2021-06-27 – 2 Corinthians 12.11-21 – Be Spent For Christ
2021-06-27 – 2 Corinthians 12.11-21 – Be Spent For Christ
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.
We are finishing up our sermon study through the letter-book of Second Corinthians. This journey that the apostle Paul has taken us on, has been riddled with adversity, joy, and life lessons that I hope we all have taken to heart and have grown in spirit and knowledge of our Lord’s will, way and purpose. I know I personally have benefited from Paul’s council to the Corinth church believers, as we too in this church have endeavored to navigate some treacherous waters ourselves over the past year. I would argue that this has been most timely council indeed.
In our last message from the first part of this chapter twelve, Paul wrote about a figurative “thorn in his side” and some of the challenges that he faced personally. He concluded with that most poignant proclamation starting at verse 9 saying, [SLIDE] “Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. Isn’t that just awesome? That is a declaration that I most surely would like to emulate, how about you?
Please turn now to 2 Corinthians 12:11, page 1029 in your pew Bibles, which we call God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word. Prayer..
I will remind you that in the previous verses, Paul said as Christ followers it was foolish for us to boast about any of our own accomplishments or abilities. Because all we are, and all we can do, is attributed to God’s power, provision, grace and mercy. Yet, because he was “backed into a corner” by some, Paul felt it necessary to boast a little so as to justify to Corinth church believers, his actions and his purpose. Now starting at verse 11 Paul wrote:
11 I have been a fool; you forced it on me. You ought to have commended me, since I am not in any way inferior to those “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of an apostle were performed with unfailing endurance among you, including signs and wonders and miracles. [SLIDE]
13 So in what way are you worse off than the other churches, except that I personally did not burden you? Forgive me for this wrong!
Again, Paul conveys here that he relented, and felt he had no choice but to boast a little about his accomplishments and credentials in order to satisfy their enquiries and to regain their trust. Paul reminds them of the “Signs, Wonders and Miracles” he performed for God while he was in their presence. These are things that God especially blessed those apostles and missionaries to perform for the purpose of establishing and growing the new churches. Sometimes, we too need to be reminded of the things that God had done through us and for us as well. God is working all around us all the time. And His ways are amazing, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see Him working in miraculous ways for His purpose and glory. I have seen myself many Signs, Wonders and Miracles since I accepted God’s calling on my life. I have no doubt that God is walking with me. It brings me such joy to really know that I am not alone. That I am walking in the steps that He laid out for me to follow. I pray that you too get to realize God’s presence in your life’s journey. In that I promise, you will be blessed.
I would easily argue that in this church over the past few years, we have seen God step-in and do many miraculous things that has cause this church to effectively turn-around and prosper faster and better than any of us could have ever imagined. There were many activities and connections made here that we had not even thought about, that I give God all the credit for that helped make this church a healthy body and a contributing member in this community. God was at work with Paul and through Paul in Corinth, and God is at work with us and through us here in Orion, Amen? The key to success in all this, is that we have to continue to open our eyes and our hearts to see how the Holy Spirit is leading us, and then step into that dynamic. And in that we will be blessed indeed
In these verses here, Paul again reminded them, that he purposely endeavored to not be a burden while he was with them in Corinth. Although he would normally be entitled to compensation and provisions, Paul knew that those new Christians were looking for indicators of his legitimacy, and he didn’t want to give them any doubt of his intentions to truly just be a shepherd and minister to them with no strings attached. Paul had a beautiful servant-leader and shepherds’ heart. If you want to be a true Christian leader, then you must choose to adopt that standard.
Paul continues in that reasoning in the next verses.
14 Look, I am ready to come to you this third time. I will not burden you, since I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children ought not save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
Paul considered the Corinthian church believers to be his spiritual children, and he again reassures them that he didn’t want to be a burden to them. He makes it clear that he doesn’t want their stuff or their money, but he instead wanted them, meaning their love and commitment. That same intent should also be applied to our relationships with our own spiritual children, let alone our biological children. Ideally, the parents should endeavor not be a burden to the children. Instead, the parents should want to be a blessing to the children, and even the children’s’ children. Throughout the bible it explicitly conveys that the family is responsible for the care and provisions of their own family members. That applies to both the church family but even more so to the God ordained biological family members. According to scripture, the government is only supposed to be the backup plan for any family support or care. The primary caretakers are the other family members. That is clearly God’s design. Again, we should strive not to be a burden, and we need to be looking after one other, especially our own.
I love this next verse 15, and it is the root of this whole message today. Paul wrote: 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for you.
That is an amazing verse. Paul, being the spiritual father, was gladly willing to “spend and be spent” for them. During our Bible Camp last week, I would guess that most all the camp leaders were completely “spent” for the youth campers that attended. After just the first day, Jeremiah and I were struggling to even speak because we lost our voices due to the excitement and energy expressed. And when we got finished, it took us a few days to recover. [SLIDE]
We were truly spent. And what a joy it was to part of that amazing effort. God was with us, that I have no doubt, and as a result a few accepted the Lord and a few recommitted their lives to Christ. Isn’t that just wonderful? But as we continue to “grow and go” for the Lord in this church effort, I expect that we are going to have more opportunities like VBS coming up to “spend and be spent” for the purposes of Christ, are you with me in this? [SLIDE]
Paul continues in this verse 15.. He wrote:
If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 Now granted, I did not burden you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit! 17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those I sent you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him.
Titus didn’t take advantage of you, did he? Didn’t we walk in the same spirit and in the same footsteps?
As a reminder you should know that the Corinthian church was really causing Paul much grief. In the First Corinthian letter we saw that they questioned Paul’s legitimacy and his intent. But even in the face of that adversity, Paul was a tried and true servant of the Lord. I will tell you it is tough to work for folks who don’t appreciate you. Have you ever been there? It is tough to work for folks that are slinging arrows at you and seeking out ways to put you down maybe even humiliate you as you are trying to earn your keep. If you are in that predicament now, I grieve for you. I know that it isn’t easy, I have been there myself. And if you are a supervisor or manager, I also pray that you don’t foster that kind of environment and that are not one of them that are doing the slinging. Let me remind you though that as Christians our ultimate boss is our Father God, and He is watching. I like what is written in Colossians 3:23-24. It says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving”. Paul emulated that idea, and we should endeavor to do likewise. It may not be easy, it may even be grueling in some ways but we serve the Lord. He is a mighty God, and He loves you so.
19 Have you been thinking all along that we were defending ourselves to you? No, in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and you may not find me to be what you want. [SLIDE]
Perhaps there will be quarreling, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the moral impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality they practiced.
This last section here sounds pretty bleak doesn’t it? You should understand that in Paul’s day, he was seeing moral destitute all around him. He really was unappreciated, ridiculed, taken advantage of, and even persecuted for his faith. Jesus told him and us that it was going to be this way. In John 15:18-25, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”.
Paul lived that verse, and sometimes we all as Christians should expect to have to endure hardship and even persecution for our faith as well. But take heart in that we know that God is still on His thrown, that Jesus paved a way for us to be with Him in heaven, and in the end, we will be in paradise with Him. But until then dear Christian, we got to keep keeping on. Like Paul we should all be willing to “be spent” for the purposes of the Gospel. We should all be willing to “be spent” for the cause of Christ.
Like Paul, you may not feel appreciated sometimes, you may be ridiculed, you may be even persecuted for your faith, but I promise you it will be worth it in the end. Keep keeping on dear Christian. In this church I hope you know that I appreciate you. I know what it takes to keep this church functioning let alone thriving, and it is a lot of work. It takes dedicated servants that live for the Lord. People who are willing to get dirty. People that are willing to do the hard work of ministry. People who are willing to be spent for the cause of Christ.
But Jesus set the pace for us. Jesus demonstrated what it means to be a true servant of God. Jesus even washed the apostle’s feet. Jesus, while he was being ridiculed, despised, beaten and even persecuted, He looked up to heaven while on the cross, and said “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. The “they” in that comment from Jesus, is really us. We are the ones that Jesus died for. We are the reason that Jesus put up with all that and put Himself on the cross so that we might be saved. Jesus accepted all my sin, and He who had no sin, took my sin on the cross and paid the price for the penalty of what I did and what I continue to do that is sinful.
Paul mentions here all the many sins that he expects he will see in Corinth. Those same sins are here in Orion too. As a matter of fact, I would sadly dare say, that many of those same sins might be present here in this church family sometimes too. That is just the truth of the matter. We will always be sinners and that is why we will always need a Savior. Thank you God for Your amazing grace and mercy.
Paul mentions here, “quarreling, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder”. He also mentions the “moral impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality they practiced”. I am sure it hurt him to write those words, and it also hurts me to suggest that we also might struggle with the same. Let us be real here, I know with the size of this wonderful and growing congregation that some of those same sin struggles probably exist here to.
Let us again repent from these sins brothers and sisters, and let us ask God to forgive us. For the sake of Christ, let us endeavor to get our lives right with the Lord. Let us honor the sacrifices of Christ, and show God our appreciation for His amazing love, His amazing grace and forgiveness.
[SLIDE] In closing may I suggest, that like Paul, we too should continue to endeavor to “Be Spent For Christ”. However in that effort, let us all be reminded what he wrote in Philippians 4:13 (which also makes a great memory verse), that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. And in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 Paul also wrote, “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory”.
“Be Spent For Christ” dear brothers and sisters, for He is most worthy, indeed.
Would you please stand now and let us close with prayer
God be with you all.