Evening Bible Study
Paul had spent nearly three years in Ephesus, during which he wrote his first
letter to the Corinthians.
Paul’s stay in Ephesus ended abruptly when a riot broke out in the city
because of how the Christian revival was affecting the business of those who
After the riot, Paul headed up north to Macedonia.
The year is AD 56, almost a year after Paul had written his first letter to
Paul ended the last chapter talking about reconciliation, in how God has
made it possible that we could be made right with Him. On the cross, God took
my sins, putting them on Jesus, and took Jesus’ righteousness, crediting it to
6:1-10 Marks of Ministry
:1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you
not to receive the grace of God in vain.
:1 not to receive the grace of God in vain
It is possible to be exposed to the kindness of God in providing
forgiveness, and it not have any effect on you.
It happens when you say “no” to God.
:2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the
day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
:2 In an acceptable time I have heard you
Paul is moving from talking about being reconciled with God, to urging his
readers to get right with God now.
Paul is quoting Isaiah 49:8
acceptable – dektos – accepted,
:2 now is the accepted time
accepted – euprosdektos – well
received, accepted, acceptable
It’s the same word as “acceptable” from the Isaiah quote, but it adds two
prefixes (eu + pros).
When you add a prefix to a Greek word, it adds intensity to the word.
“Now is the extremely acceptable
time” to say “yes” to God’s grace.
There is a sense of urgency to what Paul is saying.
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.
Franklin Graham was recently (1/14/15) on a panel with Sean Hannity on Fox
News answering questions about radical Islam. Listen to Franklin’s first words in his response…
Today is the day. Take the opportunity to share today. We don’t know if
there will be a tomorrow.
:3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.
:3 We give no offense
offense – proskope – an
occasion of stumbling; to do something which causes others to stumble; i.e.
leads them into error or sin
Paul wants to be careful not to do anything in his life that would cause
people to walk away from God.
You do have to be careful with this though, because if you worry too much
about “offending” others, your ministry will look like this:
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 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God
:4 we commend ourselves as ministers of God
In some Christian circles, a person’s qualifications for ministry has to do
What kind of degrees does this person have?
In other circles, a person is qualified by the size of the group they lead.
The bigger the group, the more great are their obvious qualifications.
To be honest, in some circles I get the idea that qualification for
ministry has to do with a person’s looks and “coolness” factor.
If a person is handsome and somebody you want to dress like, they are
Paul’s list of qualifications look a little different.
:4 in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,
:4 much patience – hupomone – to remain
under; patient enduring, especially dealing with patience in tough times.
:4 tribulations – thlipsesin – pressure,
:4 needs – anagkais – necessity,
violence, hence pain, distress. Hardship.
:4 distresses – stenochoriais –
narrowness of space, difficulty, distress.
We might say, “between a
rock and a hard place”.
These are “ministry
:5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness,
:5 stripes – plegais – a blow, stripe,
Sometimes the blows are
as much emotional and mental as physical.
Paul had several “prison
:5 tumults – akatastasiais –
instability; confusion, disorder
:5 labors – kopois – a beating;
laborious toil, trouble
The emphasis in this word
is on fatigue.
:5 sleeplessness – agrupniais –
:5 fastings – nesteiais – fasting, a
When you get serious
about serving God, you are going to find one thing out – it’s difficult.
You have to learn to keep
going, through the good times and the bad.
:6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy
Spirit, by sincere love,
:6 purity – hagnoteti – from hagnos
(holy, pure, undefiled)
Ministry ought to be
pure. There should be no place for yucky
Especially of the
knowledge of spiritual truth.
:6 longsuffering – makrothumia – patience,
esp. patience with difficult people
:6 kindness – chrestoteti – goodness,
excellence, uprightness; goodness of heart
:6 the Holy Spirit
Ministry ought to have
evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit
:6 sincere love
love that is not
hypocritical; not faked.
I look at these qualities and I think about Jesus.
When we serve the Lord, people ought to get an idea of who Jesus is and
what He’s like.]
NKJV) —34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I
have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My
disciples, if you have love for one another.”
:7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness
on the right hand and on the left,
:7 the word of truth
This is God’s Word
(2 Timothy 2:15
NKJV) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does
not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
:7 the power of God
2:1–5 NKJV) —1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence
of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I
determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him
crucified. 3 I was with
you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were
not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power, 5 that your
faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
We don’t want God’s power
at work in our lives so people will think we’re awesome, we want it so people
will find help from God, not us.
:7 the armor of
righteousness on the right hand and on the left
It’s a battle out there.
The word for “armor” (hoplos) could refer to offensive as well
as defensive weapons.
Typically, the offensive
weapons (like spears and swords) were held in the right hand, the defensive
weapons (like shields) were held in the left.
Paul describes some of
these spiritual weapons to the Ephesians.
NLT) —14 Stand your ground, putting on the 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 addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop
the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.
like truth, righteousness, and faith are key elements of what ministry is all
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
“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
We are in the middle of
an invisible spiritual war. The only way
we survive is to learn to use the weapons God wants to equip us with.
:8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and
You can get a lot of attention when you serve the Lord. God works, and sometimes you get the credit.
:8 dishonor – atimia – dishonor,
If you think that ministry comes only with honor, you’re wrong. There will be people who will dislike
you. Even in church.
:8 evil report and
When you serve the Lord,
some people will pat you on the back, others will criticize you.
:8 deceivers and yet
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
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.
:9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as
chastened, and yet not killed;
:9 unknown …well known
Ministry is not for
people who want to make a name for themselves.
Some people get a lot of glitz and glamor, but for most, it consists of
doing things without any recognition, like a ninja.
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
But when you step outside
of your ministry area, you’re a nobody.
I remember once going to
hear our pastor Franklin speak at a special gathering at another much larger Calvary
As we were leaving, I was
introduced to the pastor of that church, who has been on the radio for years,
and his response to me was, “I didn’t know there was a Calvary Chapel in
Fullerton. How long have you been
I have learned to just
grin when people say things like that.
Not about me
Ministry is about serving
Jesus. It’s not about what I get out of
:9 dying … we live
Don’t forget that real “life” isn’t about how healthy your physical body
Real life is tied up in your relationship with Jesus.
(John 10:10 NKJV) The thief
does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that
they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
:9 chastened … not killed
Some people take a step
into serving God, and then when they hit their first little road bump, they
quit. Not Paul.
:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as
having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
:10 sorrowful … rejoicing
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.
:10 as poor, yet making many rich
Sometimes we put just a little too much time into worrying about our
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have insurance, but if your whole life
is wrapped up in things that can be taken from you, you are going to have
Paul did not see ministry as a way to become wealthy.
He might not have had a lot of money to his name, but the spiritual wealth
he gave to others was great.
:10 having nothing, and yet possessing all things
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.
6:11-13 Open and Closed
Throughout the letter, we’ve seen hints at how the Corinthians felt about
Some of them were outright challenging Paul’s authority over the church.
Even in 1Corinthians, there were different groups in the church and they
each thought that their favorite preacher was better than the others.
I think Paul is now getting to one of the root problems in the church.
:11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.
:12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own
:13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
:12 you are restricted by your own affections
Paul contrasts two ideas – being “opened” and being “restricted” or, “closed”.
Paul’s mouth was opened.
The phrase “spoken openly” means literally, “our mouths have been open”.
He wasn’t hiding any words. He was
speaking openly to them.
Paul’s heart was open.
:11 wide open – platuno –
to make broad, enlarge; to welcome and embrace you in love
In contrast, the Corinthians were “closed” or “restricted” by their own affections.
:12 restricted – stenochoreo –
to be in a narrow place; compress, cramp
:12 affections – splagchnon –
bowels, intestines, regarded as the seat of the emotions, “heart”
Got your attention?
Paul was open and loving towards the Corinthians.
They were closed and critical to him.
Sometimes we are like Paul, open and loving towards others, while they are
not that way towards us.
If you are like Paul, the problem is most likely not you.
The problem is in the other person’s “affections”, or in Bible-speak, their
I’ve had people come up after a message and give their critique on all the
things I did wrong in the message.
I have to tell you that sometimes those critiques sting.
Sometimes the criticism is actually helpful, but an awful
lot of the time I’ve come to realize that it’s the person that’s talking to me
that actually has the problem.
And I’ve learned that until they’re willing to realize
that they’re the one with the problem, arguing with them over their criticism
isn’t going to help.
Sometimes we are more like the Corinthians, and we find ourselves angry, or
critical of other people.
You might tell yourself that you have very good reasons to be angry.
But sometimes the problem is simply in your “bowels”, your emotions.
I know that sometimes I get critical of people myself, and to be honest,
sometimes my bad “mood” really has nothing to do with the person I criticize,
but the fact that something else has gone wrong in my life and I’m just taking
it out on the person I’m criticizing.
Paul tells the Corinthians that his mouth and heart are “open” to
them. He encourages them to try to be
“open” to him as well.