STUDY II Corinthians
6:1-10 (click here for notes)
As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, 'In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.
We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Sprit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
The Day of Salvation
After discussing with the Corinthians the reality that they are Christ's ambassadors entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation to a lost world, Paul looks closely at what it means to be a minister of Christ.
1. What exactly does it mean to be a "fellow worker" with God? (see 5:20; 1 Cor. 3:9; Mark 16:20; 1 Thessalonians 3:2)
2. What would it mean for a fellow worker of God to receive his grace in vain? (see 5:15; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; Romans 14:13, 19-20; 15:1-2; James 2:12-13; 3:13-16; 4:2-4; 1 John 2:9-11)
3. Paul quotes Isaiah as saying these words for God: "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." Then he states, "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." What is the "day of salvation," and was it available to people in the Old Testament? (see Isaiah 48:9; 55:6-7; Psalm 69:13-15; 2 Cor. 1:20; John 8:56; Hebrews 11:13)
Commendation Through Hardship
4. Paul says he puts "no stumbling block in anyone's path," so his ministry will not be discredited. What are stumbling blocks that could confuse or deceive people? (see Matthew 5:29; Romans 14:13-16, 20; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13; 9:11-12; 10:31-32)
5. In verses 4-5 Paul lists the varied types of suffering he was enduring for the sake of the gospel: endurance through troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments and riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger. Why does he consider these types of persecution to be evidences of his commitment to the gospel and to integrity? (see Matthew 5:10-12; 10:17-23; 34-39; John 15:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4; 2 Timothy 3:12-13; Hebrews 12:7-8)
Commendation Through Spiritual Attributes
6. In verses 6-7 Paul lists the spiritual attributes he honored which emphasized his commitment to God: purity, understanding, patience, kindness, living by the Holy Spirit, living in love and in the power of God, living with truthfulness and with weapons of righteousness in his hands. How do these attributes recommend Paul as a true minister of Jesus Christ? (see 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6; Galatians 5:19-23; Romans 12:9-16; 1 Timothy 1:3-5; 2 Corinthians 4:2-4; 7-10; 10:9-10; Romans 13:13; 2 Cor. 10:4; Ephesians 6:10-18)
Commendation Through Paradox
7. In verses 8-10 Paul defends his ministry by using a series of paradoxes. He commends himself through glory and dishonor; bad report and good report; genuineness but being regarded as an imposter; known but regarded as unknown; dying yet living on; being beaten yet not enduring death; sorrowful yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing yet possessing everything. How do these paradoxes help us understand the true nature of Paul's apostleship and his commitment to Jesus, especially as compared with the false apostles in Corinth?
Glory and dishonor: (see 1 Corinthians 4:10-13; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Peter 4:14)
Bad report and good report: (see 1 Corinthians 4:13; Matthew 5:11-12; John 15:18-21; Hebrews 12:14)
Genuine yet regarded as imposters: (see Matthew 27:63; 2 Corinthians 1:12,18-24; 3:17; 4:2)
Known yet regarded as unknown: (see 1 Corinthians 8:3; 13:12; John 17:25-26; 2 Corinthians 1:13-14; 2:16)
Dying and beaten yet living on: (see Acts 14:19-20; 16:22-27; 21:30-35; Romans 8:36-39; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 4:10-11)
Sorrowful yet always rejoicing: (see 1 Corinthians 1:3-7; 2 Cor. 7:4; Matthew 5:12; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 2:17-18; 4:4; Colossian 1:24; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 5:16)
Poor, yet making many rich: (see Luke 12:15, 21; 1 Corinthians 1:4-6; 3:21-23; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 2:6-7; 3:8-9; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 2:2-4)
Having nothing yet possessing everything: (see Acts 3:6; Philippians 2:5-7; Romans 8:32; 1 Cor. 3:21; John 14:13-14; 16:23)
8. In what way(s) are you or have you been a fellow worker with God?
9. Have you ever "stumbled" spiritually because of something a spiritual role model did? How?
10. In what ways have you suffered for the sake of Christ?
11. What paradoxes have you experienced since being born again?
12. What persistent hardship(s) are you experiencing in your life?
13. What areas in your life do you think God is trying to transform by the hardships and suffering you are experiencing?
14. In what ways do you need to become submissive to Jesus, and what do you need to surrender to Him, giving him access to hidden places in your heart?
15. Ask Jesus to do in you whatever he needs to do. Ask him to be your
strength and to fill you with his Spirit of power and life, replacing your
fear and weakness. Ask him to make you willing to know the truth about yourself
and to receive the truth of his transforming love in your life. Praise him
for the work he has begun in you-the work which he will be faithful to complete!
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CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted April 20, 2002.