Summary: 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.
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 choice: Go to jail, or go to church every Sunday for a year.
…The city judge in Bay Minette will let misdemeanor offenders choose to work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine; or go to church every Sunday for a year.
If offenders select church, they’ll be allowed to pick the place of worship but must check in weekly with the pastor and police. If the one-year church attendance program is completed, the offender’s case will be dismissed.
Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland says the program could change the lives of people heading down the wrong path. So far, 56 churches are participating.
3. Some of these criminal will probably come to know the Lord and be transformed.
Main Idea: 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.
I. We Need to PRAY for God’s Servants (8-11)
It is human nature to have a self-serving agenda, to seek what we want, what floats our boats – but concern for the greater Kingdom -- and brothers and sisters who serve – is a sign of transformation.
A. The ministry is amazingly STRESSFUL at times
B. Missionaries or Christians in HOSTILE environments are a fact of life
1. The sentence of death “within” ourselves (lit., vs 9) – sickness
2. God’s servants are not exempt from sickness…even debilitating sickness
3. Persecution in Asia (minor)
4. The implication: Paul was a sincere servant of the Lord; one who is insincere would never choose to suffer for what he believed to be a lie…
5. Since God could raise the dead, he could heal the sick and deiver the persecuted
6. God had more work for Paul to do…
C. Teamwork PRAYERS accumulate to make a difference
1. Prayer is a means to accomplish God’s ends
2. God instituted praying and receiving to bring glory to himself…
Do you pray for God’s servants? Pastors, missionaries, evangelists?
II. We Need to Communicate DIRECTLY (12-14)
The Spirit’s transforming power is seen everyday in how we speak. Our communication skills, how we present truth, and even our philosophy of outreach and evangelism is affected by the transforming power of the Spirit.
A. Simplicity and SINCERITY (12)
1. Holy speech (what words are in your vocabulary?)
2. Gracious speech (not just acceptable words, but tone; sarcasm, negative)
3. Note that Paul reached the lost without embracing the fad of sophism
4. Infiltrating (sneak)? No. Communicating understandably or with a hip aura?
B. DIRECTLY (13)
1. In 2 Peter 3:15, Peter says some things Paul writes are hard to understand
2. Here, Paul says he is understandable. And he is.
3. Sometimes we are not motivated or patient enough to work at understanding
4. The Scriptures may have some difficult teachings, but they are understandable.