The Ministry of God’s Spirit: Parts I & II

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The Ministry of God’s Spirit: Parts I & II

2Corinthians 2:12-3:6            September 7 & 14, 2003


Scripture Reading: # 644, Hymnal


Children, born of parents, have a deep desire to please them in order to be accepted and approved.

Children will observe everything a parent does as a model for their own development.

It is as if your very spirit will be molded into them and they will be dependent upon you at least for your affirmation for years to come.

Essentially, they need your help, at levels they will determine, to find direction in life.

ILLUS: Parenting you college freshman, CTT, Sept. 03, p. 7.

The need for approval and direction is no different on your job.

None of us can say that we wouldn’t relish the thought of our employer coming up to us to say that we had done such and such very well and pleased them immensely.

We would continually seek the approval of such an employer and seek them for advice on how to continue doing the job well.

But even if we don’t get affirmation from our employer, we still seek approval from the Lord.

“23  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24 NIVUS)

We can also look at the relationship between husbands and wives.

They both live, to a certain degree, for the affirmation of the other.

“32  I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs— how he can please the Lord. 33  But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world— how he can please his wife— 34  and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world— how she can please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34 NIVUS)

Whether between parent and child, employer and employee, or husband and wife we can say that we seek the ministry of the other and that the other ministers to us.

We need each other. It doesn’t always work well, but that is the way it should work.

This ministry relationship helps us to know how to please in order to be affirmed.

Let’s bring this home to our most important relationship.

Mankind, inherently spiritual because he is created by God, has a deep desire to have God think highly of him.

The world’s religions are all ways, constructed by mankind, to find that way to God’s acceptance and approval.

All major world religions contain various degrees of truth, but only one has the truth about the way to please God.

“4  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 NIVUS)

So through Christ we have the only means to serve God, to please God, acceptably. In fact, in John 14:6, Christ indeed says he is the only way.

But later on in this same passage, in John 16, we read that Christ was telling his disciples that he would be leaving this earth. How then, through him, could they please God in service?

That is why, also in this same passage, even as we read this morning, Christ promises the blessed Holy Spirit.

“16  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17 NIVUS)

 “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7 NIVUS)

 “13  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14  He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:13-14 NIVUS)

The Spirit then is God’s channel of ministry, through our faith in Christ, as his means of ministry to us, telling us how we can please him and how he is pleased with us.

The ministry of the Spirit, through Christ, enables us to serve God.

So we ask the question this morning ---

Big Question:

How does the Spirit help us in serving God?

-The Spirit gives us direction in the midst of confusing circumstances.

-The Spirit leads us in praise as we submit to God’s direction in Christ.

-The Spirit affirms us as Christ’s messengers whether or not we are affirmed by others.

-The Spirit buys us credibility far surpassing the power of money.

-The Spirit proves us in ministry through the miracle of changed hearts.

-The Spirit enables our competence through a new covenant of life with God in Christ.

Paul has some answers for us in our message text this morning from 2Corinthians 2:12-3:6, found on page 1796 if you are using the pew Bible.

You know from the last two messages that he is presenting a defense of his ministry before the Corinthian church because of personal attacks from some who have infiltrated the ranks.

He has already addressed the accusation that he is being judged by God because of the persecutions and suffering he has endured on behalf of the Corinthians.

Then he addressed the accusation that he certainly could not know the will of God because he changed his mind several times on when he would come to see them in Corinth.

In today’s text, Paul will briefly address another accusation, but the main thrust will be how he and his ministry is affirmed in and through the Holy Spirit’s ministry to him.

We will draw applications on how we ourselves are helped by the Spirit in serving God.

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 2:12-13)

          B.      Implication

The Spirit gives us direction in the midst of confusing circumstances.

Through the Spirit we trust God’s sovereignty.

How are you trusting God’s sovereignty in your life?

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

“6 ¶ Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7  When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8  So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9  During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:6-10 NIVUS)

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (v. 2:14a)

This begins a diversion from his discussion that he will only resume at 7:5, and it forms the central thesis for it; that Paul, through the Spirit, could praise God for all of his experiences in Christian service.

          B.      Implication

The Spirit leads us in praise as we submit to God’s direction in Christ.

Through the Spirit we reflect peace in suffering.

How are you reflecting peace in the midst of your present circumstances?

          C.      Illustration

Strength for the Journey, “Body Language”, page 259.

          D.      Application

Roman prisoners are said to be led in triumph when to disgrace them they are bound in chains and dragged before the chariot of the conqueror.

“Paul” is the direct object of the verb, not its subject. He is not the one leading the triumphal procession; he is the one being led in it like a prisoner of war.

Those being led in the Roman triumphal processions were in fact being led to their death. At the end of the parade the Romans would sacrifice all or some of them as a sacrifice to their gods.

The role of those being led was to reveal the glory of the one who had conquered them.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIVUS)

But in the power of our God, having conquered us, he turns all this around:

“13 ¶ When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14  having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15 NIVUS)

Indeed, God had conquered Paul on the road to Damascus and was leading him as a slave of Christ, to death in Christ, in order that Paul might display or reveal the majesty, power, and glory of God, his conqueror.

The suffering of the cross is the means by which God reveals himself to the world, and God reveals his glory either by rescuing us or by enabling us to endure.

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (vv. 2:14b-16)

          B.      Implication

The Spirit affirms us as Christ’s messengers whether or not we are affirmed by others.

Through the Spirit we convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment.

How convicting is your life in the Spirit?

          C.      Illustration

Amazing Faith, “The Story of Mark Jobe”, chapter 6, page 79-83.

          D.      Application

As the Romans burned incense and spices in the streets after a victory, so we become the odor of a sacrifice pleasing to God.

(Imagine the reactions of both an enemy and a friend of Rome in the crowd.)

Christ is pictured as the sacrifice and Paul is the odor that arises from it.

“11  And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

(1 John 5:11-12 NIVUS)

“Who is equal to the task?” Ans.: Christ in me is equal.

IV.     Cycle Four


          A.      Narrative (v. 2:17)

(See “false apostles” in 2Cor. 11.)

Here is the other accusation against Paul’s ministry; that he doesn’t charge for it. So his attackers claim that his message must not be worth anything.

(You get what you pay for?)

Paul saw the Corinthians over-concern for money coming, and he decided not to give them that reason for rejecting his gospel message.

But let not this give cause for a low value or lack of esteem for ministry.

He compares the false apostles to retailers (peddlers) in the open market who were notorious for their dishonesty in “making profit”.

We have had our own pastoral peddlers who have sold the Word of God for personal profit, like Jim Bakker. But I read this week that he is now back in public ministry but refusing to ask for donations. He learned something.

We sort of expect dishonesty and deception in the secular world, even though still disappointed by it. Like Spiegel Co. this week who took Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The auditors who looked over 800,000 documents in over 400 boxes determined that the executives inflated sales figures so they could get huge performance bonuses, and that took down the company.

A worldwide meeting of nations discussing democratic principles in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, recently noted by comment from many emerging democracies that the most difficult thing to overcome is the ego of leaders who say that want to serve the interests of the people but give in easily to the lure of prestige, influence, and wealth made easily off the naïve trust of the people.

Paul’s love for the Corinthians was supported by his willingness to leave Troas and his willingness to preach without charge.

          B.      Implication

The Spirit buys us credibility far surpassing the power of money.

Through the Spirit we are willing to give up our rights for others.

How generous are you toward God’s glory in you?

          C.      Illustration

Title:  Soft Spirituality – What is the real thing?

   Enjoying "spiritual feelings" without "spiritual ideas," of course, is what tacks the foam rubber onto the cross. Spirituality, under the modern template, does not brace one for suffering that leads to inner growth. Instead, it obliterates suffering by providing the musical equivalent of an injection from Dr. Feelgood. ...

   Genuine spirituality makes demands on us, challenges us to overcome selfishness, to love from the depths of ourselves so that we may establish community with others despite our sinful human condition. ...

   "Soft spirituality" is now commercializing everything from plainchant to rock anthems to Jesus. This sign of the times is more about shadow than substance. For the spiritual seeker, "soft spirituality" is a mirage, not an oasis. The springs may run with Evian water but there is no real nourishment here, just the illusion of refreshment. ...

   That such a movement has co-opted the name of spirituality in our pop culture tells us just how hungry we are for the real thing, and how unfed we remain.

   -- Eugene Kennedy, quoted in Context (Jan. 1, 1999). Christianity Today, Vol. 43, no. 3.

Title: The contamination that money brings.

   I noticed a cartoon the other day portraying a Christian singer "ministering" at a piano. His words were rather indicative of our time:

   "I'd like to share a song with you that the Lord gave me a year ago -- and even though he did give it to me, any reproduction of this song in any form without my written consent will constitute infringement of copyright law, which grants me the right to sue your pants off. Praise God...."

Title: Picture our credibility --- (what credibility would we have if we asked for money first?)

   Evangelist D.L. Moody used to tell about a picture that impressed him greatly. It portrayed a woman grasping a cross with both hands as she was being rescued from a stormy sea. Mr. Moody would then go on to relate how that picture lost much of its impact for him when he saw another painting some time later. The second picture also depicted a woman being rescued from raging waters. But while clinging with one hand to a cross, her other hand was lifting another person out of the waves to safety.

   That picture dramatically portrays what we who have been rescued from the penalty of our sins should be doing. Recognizing that others around us are lost and perishing, we should not be so selfishly taken up with our own salvation that we forget about them.

          D.      Application

Must all those who work around the church be paid?

But Paul gave credibility to those who worked full time for the gospel.

V.      Cycle Five

          A.      Narrative (vv. 3:1-3)

Letters of recommendation are a substitute source for your own credibility.

Since they were his credibility, to deny Paul would be to deny their own spiritual experience as Christians, something the proud Corinthians would not be prone to do.

          B.      Implication

The Spirit proves us in ministry through the miracle of changed hearts.

Through the Spirit’s work we give evidence of being transformed into God’s people.

How far have you spiritually come from where you were?

          C.      Illustration


   Habitat for Humanity started officially in 1976 but unofficially when founder Millard Fuller went to Zaire with a church group to build not-for-profit houses in 1968.  With a beginning undergirded with little except prayer and vision for what God could do, Habitat has grown into one of the nation's largest home builders.

   Fuller describes Habitat as an "alive, dynamic, Christ-centered movement" that welcomes Christians and non-Christians to participate in building houses for the poor.

   Fuller takes special delight when people listen to the message behind the sweat, nails and saws.  Recently, he returned to the sight of a Jimmy Carter Work Project in Charlotte, N.C.  He spotted a five year-old boy playing in the yard of the house that Carter had helped build.

   After complimenting the boy on his beautiful home, he asked him who built it, expecting to hear the boy say, "Jimmy Carter."

   Instead, the boy said, "Jesus built my house."

   -- The Columbus Dispatch, 6-20-92, p. 8H


   The world knows how British journalist Henry Stanley went to Africa to find the famed missionary, Dr. David Livingstone.  Stanley's greeting, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" is world famous, but few know the rest of the story.  After the two had been together for some time, Stanley saw what Livingstone endured and wrote, "I went to Africa as prejudiced as the biggest atheist in London.  But there came for me a long time for reflection.  I saw this solitary old man there and asked myself, 'How on earth does he stop here -- is he cracked, or what? What is it that inspires him so?' For months after we met I found myself wondering at the old man carrying out all that was said in the Bible -- 'Leave all things and follow Me.' But little by little his sympathy for others became contagious; my sympathy was aroused; seeing his piety, his gentleness, his zeal, his earnestness, and how he went about his business, I was converted by him."


   The tombstone of J. Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China, was discovered three years ago in the cluttered storage yard of a museum in Zhenjiang by his great grandson, James Hudson Taylor III.  The graveyard where it stood had been razed years earlier, the younger Taylor said at a conference session.  He told of efforts by local believers and others to have the memorial stone mounted at another site.  Permission was granted, he said, but the museum director demanded $13,000 payment for the 26 years it had laid in the storage yard.  Pastors in China overseeing the restoration project recently informed the curator he could keep the grave marker, Taylor said.  In their letter, they said that what was etched in the hearts of people as a result of the ministry of the revered missionary who died in 1905 was more important than what was written on stone.

   -- Mission For the 1990s:  Chinese Reaching Chinese, by Edward E.



   Charles Spurgeon wrote, "A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble."

   Integrity is "a better long-term investment than the best Certificate of Deposit known to man!"

   -- Jon Johnston, Courage: You Can Be Strong in the Face of Fear, p. 91.

          D.      Application

Paul’s ministry was nothing less than the fulfillment of the promise of the new covenant.

If Moses was the lawgiver, Paul was the Spirit giver who mediated the new covenant as a result of the second exodus that has come about through Christ.

“31  "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33  "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33 NIVUS)

“19  I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 NIVUS)

VI.    Cycle Six

          A.      Narrative (vv. 3:4-6)

The letter (law) kills in order that the Spirit (gospel) might make alive. The demand for works righteousness leads, through our failure, to the promise of the gospel.

But the gospel too can kill when it encounters those who are perishing (cf. 2:16)!

In Christ it is no longer possible to be a member of the covenant people ethnically or corporately, but not spiritually.

The foundation of the covenant is forgiveness; the provision of the covenant is the Spirit; the consequence of the covenant is obedience; the promise of the covenant is to be in God’s presence forever as his faithful people.

          B.      Implication

The Spirit enables our competence through a new covenant of life with God in Christ.

Through the Spirit our lives model what it means to imitate Christ.

How far are you spiritually willing to go?

          C.      Illustration

Title:  Humanity as Creator

   I think it says something that the only form of life that we have created so far is purely destructive. Talk about creating life in our own image. 

   -- Stephen W. Hawking telling a computer convention that computer viruses represent the only life form wholly created by humans.  Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 1.


Ministering in Our Weakness

Alcoholism; Ministry; Mothers; Parenting; Service; Weakness

2 Corinthians 3:4-6; 2 Corinthians 12:9

Elisa Morgan, president of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International, writes:

I'm probably the least likely person to head a mothering organization. I grew up in a broken home. My parents were divorced when I was five. My older sister, younger brother, and I were raised by my alcoholic mother.

While my mother meant well—truly she did—most of my memories are of my mothering her rather than her mothering me. Alcohol altered her love, turning it into something that wasn't love. I remember her weaving down the hall of our ranch home in Houston, Texas, glass of scotch in hand. She would wake me at 2 a.m. just to make sure I was asleep. I would wake her at 7 a.m. to try to get her off to work.

Sure, there were good times like Christmas and birthdays when she went all out and celebrated us as children. But even those days ended with the warped glow of alcohol. What she did right was lost in what she did wrong.

Ten years ago, when I was asked to consider leading MOPS International, a vital ministry that nurtures mothers, I went straight to my knees—and then to the therapist's office. How could God use me—who had never been mothered—to nurture other mothers?

The answer came as I gazed into the eyes of other moms around me and saw their needs mirroring my own. God seemed to take my deficits and make them my offering—"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9 [niv]).

à        Citation: Elisa Morgan, Christian Parenting Today (May/June 1999), p. 64

Title:  A Society of Inadequacy

   Deep down we have a sense of individual insecurity and hope to cooperate with other people. Maxwell Maltz, who wrote Psycho-Cybernetics, estimates that 95 percent of people in our society have a strong sense of inadequacy. I have no difficulty believing that figure. The only surprise is the other 5 percent. Why aren't those guys feeling insecure?

   -- Stuart Briscoe, "Handling Your Insecurities," Preaching Today, Tape No. 119.

Title:  Our Stride Isn't Wide Enough

   Many years ago when the children were small, we went for a little drive in the lovely English countryside, and there was some fresh snow. I saw a lovely field with not a single blemish on the virgin snow. I stopped the car, and I vaulted over the gate, and I ran around in a great big circle striding as wide as I could. Then I came back to the kids, and I said, "Now, children, I want you to follow in my footsteps. So I want you to run around that circle in the snow, and I want you to put your feet where your father put his feet."

   Well, David tried and couldn't quite make it. Judy, our overachiever, was certain she would make it; she couldn't make it. Pete, the little kid, took a great run at it, put his foot in my first footprint and then strode out as far as he could and fell on his face. His mother picked him up as he cried.

   She said to me, "What are you trying to do?"

   I said, "I'm trying to get a sermon illustration."

   I said, "Pete, come here." I picked up little Peter and put his left foot on my foot, and I put his right foot on my foot. I said, "Okay, Pete, let's go." I began to stride one big stride at a time with my hands under his armpits and his feet lightly on mine.

   Well, who was doing it? In a sense, he was doing it because I was doing it. In a sense there was a commitment of the little boy to the big dad, and some of the properties of the big dad were working through the little boy.

   In exactly the same way, in our powerlessness we can't stride as wide as we should. We don't walk the way we should. We don't hit the target the way we ought. It isn't that at every point we are as bad as we could be. It's just that at no point are we as good as we should be. Something's got to be done.

   -- Stuart Briscoe, "Why Christ Had to Die," Preaching Today, Tape No. 163.


   John Newton, author of the world's best known Christian hymn "Amazing Grace," was an eminent minister of the Church of England in the eighteenth century. He once remarked: "None but he who made the world can make a Minister of the Gospel. If a young man has capacity, then culture and application may make him a scholar, a philosopher, or an orator; but a true Minister must have certain principles, motives, feelings, and aims, which no industry or endeavors of men can either acquire or communicate. They must be given from above, or they cannot be received."

   -- John Newton, The Works of John Newton, vol. 5 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988) Reprint, p. 62.

          D.      Application

Do you hunger for a new chance? Are you a chronic ‘foot gazer’?

In a Forbes article about Harry Quadracci and Quad/Graphics printing company, Phyllis Berman writes about the kind of employees the company hires.

A good many people whom society would dismiss as loser have been given a chance at Quad/Graphics, and they are grateful. “We hire people who have no education and little direction,” Quadracci explains. “They are the kind of people who look at their shoes when they apply for a job. They join the firm not for its high wages – starting salaries on the floor are only about $7.50/hr. – but because we offer them a chance to make something out of themselves.”

Like this businessman, God delights in calling workers who look at their shoes when they apply for the job. God gives great responsibility to people whom the world thinks little of.


It is always and foremost the condition of the heart transformed by the Spirit, not our performance, that determines a person’s response to the gospel.

We so often want to ‘work the angles’ instead of relying on Christ to work.

Technique will never replace truth.

Do we see ourselves as those whom God has called in Christ to seek and worship the Lord in the power of the Spirit?

Do we see ourselves through the lens of redemptive history as the people called to mediate God’s glory to the ends of the earth?

David Wells in No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology, p. 256, states “Within the Church, strong winds are blowing from a range of religious consumers who look to the churches and ministers to meet their need – and who quickly look elsewhere if they feel those needs are not being met. Basically, these consumers are looking for the sort of thing the self movement is offering; they just want it in evangelical dress. A genuinely biblical and God-centered ministry is almost certain to collide head-on with the self-absorption and anthropocentric focus that are now normative in so many evangelical churches.”

Perhaps we are losing ground because we have forsaken the Spirit’s help in serving God.

Do you need a new heart; a new spirit?

“31  "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33  "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34  No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NIVUS)


“19  I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 NIVUS)


 “26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIVUS)

Big Answer:

How does the Spirit help us in serving God?

The Spirit gives us direction in the midst of confusing circumstances.

The Spirit leads us in praise as we submit to God’s direction in Christ.

The Spirit affirms us as Christ’s messengers whether or not we are affirmed by others.

The Spirit buys us credibility far surpassing the power of money.

The Spirit proves us in ministry through the miracle of changed hearts.

The Spirit enables our competence through a new covenant of life with God in Christ.

Timeless Truth: Your life in the Spirit is the proof of your faith in Christ.

“3  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4 NIVUS)


“16  So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: --- 22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-25 NIVUS)


 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIVUS)


 “12 ¶ Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed— not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence— continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13 NIVUS)


 “3  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4  For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5  because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3-5a NIVUS)

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