James River Church – John Lindell
- Charges have been leveled against Paul
Paul Responds: He has a ministry anyone can trust.
What Paul lists should be true of every believer.
1st – He has a clear conscience
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. (What you see is what you get.)
- There is no hiding of lies in my life.
- There is no false venear added to my life.
- This is the basis of a Godly life.
For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— (2 Corinthians 1:12-13 ESV)
2nd – His life matches God’s message
- I live what I preach.
I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. (1 Corinthians 16:5-7 ESV)
- Paul doesn’t make promises.
- He says he wants to, but doesn’t make a commitment.
- Due to circumstances, Paul wasn’t able to make it back.
- This caused the false teachers to rise-up and try to take advantage.
Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:17-20 ESV)
- Arguing from Greater -to- the Lesser.
- God is faithful – I am faithful
- God always does what he says.
- Just as God doesn’t make commitments lightly – neither do I.
- And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, (2 Corinthians 1:21 ESV)
- When we come to Christ. We are anointed/comissioned for ministry.
- God’s spirit lives in us.
and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:22 ESV)
- His Spirit is a (down payment) on his promise. An engagement ring (beautiful, and symbolic of great things to come).
- God’s Spirit is powerful in our lives now, but also just a taste of Heaven yet to come.
- Because he lives in me, he empowers me to live for him.
3rd He cares about People
But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. (2 Corinthians 1:23-24 ESV)
I knew that if I came back right away, you wouldn’t have the time to process and implement the changes I asked of you.
For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. (2 Corinthians 2:1-4 ESV)
- Paul was accused of being fickle.
- It is easy to see – among people – how easy it is to see the worst
- Choose to believe the best in people – not the worst.
- We don’t know what we don’t know.
- People often pass judgement without all of the facts.
- Only God knows the motivations of people’s hearts.
- Paul’s heart is love for the people.
Exemplified by Paul – Goals for Christians
A. I am who I say I am (Paul).
B. My ministry matches what I say (Paul).
C. I am a Lover of People (Paul).