Contributed on Sep 6, 2011
Christians have a long-standing tradition of being confused about church leadership and the identity of the Christian lay person. The Corinthian church experienced this problem even in the middle of the first century! Who are we?
[Note: this sermon was so long -- or my preaching of it -- that I was only to cover my first point in 1/2 hour] Paul on the Defense: 2 Corinthians Intro (2 Corinthians 1:1-2, textual) 1. Paul plants the church in Corinth (about 51 A.D.) 2. Paul writes I Corinthians (about 54 A.D.) 3. ...read more
Contributed on Sep 12, 2011
What are the implications of God calling we who make up the church “saints?” How do saints relate together?
The People of God: Laymen (2 Corinthians 1: 1b-2) 1. A friend was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside. The Pastor said to him, "You need to join the Army ...read more
Contributed on Sep 19, 2011
The pattern is all over Scripture: we cannot separate our vertical relationship to God from our horizontal relationship to others; the vertical always influences the horizontal. This is true in the realm of comfort.
Receiving God’s Comfort to Give It Away (2 Corinthians 1:3-7) 1. Yesterday Marylu and I went to the Ko-ko-mah encampment as we do every year. We love the smell of campfires cooking food, crafts and arts done in an 1800’s style, the music, the costumes, the re-enactments. 2. ...read more
Contributed on Sep 26, 2011
We are transformed as the Spirit of God works in us, often through His Word. That transformation, however, shows itself in practical ways like these that Paul discusses.
Practical Transformation (2 Corinthians 1:8-24) 1. Is going to church a privilege or a sentence? It depends upon you and the particular church. For some in Alabama, it is a sentence: 2. BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say non-violent offenders in southern Alabama will have a new ...read more
Contributed on Oct 5, 2011
Discipline in the church and in the family have their similarities. Whether a conflict is with children in our family or God’s household in a church family, several principles apply.
Strong Leadership in Painful Times (2 Corinthians 2:1-11) 1. WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Frank and Louie the cat was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes — and lots of doubts about his future. Now, 12 years after Marty Stevens rescued him from being euthanized because of his ...read more
Contributed on Oct 10, 2011
Serving the Lord as individuals and as a collective church has its challenges, stresses, and frustrations, but God calls us to march on.
Marching On! 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 • All religious groups have conflicts; when people have to work closely together, personality and experiences lead us in different direcions. Modnern Jews have them, too. They often rely on tradition to settle matters. This joke makes the ...read more
Contributed on Oct 17, 2011
The proof is in the pudding, and those of us who know Christ are the pudding.
We Are the Pudding (2 Corinthians 3:1-6) 1. Many of you know that I love to cook. When Marylu went to work 5 years ago, I told her I would take over cooking. 2. I have to cook low-cholesterol: no egg yolks, butter, cream, bacon, shrimp or organ meat. Yet amazing how many delicious meals a ...read more
Contributed on Oct 24, 2011
Being under the New Covenant means changing from the inside out.
People Without Veils (2 Corinthians 3:7-18) 1. Sometimes there is no winning. A man recounts a time when he had to enter the military while the draft was still in place: I didn’t enlist in the Army — I was drafted. So I wasn’t going to make life easy for anyone. During ...read more
Contributed on Nov 7, 2011
Serving the Lord is a privilege as we bring light to a dark world, but demoralizing as we are beaten down. Despite the challenges of being light in a dark world, we should not lose heart.
A Broken or Flexing Spirit? (2 Corinthians 4:1-6) 1. When Marylu and I lived in the Chicago area, we had the privilege of going to the top floor of both the Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) and the Hancock Building. 2. As one rides up the high speed elevator to the hundred and something ...read more
Contributed on Nov 18, 2011
We should be grateful for God’s earthly, physical blessings and protection, but we should be even more grateful for the eternal blessings he gives us.
An Eternal Weight of Glory (2 Corinthians 4:7-18 with Psalm 116) My view is that 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 is based on Psalm 116 (the 2 Cor. passage is a midrash). See if you agree. The “starting text,” Psalm 116:3-19 3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol ...read more
Contributed on Nov 21, 2011
An Eternal DWELLING Awaits Us in Heaven.
The Groaning Tent (2 Corinthians 5:1-10) 1. There is a lot in life for which we should be thankful. Thankfulness is a habit. 2. One minister had developed this habit well and took seriously the call to be thankful. People noticed that, no matter what happened, he was thankful. 3. One ...read more
Contributed on Nov 28, 2011
Coming to know and serve God certainly benefits us, and we should not be ashamed of that; he created us to need him. But we are called to serve on the basis of higher motives, motives that are tied to who God is and what he has done. So why do we serve hi
The Right Motives for Ministry: Why We Serve Him (2 Corinthians 5:11-15) 1. People are motivated in many ways. 2. He may dress like a skid-row bum and smell like a dead rat, but Andy Smulian is a hit among London businessmen plagued by those who won't pay their bills. Employed by the ...read more
Contributed on Sep 4, 2012
Becoming a partner with someone means having to stay in step with the partner; it is important to be equally yoked. If not, your impact for our Lord could be minimized.
The Three Legged Race (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) 1. Here is an old joke about a three-legged race of sorts. One day a traveller was driving down a back country road when he noticed that there was a three-legged chicken running alongside his car. He stepped on the gas but at 50 miles per hour. ...read more
Contributed on Sep 10, 2012
Neither Paul nor we are meant to be Mr. Spock from Star Trek; Paul was comfortable with emotion, but -- even when he was emotionally intense -- he kept his eyes on Jesus and sought to follow God’s will, not his own.
Paul, the Emotional Case (2 Corinthians 7:2-16) 1. I love this old Jewish joke: During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to ...read more
Contributed on Sep 18, 2012
Giving is an important part of the Lord’s work, because spiritual ministry is carried out in the physical realm. We can give without loving God, but we cannot love God without giving.
An Earful of Cheerful Givers (2 Corinthians 8-9) 1. Churches have different ways of doing things. But bulletin bloopers and typos cross denominational lines. • Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear ...read more
Contributed on Sep 24, 2012
Leading and following during uncertain eras of church life require us to keep a clear head. So does handling life. Paul rehearses some principles that can help us do that.
Keeping A Clear Head During Mixed-Up Times 2 Corinthians 10 1. I had a stressful weak; my sister is approaching death, and she and my brother-in-law had to talk about some painful decisions. 2. It is hard to keep a clear head when you are unsure, upset, and heart-broken. 3. But it is our ...read more
Contributed on Oct 2, 2012
Some people are weak in sense, period. Others are strong in some areas, but weak in the spiritual realm because, down deep, they really don’t believe things like doctrine matter. Paul attempts to shake-up both types of people who are inappropriately tole
When Tolerance Is Silly 2 Corinthians 11:1-4, 19-20 1. Does it really matter what you believe? 2. From UPI: CAIRO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A conservative cleric in the constituent assembly drafting the new Egyptian constitution has argued the country should allow girls to marry at 14. Yassir ...read more
Contributed on Oct 29, 2012
Rather than throwing in the towel, Paul stood firm and refused to get out of the way. He answered backbiting with get-in-your face answers.
Standing Firm and Refusing to Get Out of the Way (2 Corinthians 11:21-12:10) 1. Sometimes antiquated methods still work! 2. Police in Kansas City, Mo., are searching for a man who robbed a Church's Chicken restaurant armed with a samurai sword. Police said a light-skinned, black male ...read more
Contributed on Oct 29, 2012
No matter how diligently you walk with God, some people within a congregation may look down upon you and falsely criticize you. Sometimes you should ignore the criticism and move on. At other times you need to respond. Paul provides a case study of fight
Playing the Fool to Defeat the Fool (2 Corinthians 11:1, 5-15) 1. A Louisiana man has been released from death row, becoming the 300th prisoner nationwide to be freed after DNA evidence showed he was innocent. Of those 300 prisoners, 18 had been on death row, according to lawyers from the New ...read more
Contributed on Nov 6, 2012
We are to respect those in spiritual authority, and we are to respect those who pour themselves out for the Gospel. Paul deserved respect on both counts.
A Servant Who Should Be Respected 2 Corinthians 12: 11-18 1. With the disaster of Hurricane Sandy and the misery and grief it brought, we are reminded about how vulnerable we all are. 2. This life is filled with twists, turns, and uncertainties. The only real insurance is the assurance of ...read more