2Corinthians 5:9-13

Sunday Evening Bible Study

June 11, 2000


Paul has been talking about going through hard times and how important it is to keep your eyes on what is really important. Temporal things will pass away, eternal things will last. We will one day be with Jesus and we cling to that.

:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

we labourphilotimeomai – to be fond of honour; to be actuated by love of honour; from a love of honour to strive to bring something to pass; to be ambitious in a good way

acceptedeuarestos – well pleasing, acceptable

The idea isn’t that we labor in order to make it to heaven, but that we labor in order to find the smile on His face.


Good ambition

There is a good kind of ambition, not where we are trying to stomp on people to get ahead, or where we are working to get the approval of others.

The good kind of ambition is one where we want to be pleasing to God.

(Mat 25:14-21 KJV) For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. {15} And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. {16} Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. {17} And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. {18} But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. {19} After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. {20} And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. {21} His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Why did Jesus even tell this story? Because He wanted to motivate us to hit the tape at the end of the race of our life, and to hear Him say to us, "Well done, though good and faithful servant."


The movie Chariots of Fire was about the life of Eric Liddell. He had felt the call of God to go to China as a missionary with his sister. At one point in the movie, he told his sister that he was going to delay going to the mission field so that he could continue training for the Olympics. She was upset. He sought to help her to understand by saying, "Jenny, Jenny. I know God created me for his service, but he also made me fast! When I run, I feel God’s pleasure!"

Work for God’s pleasure.

:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

appearphaneroo – to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

We will all stand before a light that will shine through every motive of every thing we’ve ever done. Things that were done in secret, for the right reasons, though others didn’t recognize and appreciate them, God will know. Things that we did, even with the appearance of humility, yet inwardly we were just soaking up the praises of people, will be plain in God’s light.

judgment seat of Christbema – a step, pace, the space which a foot covers, a foot-breath; of the official seat of a judge; of the judgment seat of Christ; Herod built a structure resembling a throne at Caesarea, from which he viewed the games and made speeches to the people

This is not to determine whether or not we will go to heaven or hell. That has already been determined for us Christians when we chose to believe in Jesus and receive His sacrifice for our sins.

(John 3:18 KJV) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

But this judgment seat will be to test our deeds in this life, for the purpose of giving rewards.

(1 Cor 3:13-15 KJV) Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. {14} If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. {15} If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord

terrorphobos – fear, dread, terror

I’m not sure we ought to try and water this word down too much.

The point is that God is serious about what we do and don’t do in this life.

We aren’t going to be getting to heaven and be able to say to God, "Oh, I thought you were just kidding about doing all those things!"

:11 we persuade men;

Paul does his ministry because God sees what Paul is doing.

:11 but we are made manifest unto God

made manifestphaneroo – to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

This is the same word that was translated "must appear" in verse 10. God sees everything.

:11 and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

Paul is hoping that the people will see his heart through all of this.

That doesn’t always happen. People can’t see what God sees.

:12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you,

We need to remember that Paul is having to defend himself to the Corinthians. There were some people in the church who had criticized him and his credentials.

:12 but give you occasion to glory on our behalf,

occasionaphormen – a base of operations, material with which to glory.

Though Paul doesn't agree with people being concerned with outer things rather than inner things, but he is going to give those who are for him something to use against those who are stuck on outward things.

:12 that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

appearance - prosopon - the face, countenance; form, person.


God wants you concerned with the inside.

Matthew 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

I Peter 3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Today, its not just women who are so concerned about their appearance. I saw a TV show once where one of the guys talked about how he spent a week getting ready for a date, choosing just the right clothes, getting his hair cut, looking just right.

One of the aspects of "appearance" that we can get concerned about is our "image" before others.

Saul had this problem. Even when he blew it and got caught, and he "repented" of his sin, he was still concerned about how others would think of him.

(1 Sam 15:30 KJV) Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.

:13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

beside ourselvesexestemen – to stand out of oneself. It is a condition of the first class and Paul assumes as true the charge that he was crazy (if I was crazy) for the sake of argument.

Paul may have been accused of being crazy for speaking in tongues (1Cor.14:18), having visions (2Cor.12:1-6), wanting to face a riotous mob (Acts 19:30), or walking back into a city that just stoned him (Acts 14:19-20).

Jesus was accused of being crazy (Mark 3:21).

It is to be expected that if you live totally out and out for Jesus, people will accuse you of being "beside yourself". You're in good company.

Paul says that he is crazy, but crazy for God.


Crazy people.

This story was sent over to the Billings Gazette from Dr. Philip Hassrick at the Red Lodge, Montana Clinic. It was obtained from a radio station program - a true report of a happening in Michigan, USA.

A guy buys a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee for $30,000, and has $400 monthly payments. He and a friend go duck hunting and of course, all the lakes are frozen. These two Atomic Brains go to the lake with the guns, the dog, the beer, and of course, the new vehicle.

They drive out onto the lake ice and get ready. Now, they want to make some kind of a natural landing area for the ducks, something for the decoys to float on. In order to make a hole large enough to look like something a wandering duck would fly down and land on, it is going to take a little more effort than an ice-hole drill.

Out of the back of the new Cherokee comes a stick of dynamite with a short, 40-second fuse. Now, these two Rocket Scientists do take into consideration that if they place the stick of dynamite on the ice at a location far from where they are standing (and the new Grand Cherokee), they take the risk for slipping on the ice when they run from the burning fuse and possibly go up in smoke with the resulting blast. So,... they decide to light this 40-second fuse and throw the dynamite.

Remember a couple of paragraphs back when we mentioned the vehicle, the beer, the guns, and the DOG?! Yes, .... The DOG; a highly trained black Labrador retriever used for retrieving, especially THINGS THROWN BY THE OWNER. You guessed it; the dog takes off at a high rate of doggy speed on the ice and captures the stick of dynamite with the burning 40-second fuse about the time it hits the ice.

The two men yell, scream, wave arms, holler, and wonder what to do now! The dog, seemingly cheered on, keeps coming, tail a wagging thinking he is doing great! One of the guys grabs one of the shotguns and shoots the dog. The shot gun is loaded with "duck" shot, hardly big enough to stop a black lab. The dog stops for a moment, slightly confused, but continues on... doing what he was taught to do... retrieving "anything" thrown by his master. Another shot was fired, and this time the dog, still standing, becomes REALLY confused and, of course, scared, thinking these two Nobel Prize Winners have gone insane.

The dog takes off to find cover (with the now really short fuse burning on the stick of dynamite)... and where does a dog find cover on a frozen lake? You guessed it! UNDER the brand new Cherokee. BOOM!!! Dog and Cherokee are blown to bits and sink to the bottom of the lake in a very large hole, leaving the two candidates for co-leaders of the Known Universe standing there with this "I can't believe this happened" look on their faces.

The insurance company says that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is not covered in their policy. The owner had yet to make the FIRST of those $400-plus a month payments.