Text: II Corinthians 3:2-3 “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:” 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
Subject: Living Letters and Lively Stones
All of the prison Epistles were written from Rome.
The Prison Epistles are:
Ephesians – 6 chapters, one hundred fifty-five verses were written from prison in Rome.
Philippians – four chapters, one hundred four verses were written from prison in Rome.
Colossians – four chapters, ninety-five verses were written from Prison in Rome.
Philemon – one chapter and twenty-five verses were written from Rome.
The pastoral Epistles are:
I Timothy – Six chapters, one hundred –thirteen verses were written from Macedonia.
II Timothy – four chapters, eighty-three verses were written from Corinth.
Titus – three chapters, forty-six verses were written from Rome.
Three characteristics are disclosed in each letter:
They all begin with Paul’s signature
He always seasons his salutation with peace
And he always concludes his communications with the seal of Amen.
As to their theology, there are three categories:
The General Epistles cover the topics of Soteriology and Eschatology (which teaches us the plan of salvation and the study of the end times).
The prison Epistles cover the branch of theology known as Christology (which is all about Jesus, our Lord and Christ).
The Pastoral Epistles disclose the subject of Ecclesiology. (The design and architect of the Church)
In Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus, he portrays the Believer in Christ as a soldier:
Put on the Whole armor of God…
In his letter to the Church at Philippi, he encourages the believer to press on…
When he writes to the church of collosse, Paul tells this band of believers,
I Peter 3:1 Teaches us that the Lord hath begotten us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of the Jesus Christ.
I Peter 2:4 declares us as lively stones, disallowed of men but, chosen of God.
But I Corinthians 3: calls us living letters.
Paul declares, it is not our credentials that displays our second birth but, it is our Character that displays our Christianity.
The legalists who caused trouble in both Antioch and Jerusalem had come to Corinth and enticed some of the believers into living by the Mosaic Law. But Paul Refuted their position by disclosing the wonders of the New Covenant, as he compared the Law of Moses with the glorious Gospel and grace of Jesus Christ.
Paul continues by contrasting God’s Grace with his Glory:
And we find his unwritten grace in the law but, we discover his unveiled Glory in the Gospel…
Under the Law of Moses, there were Boastful Jewish leaders carried about with them long letters of recommendation.
But, the Apostles who had been with were living letters and walking testimonies of God’s Grace and Glory.
Therefore, Paul has no such need for dead and formal letters but, he had the Church at Corinth as living letters and lively stones of his goodness and his mercy. He had this Church and others, as the transformed lives of his converts who witnessed his saving power and is amazing grace.
But, when God unveiled his Glory, Romans chapter five, verse twenty, Paul reminds the Church, where sin did abound, grace did much more abound.
II. The Unveiled Glory of God (3:7–18): when Paul contrasts this law with God’s Glory of Moses with the gospel of grace, he exhorts us of the superiority of the God’s grace over his Glory.
You see, The Law of Moses
Was accompanied by a fading glory But grace brought a final desiny.
The law was temporary but, the promise of John 3;16, is eternal.
The Law led to death but, Grace led to the resurrection.
It functioned within a veil but, the whole world got a glimpse of Christ on the Cross.
Under the Law, a serpent was lifted in the Wilderness but, at the cross every believers looks to the cross.
In chapter one of this letter, Paul introduces himself as an Apsotle, with Timothy, to the Saints at the church of God in Corinth.
Grace and peace from God, the father.
In chapter 2, he says:
I;ve made up my mind that I would not come to you in heaviness, for if I cause you to be sad, who is he that have made me glad?
In chapter four, we are reminded of our ministry
II Corinthians 4:1
1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonestya, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair ; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
In chapter five, he gives us hope beyond the grave, for the Apostle Paul reminds us:
“If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands…”
But in the text of Chapter three, we are reminded that we are living letters and powerful testimonies of his resurrection power.
A duplication of his love and
A compliment of his grace.
We are the only bible that someone may ever read.
We are examples of his grace and models of his love.
So then, the question is, Can the world se Jesus in Us?
Do they see the:
The mind of God
The way of salvation
The doom of sinners and
The happiness of Beleivers?
Do we walk according to a doctrine that is Holy
Precepts that are binding and words that are true.
Do we demonstrate the light of the world and the way back to God?
If they are lost, can they see the light in us.
Do we demonstrate a map from earth to glory, or have they already decided because of our lifestyle, they don’t want to travel in the same direction.