Approved To Minister

2 Cor 6:1 - 18


Now in v.1 Paul says – We then as workers together w/ Him

A)Now we saw in Chapter 5, we are ambassadors for Christ, Ministers of reconciliation sharing the good news of the Gospel with everyone we meet. 1) But here’s the most delightful part — we are workers not just for Him, but with Him.


B) He doesn’t send us on an assignment, wishing us luck as we leave. No, moment by moment He’s with us as we talk to, share with, & love people.

1)     This gives me a great deal of confidence in ministry.


C) Understanding that it is not me – but Him – who ministers

1)   Not my words – but His word


D) There was a time when I used to kill myself putting together a message – I wanted it to be perfect –

1)   And I felt such pressure – to say the right thing the right way – No I just relax – His Word / His Church / His thing/ - I’m Available


E) I used to stay up all night trying to “Perfect” a message – Now most of the time – I come I feel like the message is lacking

1)   Holes – things missing – Don’t know what I am going to say about that verse – etc – But I just trust – he is going to fill in the gaps



So We are workers together w/ Him – Workers though – not pew Potatoes / couch potatoes / not called to a life a ease

A)Workers – His work – not our work – But this goes beyond the idea of partnering w/ the Lord in His work


B) But When Paul says – we are workers together w/ Him the idea is that when we are ministering – Jesus is right THERE

1)   It is Him ministering to that person thru us


So to the person who comes to me with a troubled heart, I can say, ‘Let me pray with you right now because Jesus is truly right here

A)He will give you peace. He’ll walk with you through this valley.


B) He’ll make Himself known to you in the right way at the right time. I know this to be so.’


C) I’ve yet to send a person out to seek the Lord who has come back saying, ‘It didn’t work.

I prayed. I read my Bible. I talked to Him. I waited on Him. But it didn’t work.’


D) That’s because the promise of James 4:8 is that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us — not that He might draw near — but that He will.


So we are workings together w/ Him Pleading w/ you not to receive the grace of God in vain

A)What does it mean to receive the grace of God in vain?  - 2 things

1st Paul is definitely talking about Salvation – Day of Salvation / the accepted time


B) Paul says ‘As we work with Him, I remind you of the immediacy, the urgency of receiving what the Lord wants to do for you.’

1) Truly, now is the time for each of us to be saved —


C) In Genesis 6:3, God says, ‘My Spirit will not always strive, or wrestle, with men.’ Only Knock for so Long – Don’t resist –

1) a decision Jesus would later call the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31), the one and only unpardonable sin.


So Paul is definitely talking about Salvation – but I also think there is an application for us who are already believers

A)Do not receive the grace of God in vain/ for us: It means to receive the goodness and favor of God, yet to hinder the work of grace in one’s life. 

B) It means to receive the favor of God, and to fail to understand what Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 15:10: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.


C) It means to receive the goodness and favor of God, yet to hinder the work of God’s grace in one’s life. 


D) We are saved but we are resisting the grace of God  that seeks to deliver from the stuff which would hold us back,

1)The things that would do us in, hold us down, trip us up presently.


So Paul says we are workers w/ Him / pleading w/ men not to receive the grace of God in Vain

3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.


A)In other words – Paul is saying Because of the importance and urgency of our calling,

1)   we cannot allow anything in our lives or ministry which would give people a reason not to respond. { No blaming the ministry


B) Hypocrite card – Shine a poor light on Christ

4 But in all things we commend ourselves [Approve ourselves ]as ministers of God: in much patience,


C) Sometimes people will ask me – what they need to do to be approved for the ministry ? What School to attend / classes to take

1)Notice the list here that Paul gives for his being Approved for the ministry


1st Note the Defining mark was Patience – Ministers in Much Patience

A)2 ideas here: 1st is an ability to wait on the Lord – His timing & direction – which Paul did Gal 1:16-17

I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

B)Although Paul was eager to minister immediately. Instead, he was sent to the Arabian desert for 3 years.

1)And even after that, he ministered not in Jerusalem, but in relative obscurity in places like Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus and Philippi.


C) So many people launch off in ministry before they’re really ready.

1) Their hearts are good, their intentions right — but so were the heart and intentions of Moses . . .


D) He was Second in authority in all of Egypt, his heart was moved as he saw the bondage of his Jewish brothers.

1)   Wanting to help, when he saw an Egyptian beating a Jewish slave, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.


E) But when he realized word of his deed was spreading, he fled for his life and spent 40 years watching his father-in-law’s sheep

1)   3 -  40 yr periods { Somebody / Nobody / Leading everybody


So first of all this idea of ministering w/ much Patience – carries w/ it the idea of wanting to wait on the Lord / be led by the Lord

A)But 2ndly it presents the idea of Enduring – of sticking w/ it


B) This word literally means to "stay under the pressure." We all feel pressure -- pressure to give in here, to give up there,

1)   pressure to go along with something.


C) But the mark of a Christian who has learned how to walk with God is that he stays under the pressure; he does not quit.

1) The modern term, "hang in there," expresses exactly what this verse means -- "Just hang in there and don't quit until you are triumphant."


D) There were certain pressures that Paul faced that he goes on to list here in groups of threes, which fall into three categories.

1) First, it was because of the general struggles and trials of life                        tribulations, in needs, in distresses,

The idea behind the word tribulations is to be stressed & under Pressure: Paul was often stressed and under pressure { Despairing…

A)In Needs are the everyday hardships of life, and distresses refer to experiences that push us into a corner where there seems to be no escape.


B) Not only were there tough circumstances, but there was tough opposition that he faced.

1)   V.5 He mentions Stripes were the wounds on the back from a whipping, imprisonments refers to his frequent jail time and tumults speaks of violence from an angry mob. { Riots}


C) Then there were the Commitments that he had already undertaken, he calls them – v, 5 mentions Labors / Sleeplessness & Fastings


So in these 3 categories, tough circumstances, tough opposition, and tough commitments, he faced continual conditions of pressure.

A)Yet he never quit. - This is the thing that challenges us in these easygoing days of ours.


B) I find so many want to quit, to throw in the towel, to give up when God sends them into tough circumstances.

1)   Give up on the Lord / give up on Marriage / Give up on Friendship


C) But Paul did not. That is what was God-pleasing and God-honoring about his experiences. This is what made him "approved" by God.


Not only did he face these conditions, but in the midst of them there was a certain character that he displayed: Mentions 9 things { 2 groups}

A) The first four are consistent qualities of the apostle's life. / the last 5 are the Resources that helped him – develop those qualities


B) First, there was purity. Paul lived in days of widespread immorality, just like ours. { Lines in the Church are Grey }

1) He had to travel and live in the midst of a people given over to the pursuit of sexual immorality, { Careful to keep his mind pure} Fear of God

C) The second quality was knowledge. A careful investigative study of the Word – { Girls on Sunday Matt 23:37 } Bereans

1)   Paul was one who allowed his Character to be shaped by a careful investigative study of the Word of God.


D) What is shaping your Character ? Media – Dr. Phil


3rd long-suffering= patience, but particularly patience with other people.

A)It is always interesting how people get to us, how hard it is to keep putting up with them, forgiving them, and ignoring some of their irritating ways.


B)Then there is kindness. That means thoughtfulness, courtesy, warmth in our words and in our tone of voice -- no coldness, no sharp, cutting sarcasm.


C) These four things characterized the apostle: purity, knowledge, Longsuffering &  kindness.

1)   Those are the qualities he worked at manifesting in his life. –


D) Now after reading a list like that it might confirm my suspicisions that Paul was a SUPER SAINT=- 

1) Easy to think that way until I realize the same resources he relied upon are available to me


Now, in these next five things , Paul goes deeper -- showing the resources he relied on in order to be like that. V.6b

A)First in the list is the Holy Spirit. When you became a Christian, God gave you the Holy Spirit to live in you, Indwelt w/ the HS


B) Teacher / guider / helper. He is your constant companion through life, to be your helper, your strengthener, your comforter, your guide.

1)   This is what Paul relied on more than anything else. – Key to consistency in the Christian life


C) Life lived in Sensitivity to the HS { Heading Conviction } Life marked by dependency – Lord I need you !!!

 Next & Linked to that is Sincere love.

 A)I am sure this is a reference to what we saw in an earlier passage where Paul says, "the love of Christ constrains me,"


B) Christ love for Paul was a Resource to Him an energizer – The Joy of the Lord is our Strength


C) The third resource, , "the word of truth," i.e., the Scriptures, the knowledge of how God sees life.

1)   Food / Instruction / direction – Play book


D) 4th  the power of God. Not just indwelt w/ the HS – but having the opportunity to be empowered by the HS –


E) 5th Armour of  righteousness = Armour of God/  for the right hand and for the left."  the There is some disagreement as to what that means left or right 1) Personally, I think it means the public life, which the right hand stood for, and the private life, which the left hand symbolized.


But  it indicates that Paul was aware that he was in a spiritual battle

A)He did not employ ordinary pressure tactics and legislative corrections, etc., though these have their place.


B)He used prayer and faith and love and righteous behavior as the weapons by which he attacked the problems around him { The Result v.8-10


So Did Paul finish his education with a Master of Theology or a Doctor of Divinity degree?

A)No he finished being thought a deceiver, as unknown — not received by the intellectuals in Jerusalem.


B) But although Paul may have been unknown in Jerusalem, he was well known in hell . . .

Acts 19:15the sons of Sceva were Going about casting out demons, ‘We adjure you in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, Come out.’

C) The Demons responded -‘Jesus we know, & Paul we know. But who are you?’


D) See The demons understood Paul was a real threat, that he was one who would impact their kingdom of darkness and death

1)   and beat it back in the name of Jesus Christ.


E) Oh, that every one of us might be known in hell — unknown in the world’s arena, but known where it really matters.


So again we see thru all of this that there was a great hardship & sorrow connected w/ Paul’s Ministry { Life wasn’t easy

A)Yet the things Paul encountered only gave  credibility to his ministry – allowing him to say what needed to be said { Which he proceeds to do v.11-