2021-03-28 – 2 Corinthians 6:3-18 – God Is With Us
2021-03-28 – 2 Corinthians 6:3-18 – God Is With Us
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Happy Palm Sunday to you. This is a special Christian holy day (or holiday) that proceeds Easter, and it effectively kicks off what we call Holy Week. On this day we remember and celebrate when Jesus entered into Jerusalem as our King. In front of this church, out on the cross this morning you may have noticed we have a purple cloth draped over the cross which is in observance of this Holy event. Then this Friday, we will change the cloth color to black for which we will recognize Jesus’s crucificition on the cross at Calvary. Finally, next Sunday we will change the cloth color to white in honor of the fact that Jesus rose from that grave three days later and defeated satan and death for all eternity. The white cloth represents the hope we now have in Jesus as our Lord, Savior and King going forward. I hope today’s Palm Sunday observance and this holy week ahead reminds you again about all that Jesus has done for you, and how much God really, really loves you. So maybe you can say with me now, “Thank You Jesus!”
Please turn now to 2 Corinthians 6:3, page 1026 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
Last week we read from the previous chapter five of this letter-book from the Apostle Paul to the church members in Corinth. In summary, the apostle Paul exclaimed how God so much loves and adores us. The key verse in my opinion was where he wrote, “For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.” Again, since Jesus died for us, we now live for Him. And that is why we now recognize and celebrate each year this Holy Week event.
As we have been reading through this Second Corinthians letter, I actually considered if I should put off this this next chapter six, however after reading through the text a number of times, I discovered that it actually complements well that Palm Sunday event. In our text today, starting at verse 3 we will first see Paul attempting to justify himself and the other missionaries’ character, and giving credence to their cause. He is appealing to them by explaining that everything they are doing was for the case of Christ and saving souls.
How does that old saying go, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Verse 3 reads:
3 We are not giving anyone an occasion for offense, so that the ministry will not be blamed. 4 Instead, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything: by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardships, by difficulties, 5 by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, 6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God; through weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, [SLIDE]
8 through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report; regarded as deceivers, yet true; 9 as unknown, yet recognized; as dying, yet see—we live; as being disciplined, yet not killed; 10 as grieving, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet enriching many; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. 11 We have spoken openly to you Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 I speak as to my children; as a proper response, open your heart to us.
I hope you can see in this that Paul is pleading with them and giving them a reason to trust that his intentions are true and his motives are right. Paul cares deeply for his spiritual children and thus is concerned for their spiritual health.
Next, we are going to see Paul attempting to advise them, that as Christians they should be careful and guard their heart. That although they are in the world, they are not of the world. I remember telling my own children the same thing many times through the years. As Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Bad company corrupts good character.” We can safely assume that this was a problem for the Corinth believers, as that that church was nestled in the middle of a very Greek influenced area, for which they had many Greek gods and idols. Effectively they were in the armpit of idolatry and it was a big temptation for them. In verse 14 here Paul writes to them like a father would warn his children:
14 Do not be yoked together with those who do not believe. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, as God said: [SLIDE]
I will dwell and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. 17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. 18 And I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.
So in this, Paul gets down to the heart of the matter. He is reminding them that because of Jesus, God is with us. And that is the title of this sermon message today, God Is With Us. Our God isn’t a disconnected god who doesn’t care. God was with us then, and He is with us now here today. You may recall that one of Jesus’ titles is “Immanuel,” which literally means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
This quote that Paul gives here at the end of these verses, it is actually a quote from the books of Isaiah and Leviticus. In Leviticus 26:12 God told Moses to write, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people”. Moses wrote that more than a thousand years before Jesus even stepped His Holy foot on the earth as a babe in the manger. Jesus really is God incarnate, Jesus is our Holy God that came in the flesh so that we could know Him as God intimately.
On this Palm Sunday, we must recognize Jesus’s Majesty. We must recognize and celebrate again what Jesus did for us when He dwelled amongst us. This was no accident or happenstance. This was God’s plan all along so that we can now know Him, and we can be saved by Him, and so we can now worship Him. And with that understanding, we now have a perfect transition opportunity to reflect upon again what actually happened on that first Palm Sunday account as is recorded in Matthew 21, page 875 of the pew Bibles.
What follows now is His-Story: At this point Jesus had become somewhat of a celebrity among people who had heard of the many miracles He had done. They wanted to see Jesus in person and they wanted to honor Him like an incoming king. But little did they realize, Jesus wasn’t intending to be their “local king”.
He was instead stepping into His Holy role, and offering Himself up as their Messiah, Savior and Lord
Starting at verse 1, the text reads:
1 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, 2 telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them at once.”
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: [SLIDE] 5 Tell Daughter Zion, “See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt; then they laid their clothes on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted: [SLIDE]
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name
of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! 10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” [pause]
So reads the account of that first Palm Sunday event. Little did they know who it really was that they welcoming into the city of Jerusalem that day. When the people shouted “Hosanna!” they were hailing Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. Interesting to note that the word Hosanna literally means “save now”.
One might think that is a strange way to welcome a king, but we must understand that the Jews were looking for a mighty deliverer who could perhaps free them from Rome’s control. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, they expected the conquering Christ who would restore political power to the Jewish people and then set up His kingdom there, but that is not at all what they got. They thought they would crown Him king, but Jesus knew they would instead crucify him in just few days later.
I find it amazing also that the Old Testament the Profit Zechariah 9:9 wrote,
“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt”. And that is exactly how it all happened.
I found this rendering of Jesus’s Triumphal Entry that I thought you might enjoy. Now, in honor of that first Palm Sunday, Christians all over the world today are waving Palm branches as a tribute to Jesus. Palm trees are abundant in the land of Israel and are mentioned throughout the Old Testament pertaining to important historical moments, starting from when God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
I visited Israel a couple years ago and I was amazed at how beautiful and numerous the Palm tree farms are there. Here is a photo of one of their farms. These Palm trees produce a fruit called Dates. And Dates are a wonderful superfruit, not only for their taste but also for their nutritional value.
So, they waved the Palm branches for the kings of yesteryears. They waved the Palm branches for Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. And we wave them for Him here today. But that isn’t the end of the story. In Revelation 7:9-10 the apostle John wrote about our heavenly future in this regard. He said “After this I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
As you can see, we have a bright future with Christ to look forward to, and these Palm branches have meaning brothers and sisters. We actually had a difficult time getting these Palm branches this year because of Covid. But Ms. Amy is diligent and she got it done. So, wave your Palms for Jesus today dear church family. Let the world know that you Jesus is alive and He loves them so much.
We have so much to be grateful for in this Holy week of remembrance. However, we must also realize the enemy satan is going to do everything he can to try and distract us away from the true meaning of what this Holy Week is intended to mean. But don’t let him win dear Christian. In this Holy Week, may God direct our thoughts and attention towards what matters most, That Jesus Christ is our King now and forever. Let us choose again to focus on worshipping Him during this Holy Week ahead in both word and in deed. Thanking Jesus for the gift of His sacrifice, celebrating the power of His resurrection, and living a life that reflects our belief in His majesty. Thanks be to God for His Amazing grace and His gift of salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen?
In conclusion I will add, as the crowds shouted Hosanna or “save us” that day, maybe somebody you know is also shouting inside themselves Hosanna “save me” as well. This is the perfect opportunity for us to share God’s love to the world. For that is why Jesus came to us in the first place. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. But God doesn’t force anyone to accept His saving grace. He offers heaven for all who choose to believe in His Son Jesus and accept Him as their Messiah Savior and Lord.
Maybe today is that day, to let go and let God take over. Our Bible says that the angels in heaven celebrate when a person makes that decision. In Luke 15:10 Jesus said, “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” If you haven’t made that decision yet, maybe today is that day.
Let us all now stand together in prayer.
Father God loves you so. I hope you know that.