Pulling Yourself Together Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on Pulling Yourself Together Part 1. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 6:1-10.

So this is why I say to you, pull yourself together in your adversity, in your problems, and be an opportunist. Make those changes that God is calling you to change and serve by giving no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders, hope worth having radio broadcast today. We’re excited that you could join us and today we’re gonna be 2 Corinthians chapter 6 studying verses 1 through 10 and I have entitled this message Pulling Yourself Together.

The Apostle is explaining in this text how he responds to adversity and if ever there was a time that we as believers need to pull ourselves together and we need to focus on our Lord and Savior, it is now.

Let’s get into God’s Word this morning. If you have your Bible this morning, I want you to turn with me in the second Corinthians chapter six. And I’m entitled this series pulling yourself together. As we have been studying chapter one through all the way through chapter five, we found that this letter that the apostle has written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God is a letter of encouragement.

It’s a And if you find yourself discouraged, there is a wonderful letter to turn to, and that is 2 Corinthians. We’re at the outset. You are introduced to the God of comfort. But when we come to chapter six, the apostle is trying to speak straight to people of God.

And he wants to kind of get to points and help them with some of their misunderstandings and their preconceived ideas, and that’s why I’ve entitled it, Pull Yourself Together. And there are really four ways for us to do that, but as the apostle is teaching us to pull ourselves together, it is under the understanding that when we face adversity and pressure in life, we have to pool ourselves together.

Another, the Apostle Paul lists 40 personal traits just in this chapter of his problems, of His pressures, of this challenges, and the first section of chapter 6 is really describing those hardships.

The second section is describing His attitude in response to those hardship. And then the final part of this section is describing the paradoxes that he faced as he served Christ. So let’s look at these as we try to understand what is the application.

I want you and I to learn how to respond to adversity. So point number one is to be an opportunist. To be and opportunists affirming the privilege that we have in Jesus Christ, look with me at verse 1 the Bible says we then as workers together with him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain for he says in an acceptable time I have heard you in the day of salvation I have helped you behold now is the accepted time behold now it’s the Day of Salvation we give no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed.

In this first section the Apostle is challenging us to be an opportunist. I know that many times when you think of that word you think in terms of maybe someone taking advantage of another, but what I want to say to you is that at a believer as we face the pressures of life, as we deal with the problems of adversity in our life we must recognize them as opportunities to be able to make the changes that God wants us to make in our own hearts, but opportunities for us to Make changes in the ministry that God has entrusted to us.

The church in Corinth was a troubled church. It was a church that was facing doctrinal confusion, moral confusion and they were divided, always devouring one another, complaining. They even had turned on the apostle Paul and began to mischaracterize him.

Yet the Apostle does not drill down on them. He does find fault with them, he is not attacking them but yet he spends these first five chapters affirming them encouraging them helping to realign their hearts with God.

God. He comes to chapter 6 and he is now wanting to see the outcome or the results of a heart that is aligned with the Lord Jesus Christ. And he’s teaching them they have an opportunity to work as a team.

Did you see that in verse 1? We then, as workers together with Him, underscore that. He is saying that we are God’s fellow workers. That we are god’s team. Now when he describes to the Corinthians as being a co -worker now remember these people had already began to question the credibility of his ministry and they were even wondering and doubting the things that he had taught them.

Many of these individuals were personally led to Christ by the apostle, but yet hear the apostle speaks to them in such a positive affirming way. And he says, you are my co worker, we are working together.

He wants them to see that opportunity, the opportunity to work as a team. Now, who specifically are we working with as believers? First of all, We are Working with God. Let’s just back up to chapter 5 and let’s look at verse 18 and he says now all things are of God certainly it refers to the fact that everything originates with god and that God is the source of all that is good and all that his right all, that it is hopeful all.

That is loving God is, the, source, of, all of that. He is our sustainer he is He’s the one who initiates within our hearts His love to bring us into this new relationship with Him, this covenant relationship that results in us being a new creation of God and all things passing away and behold all thanks becoming new in our life.

All things are of god. It’s not just limited to our salvation though, all thing are God relating to the strength that we need and that are really in a sense co -oping with God as servants of God. We look again and we note in verse 19 he says of chapter 5 that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself not imputing their trespasses to them and is committed to us the word of reconciliation.

All things are of God, God God is the one who initiates reconciliation. He is provided reconciliation for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. And He has given us the privilege and He’s committed to us, the word of reconciliation God has giving us this ministry that the Apostle has already talked about in verse 18.

He given this us ministry. He has given us this Word. Remember, we learned that this is our message, but our message is a message of reconciliation. We have a ministry of reconciliation, and we have A MESSAGE of Reconciliation.

That’s what he’s teaching us in verse 19. Who originated that ministry? God! Who originated That message? GOD! We go to verse 20, now then we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us.

That’s exactly what it is, is that God is pleading for us you are co -working or you’re co laboring you are working together with God as that he is pleading, through you, to others. It’s not that you have to be a pastor, it’s not, that, you.

Have to, be, a missionary if you want to and God’s calling you We’re supportive and a hundred percent behind you, but even where you’re at in your everyday life, in you job, in role in life. Your responsibilities in live.

God is pleading through you. He is working together with you and what is this message he is pleating? Be reconciled to God. Be reconcile to god. This is what we must communicate and so as we are fellow workers, as we are working together, co -working, we know that we’re working with God, but we also working Christ.

Again, we can’t help but note in verse 20 of chapter five, that were ambassadors for who? Christ, were ambassador for Christ we note again in verses 20 he says we implore you on Christ’s behalf. And so we see that not only working God the Father, but we are working with God the Son, that Jesus Christ is working in us, He is working through us and He’s working around us.

And that all that we endure, all we experience, all what we face is a co -laboring with the Lord Jesus Christ. We have this beautiful opportunity to affirm the privilege of of working with God the Father and with God, the Son, Jesus Christ.

But it goes on further. For Paul says in verse one of chapter six, we then as workers together with Him, with Christ, because the Him refers to the righteousness of God in Him. So we are working together with Chris, but he’s also talking to the Corinthians, the fellow believers, the followers of Christ and so we have an opportunity to work together as a team.

What an awesome privilege for you and I to worked together with God for the purposes of God alongside the people of god. This is what is before you church is that we don’t go into our communities, our homes and our business places and ministries negative, critical, upset about our circumstances, but we see the opportunity that no matter how difficult it is, no how much that struggle is that we recognize that it’s an opportunity.

First, that God wants to change me. That whatever this struggle and adversity is going to expose that I need to deal with, I’m gonna take advantage of that opportunity, But second, that God is working around me in people’s lives and that he wants to use my life as we are co -laboring together with others to bring others into this wonderful message of reconciliation, which helps me to understand that I have this opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I had the opportunity to give this one wonderful message. That’s why the Apostle goes on in verse 1 and he says that he is pleading with God’s people not to receive the grace of God in vain. It is debated exactly what the apostle might mean and I think everything that I’ve read and understood I that it really is inclusive of it all.

I am encouraging us that as we come to these set of verses that we not limit what the Apostles was saying but we I understand the scope of what he is saying. When he says and he pleads with them that they are not to take the grace of God in vain, in essence, he’s saying don’t waste God’s grace in your life.

Don’t waist God grace in you life, you take advantage of the opportunity of Gods effectual grace in heart, in life in through you, around you. Take advantage that. What does that mean? Well, certainly it could always refer to our salvation, right?

Certainly saving grace is an important part of who we are as believers for by grace. Are you saved through faith? That not of yourselves. It is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast and I know that the apostle no matter where he taught and no Matter where He proclaimed God’s truth no no matter who his congregation was or who his audience was, he was always proclaiming the importance for people to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and to be saved.

And I think that that is certainly inclusive of what he is trying to communicate. That maybe among the believers, as this letter is being read to The Corinthian Church, that there were those who doubted their salvation, or maybe there was those who had truly not responded to of the grace of God that had been poured out upon them to bring them to the understanding of a plan of salvation from God, in that when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that we can have our sins forgiven, and that can we have a new life in Lord Christ.

That is certainly part of this message, but I think it goes further. When he says don’t waste God’s grace, Don’t waste this grace of salvation message upon you, church. But also I think he’s talking about our sanctification.

For I am not only in need of saving grace, but sanctifying grace. When we refer to sanctifications, we’re talking God maturing us. We’re taking about God helping us to become stronger in our faith, that He is shaping our life into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He uses circumstances, he uses people, he use his events, he used his word. He used the spirit of God to sanctify us and all of that great work is truly a work of grace in each of us. The opportunities of Gods grace to help us to be all that he wants us to is truly something we should take advantage of.

We should truly seek it as a privilege that God would bestow grace upon us, that we could learn the Word of God, that can grow in the word of god, that We can take the work of the God to others and help them as well to grow.

Don’t waste God’s grace in your life. He has saved your heart, but don’t stop there. He is transformed your light. He put your feet on a solid rock. He’s given you a new direction and he has given you a new attitude, don’t waste that in your life.

Don’t just spin your wills and think, man, I got saved, that’s enough. I know Christ as my Lord, that enough, know my friends. Don’ waste the grace of God in you life, let him continue to work in You.

The scope of this grace is salvation, sanctification, and service. in that we should not waste the grace of God in serving together as believers. That it is through the Grace of god that we serve him.

We don’t serve God in our own strength, but rather in his strength. We dont serve god through our own abilities but abilities and spiritual gifts that have been given to us through the GRACE of GOD. God has called each of us to serve him.

We have a responsibility to not waste this grace. When the apostle teaches us about spiritual gifts, he often refers to it as God’s grace, that it is through God grace we receive these spiritual gift.

We don’t get to pre -determine, we don get say, you know, I don like this spiritual gift and I want a different spiritual give. No, we serve together and we say God in his great wisdom has chosen by his grace to give me this particular gift or this particularly ability to that end, I will not waste the grace of service that has been bestowed upon me.

He’s teaching us the Grace of sharing the good news of Jesus. He again aligns the hearts with the believers to the wonderful message of the prophet Isaiah in verse two, in an acceptable time I have heard you and in the day of salvation I’ve helped you.

Behold now is the accepted time. Be hold now the is day salvation. Yes he’s pleading for unbelievers to be saved, but I think more specifically he saying just like now was the Day of Salvation, now is the time for you to take this message of grace to other people.

Now is time to share it. Now it’s the acceptable time to let others know that this is the day of salvation. I can’t think of a more opportune time that in these times of chaos and confusion and misunderstandings that we would shine like a beacon in the midst of of a dark time and that you and I would be bold and we would affirmative of the grace of God that now is the day of salvation and this is your opportunity to come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

All that the world has stood upon for their security has been taken away from them. And it leaves a lot of uncertainty and a lotta questions and doubt. My friends, this our opportunity as believers. working together as a church family, working as co -laborers, working with the Father and the Son to get the message of this is the day of salvation and this where you ought to put your hope and where this you oughta put you trust and what you want to do with your future.

Not in the stock market, not in politics, not this world, in your job, but in Jesus Christ alone. we have the opportunity to share the gospel and we should not waste the grace of God. Christ came to the earth and grace was given.

The Bible teaches us that he was full of grace and the Apostle John tells us that it was grace upon grace that He gave to us. It is not our grace but it is a grace that comes from heaven, it is a gift from God to be treasured.

It is the gift that we are to share and we’re to look for that opportunity every day. Now is the day of salvation. When God is speaking, when His Spirit is moving, the opportunity is now and now is time to respond to God.

This morning now is for your heart to response to Him. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, Today is the day of salvation. Don’t delay another moment. Don’ delay, another day. Now is day day salvation, no matter who you are.

You can come to Jesus Christ and He will receive you with your heart being humble and that you’re ready to admit your sinfulness and to trust Him for your salvation but I say to all believers, now is The Day of Salvation and the opportunity to respond to him in letting him change your heart.

Let him exchange what he needs to change in you. I know we don’t like change sometimes. I don’ like changed, but sometimes it’s necessary, right? Sometimes God has to allow hardships to expose what we need to deal with.

I say, now is the time to serve him. Don’t hide in your home, serve Him. Use the means which God has provided in this time that we live in. Share this wonderful message and note that as you are doing it, you were to do it in a way, in verse 3, that gives no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.

The Apostle was not saying that he always tried to make everybody happy, but what he was saying is this, that he never wanted to do anything as an ambassador of Christ to discredit the ministry that God had entrusted him.

He wants us to protect the integrity of the gospel and the integrity of the ministry and the integrity of God’s character in who he is. He says that our ministry may not be blamed. It means to be discredited.

It is the idea of being ridiculed or mocked. What the Apostle was saying is that he wanted to live his life and he wanted it to do his ministry and He wanted to work together with God’s people in such a way that there could be no mockery of the ministry of Christ.

That there could no ridicule of the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ I have two choices in life that as I am I’m ministering for God, with God and with the people of God that I am either a stumbling block or a stepping stone, a stumbling block, or stepping -stone.

And you have to choose who will you be. Will you that stumbling -block where you allow things into your life that are inconsistent with a character of Christ? Things in your live that you know are not honorable, they are not glorifying to God almighty and that they become a stumbling block in your family, in in church, and most certainly among unbelievers.

What do I hear all the time? I’m not going to church. There’s a bunch of hypocrites up there. Now friends, I have wonderful answers for that, but there is an element of truth is it? Because the one thing that turns people off is hypocrisy.

We know that none of us are perfect and that there are going to be moments and times in our life when we’re not all that we should be, and maybe that, we let the flesh get the best of Us, but there should be within our Life a consistency and a pattern in Our hearts that We desire to never cause others to stumble in coming to Christ and believing in Jesus Christ, Christ, but rather we desire to be that stepping stone that our life can be used of God, and in conjunction with the ministry God has entrusted us, that we might help others to know Christ and to grow in Christ and serve Christ.

This should be our desire. This would be what we work so diligently on. So this is why I say to you, pull yourself together in your adversity, in you problems, and be an opportunist. Make those changes that God is calling you to change, and serve by giving no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed.

Our second point, be a realist, accept the difficult in your life. As I am serving Jesus Christ, I need to be and opportunists, but I need a be realists. Let’s look at verse 4 and 5. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God in much patience and tribulations and needs and distresses in stripes and imprisonments in tumult in labors and sleeplessness in fasting.

Let’s just stop right there because in these two sets of verses we see the Apostle addressing things that are internal in verse 4 and verse 5 things are external but he starts out and he says in all things we they commend ourselves as ministers of God.

When he uses the word commend, he is saying we are introducing ourselves. Paul is not bragging about himself or his missionary team. He’s not saying, look at us, and look how wonderful we our, but he’s trying to say to them, learn from us.

Let me introduce some of my experiences to you so that you can understand how it’s really like. we sometimes go into ministry and into the walk of faith with blind eyes. We sometimes are delusional about what it really means to follow Christ.

The apostle is saying, you need to be a realist and you didn’t know that there are difficult days in following Jesus. There are difficulty days in serving God. There’re times that it is almost overwhelming.

and beyond what we can even handle. The apostle referred in chapter four how he was beyond despair and that he even to the point that he despaired life. This is where he is. Living for Christ can bring you to those moments or perhaps seasons of discouragement and struggles.

Paul introduces himself to believers, not that they did not already know him, But perhaps they had forgotten who he was as they had mischaracterized his ministry and they had judged his motives. He says, I want to reintroduce you to who I am and who my ministry is, my Ministry team.

But in all things, we commend ourselves as ministers of God. It is the Greek word diakonath. We get that English word deacon, that’s an office in the church, but it originated as simply a word meeting a servant, someone who waits on tables, someone Who takes care of the needs of others.

Paul says, I want to introduce you not as a high affluent elite person, not a person with a big theological title, but I introduce myself to you as a Servant of Christ. This is who he is. He is a Serpent of Jesus.

Whenever we are a servant of God, we must be ready to suffer for God. As he introduces himself as a Servant, he helps him understand that it was in much patience. In much patients, referring to endurance.

We often read the word patient in the English, and we think of it meaning only simply putting up with someone, tolerating. The Apostle was really not talking about people here, being patient with people.

But he is the Greek word hupomeno, which means to be under the pressure, enduring under the pressure. So the weight of his problems are on him. The weight of his struggles are on him, but he’s saying this as servants of Christ, we endured in much patience, in much endurance.

In the midst of our trials, we kept going forward for God, moving forward in hope. Because that moving -forward is important to me as a pastor, is that the church keep moving, forward. Yes, things are different.

They’re not like we want them to be. And it’s so different and everything I learned in Bible college has been turned on its head. And I’ve had to learn that I gotta do it a little bit different, but that’s okay.

because God calls us to serve Him in much patience. What keeps us from failing to endure with much patients, first of all being self -centered, I want it my way. I wanna hold on to the past. I don’t want anything to change.

The reason some people can’t move forward is because they’re self centered. They’re holding on what they want, what is familiar. I’m right there with you but sometimes God says Mike I need you to let go and open your hand before me and let me do a work in you.

So I hope that this message has been speaking to your heart and that you are learning and growing. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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