Sunday, April 24, 2016

2 Corinthians 2.14-3.3 160424PM@ Tulsa Bible Church / sermon notes

A.  Book overview
1-7  Defense of New Covenant Ministry
8-9 How They Should Respond
10-13  Personal Defense of Paul’s Ministry
B.  Passage context
1. Criticized for inadequacy in ministry.  –NICNT
2.  This section is a parenthesis.  Read 2.12-13  then skip to 7:5-7.  This begins a parenthesis that he uses to explain and defend his ministry.
He speaks of the nature of his ministry.  
It is easy for me to think of Paul as this larger than life figure.  He ran a big, smooth operation sending pastors back and forth building big successful churches.  He was a strong and engaging personality, august and dynamic.
In reality his plans were always changing, and he was likely as not to show up all beat up.  He had some kind of medical issue with his eye(s).  His reputation for alleged scandals and being a troublemaker followed him everywhere.  He worked at a blue collar job and arrived at meetings tired and smelly.  He also delivered some “hard preaching” on unpleasant subjects, and people were known to fall asleep while he preached.
Four metaphors for Christian ministry
I. Triumphal Procession
·       Contrast of Paul’s recent frustrations in ministry
The circumstances were not comfortable, and Paul could not explain the detours and disappointments, but he was sure God was in control.”  --Wiersbe
Despite all the difficulties of his mission Paul is able to say, But thanks be to God…  --Kruse
·       The picture of the Triumph Parade
Jesus Christ, our great Commander in Chief, came to foreign soil (this earth) and completely defeated the enemy (Satan).Jesus Christ claimed the spoils of battle—lost souls who had been in bondage to sin and Satan (Luke 11:14-22; Eph. 4:8; Col. 2:15)
“The highest honour which could be given to a victorious Roman general was a Triumph. To attain it he must satisfy certain conditions. He must
1.     have been the actual commander-in-chief in the field.
2.     The campaign must have been completely finished,
3.     the region pacified and the victorious troops brought home.
4.     Five thousand of the enemy at least must have fallen in one engagement.
5.     A positive extension of territory must have been gained, and not merely a disaster retrieved or an attack repelled.
6.     And the victory must have been won over a foreign foe and not in a civil war.

In a Triumph the procession of the victorious general marched through the streets of Rome to the Capitol in the following order.
1.     First came the state officials and the senate.
2.     Then came the trumpeters.
3.     Then were carried the spoils taken from the conquered land. For instance, when Titus conquered Jerusalem, the seven-branched candlestick, the golden table of the shew-bread and the golden trumpets were carried through the streets of Rome.
4.     Then came pictures of the conquered land and models of conquered citadels and ships.
5.     There followed the white bull for the sacrifice which would be made.
6.     Then there walked the captive princes, leaders and generals in chains, shortly to be flung into prison and in all probability almost immediately to be executed.
7.     Then came the lictors [bodyguards] bearing their rods,
8.     followed by the musicians with their lyres;
9.     then the priests swinging their censers with the sweet-smelling incense burning in them.
10.  After that came the general himself. He stood in a chariot drawn by four horses. He was clad in a purple tunic embroidered with golden palm leaves, and over it a purple toga marked out with golden stars. In his hand he held an ivory sceptre with the Roman eagle at its top, and over his head a slave held the crown of Jupiter.
11.  After him rode his family; and
12.  finally came the army wearing all their decorations and shouting Io triumphs! their cry of triumph.
As the procession moved through the streets, all decorated and garlanded, amid the cheering crowds, it made a tremendous day which might happen only once in a lifetime.”  --William Barclay
·       always leads us in triumph…  When Christ was on the cross paying for our sins and defeating Satan, it looked like He was washed up and done.  However, on the spiritual side Satan was “getting his head handed to him.”  So it is with us.  Sometimes the toughest times are the most victorious and productive spiritually.

II. Fragrance
·       Cultural context:  The priests in the triumphal procession would have incense they were burning.  The smell of the incense was a vivid sensory part of the victory celebration.
·       1.  We are a fragrance
odor as a figure of speech for spreading the knowledge of God through proclamation of the gospel concerning Christ.”  Gundry
in every place
·       2.  Two effects of that aroma…  Paul’s switching from “fragrance” back to “odor” takes account of the disbelief of those who are perishing.  --Gundry
·       3.  “Who is sufficient..?”
“When Paul thinks of the greatness of God’s plan, he wonders if anyone is sufficient to ply a roll in it.”  --David Guzik
·       And who is sufficient for these things?  Answered in 3:5  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God…
·       The message of the gospel is life to some and a message of condemnation to those who reject it (John 3:17-21)
·       How fragrant are you?
·       Are you fragrant everywhere?
III. Peddlers
·       Καπηλεύω G2585 - kapēleuō: to engage in retail business, with the implication of deceptiveness and greedy motives—‘to peddle for profit, to huckster.[1]Application to teachers
·       The word peddling has the idea of “adulterating” or “watering down” for gain, and was used especially used of a wine seller who watered down the wine for bigger profits.  Paul was not like others who watered down the Gospel for gain.”  David Guzik
·       “religious racketeers”  --Wiersbe
·       Sincere  εἱλικρινής G1505 - eilikrineia  (lit. to judge in the light) derives from εἵλη (ἁλέα, ἥλιος), meaning “warmth or light of the sun,” and κρίνω, so that the full sense is “tested by the light of the sun,” “completely pure,” “spotless.”[2]
·       1.12
IV.  Letters of Recommendation
1.  Cultural connection
·       “Behind this passage lies the thought of a custom which was common in the ancient world, that of sending letters of commendation with a person.”  –Barclay
·       I.e. Phoebe - “receive and assist” in Romans 16.1-2;
Titus - my partner…show them proof of your love..  in 2 Cor. 8,22-24  TURN THERE
"It is much easier to measure “religion” than true righteousness.”  -- Wiersbe
The test of ministry is changed lives, not press releases or statistics.  –Wiersbe
2. Text observations
·       `1.
-> written on our hearts  It was obvious that that Paul had a deep affection for them.
·       2.  
·       letter of Christ    Let us notice that the apostle does not say that they are “epistles” of Christ.  He views the whole company of the saints as setting for the character of Christ.  -- Hamilton Smith

       Epistle of Christ

·       Our responsibility is not to seek to walk well in order to become an epistle, but, seeing we are the epistle of Christ, to walk well in order that it may be read of all men. 
       a.  Written by the Spirit of the living God
      b.  esv--delivered by us; niv, nlt—result of our ministry
·       Tablets of stone and tablets of flesh sets up a contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
“…he contrasts the letter written on human hearts with the commandments and laws written with ink and on tablets of stone (3:3).”  –Issiaka Coulibaly in ABC

·       The apostle thus distinguishes between being the epistle of Christ and being manifested as such, known and read of all men. Entertaining the wrong thought that we ought to be the epistle of Christ, we shall set to work in the endeavour to become such by our own efforts. This would not only lead us into legal occupation with ourselves, but would also shut out the work of the Spirit of the living God.  -- Hamilton Smith
·       The fact is that we become the epistle of Christ, not by our own efforts, but by the Spirit of God writing Christ upon our hearts. If we are not epistles of Christ, we are not Christians at all. A Christian is one to whom Christ has become precious by a work of the Spirit of God in the heart. It is not simply a knowledge of Christ in the head, which an unconverted man may have, that constitutes a man a Christian, but Christ written on the heart. As sinners we discover our need of Christ, and are burdened with our sins. We find relief by discovering that Christ by His propitiatory work has died for our sins, and that God has accepted the work and seated Christ in the glory. Our affections are drawn out to the One through Whom we have been blessed: He becomes precious to us. Thus Christ is written on our hearts.  –Hamilton Smith
It is unsafe to assume anything in a sermon I preach is really “original” in thought or wording.  Here is an informal list of resources that I remember using for this sermon.  
New International Commentary on the New Testament
African Bible Commentary
The MacArthur Bible commentary
The Moody Bible Commentary
Net Bible Translation Notes
IVP Bible Background Commentary
Word Studies in the New Testament –Marvin Vincent
Manners and Customs of the Bible
The Bible Exposition Commentary
The Letters to the Corinthians –Barclay
Enduring Word Commentary
Commentary on the New Testament  -- Robert Gundry
Tyndale New Testament Commentary
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians –H Smith
Thomas Constable’s Expository Notes on 2 Corinthians
Logos Bible Software language tools  / Theological Dictionary of the New Testament and Louw-Nida
Wuest Expanded Translation of the NT

[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 580.
[2] Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 397.

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