Summary: You may possess resources, something that could nourish and help others. But if it is hoarded and boarded up, that stuff will spoil, stain, smell and be utterly pointless.
2 Corinthians 5: 16 – 21 From Now On
Intro: A young woman went to her pastor and said, “Pastor, I really need your advice in dealing with the sin of pride. I come to church Sunday after Sunday and I can’t help to think as I look around that I’m the prettiest girl in the congregation. I know I shouldn’t think like that; but, I just can’t help it.” --- The pastor replied, “Jackie, don’t worry about it. --- In your case it isn’t a sin. It’s just a horrible mistake.”
I. It was this kind of attitude that caused Paul to write to the Corinthian church. There had been such misunderstanding and negativity that the church was divisive.
A. One group in the church felt the other group suffered from moral laxity. Both groups became combative.
B. A group of Jewish Christians had come to Corinth and were attempting to undermine Paul’s influence by accusation and insinuation.
C. Paul was never at a loss for words. He wrote a rather caustic letter that went straight to the point. He realized the strife and bickering was primarily caused by the dual nature of humanity: heavenly vs. worldy.
II. The woman answered the doorbell. There stood a homeless man who asked it there were some odd jobs he could do to earn a little money. She answered, “Around the back of my house I have a porch that needs painting. Can you handle a paintbrush?” “Oh, yes, ma’am.” She gave him a gallon of bright green paint and a brush and said, “Go around back, you’ll see the porch that needs painting and go to it.” About an hour later, the man returned to the door and rang the bell. “Well,” the lady said, “Have you finished already?” “Yes ma’am. I really lathered on this bright green paint. By the way, I guess you don’t know too much about cars because that’s not a Porsche; it’s a Mercedes.” (by Joseph Smith, “Ambassadors with Wide Open Hearts,” Sermon Central.)
A. Sometimes the message we send isn’t the message that is received. Paul had really tied into the Corinthian Christians earlier in the 5th chapter. But by the 16th verse it appears he decided that perhaps the message he was a little too severe.
B. Paul begins by telling the Corinthians that what they really need is an “EXTREME MAKEOVER.” Paul said to the divided congregation at Corinth that God had entrusted to them the ministry of reconciliation by becoming ambassadors for Christ.
C. Verse 16 – “So from now on. . .” Things need to be different. From now on, unity must take the place of division . . . From now on, we must change and become like new creations.
III. From now on, . . . Trinity Church needs an extreme makeover. But how? How will God accomplish this?
A. The answer is in this lesson from Paul. (Read verses 17 & 18) --- That’s how. . . That’s why . . . and the time is now.
B. The way Paul saw the Corinthian Church extreme makeover taking place was through Christ Jesus. (Verse 19)
C. We need to see in the cross of Christ there was one who allowed himself to be treated like dirt so that others could fee; the love in His heart. If you and I can set aside the negativity that abounds, begin to think of others more than self, we can be transformed into ambassadors for Christ.
Conclu: Read Verse 20 – “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf; Be reconciled to God. This building is an instrument for our future; we’ve spent a great deal of money improving it. --- I read recently about a small town in which a store that had been boarded up for 20 years was being sold and torn down. When they went inside, they found a relic of the past. It has served as the hub of the small community some twenty, thirty, fifty years ago. When the owner could no longer operate the store and her son just didn’t want to, it was closed. The interesting part of the story for me was this: they found cans of food, left tightly sealed and unused on the shelves were now burst open spewing smelly decay all over the place. --- You may possess resources, something that could nourish and help others. But if it is hoarded and boarded up, that stuff will spoil, stain, smell and be utterly pointless. (from Sermon Central: Ambassadors With Wide Open Hearts by Joseph Smith)