Summary: In order to be a committed follower of Christ, we must allow Him to "Remove The Veil" of our understanding.
I. This morning our “base” verse is 2 Corinthians 3:16 - “but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
A. 2nd Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul, most believe around A.D. 55, approximately 25 years or so after the crucifixion of Christ.
B. Many bible scholars have also decided that 2nd Corinthians is probably one of at least three, but probably four letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
1. According to 1st Cor. 5:9-11, letter one was written before 1st Corinthians.
a. That letter was instructions for the church to stay away from “immoral people of this world; covetous people, swindlers, and idolaters.”
b. However, Paul was writing to clarify that he was not referring to unbelievers, but rather those who claimed to be brothers, while still acting like the world.
c. Doesn’t that speak to the idea that the life of the believer should reflect a change of life style.
2. Letter two then would be 1st Corinthians which was written to deal with internal problems in the church.
3. Letter three; referred to in 2nd Cor. 7:8-9, is often referred to as the “sorrowful letter” or the “tearful letter.”
a. That letter was evidently a pretty harsh letter that Paul wrote to correct actions that the church failed to respond to in 1st Corinthians.
4. Letter four is what we know as 2nd Corinthians.
a. The primary purpose of 2nd Corinthians was Paul’s defense against attacks on his apostleship and authority.
b. Between the four letters, Paul had given a lot of direction and correction, and yet in his physical absence, although change had taken place, the church was rebelling against Paul.
C. The Corinthian church must have been a difficult church to deal with.
II. I suppose it would be fair to say that the church in Corinth knew full well how followers of Christ were supposed to act,
A. Paul had given them good instruction when God used him to form the church.
B. We can probably assume that whoever Paul left in charge continued to give good instruction.
C. Paul had even gone so far as to write them letters of instruction, in order to clarify God’s leading,
D. But there was a veil over their heart that was keeping them from responding to God.
1. Even though they knew of liberty in Christ, the Jewish population continued to demand adherence to the Mosaic Law, as if to say, “We were here first, so you must adjust to what we believe.”
2. Even though they knew of Paul’s authority from God, they now were refusing to listen; “Who is Paul to tell us what to do.”
3. In refusing to listen to Paul, they were actually refusing to listen to God himself.
III. Please turn with me to 2nd Corinthians 3, beginning with verse 12, through chapter 4, verse 2. The Veil Must Be Removed
12 Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
I. There almost seems to be a paradox here.
A. We can almost say that the Corinthian letters were written to reprimand the church for not following the example and directive of Jesus Christ.
B. Yet in this chapter Paul is explaining the as Christians, we have been set free from the law.
C. The new covenant of the grace of Jesus Christ affords freedom, liberty and life in opposition to the old covenant of the so-called Law of Moses, which brought death.
II. In these and the preceding verses Paul is referring back to Exodus 34, verses 29 to 35.
A. Exodus tells of how Moses went before God in order to receive God’s commands for his followers.
B. Moses went up on the mountain to speak with God
1. When he returned, initially he did not know that his face shined with a radiance from his encounter with God.
2. The people looked on in amazement,
a. It seems to the point where they couldn’t even pay attention to what Moses was saying.
b. In fact Exodus 34, verse 30 states, “So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
c. Something amazing happened when Moses encountered God.
3. Moses would put a veil over his face, I had always assumed was his attempt to allow Israel to hear the word of God.