Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Power of Christ Rests On Me (part 2)

(view Part 1)

Reading 2 Corinthians 1:1-2 we discover that Paul’s greeting is loaded with golden nuggets--and we are just getting started. So far, we’ve explored the three worlds of Paul (Paul the Jew, Paul the Greek and Paul the Roman). Now let’s take a close look at Paul the Apostle. This is where we find him faithful.

Paul, the man of many worlds was prepared by God to be a bridge, carrying the gospel to many cultures. We examine his apostleship because this is one issue Paul defends in this letter. There were questions about what this means, so he answers them.

“Apostle” means more than simply “sent one” (not “pempo,” but “apostolos”). In common  day-to-day use the word describes a vessel outfitted for a specific expedition. It is related to “Admiral”, one armed with orders, the spearhead of logistics. More isolated uses reveal the word applied to an ambassador, a delegate, messenger--one sent off on commission to be someone’s representative. Specifically we understand the word to describe believers with a specific criteria, commissioned for specific function. One must be:

  1. Chosen by God. Most of 2 Corinthians is Paul’s defense concerning his apostleship, contrasting his ministry against false apostles who had invaded the Corinthian church. Nearly every letter of Paul’s opens with the statement that he was an apostle because he had been chosen for that role by God.
  2. Witness to the resurrection. Be a good Bible student and discover Acts 1:16-26, (note 21-22) and Acts 10:38-41.
  3. Appointed by Jesus. Notice how Paul roots his Apostleship as “of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” Jesus is The Head of The Church. Apostleship is not an office gained by promotion or accomplishment or by completing levels of training but by divine appointment. Consider Acts 1:24 and 20:24. Paul knew God set him apart for a special purpose. He was not a self-made man. Jesus is also the foundation of The Church, the very hinge on which all life turns and it is from Jesus’ perspective from which Paul saw God’s purpose in every detail of his own life, and in the life of the church.

What is God doing in your life?

a) Do you believe God knows what He’s doing?
b) Do you believe God when He says His will is that all come to repentance--that He has a heart for the lost?
c) Do you believe Jesus has a plan for His Church: to legislate Kingdom business on earth and lock down the business of hell?
d) Do you believe that the Holy Spirit equips Christ’s followers with spiritual gifts, tools to use within the Church?
e) Do you believe that God connects His heart with His plan for the church to use His tools in such a way that His Church is built among the nations?

If you affirm these things, the next question you need to answer is: “How does my life show that I believe God?”
a) If I believe He knows what He is doing, He is accomplishing His purpose in my life. If He does not know what He is doing, then He is not God.
b) If I believe God when He says His will is that all come to repentance, then I myself have turned from sin by faith in Christ and encourage others to do the same.
c) If I believe Jesus has a plan for His Church, I do Kingdom business on earth and lock down the business of hell.
d) If I believe the Spirit equips Christ’s followers with spiritual gifts, I am using my gifts for the building of the body.
e) If I believe God has a heart for the nations, I fulfill the Great Commission by giving and going.

God created us, directs our lives and does not expect His children to do His work without supply. We tend to act like atheists (one who has no invisible means of support) but Paul will remind us later that we are not sufficient in ourselves “but our sufficiency [is] from God”(2 Cor 3:5). “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

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