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I’m going to invite you to second Corinthians. Chapter 12 is where we are today. And by the way, connection groups start this week to if you want to know more announcements for Alpine Bible Church, you can click on our bulletin and get to know a little bit about our connection groups. Sign up for one if you want to be a part of a midweek gathering and see what else is happening here. But we’re in second Corinthians Chapter 12, so we’re getting the end of this book. We only got a couple of weeks left and we’ll be finished with the book of Second Corinthians. And if you remember where we’re at together in this story, if I just kind of broke the the chapters into some divisions for you to sort of picture in your mind how this works. The first seven chapters of the of the Book of Corinthians Paul is focused on his relationship with the Church of Corinth, not because he’s interested in so much what they think about him, as he is interested in what they think about Christ. But Paul knows he’s a he’s an apostle. And being an apostle in the first century, he’s directly representing Christ as his representative on Earth and being in that title, that position. And so in order for them to walk faithfully in Jesus, they need to have a good relationship with the apostle Paul who established this church. And so he’s been pursuing them in the midst of conflict. This church, in all of the New Testament is the messiest church to exist in the New Testament. But the Apostle Paul does not give up on them in their relationship with the Lord, and therefore He continues to stick himself out there knowing that in their relationship with the church it’s created conflict and adversity for him directly. But Paul’s faithful to that call and ministering to this church. And then when you get to Chapter eight nine, you deal with the topic of generosity, which is kind of an interesting topic in the in the midst of dealing with conflict. But it’s also a revealing of where one’s heart is.
Based on how one chooses to live their life.
What you believe is not disconnected from how you behave. In fact, if you really want to know what you truly believe, look at how you live. You can say one thing, but to to to live it as something altogether different. It’s a greater testimony demonstrated in your lifestyle than in your words. And so Paul brings it to the topic of generosity as a reflection of our own character and who we are as people. And then in Chapter 10 to 13, he then goes after the false teachers that have created the dissension within the church. Paul now turns his attention to those that have entered into the to the church and disrupted God’s community in pursuing Christ together and created this disunity, this faction and their relationship to the Apostle Paul. And it’s created disunity among the body of Christ is now they’re divided in and the leadership that they follow in the teachings of.
Christ that are delivered to them.
And when Paul gets into Chapter 12, we’re going to approach this from just really talking about healthy people in general. But but we want to learn how being a healthy person also impacts your leadership in life. And so, Paul, once again, he’s describing for us the consequences of these poor leaders within this community. But now he begins to address also within this the context of what what a healthy person looks like. What does a healthy soul look like in light of all of this? Because the Church of Corinth has simply had trouble identifying what kind of person that is. And and when you start to allow unhealthy people lead your church there, there are even some greater consequences involved with that. And so we’re going to talk about five points this morning and identifying a healthy soul. And point number one in your notes, is.
A healthy soul is a genuine representative of Christ, at least within the context of a church, is a genuine representative of Christ. And verse 11 and 12, Paul has shown that to us. He says, I have been a fool. You force me to it. You know, Paul has said to us repeatedly he doesn’t want to brag about who he is and and elevating himself above anyone else. But there have been these individuals that entered into the church, and that’s what they were about. They were about their own glory and boasting in their their identity and wanting people to feed their egos and and showing the church why they thought they were so important based on their charisma as individuals and their possessions and accolades in life. And Paul is saying, look, I went toe to toe in this. I have been a fool. You forced me into it for that. I ought to have been commended by you. He sang to the church. Look, there was no reason that I even needed to do this. I’m the one that started this church, right? You’ve seen who I am. And he goes on to explain exactly, exactly what that is. It’s been demonstrated by his life, for I was not at all inferior to these Super Apostles, which was the title that Paul had referred to.
These leaders entered to the church. They said, look, Paul’s calls himself an apostle, but look at his life. People treat him poorly. He’s not wealthy. He’s the bottom of the barrel in society. Do you really want to follow a guy like that? He doesn’t impress people. We impress people. Look at us. If he was an apostle, we’re super apostles. That’s that’s how these leaders came in. But he said Paul’s saying, I’m not inferior to them, even though I am nothing, which is so important because Paul’s is rooting this back to where he finds his true identity. Paul. Paul is coming at this saying, look, I talked about who I am, but I’m reminded that who I am is not about me. My identity is not rooted in my achievements. What makes me impressive or what makes me a leader in any capacity has nothing to do with with my ability but everything that I am in Christ. And so Paul is saying in and of itself, he’s nothing. And anything that he truly has in life isn’t founded in his abilities, but in who he is, in light of.
Who Christ is, what Christ.
Has done in Him. And He says the signs of a true apostle or performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works for. And what were you less favored than the rest of the church is, except that I myself did not burden you. Forgive me this wrong. So so Paul is saying them, look, you’ve had demonstrated before you what it is in my title, which is the the true marks of an apostle. You’ve had you’ve had my.
My position truly seen.
Before you. And it’s Paul as he’s coming to this. He’s not coming to this with a sense of of false humility, but a a genuine representative of Christ. And he’s wanting the church to understand, look, when it comes especially to leadership, you don’t want to sweep under the rug, glowing character falls of leadership, because there there are significant consequences to that. When when when leaders fail, there is a ripple effect that affects the sheep. In fact, there’s multiple scriptures in the Bible that says when the when the shepherd is struck, the sheep scattered. And it’s this reminder that when so when leaders go, so go people. And and there’s a there’s a consequence to in leadership position when people fall, what happens there, which is why it’s an important job. Maybe this morning you find yourself as as a parent like to understand God’s desire for your child is to grow and to become a person that doesn’t live to to curse the world, but becomes a blessing to the world. And so the focus of good parenting is not about so much what your kid does, though that is important, but but rather who they’re becoming because who they’re becoming will determine what they do in life. So the focus of our lives, while we want them to to be engaged in wonderful things, in what they do in life, is more so on on the heart of who they are. Because if if we can help nurture a godly heart, then what they become, that trajectory can will be wonderful in the Lord, in the way that it blesses people. And so it is with with your life.
We know and basic wisdom of life that as you get older, so grows your opportunity to influence and nurturing your heart becomes a sacred privilege. Because as you grow older and have more opportunity to influence the world, if your heart walks with dignity and and integrity, then then your life will live to to bless others. And nurturing that heart becomes responsible in the way that you care. And the reason I say that is because I know in this room we’re not we’re not apostles. Right. We’ve talked about the position of an apostle, and I laid out the argument that there is no title of apostle that should exist today. That was my stand. But I told you, if you disagree with me, I’m going to love you, all right? And don’t hate me. We can love each other. But I gave some biblical foundation for why I don’t think the position of Apostle exists today, starting with Acts Chapter one, verse 22, 25. I don’t think it’s possible for a human being on planet Earth to meet the qualifications of what a genuine apostle is, because it involved seeing, physically seeing the resurrected Jesus. In fact, in first Corinthians nine, Paul said that the qualification that he met in order to be an apostle was that he had seen the resurrected Jesus. And so so there is a qualification that I think is is impossible for us to do that today. But but all of us represent positions of influence in life, which means in some capacity you’re a leader. And in thinking about that capacity, there needs to be a genuineness in the way that you represent.
Christ, a consistent consistency in that.
And as you grow in your capacity to influence others as, as as as you get older and just naturally with that, you have different ways that you affect. If, if, if your heart walks wayward, then the consequences of that have a ripple effect in the lives of other people. And Paul is saying to us in the story.
In this text. I have been a genuine representative of Christ.
Now, just for fun, I almost said Fun’s just for fun. These two had a little further thought to that. Forgive me. The Apostle Paul says it’s just interesting to think about it if if it is true that the position of Apostle does not exist today. And by the way, even if you disagree with me, that I also made the argument of saying, look what the Bible describes the position of Apostle as I see. Some people tout that position of Apostle today, but not carry the lifestyle of a first century apostle. And if you’re going to tout the title, you need to mimic the lifestyle and the lifestyle of an apostle. The first century was to go to the darkest.
Places on Earth.
And live a life of complete servitude, destitute, really, in order to proclaim Jesus around around the world. That’s that’s the model, the precedent.
That they set.
And you see this with the Apostle Paul, right? He would go into town and set up churches and then there would be elders or leaders there. But then he would move on to places where there was no gospel presence and his life bore the marks of that. And and first or second Corinthians 11, you see that towards the end of second Corinthians 11, Paul lays out all the things that he went through in the life of an apostle, and it was a difficult road to walk. But something else that’s interesting here that if you accept the idea that the position of Apostle is not for today, what would couple with that then is the marks of an apostle. And that’s what Paul says in verse 12. He says, Here’s the marks of an apostle. These signs and the wonders and mighty works. Because of this position, he was able to conduct those things. And so that was a demonstration of of his title, his acceptance by Christ and the and the position that he carried in this world. And so if that marked what an apostle was, yet the position of apostle does not exist. And I would argue that so went with it the marks of what an apostle were. Now it’s not to say God can’t do miraculous things. I think God can can do what He wants as long as it doesn’t violate his character.
For example, God can’t be inconsistent with who He is. God can’t lie. God can’t sin. That would violate the nature of who God is. God’s can still do miraculous things. But. But. But with the idea of being an apostle, if that does not exist today, then it would then it would also suggest by this statement that that these these demonstrations of the marks of an apostle would go with it. And I if you look a little further into that, into scripture, you’ll see there are passages, even in first Timothy and second Timothy, where Paul talks about his inability to heal people from from certain sicknesses that they face in second Timothy, chapter four, verse 20. Paul says this that he left truthfulness sick in Miletus. And first, Timothy five, verse 23, Paul says that to Timothy, drink a little wine for your stomach that would help with your ailments rather than heal Trofim us and Timothy. It seems to suggest that whatever apostolic healing powers Paul had for whatever reason, he wasn’t able to to administer that in this situation, leaving you to conclude that there is the possibility that whatever these signs were, they started to diminish as the church was established in the first century. Now, that’s a side note to all of this. To say this to you, that genuine representation of.
Is significant for the life of the believer.
To show especially. Especially. In positions of authority. To be committed. And to be consistent and the deep conviction of what God has called you to. And Paul.
States that in verse 12, look at look at how he says his behavior has been conducted before.
The Church of Corinth. He says this with the utmost patience.
Some translations say like this with great endurance. Paul’s consistency in who he was was not determined by what other people did or did not do, meaning he didn’t react. But he always acted consistent consistently with the position that God had given him because he was confident and who He was before the Lord. He wasn’t looking for other people to affirm him. He didn’t need that because he had the affirmation of his identity in Christ. And that is that is incredibly important in anything that you do in this world to to be secure and your own identity in Jesus. That way you can live consistent with who you are in light of who He is, regardless of what other people do around you. It’s not about blaming others that you can’t do what God has called you to do, but to understand who you are in living. In light of that, regardless of what other people might do and being a genuine representative in Christ because of that. And and Paul goes on a little bit further to elaborate on that. And verse 14, which, which point number two in your notes is this that he is simply a servant. He is a servant. Verse 14 Here for the third time, it says, I am ready to come to you. See you to see this consistency of Paul. He’s not giving up on this church. They’ve they’ve made it difficult for him. But he he knows who he is and he’s not reacting to them, but rather he’s acting according to his position in Jesus. And so here he comes again for the third time to the church in Corinth. He has not given up on this church. Here for the third time. I’m ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden.
For I seek.
What is yours, but you.
For children are obligated to save up for their.
Parents. But parents for their children.
And Paul is saying, look, here’s here’s the.
Why I’m serving. It’s not about what I get. It’s about what I have to give.
And the reason he has something to give is.
Because he’s been filled up in his identity in Jesus, which which is why he tells us.
It’s not what I’m getting from from you. It’s it’s it’s not what is yours, but it’s you yourself. Paul understands the purpose of his position is about reaching hearts, that God has given him this place in life in order to minister for others, not about what he gets, but but about what he he gives. He’s not simply there to to to modify their behavior in order to produce something from them. So he’s satisfied. That’s the accusation that they’re going to make against the Apostle Paul.
But what his heart is, what his want is, is what Jesus wants for them. A life completely transformed in Christ. Which is why Paul comes with the attitude of a servant. A healthy soul. It’s a genuine representative of Christ, consistently committed to it.
And because they have their identity secure in Jesus, they.
Are a servant of him. And what Paul is interested in. Is there heart? Before. He wants to ask anything from them. He he wants.
To know that they’re in their relationship.
With Christ. And he’s not going to ask.
Out of guilt. He wants to give them a place to respond out of their own relationship with Jesus, to give back. Because Paul’s tradition, as he as he went around from town to town to preach, preach and and see a church establish was was to use that church that was established to then give give them an opportunity to help him on his way to start the next church. So as Paul was going in town and, and there was life in Christ made known in a church was formed, he would then say, okay, church people sent me to you by giving me a gift to send me on this journey to see this church established. I’m going to go to the next town now. Do you want to be a part of what God’s doing to help me continue on that another church can can be established? And so he would then ask from that church that was established in Jesus, finding their identity in Christ to then give that church a place to respond and live in light of their relationship with Christ. But knowing knowing this church was not healthy in their relationship.
With Christ, he didn’t want to ask anything. What he desired and what he wanted. Was for their heart to be healthy in Jesus. Let me ask you this morning. Where’s your heart and Christ? Is your life given over to God? If not, what would it take for your heart to be fully given over to him? For Paul and the story.
Knowing that the church was.
Not in a healthy place. This this took precedent over everything.
And he goes on in verse 15, he says this I will.
Most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If God gets your heart. God will change your life. And in changing.
Your life, you will begin to see things from God’s perspective. God’s heart for this world and you’ll begin to care for things.
As Jesus cares for them.
And Paul knows that He’s not seeing the healthy behavior in their life. And it’s not an indicator that he needs to change their behavior. It’s an indicator that what they need is a change in their heart, because you can completely modify someone’s behavior and absolutely miss the relationship with God. And I would say for us, one of the one of the great indicators in all of our lives as to whether or not we we really understand what Jesus has done for us and seen his great love in our lives is our heart would respond with great love and return, and it would begin by loving what Jesus loves. And let me just say, I don’t think there’s anything more sacred to the heart of God than his people, his church. Jesus gave his life for the church. And one of the greatest opportunities that you have to demonstrate your love for Christ in a tangible way is to respond in a love for God’s people as you gather together.
How do you serve the bride of Christ? How how do you love on the Bride of Christ?
Now, I know when people get together, people or people, no matter where you go, everyone will give you an excuse sometimes not to always love them. Right. And the bride of Christ is not any different than that. But if each in chapter five, it does remind us that even though none of us in this room are perfect, the more we take the opportunity to love each other in Christ, the more we start to to model the beauty of Jesus among all of us. We help that that transformational work take place, that whatever might be a glaring flaw within us, as we’re encouraged by one another to continue to seek Jesus in our lives, it helps us to look more like Jesus as we live life together. When Jesus bride messes up. This is an encouragement to say, don’t turn around and punch her in the face. All right.
Love her. Help her. It’s the one of the most.
Beautiful ways you can show your.
Love for Christ.
Is loving what Christ loves.
And Christ gave His life for for the church. Be a servant.
And as Paul says, I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. Because he knows ultimately that while he’s communicating is his love for Christ and his heart is about knowing Christ and wanting to honor Christ with his life. And he says, Then if I love you.
More, am I to be loved less?
And Paul’s acknowledging, look, as I’m pouring this into your life. I’m recognizing that.
What’s coming out of your life? It’s not healthy. It should look like Christ looks.
And this question is for for for the church to become more reflective and and what they’re seeing modeled in their life. Because how you live is a true demonstration of what you ultimately believe. And so it becomes this place of self-examination of where our hearts may not be consistent in the way that we live for the Lord, but an indication of a healthy soul, one, a genuine.
Representative of Christ to a servant or a servant mentality. Three They are accountable. They are accountable. Poor character. Blames others. Good character takes responsibility.
And you see in verse 16, he goes on and says this. But granting that I myself did not burden you.
I was crafty, you say.
And got the better of you by deceit that I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you. I urge Titus to go and sent the brother brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit?
Did we not take the same steps?
Love this. Paul already knows this church is making accusations against him. And rather than be foolish and simply engage this church on his own, he let others do this on his behalf because he knew there was greater accountability in any accusation. And as they made an accusation against Paul. Paul could talk about a group of people that walked with integrity for the purpose of of accountability. It’s important in our lives to I mean, you’ve already seen modeled in Paul’s character that that he has this sense of humility. So accountability should simply come with that. I mean, verse 11, he says, I am nothing. His his identity is not shaped on his self-made glory, but in Christ. So he calls himself nothing. Verse 15 To spend and be spent for your soul. So you see this humble servant mentality. So accountability shouldn’t be this this big deal for the apostle Paul. But but thank the Lord that as hard as still seeking after and I think for us and reflecting our own leadership in life and how we can model a healthy individual. It’s just say this if you’re not approachable. And can’t be questioned. There is a problem, right? All of us in life were capable of falling. And so if your default is just to simply become defensive.
I think, is a.
Crucial in the life of a.
Believer because all of us are at risk. For temptation.
Now, let me just say this. When it comes to accountability, I don’t think that it becomes essential that you have accountability for everyone. You know, that that that for me would be like pastors. Worst nightmare if I had to ask from everyone, are you are you happy with me? Tell me your opinion of me. Really. I don’t have time for that. There is that is that is not a good thing that I just opened that broad platform for everyone to tell me exactly what they think about my life. But but here’s what is important, that you find godly individuals around you that know your pursuit is to follow after Jesus, and they care enough about you to speak into your life. And maybe I would encourage you to maybe leave this as an open question.
If you were me. What would you do differently?
I think it’s important to have certain people that love Jesus.
Around you in your life. To be able to ask or answer that question at any moment as you’re living your life for Christ. If you or me. What would you do? Different.
And if they run the risk.
To answer that question.
Don’t defend yourself. Don’t immediately respond with well, but. Right. But listen to what they have to say. Because for a friend to take that kind of step, to answer that kind.
Is putting your relationship at risk by not giving you an answer you might always want to hear. Now, don’t don’t let everyone say that. Don’t let everyone answer that question in your life, because there are some people who whose desire for you may not be what Christ desire is in your life, but it is important for accountability to let people speak into that. And and Paul is this he’s expressing this. Look, I haven’t been on an island to myself with a self made glory, promoting myself, not giving you the opportunity to speak into my life, but rather there are godly individuals around me. So which one are you going to make the accusation against?
Because we walk with Jesus as a team. We’re not hiding in darkness. But open to Christ.
Number four, they’re kingdom minded. And when I say kingdom minded, I don’t mean Paul’s kingdom. I mean God’s kingdom mind. And in verse 19, he goes on, he says, Have you been thinking?
All the what? We have been defending ourselves to you. It’s in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ and all for your up building, beloved. Pulls heart in all of this. Has not been about himself.
And I think if you’re not careful in reading Second Corinthians, there can become this disconnect. Right? Because there’s not there is this uniqueness to Paul’s title as an.
Apostle that as he’s defending.
Himself, we might say, well, Paul’s only concern with what people think.
But it’s important to remind ourselves.
That no, Paul is an apostle and he is literally the mouthpiece of Jesus on the earth in this first century. This is a unique title and in a unique time that they would have an apostle in this first century. But to turn your back on Paul, is to turn your back on Christ because of the position in Paul’s saying, look, don’t mistake who I am for for being a promotion about me, because my interest all along has been about glorifying God. For your benefit. And in that, Paul’s desire is to build the kingdom. Paul’s desires about what Jesus wants and remaining fixed on that goal. No matter the pressure people put on him. And that’s the that’s the desire of the world, right? You don’t agree with me. And so I want to force you to conform to the image that I want for you. And Paul’s saying, I consistently walked with trying to help you to conform with the image that Christ desires for you. That’s why He remained a servant.
There’s an interesting story about this guy. He’s a he was Canadian born. I feel like I need to say that when I look at his picture. He’s Canadian born. John Gilbreath is his name and he was he had a different positions in our government. But one of the one of his positions, he was an ambassador to India at one point. And this the story that I’m going to share is during a time when he was an ambassador in India, but as he was an ambassador. Lyndon B Johnson called him one day. And just before Lyndon Johnson called, he looked at his housekeeper. Her name was Emily Wilson. She’s actually the hero of this story. But he looked at his housekeeper and he said, I’m going to take a nap. If anyone calls, please don’t disturb me. I’m very.
Tired. I need some rest.
And so he goes to his room and he sleeps and the president calls and he says, I need to speak to John. And she says, I’m sorry, sir. He said, he’s taking a nap. He is not to be disturbed. And he said, Well, I’m the president of the United States. I don’t care what he wants. You need to wake him up. I need to talk to him. And she said, Sir, I appreciate that, but I don’t work for you. I work for him. And when he’s up, then you can talk to him and she gets off the phone. Well, he she when he when he awakes when John awakes, Emily relays the message to him and he calls the president back. And all Lyndon Johnson can say is, I don’t know who that lady is, but I need her. She needs to work for me. So impressed because she knew exactly what she was responsible for and her identity in light of what her occupation was. And I say all that to say. So it is with your relationship with Christ. The world will pressure you into being.
Something that you’re not called to be. And you represent a different kingdom. And it is.
To walk with the calling.
Of that kingdom, far and above.
And in verse 20, then he goes.
On from here and he says this. Your blink is acts with a concern for others.
Or you can put motivated with a concern for others. And it may be good to say.
With a healthy concern for others.
Because it’s not your responsibility to, to, to or it’s not yours to take. Ultimate responsibility for other people always do. It’s important to understand what people’s needs may be and to help them be set up for success. But they’re ultimately responsible for their own actions. And so we’re to act with a healthy concern for others. We don’t take ultimate responsibility for them, but we do want to respond in a way that.
Sets them up for success.
And Paul says like this in verse 20, he gives us pictures of.
Behavior that is contrary to living for Christ.
And said, The world.
The world can pressure you to be different. To react.
To them rather than.
Act in light of Christ.
And Paul is about to.
List those behaviors for us that that could become that pressure in order to get you to bow down to what they desire.
And he says it like this in verse 20.
He says, For I fear. I fear you see that with Paul. He’s concerned. I have this worry. This is a healthy concern for you. For, I fear. That perhaps when I come. I may find you. Not as I wish. And that you may find me not as you wish, that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit and disorder. And some of you may think, yes.
Before we got to church today. That was that was what we found as we interacted with each other. And I think it’s important when you look at this passage to notice, you know, Paul’s not saying the Christians are not without conflict. He acknowledges that there’s conflict.
I’m not going to find you as I wish. I have this concern. And you you’re not going to see me the way that you want to see me. And so I have that concern.
That you have this expectation that’s not going to.
Be met. And I have this expectation and it’s not going to be met.
And so there’s going to be some conflict. But his worry is not so much the conflict. His worry is more how.
They engage in the conflict.
Now, Christians, when we walk in this world, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re not going to have conflict. In fact, God calls you to be a peacemaker. And Matthew, Chapter five, God calls you to be a peacemaker, which means we don’t run away from conflict. Right. But rather we can move into conflict. And the reason we can move into conflict is because we walk into it with a certain understanding that God desires for us as Christians. Conflict is not about winning. Our desire is not to to get into a conflict so that we can can win. We approach conflict with with this desire.
What does Christ want? And what is the way Christ wants it?
Because sometimes you can get into an engagement with someone else and you’re sitting there thinking you are completely justified in this. Why didn’t they not see things your way? Right. And you come in like a steamroller pushing your way into it because you feel it. It’s so right.
But the way you did it was so wrong. The interest in God’s people is not just about winning. That’s not our goal. Our goal is not about winning what we want. Our goal is about answering the question, What is Christ want? And in what way does Christ want it? Because even if you’re completely right and what you think is needed in that moment, you can handle it completely wrong. And that’s what Paul is saying here. He’s saying, look, I may come to you and I might not see what I want. And you may not see for me what you want, but my worry is how we’re going to handle that. And he goes on to describe it. Quarrelling. Jealousy. Anger. Hostility. Slander. Gossip. Conceit. And disorder. And, you know, the underlining thought behind all those words, what ties them all together? Selfishness. It’s selfishness. It’s walking.
For your glory.
It’s walking into a situation to elevate yourself above others. I mean, that’s that’s why you gossip, right? That’s why you slander, to tear other people down so that you can feel built up. And so Paul’s concern in this moment is not conflict. Christians live in conflict. The fact that we’re called to represent a different kingdom in this world says that there is conflict around us constantly.
But it’s not just about what you believe that matters. But the way that you live it. It’s a is saying to us a healthy leader. Acts with a healthy concern for others.
They’re able to approach the conflict not so.
That they win, but so that Christ is glorified. And others are blessed because of it. Unfortunately, in most circumstances, we we engage these moments for ourselves.
And so when I when I look at these words, I recognize these are these are power words. These are power words that people in positions will use to try to force others to do what they want.
And in doing that, you completely lose the heart of another. And you can come.
Into an argument and steamroll it with these.
Types of characters, and you may.
Get from that person the kind of action.
That you wanted. But completely missed the relationship. And savage yourself. From from their heart. And so when you look at these words, you know, as I read them this week, I just for me came at these with a with a prayer. And it was this. God, please. Please keep my heart. Pure before you. Because it’s only by your grace. I am where I am. I don’t want this to be my glory. But. But yours. And God help my heart. Be compassionate towards others that are struggling to give their life to you. Because I understand, just as my heart has faced.
These same battles. So. So others and and.
God may, may I never compromise. When others try to pressure me or force me to react. Rather than respond the way that you desire for me to respond. In fact, I would prefer God that I would rather give my life. Than to forsake what you’ve called me to in this world. God help me to be bold enough to stand confidently in you despite how others act towards me. This is what.
Polls remind us of in healthy leadership. And he goes on in verse.
21, he says, I fear that when I come again, my God may humble me before you. Again, you see this concern before Paul. He’s saying, I have this fear again for you. And it’s going to be humbling because he knows how God’s people are called to live in this world. And he doesn’t want them to model the world.
That’s very humbling when you look at the church and the church has a poor.
In the community and by the church I mean us as individuals. Right? Every one of us. I mean, if we just ask the question, what is my testimony to my family, to my neighbors, to my community? Is it honoring to Christ? Are we really demonstrating Jesus? And Paul saying again, with this concern, I fear that we have come, my God may humble before me and I may have to mourn over you, over many of those who have sinned earlier. And I have not repented of.
The impurity and sexual immorality and sensuality that they have practiced. And Paul again is saying, look what you believe is truly seen and how you live. One way we see if what we believe is true is if our hearts are really surrendered to God and he goes after this area of sexuality. Corinth was known as a very promiscuous place.
But according to First Corinthians chapter six, verse 9 to 11, Paul actually lists these same sins he’s talking about here. He lists them in first Corinthians chapter six, starting in verse nine and ten, and then we get to verse 11.
He says, But such were some of you. And you were bought with a price. And you’ve glorified God with your body. What Paul is saying is the Gospel changed their life. The Gospel changed some of their lives. Such were some of you. And why did it do this? Well, to to follow Christ is to surrender your life completely to Christ in every way. And that even includes your sexual ethic before Christ, because you understand God made you for a purpose. And that purpose is lived out in every way of who you are as a human being. Including your sexuality. God’s desire in creating us was to use it for His glory and to start with the question, God, what it is? What is it that you desire for me? And it’s in the surrendering of that that God reorient, reorient in your life how you do everything. Because life is not about your boasting. And life is not built simply for your pleasure, but rather God has called you into this world to be wholly, which means.
Completely committed to.
Him. And in living a holy life, you find absolute joy in Christ.
Now, as you look at a passage like this and you see the things that Paul is pointing out to the church.
And encouragement to your life. I know none of us are perfect. We fail. But God does not give up on you. That’s the Church of Corinth, if not anything, the Church of Corinth says to us. And God is not finished with you.
And Paul’s modeling and his behavior, even though this church abused him and attacked him by coming back over and over again, it’s a reminder to your soul that when you fail and you feel distraught and discouraged and. And guilty, you don’t need to run away from God.
But rather come back to him. Because he’s not finished with you.
One of the stories that I love beautifully.
In scripture that that.
My heart gravitates to. And I think this story speaks volumes to me more than any other in the Bible.
It’s the story that takes a place around Jacob’s well.
If you remember, Jacob’s. Well, this is a little bit of a famous place. In fact, you can still go to Jacob’s well today and drink water out of Jacob’s. Well, that sounds a little gross, but still, I don’t know. Over thousands of years how bad water might get. But I guess you can test it yourself and see you can go to Jacob’s well and still drink. But an important event happened.
At Jacob’s well. This is the story where Jesus met the woman on the road to Samaria.
John. Chapter four, verse four for me.
Is one of those passages in Scripture that I just fall down in gratitude to God.
Because that’s the verse in the Bible where Jesus.
Looked at his disciples who didn’t want to go to Samaria, and he said, I have to go to Samaria. As if to say he could not escape this moment. He needed to be there.
And when you follow the story, you find the.
Person that Jesus met at the well. Was a Samaritan woman, which was taboo for a Jew to talk to a woman. But not just a woman. A Samaritan woman. And the Jews certainly did not talk to Samaritans.
But what’s interesting about the story of the Samaritan woman.
Is that the Samaritan woman was also rejected by her own people, which is why she was at the well alone in the middle of the day. People didn’t go in the middle of the hottest part of the day in order to get water. That was counterintuitive to the whole purpose of what getting water was about.
Right. All that you all the sweat you lost getting to the well you would lose going back to the village. Why would you get water in the middle of the day? It makes no sense. Early or late.
That’s when you would do it. But here she is in the middle of the day and the reason she’s doing it is because she’s rejected.
And when I read the story about this woman, I can’t help but think.
She is the most lonely person on all of planet Earth. Not only is she rejected by the Jews, she’s even rejected by her own people. You know, Jesus said, I have to go to Samaria. Because he knew he wanted to meet this woman. And you know, of all the stories of Jesus in the Gospels. To the first person. Jesus told that he was the Messiah to. What’s the format that this well. That is incredible.
You think of all the people you.
Might pick that Jesus would come to and say, I’m the Messiah.
And most people would pick the religious leaders or political leaders, someone of prominence in society. But you know who Jesus picks in order to tell that he’s.
The Messiah to. The loneliest person on planet Earth. Because I say all that for us to say this. We look at the identification of what it is to be a godly leader. I know as we consider every component of our life, we are not perfect. But thank God, as we sit here this morning, we also have a God who does not give up on us. He wants to meet us where we are and continue to transform our lives as our lives are surrendered over to him. And no matter who we are or where we’ve been this morning, as we walk out of this place, it makes us a people of hope because of who Christ is and what He’s done for us.