The test of ministry is changed lives not press releases or statistics

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A Look Deeper By Jim Squires
Sunday, September 13, 2020
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The apostle Paul had a conquering faith: He was sure that God was leading him. He was sure that God was leading him in triumph, and he was sure that God was using him as He was leading him.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14 Paul expresses thanksgiving to God. The reason was for leading them in a triumphal procession similar to that enjoyed by a military leader after a victory.

Through Paul and his fellow workers “A Fragrance” was (and is) diffused to others. God diffuses the “fragrance of His knowledge” in every place; To God, Paul and his fellow workers are the “fragrance of Christ” mentioned in verse 15.

However, to those who are perishing, they are an “aroma of death.”

Remember that Noah condemned the world through his preaching (Hebrews 11:7). Jeremiah was alone in his preaching which condemned the people of his time (Jeremiah chapters 5, 11).

When the Truth is preached, it exposes sin for what it really is. John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

To those who are being saved, Paul and his fellow workers are an aroma of life, verse 16.

It is through God that sufficiency is given (vs. 16c-17; 3:4). Paul realizes his dependency upon God for sufficiency to be such things.

Unlike many, who “peddle” the Word of God (v. 17a). The word “peddle” signifies a huckster who i marketing something dis honestly, for a profit.

In contrast, Paul speaks sincerely, as from God, and in the sight of God. “Sincerity” - pure as teste by sunlight.

Paul has no need for letters of commendation (v. 1.). He does not mean by his words to commend himself for Paul does not need, as might others, letters of recommendation.

The Judaizers boasted letters of recommendation (v.1). From the “important people” in the Jerusalem church. They pointed out that Paul had no such credentials.

The Corinthians are Paul’s epistles of commendation (vs. 2-3). They are evidence of his handiwork, which all can know and read. They are an “epistle of Christ”, upon whose hearts Paul has written with the Spirit of the living God.

The Law is an external thing, and people need an internal power if their lives are to be transformed. The ministry of grace changes the heart. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God and writes it on the heart.

The Corinthians were wicked sinners when Paul came to them, but his ministry of the Gospel of God’s grace completely changed their lives (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The test of ministry is changed lives, not press releases or statistics.

Jim Squires preaches and teaches at the church of Christ. He actively serves in the community after returning from service in the Peace Corps and a career in agriculture.

He can be reached at csquires@midrivers.com.

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