Week Commencing 23rd September 2018
Notes for next Sunday’s sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:11-14, “Reverence”
Staring 14 Oct: in three sermons and two seminars Kevin Simington will address these vital issues:
|Three Sunday talks – all services
14 Oct Where’s all the evidence?
21 Oct Why aren’t you more obvious?
28 Oct Hasn’t science disproven you?
|Two Wednesday night seminars
7.15pm-8.30pm – Tewantin site
17 Oct Why didn’t you stop the abuse?
24 Oct Why don’t you end all the suffering?
So, in our current series, we’re asking the important question: why invite others to hear about Jesus?
2 Corinthians 5:11-14
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
DAY 1: Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-15
What drove Paul to live life as a radical revolutionary for Jesus? There are two answers in this passage. One we’ll spend this week looking at, and one we’ll spend next week looking at. This week – ‘fear’ – or what I’ve called ‘reverence’ and next week – ‘love’.
Now context is always critical, so I need to ask you to look back at vv1-10 – especially vv6-10 if you’re pushed for time. Paul reminds us in v10, that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done in the body, whether good or bad. Beyond history, at the great resurrection, there will be a compulsory meeting before God. The test that will take place there, will not determine whether or not we will share eternity with God. The matter is already settled for every believer. Our price is paid, we are declared ‘righteous’ or ‘justified’ i.e., treated just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned. We saw this in our 2 Samuel series.
So what will be under judgment by the test we undergo when we stand before the Father? We struggle with this because the Bible is not entirely clear. But it will be along the lines of what we have done with the resources and opportunities we’ve been given. Do you recall Jesus’ parable of the minas in Luke 19:12-27 or Matthew 25:14-30? Or do you recall Paul describing in 1 Corinthians 3 that some build in God’s ‘building’ with gold, silver or costly stones, while others only with wood, hay or straw? Some Christians will go ‘all out’ for Jesus! Nothing will stop them or distract them from serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Other Christians will sadly, give God the leftovers of their life, only fitting him in when they can. We will answer for what we have done with the time, resources, gifts and opportunities we have been given.
Perhaps today you’ll ask yourself the question, “am I loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength and mind”? Are you using well all that God has given you – in his service and for his glory?
DAY 2: Read 2 Corinthians 5:11
Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. That is, because (as we saw in the previous day’s comments) we know that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ – because we know what it is to fear the Lord – to revere the Lord – to take him seriously – we try to persuade others.
It isn’t that Paul was terrified or afraid, as we commonly use the words, but rather that he was awed by the thought of standing before a Being so holy, so morally superior and so removed from evil! In God’s presence all human boasting, all human pride, and all human arrogance will vanish! With speechless humility, we will stand before God with trembling lips and give a full account of our life. Such revering of the Lord drove Paul to persuade others that Jesus is the Lord of all and the promised Messiah. (Luke uses the same word ‘persuade’ several times in the book of Acts to describe Paul’s evangelising activities – cf Acts 17:4; 18:4; 19:8, 26; 26:28; 28:23).
Do you fear the Lord? Are you clear in your mind that you will one day give an account of your life before him? Do you have a sense of what a moment that will be? And do you have clarity about the fact our friends and loved ones who do not know Jesus will be in very serious trouble if they still don’t know him when Jesus returns? That sense of reverence of who God is, ought to drive us to persuade others, so that they, with us, will escape hell! And our reverence of God ought to be that we long to live a life worthy of the calling we have received and well pleasing to God.
DAY 3: Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Paul writes to the Christians in Thessalonica to assure them that the Lord is with them during their trials. He boasts to other churches about the perseverance and faith of the Thessalonians, especially in the face of their ‘persecution and trials’ v4.
He wants to remind them in the face of their persecutions, that God is just and will pay back trouble to those who trouble them. He will also give relief to you who are troubled. When will this happen? When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. So they (and we) will have to wait for justice, but it will come!
But God’s justice is a two-edged sword. It also means that God will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. It means that such people will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified.
We need to allow this to sink in. I’m sure you know many people – some who may be close to you – who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. The sobering reality is that they will not spend eternity with us in God’s new heavens and new earth but rather be shut out from his presence.
Surely, this reality, ought to mean we have a strong desire to persuade them about the reality of who Jesus is and persuade them to repent and believe the good news. This is something of what Paul means in 2 Corinthians 5:11 : Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.
DAY 4: Read Acts 18:1-16
I want us to note from this passage, how Paul was at work to persuade people. Interesting word ‘persuade’. It is defined as “induce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument”; “cause (someone) to believe something, especially after a sustained effort; convince”, “(of a situation or event) provide a sound reason for (someone) to do something.” So it means more than just sharing with someone about Jesus. It means more than merely inviting someone along to hear a talk at church!
Not all of us are gifted evangelists. And yet, I think most us are motived to persuade others if we feel sufficiently strongly about something. So for example, if you feel strongly about the dangers of skin cancer, you will persuade family member to ‘slip, slop, slap’. If you feel strongly about the environment, you might persuade someone close about the need to recycle. If you feel strongly about abortion, you may have written to your state member, persuading them to vote against current legislation. If you feel strongly about a show you’ve loved on television, you may try to persuade a relative or friend to tune in. We use our powers of persuasion in all sorts of ways.
Friends if you really believe that Jesus is who he said he was, that God loves us so much that he turned up here on planet earth to reveal himself; if you really believe that Jesus conquered evil and the evil one at the cross and by his resurrection; if you believe that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life; then you will at some stage, have a desire to persuade others about Jesus! We see in this passage, that Paul tried to persuade both Jews and Greeks (v4) that Jesus was the Messiah (v5). Yes, he was particularly called to this ministry as an apostle, but every Christian, if convinced of the gospel and convicted that those who do not know or love Jesus will not spend eternity with him, will sooner or later, work to persuade others! Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.