Study Notes

2Corinthians 6:1-7:16

Last week, we saw that Paul was talking about being born again. New creatures in Christ. From enemies of God to friends of God. From old things to new things. He finished up the chapter by saying,

2Cor. 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God became sin so that we could become righteousness. So Paul continues,

6:1-3 Receiving Grace In Vain

Paul tells them, "Hey, the gospel is not just about a heavenly future, it is about a godly present. Becoming righteous. If you received the grace of God just to save yourself from hell and never walk as that new creation, never living in an acceptable manner to God, then you've received the grace of God in vain.

The Greek word for vain here means "to have nothing" or "to contain nothing." If you aren't living righteously, then you may be saved, but you'll have nothing to show for on the day that you give an account of your life to God. As Paul wrote in 1Corinthians,

1Cor. 3:15 ...he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.

What a waste of a Christian's life. We need to be living a life pleasing to God, working together with Him for His kingdom, not on our own for the kingdom of this world.

The Ministry Discredited

He says, "not giving cause for offense in anything, that the ministry be not discredited." You know, the world loves it when Christians live unrighteously. It gives them ammunition. They love it when a minister commits adultery. They thrive on it when the church treasurer steals from the ministry and is arrested. They revel in famous evangelists that fall into sin.

The book of Romans tells us,

Rom. 2:21-24 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written.

May we give no cause for unbelievers to blaspheme God. There is only one way to live to avoid this:

Titus 2:12-13 ...deny ungodliness and worldly desires and... live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus

If you are living in ungodliness, if you are not denying yourself worldly desires, if your are living like Jesus isn't coming back soon, then you are giving the world more ammunition to rail against Christianity, and to blaspheme against God.

Paul gives us a good blueprint of the way we should be living in the next few verses:

6:4-10 In Everything, Servants

In everything, being servants of God. In good times and in bad times. In joyous times of plenty, in miserable times of poverty. Whether we're being praised or condemned, whether we're being blessed or afflicted, living righteously as servants of Jesus Christ. Giving no cause to anyone, ever, to blaspheme our Lord or speak against His church.

6:11-13 Restrained In Your Own Affections

The Corinthians had a difficult time living righteously. Their hands were tied. Not tied by Paul, but by their own affections. Their affections for the things of this world. Their affections for riches, for power, for pleasure. For being right. For being noticed. For having the best. These things tie your hands - you are restrained from victory in your spiritual walk with God and your ministry to other people. You are binding yourself with these affections.

You can untie yourself at any time, but it involves denying yourself these worldly things that your flesh wants and craves and desires so much. Jesus said,

Matt. 16:24-26 ..."If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

What is your heart bound to today that's worth losing your soul over? Is that new house or that job promotion or that extra bit of power or fame really worth it? Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus.

6:14-16 Bound Together With Unbelievers

We need to be separate from this world. Christian, you have no business dating or being intimate with an non-Christian. It will destroy your effectiveness for God, and very likely will destroy you. If you're planning to marry a non-Christian, going into business with a non-Christian, partnering together in some venture with a non-Christian, it cannot possibly be blessed by God. Impossible.

You see, as a Christian, God is your father. As a non-Christian, the devil is your father. Jesus told the Pharisees,

John 8:42-44 ..."If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? {It is} because you cannot hear My word. You are of {your} father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own {nature;} for he is a liar, and the father of lies.

Christian, if you marry an unbeliever, your father-in-law is going to be Satan himself. Don't even try to explain how this marriage is going to be blessed. If you go into business with an unbeliever, don't even try to tell me that God will be there to bless it, since Satan is a partner in it.

As a Christian, when you venture into any kind of relationship with a non-Christian that involves partnering in any way, you are committing to go it alone. I have never once seen this type of situation end in anything but disaster. Too many times I see unbelievers entering into partnership with unbelievers and the unbeliever doesn't get brought into salvation, but the believer gets dragged down. They stop coming to church, they are consumed with their troubles, they rationalize what they're doing is right, they choke out the voice of God in their hearts, and they fall into a terrible place.

Please, please, please, Christian. I cannot say it any stronger - don't get involved, don't get yoked together, don't be bound in a relationship with someone who knows not Christ.

6:17-18 I Will Be A Father To You

We are to be in this world, but not of this world. The Lord desires intimacy with us. If we will deny our flesh and follow Him, He will be faithful to have a close relationship with us.

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...

He will welcome you as you come out from the world's midst.

7:1 Perfecting Holiness In the Fear Of God

So then, let us walk in righteousness. Not letting either our flesh or our spirit being defiled. Perfecting holiness how? IN the fear of God.

If you're not living a holy life today, it is because of one thing: you don't have a fear of God. Jesus said very clearly in Luke 12,

Luke 12:4-5 "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!"

The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, knowledge, instruction, understanding, that it prolongs life, and is strong confidence. And ultimately,

Prov. 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil...

Fearing God will keep you away from evil. Your strongest defense against the flesh, against evil, against sin, is to fear the Lord. If you fear God, you will live in holiness.

7:2-7 Paul's Situations With The Corinthians

Paul interjects here a word of encouragement to the Corinthians. Saying, "I love you guys, I worry about you guys. I want you to hear what I'm saying about these things."

7:8-12 Godly Sorrow, Worldly Sorrow

There's two kinds of sorrow. As I teach about holiness and denying worldly pleasures, you should get bummed, you should feel uptight. Because none of us here are as self-denying or holy as we should be. But what kind of bummed are you? Are you bummed in a way that you get mad at me, or that you think, "this stuff is impossible"? If so, that kind of sorrow leads to death. But if your sorrow causes you to say, "Lord, I've totally fallen short here, I've blown it, I want to be holy, I want to walk in your ways. Lord, help me" then that is godly sorrow that leads to repentance and salvation.

Two good examples of this are Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot. Both betrayed Jesus Christ. But Peter's sorrow brought him to repentance. Judas' sorrow led to suicide.

7:13-16 The Corinthians' Obedience

Paul is saying, "I'm confident that as you've heard the Word of God, that you'll submit yourself to it and God will have His perfect work effected in your hearts. Everything I've told others about you will prove to be true.

I do the same thing with you guys. I tell people from all over the country how blessed I am to see each of you growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. What a loving and supporting group of people you are, how you care for one another and minister to each other. How you love the Word of God and appropriate it to your lives. What a blessing it is to have that confidence.

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