Holy Living; Fellowship with a Holy God
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 6:3-4a, 6-17; 7:1
James 4:8 says, "Cleanse your hands ... and purify your hearts." James is appealing for outward behavior and inward character that honor God. These are necessary for every minister and layman alike.
The father of a youth basketball player I was coaching asked, "How many ministers do you have at your church?" I responded: "Nine hundred and sixty-one. We have that many resident members, and every member is a minister." The concept surprised him!
What is taught in this passage of scripture applies to every member of the church, whether you are a vocational or lay minister.
• A good example (2 Corinthians 6:3-4a, 6-10)
Paul implores each of us to be a credit to the gospel, causing no one to stumble (6:3). In what Chrysostom calls a "blizzard of troubles" (6:4-5), Paul catalogues his personal experiences through which he demonstrated faithfulness and courage. This catalogue of adversity is expanded in 2 Corinthians 11:23ff. As William Barclay puts it, these included internal conflicts--afflictions, hardships, distresses (6:4); external tribulations--beatings, imprisonments, tumults (6:5); and intense efforts necessary to serve Christ--labors, sleeplessness, hunger (6:5). Paul was a good example through these difficult experiences.
On the positive side, Paul now cites qualities of mind--purity, knowledge, patience (6:6); qualities of heart--kindness, a spirit of holiness, genuine love (6:6); and God-given equipment--word of truth, power of God, weapons of righteousness (6:7) which enabled him not only to endure, but triumph as a good, Christian example. Seven additional contrasts (6:8c-10) reveal the criticism leveled against Paul by his critics and demonstrate Paul had his priorities in order.
• Personal transparency (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)
Paul opened his heart to the Corinth-ians about his personal struggles because he loved them. He tenderly calls them by name, "O Corinthians" (6:11). Whereas Paul might have been reticent to express such personal, intimate things to others, to the Corinthians his "heart is opened wide" (6:11). With personal warmth, Paul is reaching out to the Corinthians who have had difficulty in their faith and is hoping to break down barriers. He is hoping they will warm up enough to reciprocate. Likewise, an act of kindness or gesture of magnanimity on your part may tip the balance for someone in your sphere of influence!
• Warning against compromise (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
It would be a vain reception of the grace of God (6:1) if the Corinthians chose to realign themselves with lawlessness, darkness, Satan, unbelief or anything in opposition to God (6:14-16). This is expressed in five rhetorical questions. Do not associate with what is unclean (6:17). What is unclean? Everything of "flesh and spirit" (7:1) which is contrary to the righteousness of Christ, his word and our being the "temple of the living God" (6:16). Everything that defiles or interferes with the goal of "perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord" (7:1). The promise of holy living results in fellowship with God (6:17-18).
Of course, the kind of separation of which Paul implores does not exclude implementation of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
Mark Bumpus is pastor of First Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas.
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia Carter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost May Jesus Christ Be The Ultimate Treasure We Always Seek by Debbie Harris..
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost Father Who Can We Graciously And Humbly Walk Beside Today Just To Love by Debbie Harris.
- Bryce Johnson just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Bill Reichart published the blogpost 13 Resources For Ministry Leaders Who Struggle with Porn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Expert Reveals Biggest Concern About Youngsters And Social Media.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Half (54%) Of US Teens Think Life Would Be Better Without Social Media.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Roy Lichtenstein's Most Popular Painting is Displayed.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost After Confronting Campus Bully, HS Football Player Gets Suspended.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Conservative Student Is Victim Of ‘Racist Rape Apologist’ Attack Fliers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Yik Yak app Putting Teens Behind Bars, Police Warn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression.
- Andrew Shivers just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost GIVEAWAY: Win a Framed “The Fault in Our Stars” FULL SIZE Movie Poster [Winner Chosen].
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost ‘Boxtrolls:’ Incredible Animation, Charmless Story.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: Dad Lip-Syncs Daughter's Tantrum.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost SOTW: ‘Chasing After The Wind’ by Alan Powell (Free Friday Download).
- Matt Perman published the blogpost The Drive Video: If You Want Engagement, Self-Direction is Better.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: The Unexpected Earl by Philippa Jane Keyworth.
- Shane Blackshear published the blogpost Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost ‘Believe Me': Alum’s thought-provoking film now in theaters.
- Michael Ramsey published the blogpost Stress Kills!!! Here's 3 Ways To Do Something About It.
- Larry Carter published the blogpost How The New Fall TV Season Reminds Me Of The Gospel.
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost 20 Approaches to Battling Depression-Anxiety as Suffering.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Hellion’ is A Wild, Family-Driven Ride Worth Taking.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is Cool, Uncommitted.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost “Kidnapped for Christ” Review: The Terror of Teens.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Pieces Together a Winning Team.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Talking about cancer on WFAA’s ‘Two Chairs’ series.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Get Excited: New ‘Believe Me’ Trailer Validates Everything We Thought.
- solomon david published the blogpost Micromax Canvas Nitro Launched for Rs 12,990 in India.
- solomon david published the blogpost 20 Mobile (iOS, Android) App & Web Prototyping Tools – Part2.