A Life Well Lived
A Life Well Lived
Text: 2 Cor 6:1-18
Thesis: To grow in our appreciation for Paul, and adopt qualities for our own lives that will make us more radiant Christians going forward.
A. The book of 2 Corinthians is one of the unsung books of the New Testament. Yet, we do ourselves a disservice to study 1 Corinthians without a fitting follow-up with a study of 2 Corinthians.
B. Jesus is pictured in every book of the Bible. In 1 Corinthians, he is the "first fruits of the dead." in 2 Corinthians, he's "made to be sin for us."
C. With that in mind, it's hard to read the letter without comparing the Christ to the letter's penman--Paul, the apostle.
1. Jesus sacrificed himself in death for all men.
2. Paul sacrificed himself in living before all men.
D. There's no better example of this thought than what is found in the sixth chapter of this great epistle.
E. So, by way of our study together, let's make just three observations about a man whose life was well lived. As we do so, let's examine our own lives and ask
ourselves, "how about my life?"
Unifying phrase: His was a life well-lived because . . .
I. HIS WORDS WERE PASSIONATE (6:1-2)
A. You cannot divorce these first two verses from the previous paragraph. For there, the passionate Paul reminds the reader of three things:
1. The Christian's responsibility,
2. The Christian's reconciliation, and
3. The Christian's righteousness (5:20-21).
B. Paul says that because they've been reconciled together with God, and are to live righteously before God, there is a grace that needs to be received from God (6:1).
1. One of Paul's great fears was that the influential false teachers of the day would lure God's people away from the truth. That's why he says, "...receive not the grace of God in vain."
2. He was concerned that the gospel would be perverted, and consequently another gospel would be explored and accepted (cf. Gal 1:7).
3. Ill: When our preachers today stand before us with love in their hearts and concern in their voices to be wary of false doctrine, then they are on safe ground--for they share the passion of Paul.
C. Paul's words continue with a prophetic reminder that, "this is the day" (6:2; cf. Isa 49:8).
1. This is the day of salvation.
2. This is the day of possibilities.
3. Ill: to appropriate the words of Paul and Isaiah, there is no time like the present. We're poised for greatness. Never has our society been so religious. Never have we been so skilled. Never have opportunities been so realized. This is our time!
II. HIS LIFE WAS PURPOSEFUL (6:3-10)
A. Shifting gears--to borrow from a song writer's pen, we leave Paul's lyrics to look at his life. To begin, it's the reality that there was nothing in Paul's life that would be a distraction for people to come to God (6:3).
B. The next two verses give us insight into the general, specific, and voluntary sufferings with which Paul endured. All of them impress us with Paul's singular purpose in life--to glorify God (6:4-5).
1. The first three were general in nature.
a. The suffering of affliction (4).
b. The suffering of necessities (4).
c. The suffering of distress (4).
2. The next three were more specific.
a. The suffering of stripes (5).
b. The suffering of imprisonments (5).
c. The suffering of tumults (5).
3. The final three were sufferings that were voluntary.
a. The suffering of labors (5).
b. The suffering of watchings (5).
c. The suffering of fastings (5).
C. But how, one asks, was Paul able to endure the sufferings? He developed six special qualities, and was endowed with three specific gifts (6:6-7).
1. The six qualities (6):
a. He was pure.
b He had knowledge.
c. He was long suffering.
d. He was kind.
e. He had the fruits of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22,23).
f. He loved his brethren.
2. The three endowments (7):
a. He was full of the word of truth.
b. He had power from God above.
c. He was equipped with the offensive and defensive weapons of God's righteousness.
D. His singleness of eye allowed him to overcome the conflict that he often found himself surrounded by (6:8-10).
III. HIS MISSION WAS PERSISTENT (6:11-18)
A. He had such a love for God's people, and like Jeremiah had a fire in his bones (Jer. 20:9). It was that love and fire that made him persistent in his teaching them to be faithful to God (6:11-12).
B. He spoke to and challenged God's people, much like a father would his own children (6:13).
C. This is what he taught "his children" (6:14-18):
1. Choose your associates wisely (14).
2. It doesn't make sense to have inappropriate alliances (15-16a).
3. When you became a Christian, you were added to a special brotherhood, which demands certain expectations (16b-17a).
4. With this decision comes special advantages (17b-18).
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