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Summary: The proof is in the pudding, and those of us who know Christ are the pudding.

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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 person can make without those things.

3. Still, not all meals excite me equally. We eat salmon once a week and a white fish of some sort also once a week, sometimes more. And I have some amazing recipes.

4. But when I cook Italian, whether it be lasagna or low-fat meatballs with pasta or chicken marsala or chicken cacciatori or manicotti I am excited!

5. God’s Word is the same to me; I like it all, but some portions just thrill me. The text before us is a case in point. 2 Corinthians 3 tells us so much about who we are and how we relate to God under the New Covenant.

6. Although Paul often wrote in a way that appeals to the orderly, consistency-driven rigid western mind, in 2 Corinthians we see his rabbinic side where similar terms are used to connect distinct thoughts and the logic runs differently from western logic.

7. Paul’s adversaries, these false “super apostles” had letters of recommendation and introduction from several churches. Paul carried no such letters. His argument is that his converts are his letters of recommendation.

8. Today’s text is intro for his Midrash of Exodus 34 and Jeremiah 31. 2 Corinthians 3 has its mixed metaphors, but one of them is only mixed in English. Here, in verses 1-2, the word “letter” refers to the letters of recommendation, (epistolos) but as we transition further into the chapter, the meaning of the word “letter” refers to written text (grammatos), namely The Old Covenant.

9. In both languages, however, the Corinthians are Paul’s letter of recommendation written on Paul’s heart, but, as we transition, Paul refers to the New Covenant as the Law of God written on the hearts of New Covenant believers by the Holy Spirit. Verses 3-6 begin this transition and introduce the Midrash – the application of Old Testament texts -- we will look at next week.

Main Idea: The proof is in the pudding, and those of us who know Christ are the pudding.

I. True Christians Are the EVIDENCE of True Christianity (1-2)

A. Paul preferred not to BRAG about himself

1. Paul was not bragging in stating he was an apostle…(Sophists)

2. Bragging and humility vary by culture. In ajob interview, American oversell themselves (initiative and assertiveness); Dutch tend to undersell themselves because (humility and respect for authority) [See Cultures and Organizations, p. 116]

B. A LEGACY of believers is an important marker of legitimacy

1. The proof of a man’s ministry is the people he has trained

2. Paul producing solid converts, reasonable to believe he was a true apostle

C. We are God’s letter to our SOCIETY

1. What do we want to say to society? That Christians can make the best movies, produce music that rivals pop, have a good time, be up to date?

2. Or do we want to send a message about the transforming power of the Gospel to connect us to God and give us a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit?

3. Charge card: what’s in your wallet (Vikings); what’s in your letter?

Application: How do you come across? Do people enjoy your company? Does your life reflect the joy of the Lord? Are you gracious and loving?

The proof is in the pudding, and those of us who know Christ are the pudding.

II. True Christians Have Been ALTERED Within (3)

A. The REASON we are God’s letter is regeneration

1. Religion is not the new birth

2. Regeneration, the New birth, is a work of the Holy Spirit

B. The Law of God is written on our HEARTS (hallmark of New Covenant)

C. This refers to the NEW Nature

1. A TRANSFORMATION of conscience (Romans 2:15)

2. God’s working to create a DESIRE to serve him (Philippians 2:13)

3. Being brought to spiritual LIFE in Christ (Ephesians 2:5-6)

The proof is in the pudding, and those of us who know Christ are the pudding.

III. True Christians Exude the CONFIDENCE that Comes from the New Covenant (4-6)

A. Paul sensed his INADEQUACY

B. Like Moses and Jeremiah, Whom Paul Will QUOTE (cf. Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Exodus 3:10-17)

o Elaborate on the call of Moses and Jeremiah

o Do you sense you are inadequate to live the Christian life? Join the club!

o God calls something larger than ourselves, make disciples of all nations

o I collect stamps, international; so many …but I get some of them

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