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How to recognise a REAL Gospel Preacher – 2 Corinthians 10

21/09/2013

Ballymacashon Congregational Church

Lord’s Day 8th September 2013

Service Theme: How to Recognise a True Gospel Preacher!

Praise:

Psalm 100 (Tune: Old Hundredth)

Paraphrase 30, Come Let us to the Lord our God (Tune: Kedron)

Hymn: The Sands of Time (A R Cousins)

Text: 2nd Corinthians 10

Would we recognise a true Gospel preacher?  What criteria would we base our assessment on?  In this passage, Paul gives us guidelines that we can use in such situations.

1. Paul Speaks to the Corinthians! V1-6

Now remember that Paul had founded this church.  It was a city of dreadful sinfulness, and Paul had come with the gospel message, and had declared forgiveness of sin in Christ.   Paul is saying to these Corinthians, “You must learn to recognise who is giving you the TRUE MEDICINE FOR YOUR SOUL.”  Anything else will be spiritually dangerous!  Here are some hints:-

  • Consider the humility with which a true Gospel Preacher Speaks! V1. Paul pleads with the meekness and gentleness of Christ!  The super-apostles didn’t do that.  They were mostly speaking about themselves, and their great schemes and their money.  Paul, in his speech was humble, his life and ministry are modelled upon Christ.  He is only being bold, so that when he comes to Corinth, he can be gentle!  Paul has no desire whatsoever for severity.  Verse 2
  • Consider the Power of the True Gospel Preacher’s Message! Now Paul is speaking here about his own ministry, and Paul’s ministry is the ministry of persuasion through preaching.  1 Cor. 1:21 1 Cor. 2:4   2 Tim. 4:17  Titus 1:3   Remember that Paul was A PREACHER.  Now I am emphasising this point, because of what Paul writes here about his ministry – about Gospel preaching, for PREACHING is not like any other form of activity.  It is different from delivering an address, from lecturing, from teaching, from a quiet talk…  PREACHING IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE!  It is doing battle with the devil.

So, when Paul preaches, its not just a nice wee message or a little homily, or a moral story.  Paul is pulling down the strongholds that Satan has built in people’s minds, and he is doing that by CASTING DOWN ARGUMENTS.  You see, spiritual warfare is an INTELLECTUAL MATTER.  Attacking the devil in where he is attacking the saints – in their minds, and in their reason.  He is warring against FALSE KNOWLEDGE in the mind.  So, preaching is different from any other form of spoken address!  The Devil’s desire is to oppose the Gospel, and the preacher’s task is to destroy the devil’s work in the minds of men and women.

  • Consider the Authority that his message carries!  The Gospel preacher’s message brings about a change in the ways of the church!  Disobedience would be punished! and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

LESSON #1.  It is not, ‘what is he like’ – but ‘what message does he bring?’  

 

2. Paul Speaks to a Disloyal Brother!  V7-11

Someone in the Church was organising a muttering campaign against Paul.  Paul concludes this little sub-section, by writing in verse 11, Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present..   Now, every church has people who are chronic complainers!  Corinth was no different.  They were saying, “Just look at this Paul, what kind of a minister is he?”  “Have you seen the way he acts and speaks, and they way he dresses?”  “He doesn’t even look like a minister!”  Paul says, Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? The Greeks were good at this.  They were meticulous about their outward appearance, and they judged others by that standard.  To the Corinthians, it was very important to look good, and to speak good.  The Greeks were impressed with dress, voice, appearance.  But the Christian is not of this world, or of the culture of this world.  He is Christ’s, as Paul reminds us in v12.

LESSON #2.  A true Gospel minister may be nothing at all in the eyes of this world.  He may not measure up against the criteria of this world – but he will be truly forceful in defending the Scriptures and proclaiming Christ!

 

3. Paul Speaks about the False Teachers!  V12ff

These super-apostles commended themselves.  When they came to Corinth, they had all the right qualifications.  A long list of letters after their names.  When asked about their background, they didn’t point to their last prison sentence, like Paul – they had great connections – they were well known in the all the right circles.  They belonged to all the right ministerial fraternals.   So Paul sets a better rule for his conduct – he would never boast of anything other than what God has given him.  He would never boast about something that someone else had achieved. not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labours. He was successful in keeping this rule. His hope was that their faith was increased, and that others beyond them, even in the remoter parts of Achaia, would come to Christ too; and in all this he never exceeded his commission, nor claimed to have done something that someone else had done. but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere,  to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.   

Paul’s last line of this chapter, But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends, is well commented upon by Matthew Henry  Not he that commendeth himself is approved, but he whom the Lord commendeth,  Of all flattery, self-flattery is the worst, and self-applause is seldom any better than self-flattery and self-deceit. At the best, self-commendation is no praise, and it is oftentimes as foolish and vain as it is proud; therefore, instead of praising or commending ourselves, we should strive to approve ourselves to God, and his approbation will be our best commendation.

LESSON #3. a true minister of the gospel will never seek the approval of men.  He’ll only be interested in winning the commendation of Christ upon his efforts.

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