIALS AS MINISTERS

INTRODUCTION:

In II Corinthians 6:1-10 we see that our lives as Christians and as servants of the Lord must be consistent with our profession.

We have already seen that -

I. OUR LIVES MUST DEMONSTRATE THAT THE GOSPEL REALLY WORKS - 6:1-4A

We have seen that -

1. We can receive the gospel in vain - 6:1

II Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

In vain suggests with no result.

What can this possibly mean? How would someone receive the grace of God in vain?

To receive the grace of God in vain would mean that their lives would be so inconsistent with their profession that they would imply with their lives that the claims of the gospel were not true, that it had not worked in their lives. The effect of the gospel was not being shown in their lives. Although they were genuinely saved, they were not making full use of the grace they had received, i.e. they were not living completely for the Lord and needed to begin doing so.

We have seen that -

2. We can have victory now - 6:2

II Corinthians 6:2 (2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Verse 2 is a parenthetic statement, written to remind the Corinthian believers that salvation as well as victory over sin in their daily lives is available to them. They do not have to receive the grace of God in vain.

The time for getting saved or delivered from sin and its consequences is always now. There will eventually come a day when it will be everlastingly too late. In the case of those who have been genuinely saved but are not living as they should, it is always time to straighten things out with the Lord by confession and forsaking of sin.

We have also seen that -

3. We discredit our own ministries by sin - 6:3

II Corinthians 6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.

We have also seen that -

4. We must be approving ourselves as the ministers of God - 6:4a

II Corinthians 6:4 a - But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God. . . .

Whereas verse 3 indicates that Paul always sought to do nothing which might provide a pretext for people to reject the gospel, verse 4 indicates that he always sought to demonstrate the genuineness of his ministry in order to provide a reason for people to receive the gospel he proclaimed.

We are in the process of seeing that -

II. OUR LIVES MUST EXHIBIT CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN CREDENTIALS - 6:4B-10

In verses 4b-8a Paul employs a series of twenty-one prepositional phrases, all of which begin with the same Greek word. The first ten prepositional phrases are translated with the word in. They are found in verses 4b and 5. The last eleven prepositional phrases are found in verses 6-8 and are translated with the word by. This word is capable of a variety of meanings, including in, suggesting in a particular state; with, suggesting association; and by or by means of, suggesting means. Verses 8-10 contain seven comparisons, each one beginning with the word as, comparing various statements about Paul.

In exhibiting consistent Christian credentials, we see that -

1. We must endure outward hardships - 6:4b-5

II Corinthians 6:4 b - . . . In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses.

II Corinthians 6:5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings.

As we continue, we see that we must not only endure outward hardships but also that -

2. We must have inner spiritual qualities - 6:6-7a

II Corinthians 6:6-7 a - (6) By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, (7a) By the word of truth, by the power of God. . . .

Verses 6-8a continue the thought of Paul's conduct of his ministry with eleven additional prepositional phrases, all of which begin with by and all of which are examples of the all things mentioned in the first half of verse 4 in which Paul approved himself as a minister of God.

By pureness is understood in the sense of by (i.e. by means of or in) purity or sincerity.

By knowledge is by means of or in knowledge, where knowledge may suggest knowledge as a spiritual gift given to Paul. I Corinthians 12:8 says, For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit. At the very least, Paul's ministry was not conducted in ignorance.

By longsuffering is understood in the sense of by (i.e. by means of or in) forbearance (or patience) toward others in the sense of being able to bear up under provocation.

By kindness is understood in the sense of by (i.e. by means of or in) goodness or generosity. It speaks of being helpful or beneficial.

By the Holy Ghost is by (i.e. by means of or in) God (the) Holy Spirit. This is in contrast to the false apostles who were unsaved and did not possess the Holy Spirit.

By love unfeigned, where love is the sort of love which gives itself completely on behalf of another without expecting anything in return, the same sort of love God demonstrated when He sent Christ to be the propitiation for the sins of the world, is by (i.e. by means of or in) genuine (i.e. sincere or unhypocritical) love.

II Corinthians 6:7 a - By the word of truth, by the power of God. . . .

By the word of truth is by (i.e. by means of or in) (a) word (or message) of truth. It is a message whose content is truth in contrast to a lie. It is a true (or truthful) message.

By the power of God, i.e. God the Father, is by (i.e. by means of or in) God's power (i.e. might, strength, force, or capability). Paul did not carry on his ministry in his own strength.

In exhibiting consistent Christian credentials, we see that we must not only endure outward hardships and have inner spiritual qualities but also that -

3. We must have the armor of righteousness - 6:7B, C - 8A

II Corinthians 6:7 b,c-8a - . . . By the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, (8a) By honour and dishonour. . . .

By the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left changes prepositions. This time by introduces an intermediate agent with God the Father as the direct agent and is understood in the sense of via or through.

The armour refers to instruments designed to make ready for military engagement and is understood in the sense of weapons.

These are not ordinary weapons as of righteousness (or of uprightness) makes clear. Righteousness is the armor.

On the right hand and on the left is literally on the rights and lefts. Weapons on the right hands are offensive weapons, and weapons on the left hands are defensive weapons. Paul's meaning is via the weapons of righteousness for offense and defense.

We must be so equipped that we can meet any attack from any quarter

II Corinthians 6:8 a - By honour and dishonour. . . .

By (i.e. via or through) honour and dishonour indicates two opposite states in which Paul is providing examples of the all things mentioned in verse 4 in which he approved or commended himself as a minister of God.

Honour is the word often translated glory. Honour is understood as an enhancement or recognition of Paul's status or performance as an apostle in the sense of fame, recognition, renown, honor, or prestige. Here it is used as an opposite of dishonour which follows; whereas, dishonour is regarded as a state of disrespect. He was honored and respected as an apostle by some but dishonored and disrespected by others.