Episode #155. Today we’ll read 2 Corinthians chapter 6 together. Paul describes the character of his ministry and what is meant by being separated to God.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #155. Today we’ll read 2nd Corinthians chapter 6 together: Paul describes the character of his ministry and what is meant by being separated to God.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
My pastor, Hans Frei, preached on the Armor of God, from the sixth chapter of Ephesians. (I promise we’ll talk more about it when we read Ephesians together two books from now.) As usual, I came away with the desire to examine myself and my habits. God has gifted Hans with this wonderful perspective – so honest, so down to earth. It’s what attracted me to Lake Don Pedro Baptist and captivated me to stay these last 17 years.
I can pretty much wager that he will always analyze a Scripture from an angle that I have never considered before. This one was no exception. As an example, he suggested that we don’t put on that armor every day solely for our own protection. Just as ancient armies mustered in rows and each row would hold up their shields to protect the row behind them, we too are fighting the fight for the good of our neighbor behind us. I loved that word picture and it motivates me to show up in battle array even on the days when I might not do it for my own defense.
Knowing the Word of God
But the moment I wanted to jump up and shout ‘Hallelujah” was when he got to the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Now, Hans is no Mary Poppins…he doesn’t usually dose us with a spoonful of sugar when he lays truth on us. At the same time, he doesn’t jump up and down and pound the podium either…we don’t go away feeling beat up. You can tell, however, when he is being no-nonsense serious.
He said, in no uncertain terms, that we need to know what the Word of God says. Considering we Americans can lay our hands on myriad translations of the Bible and have multiple media on which to consume it, we are without excuse. Amen!
You all know that I come to this microphone day in and day out because I believe the exact same thing. I understand it’s not always easy. I understand that we are busy. But short of receiving Christ’s free gift of grace, there is no knowledge that is more important.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook or Instagram.
2 Corinthians Chapter 6
Working together with him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.” For he says:
At an acceptable time I listened to you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.
See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!
The Character of Paul’s Ministry
We are not giving anyone an occasion for offense, so that the ministry will not be blamed. Instead, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything: by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardships, by difficulties, by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God; through weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report; regarded as deceivers, yet true; as unknown, yet recognized; as dying, yet see — we live; as being disciplined, yet not killed; as grieving, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet enriching many; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
We have spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. I speak as to my children; as a proper response, open your heart to us.
Separation to God
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? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, as God said:
I will dwell
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
Therefore, come out from among them
and be separate, says the Lord;
do not touch any unclean thing,
and I will welcome you.
And I will be a Father to you,
and you will be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.
Okay, we all know that sin is what separates us from God, but beginning in verse 14, Paul explains how we are separated to God.
It’s easy to see from this passage that we are not to look like the world, nor are we to be in partnership with it. There is a strength and a discipline required to do that, isn’t there? Getting along and going along has a strong allure to what we think we want – acceptance from the world.
But as mature Christians, we know that our only desire for acceptance should be for God’s. All one needs to do is read through Paul’s description of the characteristics of his ministry in the first half of this chapter. It in no way resembles the things we usually desire or the outcomes we usually chase after.
I praise God that our time here on earth is short, especially when compared to eternity. I’m not sure I could hold up for hundreds of years. Again, I draw encouragement from Philippians 1:6 which says, I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Thank You for that promise, Jesus. I just could not do this without You. Let’s pray.
Dear Lord, we are weak and undisciplined sometimes; please forgive us for that. I pray, Father, that You would give us that singular vision that You gave Paul. Relieve us of our distractions, especially those that draw us to this world and its evil desires. Shape us into the followers You want us to be. Help us, Lord, not to be yoked with unbelievers. Compassionate toward them, yes! Available to them with Your truth, yes! But in no way connected that would harm our witness or to grieve Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that we can come to You, and ask, and receive, the help we need. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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