2 Corinthians chapter 6

We invest ourselves in the ministry of reconciling people to God. The resume of an authentic apostle is not what we would imagine. Be holy. [UPDATED]

 


 

OUR MINISTRY OF RECONCILING PEOPLE TO GOD, CONTINUED

 

VERSE 1. Working together, we entreat also that you do not receive the grace of God in vain,

not receive the grace of God in vain. Some people receive great outpourings of God’s grace. But they do anything about it. So the grace of God was in vain.

 

VERSE 2. for he says, “At an acceptable time I listened to you. In a day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.

now is the day of salvation. The time to do something about God’s grace is today. Don’t put it off to tomorrow, or it might go away.

Isaiah 46:13. For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now! I am ready to save Jerusalem and show my glory to Israel. (NLT translation)

 

THE RESUME OF AN AUTHENTIC APOSTLE

SUMMARY: The believers in Corinth thought that being a church leader meant prestige and influence, power and wealth. Paul tells them it means none of those things.

Be sure to check out these great parallel passages:

 

VERSE 3. We give no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our service may not be blamed,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

We give no occasion of stumbling in anything. The apostles went out of their way to not do things that people would complain about.

 

VERSE 4. but in everything commending ourselves, as servants of God, in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

servants of God. The things they did were consistent with their identity as anthentic apostles. In the verses that follow, Paul lists those deeds.

In our day, Christian leaders are often thought of as pillars of the community. Most are highly respected and admired. But authentic apostles only boast of things such as Paul describes in the verses that follow.

afflictions. Authentic apostles face constant trouble.

hardships. Authentic apostles are familiar with hardship. Firsthand. Theirs is not a life of abundance or luxury.

distresses. There is always some great distress in the life of an authentic apostle.

 

VERSE 5. in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

beatings. An authentic apostle will probably be beaten by an angry crowd.

imprisonments. An authentic apostle is NOT a respected pillar of the community. Rather, he is likely to be arrested and land in prison.

riots. When an authentic apostle arrives in town, people will not be cheering and throwing palm branches in the streets. Rather, they will be shouting and throwing fists and rioting.

labors. Authentic apostles work hard. This is true of their apostolic ministry. And in Paul’s case, it was sometimes true of how he made a living.

Sometimes he earned an income by making tents, even though it was his right to receive financial support from those who benefitted from his ministry.

watchings. That is, sleepless nights. An authentic apostle has those. Why?

  • Perhaps they are having an all-night prayer vigil.
  • Or perhaps it is due to the difficulties of their ministry.
  • Or perhaps it is due to their working through the night.
  • Or perhaps the hard knocks of ministry have damaged their health.

fastings. An authentic apostle fasts. It might be a voluntary fast. Or perhaps they are not able to buy food. In any case, fasting is an important part of the authentic spiritual life.

 

VERSE 6. in pureness, in knowledge, in perseverance, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

pureness. Authentic apostles have pure hearts. They are not figureheads or executives or politicians.

knowledge. What authentic apostles preach stems from their firsthand knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Jesus and the Bible are not mere philosophical notions for them, but rather the basis of their whole lives.

perseverance. Authentic apostles keep at it. They do not give up easily.

kindness. Authentic apostles are actually kind.

in the Holy Spirit. Authentic apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit.

in sincere love. People feel loved when they are in the presence of an authentic apostle.

 

VERSE 7. in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

the word of truth. An authentic apostle knows the Bible. Firsthand.

in the power of God. The Lord Jesus told the religious leaders they were in error because they did not know the Scriptures nor the POWER of God. Do you know the POWER of God? Read more »

the armor of righteousness. Paul describes the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. Wear armor for spiritual warfare.

 

VERSE 8. by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

glory and dishonor. In the life of an authentic apostle, sometimes there is glory and celebration and success. At other times, there is dishonor and lamentation and failure.

The authentic apostle is not particularly motivated by success or failure. Instead, the goal is to serve Jesus Christ.

evil report and good report. People spread all sorts of rumors about authentic apostles. The rumor might be a good one, rooted in truth. Or it might be a bad one, rooted in lies and evil.

as deceivers, and yet true. An authentic apostle does not live his life in service of self and greed. For that reason, he is an enigma to people. They cannot understand him, and so they distrust him.

 

VERSE 9. as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed;

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

as unknown, and yet well known. People distance themselves from people they do not like. “I don’t even know him,” they say.

That is called distancing language. Many people distance themselves from an authentic apostle.

as dying, and behold, we live. People act as though an authentic apostle has died. That enables them to ignore what he told them.

Such people are very surprised when they hear some news about the authentic apostle. “He’s still alive?”

as punished, and not killed. Authentic apostles are often punished by society. They experience beatings and imprisonments. Some are executed.

 

VERSE 10. as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. There are many sorrows in the life of an authentic apostle. Yet they are always rejoicing.

poor, yet making many rich. An authentic apostle is probably quite poor. Yet his ministry enriches the lives of many people.

having nothing, and yet possessing all things. Even though an authentic apostle is probably quite poor, he does not live a greedy life. He feels he has all the riches he will ever need.

 

BE HOLY

 

VERSE 11. Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians. Our heart is enlarged.

 

VERSE 12. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.

 

VERSE 13. Now in return, I speak as to my children: you also open your hearts.

 

VERSE 14. Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship do righteousness and iniquity have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?

unequally yoked. Some people say Christians should not get married to non-Christians.

 

VERSE 15. What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what portion does a believer have with an unbeliever?

 

VERSE 16. What agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Even as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk in them. I will be their God and they will be my people.”

 

VERSE 17. Therefore “ ‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from Second Corinthians.

be separate. We are to separate ourselves from evil. We still love the people in the society. We just don’t take part in the evil.

However, Christians often get this backwards. Prominent Christians in the United States, for example, owned slaves. They did not separate themselves from that evil institution.

Isaiah 52:11. Depart! Depart! Go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Go out from among her! Cleanse yourselves, you who carry the LORD’s vessels.

2 Corinthians 6:17. Therefore “‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you.”

Revelation 18:4. I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don’t receive of her plagues,

 

VERSE 18. I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

 


next chapter »

« previous chapter


2 CORINTHIANS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13

RESOURCES: SummaryOutline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.