The Triumph and Sufficiency of Jesus
2 Corinthians 2:12-17
The great joy of Paul was to preach the gospel. He knew that no matter where he was people would be hurting.
Paul’s entire existence was to see the marvelous power of God let loose in peoples lives.
vs. 12-13, Troas was ready and ripe for gospel acceptance.
What would happen to the church in Corinth? Was it falling apart? What was God doing? Was the church experiencing turmoil because of Paul? Was it a personal failure that was causing division in the church? Would people really find freedom from the enticement of sin and the passions of the flesh?
**Our brokenness of relationships affects our gospel effectiveness.**
Our unwillingness to let go and find healing, most certainly can undermined what God is wanting to do in our lives.
2 Corinthians 7:5 is a continuation of Paul’s thought is 2:14.
For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within.
This is why we must have truth tellers in our lives. If we only listen to ourselves or seek out the information we want to hear, we deceive ourselves. We are experts at justification.
Throughout the Corinthian correspondence Paul seeks to build up community (1 Corinthians 12:12–26), and that requires taking responsibility for one another, disciplining when necessary, forgiving when appropriate, and never doing anything that might lead to another’s eternal ruin (1 Corinthians 8:7–13).
Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
The tactics of Satan are simplistic.
His lies are either, “You will never measure up.” or “You are so much better than they are.”
Satan is defeated through the power and multiplication of reconciliation!
Question: Who have you established in your life as truth tellers? When it really counts can you set aside your pride and really listen to those who are saying something you don’t want to hear?
Cultivate -> We believe that God wants us not only to know each other, but to pour our lives into the people around us. We make time to sharpen each other, to stir each other up to do good things, to process ideas and turn them into actions. We learn God’s word and use it to humbly teach, respectfully rebuke and correct, and help each other learn what it is to live in a way that pleases God.
vs. 14, But thanks be to God
No matter the circumstances of life, my heart can be overcome by thankfulness. God is infinitely great. He alone is enough.
We are the aroma of Christ -> Wherever Paul went, God could smell the sweetness and beauty of Jesus in what Paul was doing.
Wherever he went, he said, people were either helped on to freedom and life in Christ, or they were angered, their opposition hardened, and they were driven further toward death.
Paul lived with a confidence in his position with Jesus. He made an impact wherever he went.
Paul’s metaphor of a triumphal procession.
The metaphor refers to the celebration after a major military victory. Most relevant for Paul’s use of the image is the train of eminent captives who were marched in chains through the streets to their execution at the end of the route.
Captured by the imagery
God is the victor. Paul was once an enemy of God and has been conquered by the gospel. Paul pictures himself as a prisoner of war. He is being led through the streets revealing the majesty and power of God.
Paul has already referred to this procession in 1 Corinthians 4:9-13. As Christ triumphed by dying a humiliating death on a cross, Paul triumphs with God as one who has been defeated. With this metaphor, Paul subtly refutes any criticism of his ministry by turning it into a cause for thanks to God. Paul’s critics regard him as inferior and weak. He concedes his weakness but will not concede that he is inferior.
Consistency of the biblical narrative that we are slaves of Christ (Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:24; 1 Peter 2:16; 1 Corinthians 7:22). Paul is not a slave to a vengeful master. He has been captured by love (2 Corinthians 5:14). Through the love of Jesus we are delivered from our old life. We have been captured by Jesus.
God is a merciful and righteous judge. God is a deliverer and comforter (1:3-7). Paul has put on display as prime evidence of God’s mercy. What the world sees as a prisoner, Paul understands as a beautiful rescue!
Question: What are the implications of being a slave to Christ? How is every fiber of your being a reflection of your allegiance to Jesus? How many masters are you trying to serve? What are you doing to experience freedom from those things that compete to control you? Who is helping you along the way and are they helping you in the right direction?
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
His ministry, as he describes it, is four-fold:
1. Not peddlers of God’s word - the goal of the gospel is not personal comfort. Maybe the most prolific falsehood is the idea that “everyone is an expert.” So many people pose as biblical scholars. They are dispensers of theological junk. (follow my blog, read my book, listen to my experience, etc…)
2. Men of sincerity - he practices what he preaches; he believes what he is saying. He is doing what he declares. His faith is not a faith of convenience.
3. Commissioned by God - living with purpose. Spending every moment with intentionality. Leaning in and being part of the maturing process for self and for others. The goal of every Christian - to help one another grow up and become mature individuals, emotionally, spiritually, and in every way to forget our childish little ways, to turn away from that and grow up and be men and women in Christ
4. We speak in Christ - an ambassador, a representative of the things of God, a life set apart.
In our pursuit of Jesus there will be frustration, fear, loneliness, and death, but all of these experiences are not wasted and allow us to see the power of God released in our lives.
Question: What is it going to take to let the power of God be unleashed in your life? Does your captivity turn the world upside down?