2Corinthians 10 January 4, 2004
Scripture Reading: Unison Reading #718, A Contemporary Affirmation of Faith
It is important for us, as we begin this New Year, to begin it by affirming our faith - a concrete statement of what we believe in as strength and truth - not only to face what this year 2004 might bring but also to direct us in what progress we might gain for the Kingdom of our Christ.
To those of us who believe, our faith in Him is everything, is it not?
The apostle, Paul, just made that kind of affirmation at the end of 2Cor. 9 where we ended last week’s message about the rewards of generosity.
He exclaimed, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
Of course, he was thanking God the Father for the gift of Christ who was everything to him.
His point was that if God could give us Christ, then whatever we might give God pales in comparison.
He was trying to compel the Corinthian church to follow through with their promise toward the collection he was making for the mother church in Jerusalem.
If we have received the greatest gift of all, then certainly we should be able to give ourselves – a fit theme for the Christmas season.
As Paul closes chapter 9 he tells us all about our rewards for doing so.
Now, I don’t know if Paul was closing out a year here, but he was closing in on the completion of an obligation by listing the incentives for us – many of which are spiritual, but real none-the-less.
What rewards can you expect in concert with God’s call to generosity toward his work?
You will be rewarded in time with probably more than you ever gave.
You will be rewarded with a greater capacity to give when you give with a greater capacity of heart.
You will be rewarded with the grace of multiplied righteousness that results in multiplied thanksgiving to God.
You will be rewarded with the increase of praise to God through the gospel as you increase the witness of the gospel by your giving.
You will be rewarded by the goodwill of others in prayer because of your goodwill in giving.
You will be rewarded with the fullness of God’s gift of Christ when you give as he gave.
What rewards can you look forward to this New Year as you resolve to give of yourself to Christ?
If you were here with us at the service New Year’s Eve you remember what I gave to you in the message on resolutions - that we could sum it all up in what Paul proclaimed in 1Cor. 2:2, “I have resolved to know nothing --- except Christ and him crucified.”
If you know Christ in this most powerful way of resolve in personal relationship you will receive the greatest reward of all – personal victory.
If you have the gift of Christ you also have the gift of his victory.
If you know nothing but Christ you will not know defeat, you will not know despair, you will not know depression, you will not know addiction – only victory!
As Paul faces the immense task of trying to direct an immature and independent minded fractious wayward leaning gullible church, he draws upon the one reward in his own personal knowledge of Christ that will save both him and them – and that is victory in Christ!
This is a good and timely message for us to take to heart as we begin the New Year and consider the resolutions that might be prompted by such new beginnings.
I have resolved to be victorious in Christ because of his victory in me!
Spiritual warfare is all around us. The dark side of the hidden realm wants to defeat you.
We learned about that too as we watched the promo by Mel Gibson about his new film The Passion of the Christ coming out on Feb. 25th. (give illustration)
And Paul knows too what he is up against as he battles this dark spiritual realm for the soul of the Corinthian church and each one in it.
Indeed, I myself am constantly reminded of what I am up against as I, and the elders, and all of you, battle for the soul of Mayfair Bible Church and for each of our own souls.
Let us take a look at the lessons Paul teaches us about spiritual warfare and victory in Christ as we begin this New Year.
As he begins chapter 10, Paul says in effect, “Let me show you what Christ has given me on your behalf (victory) and the reward that he will bring because of it (victory).”
How can I apply God’s reward of Christ’s victory in my life and ministry?
I can be just as confident in actual battle as I am in my resolve to do battle because Christ is in control of the victory. (disclaimer – “I am not responsible for the results if you continue ---“) (meekness is power under control) 1
I can have so much confidence in Christ’s victory in me that I can warn the opposition of Christ’s victory over them through me. (if you think I am a weakling you haven’t seen anything yet) 2
I have spiritual advantage in battle because my resources for victory in Christ are invincible beyond the understanding of this world. (like a secret weapon) (Stilwell) 3-5
I have enough spiritual and moral authority in victory through Christ to maintain the victory. 6-11
I have enough personal credibility in victory through Christ not to compromise it at the expense of myself or others. 12-15a
I have experienced such victory in Christ that I will be undaunted by any challenge in carrying that victory as far as I can around the world. 15b-17
Let us resolve confidently this year to obtain the victory that is already ours in Christ.