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Sabbath Mornings at Ballymacashon – 2nd June 2013

01/06/2013

Ballymacashon Congregational Church

Order of Service:  Sabbath 2nd June 2013

Service Theme:  CHRISTIAN INTEGRITY

Announcements:

Worship at Ballymacashon: After today’s morning service, we meet around the Lord’s Table, and all who know and love Him are invited to remain for communion.

Tuesday NO PMBS

Sunday at 11.30am

Next Monthly Rally at 3.30pm on 2nd June, Rev Jim Lyons from Knockbracken.

Fellowship Night at Ballygowan Monday at 7.30pm.

Call to Worship Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Praise: Psalm 101

Of loyalty and justice, I raise my voice in song

To you O Lord I lift up, these words with music strong

The perfect way I ponder, When will you come to me?

I’ll live within my household with true integrity.

I do not let my eyes dwell on any worthless thing,

The deeds of an apostate, to me will never cling,

May thinking that is twisted, be kept away from me,

I’ll not consent to evil or do wrong knowingly.

I’ll uproot him who slyly, his neighbour vilifies,

I’ll not endure the proud heart, or him with lofty eyes,

My eyes are on the faithful, that they may dwell with me,

The one whose walk is blameless will serve and wait on me.

The one who is deceptive, will not abide with me,

He’ll not keep his position, who speaks deceitfully,

Each morning on the wicked, destruction I will pour,

To free from evil doers, the city of the Lord.

Prayer:

Adoration of God

Confession of Sin

Reading:   Psalm 101, with meditation and prayer.

Children’s Address Do the right thing!

Praise:  Guide me O, Thou Great Jehovah

Prayer:

Thanksgiving

Intercession including Prayer for Marriage.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:12-18

Sermon:  Christian Integrity 2 Corinthians 1:12-18

Christian Integrity – Study Guide

Text: 2nd Corinthians 1:12-18

One of the objects of Paul’s labours in writing to the Corinthian church, and, because this is Scripture, in writing to US, as part of his church, is to remind the Christians that God demands TOTAL OBEDIENCE and DEPENDENCE from his people.  But, along the way, he makes some very interesting observations about Christians… Some very practical teachings about the Christian life…  See in our text that:-

1. A Christian is always transparently honest.

What I mean by that is that a Christian should up front, open, should say what he means and mean what he says.   Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 5:33, and James, in James 5:12.  

There should be no hidden meanings, no back doors, no smoke and mirrors, no obfuscation, no dissembling, no deceit.  How difficult then is it for a Christian to be a politician – or these days a banker…

In verses 12-14, we seem to have have an interesting literary problem.  Here we have Paul’s answers to a series of questions or accusations.  The problem is that Paul knows what the accusations are, and the readers would have known what the accusations are, but we don’t! We know that these three accusations were slurs on Paul’s personal character.  They are saying:-

  1. Paul must have some hidden misdemeanour! V12 “This man Paul, there must be some sin that he is covering up!” Now, remember that we don’t know the details of the exact accusation that is being made here, but someone must have put out the rumour that Paul had some hidden sin in his life!  Paul’s answer is very direct.  His life has been completely open and honest, has been lived before the Lord, and can be seen by all! There were NO HIDDEN ACTIONS IN Paul’s life!  No skeletons buried in any cupboard anywhere!
  2. Paul must have some hidden motive!  Why was Paul preaching the Gospel, and carrying out his missionary activities?   with devout and pure motives and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God.   The word that Paul uses for ‘sincerity’ is the Gk ‘eilikrineia’ which seems to imply something which can be held up to the light of the sun and looked through, so that the sunlight can shine directly through it revealing any impurities.  Paul’s life was like that!  Completely transparent!
  3. Paul must have some hidden meaning!  “This man Paul, you can’t really accept anything that he says at face value, you always have to read between the lines, to get to the real meaning of what he is saying!  You have to be very careful with this man’s letters, you have to read between the lines, because he has some hidden agenda!”  Paul’s reply is that everything he says, he means!  v13  
  4. Paul must be duplicitous!  The opposite of simplicity is duplicity, and they are saying that Paul is duplicitous.  V17 – when he says yes he really means no… and when he says no he really means yes!

Now, every Christian should be just like that.  Everything should be totally open, totally sincere and unaffected, honest, genuine, truthful and real.  That would put an immediate stop to all the ‘Christian gossip’ and plotting and back-stabbing that often goes on in churches!

2. A Christian is always reliable!  V15ff

Now, WHY were the people saying these things?  Paul had a plan, and he had told the Corinthians what the plan was.  He had promised that he would visit the Corinthians twice. 2 Cor. 1:15-17.  He had planned to visit twice, so that the Corinthian believers would benefit twice.  But he didn’t do that – instead he sent a letter!  Because of this failure to keep his promise, the false preachers who visited Paul were making these accusations.  Paul is saying one thing and doing another, and you really shouldn’t trust him, and especially you shouldn’t trust these letters he’s been writing!  Of course, we know what happened:-

  1. On one occasion, he had refrained from visiting, because the lessons that the Corinthian church needed to learn were so painful – for them!  They were living like worldlings!  They were guilty of dragging the Christian testimony down into the mire. Paul writes in v23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 2 Cor. 1:23
  2. On the second occasion he was physically unable!  We know that Paul got waylaid in Asia Minor and that there was some awful incident in Ephesus and Paul was almost dead as a result of it!

In fact, Paul’s conscience was completely clear, and would be clear on the day when he stands before the Lord in judgement.  V14.

2. A Christian is always sincere!  V12-14

Notice that when Paul writes in this passage he often talks about his boast!  V12 & 14.  For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 2 Cor. 1:12.  The word ‘rejoicing’ in the AV is the Gk work which is often translated ‘boasting.’  Christians don’t boast!  That would be very egotistical!  That’s exactly what the false preachers were doing at Corinth.  They were boasting of their great miracles and their great works that THEY did for God, and of their great sermons.  So Paul makes a ‘counter-boast.’ He uses this word 25 times in 2 Cor.  But every time Paul uses this word he boasts in his weakness, cowardice, illness, mistakes…  and yet the Lord was able to use him!  Paul may be maligned by the Corinthians, but God knew all about him, and he knew that Paul’s conscience was clear!

So, integrity is a huge thing in the Christian life, and its part of our testimony and our walk before The Lord.  We must be totally without guile, totally dependable and totally sincere.  Indeed may we be like the psalmist in Psalm 101,    I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.

Praise:  I am Thine O Lord.

Benediction.

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