Pulling Yourself Together Part 2

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

We can face opposition, we can face our problems, we could face our trials, and we can be vigilant as we face them because we have the weapons of righteousness. This is Hope Worth Having. My name is Mike Sanders, the pastor of the Open Door Church, and were continuing our study in 2 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 1 through 10.

I’ve entitled the message Pulling Yourself Together. You might remember from last week that we were talking about dealing and responding to adversity. We find that the Church in Corinth was in trouble, but the Apostle is helping them to pull themselves together and move forward for Christ.

So let’s get our Bible and let get out pen and pad and start learning together this morning. I want us to go back to 2 Corinthians chapter 6. We want to continue our study on pulling yourself together.

As we come to this text we are reminded, we’re reminded that the Bible says man’s days are full of trouble. Jesus said in this world you will have much tribulation. certainly as believers we recognize that suffering, hardships, trials are part of the journey of faith.

Sometimes the suffering we endure is just simply because we live in a flawed world. A world that as the Apostle Peter teaches in 1 Peter chapter 3 will eventually as we know it come to an end. But praise God.

There is a kingdom coming that Daniel described that will never end. We look forward to that kingdom and the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as He rules and reigns in this world. But until then, how is it that we can deal with the trials of life?

This is what the Apostle wants us to know. How to respond to adversity. We recognize that we suffer in the uncertainties and vulnerabilities of life, but yet we have to know a way forward. We have to how it is that can continue to take steps in hope and that we can move forward for Christ.

Now we come to this chapter, again it’s important to understand its context so that we don’t misunderstand what the Apostle was teaching. but I remind you that the Apostle has been under the criticism of the church, of the false teachers, and when we come to chapter 6, the apostle, as we learned last week, is kind of reintroducing himself to the Church.

And that’s really what his hope is, to say, hey we kind got off on a bad foot or a bad starts and so let me reintroduce myself and you remember in verse 3 he says giving no offense in anything that the ministry not be blamed meaning that he didn’t want his ministry to be discredited he didn t want there to anything about his ministry that would be a mockery to God or that would dishonor God.

It was his desire that he would operate and function in his ministry with the greatest and highest integrity possible. And so he says in verse 4, in all things, approving ourselves as ministers of God and what he is saying there when he’s using the word approving, it’s the idea of introducing ourselves.

Paul does not introduce himself as someone who has accomplished much or that he’s got this incredible resume but he simply says we are servants. We are your servants we are here to serve you. It is with that kind of a heart that the Apostle exemplifies to each of us in this text on how it is that we can respond to adversity.

we learned last week that first we must be an opportunist affirming the privilege. Go back again to verse one, I’m sorry, and he says that you receive not the grace of God in vain. Don’t waste it. Don’ waste God’s good work in your heart as his sustaining grace is effectively working in your life as His grace that has brought you to salvation is sustaining you and supplying all that you need that you might be able to continue to walk in the hope that is found in Jesus Christ.

Don’t waste this opportunity, adversity, believe it or not, is an opportunity. It’s an opportunities for me to become more and more like Jesus Christ’s. It is opportunity for God to change in my heart what he desires for my to deal with.

Sometimes I am so blind to my weaknesses that it’s not until I face adversity that I’m exposed to what I need to address in my heart, what need I to bring to the Lord Jesus Christ. We take this opportunity, affirming the privilege of God’s grace in our life.

But the second thing he teaches us is that we must be a realist, accepting the difficult in verses 4 through 5 he lays out for us after his introduction as a servant of God he says in much patience and afflictions and necessities in distresses and stripes and imprisonments in tumults or riots and labors and watchings and fastings all these things that the Apostle endured and dealt with did you catch that in much patients so God is calling us to endure I think this is important for believers to really understand this word that is thread throughout all of the New Testament as we’re reminded that there are not always quick fixes to our problems.

Many times it is in much patience. It is in so much endurance that we walk through the valleys. We just keep surrendering fully to the Lord Jesus Christ and He helps us just to take that one step in much patience, we as believers, following God’s pathway, believing that somehow, some way God is going to intervene according to His perfect will, but as we deal with the difficult, as understand that the reality of life is that there is not always a bed of roses.

There is always an easy path for the believer. There are many hardships but we are thankful and accepting the difficult because of God’s good work in our hearts and what he is doing and what He is building in your lives.

But we pick up today in verse 6 and I want us to learn our third point of pulling ourselves together and responding to adversity and that is to be an optimist. Now again I remind you that in this section of scriptures that the Apostle gives us that he here is describing not only his hardships but he is described his attitude.

And this is where we come to in verse 6 and 7 is we see the response of the servant of God. We see the responses of true servant to the trials in life. Our attitude makes a big difference in life. It’s important for us to have the right attitude.

Not just everything is perfect in my life, no, but I understand that as I deal with the problems in Life that I have this biblical, optimistic, hopeful, and joyful attitude that brings glory to God. I think it’s important in these times more than ever, that God’s people express an optimistic attitude that is honoring to Christ, because we are introducing the kingdom values by embodying those values in our response to not just our personal circumstances, but to the circumstances of the world.

They’ve got to see something different about me and you. They got a know that the hope of the gospel is distinctive and it makes a difference in our hearts. And that it’s not just that we jump into the flow of world, but that think differently.

We respond differently, we behave differently And so as the Apostle reveals these personal qualities, these are qualities in verse six and seven that God is calling each of us to cultivate in our own heart, remembering what the apostle taught us in Romans chapter five and verse three through four when he said, rejoice in are sufferings.

Knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces what, church? Hope, that’s what we need, hope. And so in this process of going through adversity, I want to be optimistic, not based upon what I feel, but what know, because the apostle reminds us that it’s, what you know that makes a difference.

And we as believers, as we are in the word of God in our relationship and fellowship with our savior, we know so much. We know how this is all gonna end, not in detail, but we that we are on the winning side, amen church?

We that victory is in Christ. We now that the answer is Christ, we now, that no matter how tumultuous this world gets, that within our hearts there is a residing peace and joy that cannot be shaken because our Savior is unshaken by the problems of our own life and the problem of this world.

So let’s look at these, these qualities because this is a distinction here as the apostle shares with us his response. He says in pureness or impurity, he’s referring to moral integrity. Our response to problems and adversity is not to melt down into a life of sin or to retreat to habits of Sin, to somehow cover up the pain and the sorrows of our hearts, but it is to walk integrity.

It is the desire to respond to God in a way that who we are within and who are without, that it is the same person. There is no duplicity in my heart. There no hypocrisy in my life. He goes on to say in knowledge or understanding, in knowledger understanding and again, the apostle is saying that his response, his respond to adversity is not based upon emotions, But it’s based upon what he knows.

Be careful, the believer that is captivated by their emotions is in for a ride that can be very scary. It’s not that God looks down on emotions, friends. He has created us with emotions. And the Bible teaches us that we know that our Savior, that when he showed up and his us that Jesus wept.

Emotions are part of the human experience and emotions are part a healthy person. But let me tell you that emotion must be guided by the knowledge of truth of God’s Word. Remember what the Apostle taught us?

We do not sorrow as those who do have what? Hope. That’s what distinguishes us. Oh, we sorrow. As a pastor many times I have officiated funeral services for those who do not believe in Christ. The funeral director will call pastor they don’t have a a Pastor would you be willing certainly it’s a great opportunity I want to share Christ I wanna bring the hope of salvation but to watch them weep without hope is saddening it is heartbreaking difficult and that’s why it It’s so joyous to see that when we are with our brothers and sisters in Christ, that even though we weep and though sorrow, we can do it with the hope that is found in christ.

What is this hope built upon? It is not built up on some wishes, but it is built on the knowledge of the truth of God. It has built a pawn, the promises of god. That’s why we must stay in the word of god, that we stay must in his truth, because what does the truth do?

It sets you free, not just in that you are set free from the bondage of sin, certainly most absolutely, but you are sent free. From wrong thinking, you were set free from The World’s approach to life.

You are now able to move and operate with hope in your life, the scripture says, as the Apostle was praying for the that they would be filled with the knowledge of His will and all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

I can be an optimist about the future because of the knowledge that I have that is found and the understanding that i have that has found in Jesus Christ and that I know His Will. I know his overarching universal plan.

I know that he is bringing everything to a point which eventually leads to the coming of the savior in this world and he sets up his kingdom and fulfills all the promises and prophecies of The Old Testament and we rejoice together in that.

Now he goes on to say to us in our text in verse six that by long suffering, now this is a different word. He had already mentioned to us in much patience or endurance or long suffering. This word can also be translated patience.

The one means endurance. What we talked about earlier in verse 4 and 5, it means to endure, to keep going on, to not quitting. But here this long -suffering has to deal with our relationships and how we respond to people.

it is towards individuals that as you and I are in the midst of God’s pathway that we are called to be patient with one another. That the application of this is that the Apostles response to people is that he is long -suffering, he his patient, he has not just enduring but his response is is that he is patient towards them, understanding that people are still, they are being worked on by God.

What I mean by that is you’ve heard that old song, he’s still working on me, amen? We believe that, he still is working me. It’s easy for us to jump to conclusions about people and to come to quick decisions about people and quickly judge where they’re at in their life, but sometimes we don’t know what people are dealing with, do we?

We don’ t always understand what they’re facing. We do’ n’t understand what the just walked away from and dealing with. And we have to rise above it when the Apostle was teaching the believers on how to treat each other in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 2.

He says, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, It’s the same word that the Apostle uses here in verse six and seven bearing with one another in Love in the fellowship of God’s people is everybody what they ought to be I understand and you can run to one fellowship a believers to another But what you will find is there are imperfect people everywhere you go, but patience towards one.

Another this should characterize every Christian. When we come together in corporate fellowship, worship, as we meet together on the Lord’s day in our Bible studies, in are mentoring, prayer groups, whatever it is and however it in, our Sunday school classes, remember that we must be patient with each other.

We have flaws. There are sometimes, we’re not always bringing our A game to Bible study. We’re not always showing up spirit -filled, and we must learn to be patient with each other. This is important in the family, right?

It’s important for the children to learn this. It is for husbands and wives to learn these, to patient each with other, God is at work within each others’ hearts. We have to patience, it’s not that issues aren’t dealt with, and problems aren’ confronted, But we are always bearing with one another in love.” He goes on to say that we must have kindness.

We see again that his response was kindness, and this is really important because this is a reflection of the goodness of God, the goodness of god. But it’s something that is even more, it is to be kind, is be proactive.

This is what the apostle is calling us to do, to take that first step and be intentional about showing kindness to others even as we deal with problematic people. Kindness. That we are proactive and positive.

Then he says something that’s interesting in the Holy Spirit. In the holy spirit as the Apostle has been teaching us all these characteristics and continue to teach us these characteristics he says it’s in the Holy Spirit and this is the key church that every quality of goodness and kindness in my heart is a result of the work of the Spirit in My life.

The key for you and I to be able to live in with this kind of an optimistic attitude is to able be filled with the spirit to keep in step with the Spirit, to walk in the spirit, to be able to fully surrender to the spiritual.

The Bible teaches us in Galatians 5 .22 that the fruit of the spirt is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. These are not the works of flesh, these are the not works man, these not something I can muster up, these aren’t things that I just pull up out of my life.

oh yes are there moments that I can be kind and gentle absolutely but how can I do that towards difficult people how could I do that when I am in the midst of adversity how could i do in a consistent and constant way in my life it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit of God and that’s why every morning you must rise up and not only lift your song to God but lift your heart to God in full surrender asking the Spirit of God to lead you, to fill you to help you be sensitive to the spirit of God every day because friends as believers as followers of Christ we have the spirits living in us but he doesn’t stop there because the Apostle knows that we could become weary in these lists right?

We go through these list that that the scriptures give us. Well, these are only accomplished through the good work of the Spirit, but he continues on and says in sincere love, what he means is that love that is not hypocritical, love is from the heart, not love just going through emotions, because I have to, but love comes from heart is authentic.

And here’s another key of Romans five, where the Bible teaches us that we have this hope and because God never disappoints, he never lets us down, his promises will always be fulfilled, but he reminds us that the Spirit of God is being poured out into us.

His love is been poured into to us in Romans 5 .5. John taught us the perfect love of god casts out fear and what we desire is that God would pour his love in our hearts every day. This is part of our prayer life.

This what we desire that the Lord would pour His love in us. Why? Because I can only love as I am loved by God and through His love I could love is I ought to love. I love others with sincerity. He goes on to say that it must be in truthful speech by the word of truth in verse 7.

The resources of the true servant of God is the truth of God. We know that we have His truth. People need the truth, sometimes truth has to be tough. Sometimes truth has be tender. But we always give the truth speaking the truth in love the Bible says and it’s hard sometimes for people to receive the truth and we live in a pluralistic culture that doesn’t like the truth they don’t want for us to be so definitive as believers to have such certainty about the message of Christ but friends this is what we need we need the word of truth, and and we need to communicate that word.

The lips of God’s servants must utter His truth. That’s why I’m telling you that in this moment, in the season of our time here in This Nation, we the truth, not hateful, not being hurtful, but desiring to plant the seeds of Gods truth into the hearts of many, to bring them to the full understanding of Jesus Christ, to help them to know that the truth will set them free and that the ways of this world, though they may seem right in one eye or another eye, are not the Ways of God and we must follow His path and what brings glory to His name.

Now here’s another key. Look at verse 7, the power of God. The truth is spoken in the Power of G -d. I can stay optimistic in that I have this divine energy working within me that is working mightily in me, in my heart.

It’s easy to weary and well -doing. It’s easy to become so exasperated with all the challenges of life day after day, new set of problems, day -after -day, something else we gotta deal with, something we have to figure out how to process through.

It is only the servant of God that is living in the energy of Jesus Christ. This divine energy that continues to empower us be what God has called us to be. That’s why we sing, Lord, I need you. I need You every hour.

We look again and we see in verse 7 the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on left. The weapon of righteousness. He is It’s reminding us that God is equipping us. He is using a metaphor here of the weapons that the military might use, that God has equipped us on the right and the left hand.

We are not left short -handed. What God called us to deal with, what God has called to endure, what is called as to face, He will provide all the weapons we need. We can face opposition, we can face our problems, we could face our trials, and we can be vigilant as we face them because we have the weapons of righteousness.

Remember that the Bible teaches us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, right? So many times we can define our problems in a person, or we define our problems and context of what is worldly or what fleshly, but we remember that we are in a spiritual battle.

All that is going on in this world is a spirit battle and we have to keep that in context as we’re dealing with the problems of life, that were in the spiritual warfare. But praise God, He has given us, He’s given the armor of God in Ephesians chapter six.

He is giving us all that need according to 1 Peter, that we might live godly, that might we live honorable unto God. He has not left us without enough that we need to move forward in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to be fearful, church.

We do not have retreat, but we are thankful that have these wonderful things that are available to us as we respond to God, as an optimist in the midst of our problems. Now, my last point, be an activist, accomplishing the impossible for God.

In verses 8 through 10, He is teaching us about the paradoxes that He’s facing as a believer, paradoxes that we face as we serve God. Look at verse eight, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and well known, as dying and behold, we live as chastened and not killed, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and possessing all things.

You talk about the quandaries of life, that is the quandary of serving God. So how is it that I can be an activist? I don’t want you to be in activists like the world. I want to you be an activists of godly things.

Want you to being activists for things that are honorable to Christ. So let me just real quickly give you four things, number one seek the approval of God not man. The Apostle has given us the reaction of others to him.

Some Some people honor Him, some people dishonor Him. Some give Him an evil report and others give him a good report. Some refer to Him as being a deceiver and other as one who is true. What is the Apostle’s heart?

He is not worried about the glory or the honor, the dishonour. These all refer to the opinions of mankind, but rather he wants to focus on the approval of God. That’s what we need. God’s approval. I hope that you are inspired today that even as you walk through trying times that would allow the Spirit of god to pull you together and that you could move forward in the power of Christ and that you could allow God to sanctify your heart that You may reflect Christ more and more.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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