2Corinthians 6:1-10

Sunday Evening Bible Study

June 25, 2000


Paul has been talking about how we have been given the privilege of reconciling people to God.  We have the message of reconciliation, the message that says that God offers forgiveness freely.

:1  that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Robertson - “The plan of God, the work of Christ on the cross, the pleas of the ambassador may all be nullified by the recipient of the message”.

Be good soil.  Be open to God's work in your life.

:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Paul kind of makes a break in his thought to stress the urgency of getting right with God.

Paul is quoting Is.49:8, a section prophesying about the coming Messiah and His mission.

Isaiah 49:8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

1st accepteddektos accepted, acceptable

2nd accepted euprosdektos well received, accepted, acceptable

Paul is saying that now is the well-acceptable time, that now is more than the acceptable time.

Paul is urging them to get right with God, and to do it now.  Now is more than acceptable.

Today is the day


Dwight L. Moody, by his own admission, made a mistake on the eighth of October 1871 -- a mistake he determined never to repeat.
He had been preaching in the city of Chicago.  That particular night drew his largest audience yet.  His message was "What will you do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?"
By the end of the service, he was tired.  He concluded his message with a presentation of the gospel and a concluding statement:  "Now I give you a week to think that over.  And when we come together again, you will have opportunity to respond."
A soloist began to sing.  But before the final note, the music was drowned out by clanging bells and wailing sirens screaming through the streets.  The great Chicago Fire was blazing.  In the ashen aftermath, hundreds were dead and over a hundred thousand were homeless.
Without a doubt, some who heard Moody's message had died in the fire.  He reflected remorsefully that he would have given his right arm before he would ever give an audience another week to think over the message of the gospel.


There is an ancient story about three demons who were arguing over the best way to destroy the Christian mission in the world. The first demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no heaven.  Take away the reward incentive and the mission will collapse.”  The second demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no hell.  Take away the fear of punishment and the mission will collapse.”  The third demon says, “There is one better way.  Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no hurry” and all three immediately say, “That’s it! All we have to do is tell them there’s no hurry and the whole Christian enterprise will collapse.”

:3 Giving no offence in any thing,

offenceproskope an occasion of stumbling; to do something which causes others to stumble; i.e. leads them into error or sin

To the Romans (Rom.14:13-23), the issue was whether or not to eat meat sacrificed to idols.  Some thought it was okay, some didn't.  Those who thought it was okay were ragging on the others, trying to make them do it anyway.

:3  that the ministry be not blamed:

blamedmomaomai to blame, find fault with, mock at

I Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye  may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, no t as one that beateth the air:  But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

We need to be careful that our lives match what we say.

We could list plenty of examples today of how a ministry has been discredited because of the lives of the people in it.

:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God

approvingsunistao to place together, to set in the same place, to bring or band together; to put together by way of composition or combination, to teach by combining and comparing; to show, prove, establish, exhibit

ministersdiakonos one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister

(Mat 20:25-28 KJV)  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. {26} But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; {27} And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: {28} Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Ministry is not about being “great” or exercising authority over others, telling them what to do.
Ministry is all about being a servant of others.

Paul now elaborates on just what “ministry” is all about.

The Perfect Preacher
After hundreds of years, one has been found! A model preacher preaches 20 minutes and sits down. He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.  He works from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. He makes $60 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books  regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car and gives $100 a week to the  church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good work that comes  along.  He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is tall and short,  thin and heavy-set. He has one brown eye, and one blue, and hair parted down  the middle, left side dark and straight and the right brown and wavy.  He has a burning desire to work with the teenagers, and spends all his time  with the older folks. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he  has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work. He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all of his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of his office.

:4  in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

:5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

How does your “ministry” stack up to these things?  Are there things here you’d rather avoid?

much patiencehupomone – to remain under; patient enduring, endurance, especially dealing with patience in tough times.

afflictionsthlipsesin – pressure, tribulation, affliction, distress.

necessitiesanagkais – necessity, to be compelled; force, violence, hence pain, distress. Hardship. Going without.

distressesstenochoriais – narrowness of space, want of room; difficulty, distress.  We might say, “between a rock and a hard place”.

stripesplegais – a blow, stripe, wound.  Sometimes the blows are as much emotional and mental as physical.

imprisonmentsphulakais – a guarding, a guard; a prison.

tumultsakatastasiais – (sounds like catastrophe!) instability; confusion, tumult, disorder.

labourskopois – a striking, beating; laborious toil, trouble.  The emphasis in this word is on fatigue.

watchingsagrupniais – sleeplessness, watching.

fastingsnesteiais – fasting, a fast.  Sometimes involuntarily.  Hunger.

:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

purenesshagnoteti – from hagnos (free from ceremonial defilement, holy, sacred, pure, chaste, undefiled), purity, chastity.

Ministry ought to be pure.  There should be no place for yucky motives.

knowledgegnosei – a seeking to know, inquiry, investigation; knowledge, especially of the knowledge of spiritual truth.

longsufferingmakrothumia – patience, long-suffering, forbearance, esp. patience with difficult people.

kindnesschrestoteti – goodness, excellence, uprightness; goodness of heart, kindness.

the Holy Spiritpneumati hagio – the Holy Spirit!  Ministry characterized by the Holy Spirit!

love unfeignedagape anupokrito – AGAPE (1Cor.13), (opp. of hypocrite); unfeigned.  Not something faked.

John 13:34-25 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one  another.  By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

:7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

the word of truthlogo aletheias – God's Word.

II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

the power of Goddunamei theou

I Corinthians 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much  trembling.  And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left (Eph.6:13-17; 1Chron.12:1,2) – hoplon ten dikaiosunes...

Typically, the offensive weapons (like spears and swords) were held in the right hand, the defensive weapons (like shields) were held in the left.

We are in a spiritual battle.
(2 Cor 10:4-5 NLT)  We use God's mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil's strongholds. {5} With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.
Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons.
(Eph 6:11-18 NLT)  Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. {12} For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. {13} Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. {14} Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. {15} For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. {16} In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. {17} Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. {18} Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.

Truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, God’s Word, prayer.  These are our weapons.

This might be talking about having skill with spiritual weapons.

(1 Chr 12:1-2 NLT)  The following men joined David at Ziklag while he was hiding from Saul son of Kish. They were among the warriors who fought beside David in battle. {2} All of them were expert archers, and they could shoot arrows or sling stones with their left hand as well as their right. They were all relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin.
These mighty men of David could fight with either their right or their left hands.  They were well trained, valuable men.
How skillful are you with God’s weapons?


In The Encourager, Charles Mylander writes: “Sunrise was dawning when Los Angeles motorcycle police officer Bob Vernon saw a red pickup truck speed through a stop sign. This guy must be late to work, he thought to himself. He turned on his emergency lights and radioed that he was in pursuit. The pickup pulled over, and the officer approached.
“Meanwhile in the truck, the driver thought, The cops already know! He was scared. He rested his hand on the same gun he had used a few moments before to rob a twenty-four-hour market. The sack of stolen money was beside him on the seat.
“The officer said, ‘Good morning, sir, may I see your—‘
“He never finished the sentence. The driver shoved his gun toward the policeman’s chest and fired from just inches away. The cop was knocked flat seven feet away.
“A few seconds later, to the shock of the criminal, the officer stood up, pulled his service revolver, and fired twice. The first bullet went through the open window and smashed the windshield. The second tore through the door and ripped into the driver’s left leg.
“’Don’t shoot!’ the thief screamed, throwing the gun and sack of money out the pickup window.
“What saved the policeman’s life was dozens of layers of Kevlar, the super strong fabric used for bulletproof vests. Only three-eighths of an inch thick, Kevlar can stop bullets cold.”  In Ephesians 6, the Bible instructs every Christian to put on the full armor of God. Simple qualities like righteousness and faith can deflect what the Enemy of souls may fire at us.

:8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

honourdoxa opinion; glory, honor.  There can be a lot of glory and honor in the ministry.  You can get a lot of attention.

and dishonouratimia dishonour, ignominy, disgrace.  If you think that ministry comes only with honor, you’re wrong.  There will be people who will dislike you.  Even in church.

evil report and good reportdusphemias, euphemias (play on words in greek). When you serve the Lord, you start getting all kinds of flack.

deceivers and yet trueplanoi (wandering, vagabond, imposter), aletheis (true). 

Some people will think that you are a fake or a liar.  You can see it on their faces.  Nothing you can say will change their mind about you.  They’ll take everything you say wrong.

Others will know you are true.


One pastor writes,
While I conducted my usual Tuesday evening prison ministry, my wife decided to attend a local home sales party.  Our fifteen-year-old daughter, Faith, was at home and later told us about a call she had taken from one of our church members.  It went like this:
“Hello, is your father home?”
“No, he’s in jail,” Faith said.
“Well, then, is your mother home?”
“No, she’s at a party.”
The church member still reminds us of that call.

-- Richard R. Smith of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, Christian Reader, January/February, 1997, p. 13.

:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

unknown yet well-knownagnooumenoi (as ignored, nonentities, obscure, without proper credentials), epiginoskomenoi (fully recognized, by all who really matter). 

Ministry is not for people who want to make a name for themselves.  Some people get a lot of glitz and glamor, but for the most part, it consists of doing things without any recognition.

It can get really confusing sometimes.  When you are at church, you can be seen as a “star”, as a “somebody”, as somebody with a “title”.  But don’t let it go to your head.  You’re just “Timmy’s dad”.

dying yet behold, we liveapothneskontes, dzomen

punished yet not put to deathpaideuomenoi, thanotoumenoi – We don’t know anything of this in America.  Paul’s life was often on the line for the gospel.

:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

sorrowful yet always rejoicinglupoumenoi, chairontes

There are great sorrows in serving the Lord, yet also great times of joy.


“I am burning with a fever, and have a violent cold; but Christ's presence makes me smile at pain; and the fire of his love burns up all fevers whatsoever.”
-- George Whitefield. Christian History, Issue 38.

poor yet making many richptochoi, ploutidzontes

Spiritual riches, that is.

having nothing yet possessing all thingsmeden echontes, panta katechontes

(2 Cor 6:10 NLT)  …We own nothing, and yet we have everything.


While on a short-term missions trip, Pastor Jack Hinton was leading worship at a leper colony on the island of Tobago. A woman who had been facing away from the pulpit turned around.
“It was the most hideous face I had ever seen,” Hinton said. “The woman’s nose and ears were entirely gone. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, ‘Can we sing Count Your Many Blessings?’ “
Overcome with emotion, Hinton left the service. He was followed by a team member who said, “I guess you’ll never be able to sing that song again.”
“Yes I will,” he replied, “but I’ll never sing it the same way.”
-- The Pastor's Update (5/96).  Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.