The Competent Servant Part 2

Pastor Mike will be speaking on The Competent Servant Part 2. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 3:1-7.

You see, friends, you can’t fulfill the law. That’s why Christ came and lived a perfect life. He lived a sinless life. And so by faith, when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, His righteousness, His perfection, His sinlessness is transferred to us.

This is Hope Worth Having radio program. We are delighted that you’re with us and we’re continuing to study the Word of God. What we like to do is open the Bible and learn it verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book.

And that, we believe, makes our ministry distinct. And we’d rather you hear what God has to say, rather than what Mike has to say, because God is always right. And we’re going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, learning about the competent servant.

How is it that I can be effective for God? Let’s get our Bibles and study together. If you have your Bible this morning, I want you to join me in 2 Corinthians chapter 3. And we’re going to continue our study on the competent servant.

Now, as we think about what it means to be a servant that is adequate to do the task that God has called us to do, let me just start off by saying that it’s very important to remember that there are three key words that I think should be really guiding our thoughts, our actions, our attitudes, as we’re trying to be all that God wants us to be.

First of all is the word prayer, how important it is for us to pray. We need to really step up our prayer life and that we not only need to be praying personally and privately with the Lord Jesus Christ, but we need to be praying with our families.

We need to be praying with our spouses. We just need to be praying. I want to encourage you this week, pick up the phone and start reaching out and being able to pray with others. I want you to pray for people, but I want you to pray with others.

people. Prayer is powerful and prayer unites the body of Christ like nothing else. The second thing that’s important is that we need to be caring. Not only should we be praying, but caring. And I’m talking about tangibly caring, beyond just the emotion of empathy towards those who are suffering or going through difficult times, but you and I need to be finding ways that we can care for other people.

So, pick up the phone, reach out to people, make sure they’re okay, check out that circle of influence that you’re a part of, or maybe you could just listen. Let me say a third word is share. We need to be praying, we need to be caring, we need to be sharing the message of hope, we need to be sharing the message of Christ, we need to be sharing the message of forgiveness and grace.

You need to take this conversation and you need to try to lead it towards letting people know that God loves them, that He went to the cross for them, and that He is offering them forgiveness and grace.

if they will just believe in Him, and we need to remind each other as believers, and sometimes we lose hope, and sometimes we feel hopeless, and so we need to be sharing that message that God is in control, He is a sovereign God, and that He is working everything out to His perfect plan.

Now the Bible tells us in our text today that we have a responsibility of being servants of a new covenant. When you think about these three words, I know that many of you might say to me, Mike, I feel so inadequate to do any of those things.

I feel like I’m insufficient for that, and that is the exact question that Paul put out there in 2 Corinthians 2 and verse 16, when he said, who is sufficient for these things? When you think about the enormity of the task of serving Christ and serving as a minister of the new covenant and is trying to accomplish all that God wants us to do, you may feel in your heart, there’s no way that I can do this.

There’s no way that I could ever accomplish this, but I want you to go to chapter three and verse five, and I want you to note what the scripture says. It says, not that we are sufficient for ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now, last week we started learning that what does it take to be a competent servant? And we learned, first of all, that the first mark of a competent servant is that they have a commitment to be used of God to transform the lives of people.

The second mark is that we have a confidence. that is in Jesus Christ. The third mark of a competent or sufficient servant of God is that we have a humble dependence on God’s power. Now, we note that this has been a theme, that the apostle has been given all throughout the letter of 2 Corinthians.

And we’ll keep bringing this up as we are studying through the book of 2 Corinthians. Because remember that the apostle, he is being accused of trying to make it about him. But that is not his heart.

That is not the way that he feels. And so if you have your Bible, go back to chapter one of 2 Corinthians. I just wanna point out some verses here that help us again to see this prevailing theme of humble dependence upon God’s power through the life of the apostle, who sets the example for us of what it means to be a competent, sufficient servant for God.

The first thing you’ll see is in verse 5 of chapter 1. He says, for as the sufferings of Christ abounded us, so our consolation or our encouragement also abounds through Christ. He is saying in this verse, all the encouragement that we get is through Christ.

He is saying though we suffer for Christ, though we are suffering as a result of Christ, though we are trying to stay faithful to God, it is God Christ Himself that is encouraging us. Jump down to verse 9.

He says, yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. He again is a firm man that even though he felt like death was upon him and that he was possibly going to die, that his confidence and trust again was not in himself and his skillsets and his abilities or his own wisdom, but rather his confidence was in God, his trust was in God who raises the dead.

And then you’ll note as we jump over to verse 21 of chapter 1, he says, now he who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God. Who is it that established them? Who is it that rooted the apostle?

Who is it that anointed the apostle on his ministry team? It was God. Paul is giving all the glory, all the credit to Jesus Christ. He recognizes that his sufficiency and dependence is upon God. Now we go to chapter 2, verse 12.

Again, he says, furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ gospel and a door was opened to me by the Lord. Paul is not saying that it was his personality or his winsome skillsets that made it possible for him to preach the gospel, but a door was opened by the Lord.

He’s giving God the glory. credit. Chapter two again and look at verse 14 and notice that he says now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ. Who is it that is leading them in victory?

Who is leading them on this parade of victory? This procession of victory? It is Jesus Christ who is accomplishing the victory that is already accomplished on the cross that is making it possible for them to experience and know the victory of Christ in their hearts and in their ministry.

It is Jesus Christ and again we see the Apostle acknowledging his humble dependence on God’s power. Then we come to chapter 3 and verse 5 and 6 and it says now not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves but our sufficiency is from God who also made us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant.

So Paul is expressing his inadequacy for the task, and he’s giving all the credit to God. He’s letting the Corinthians know this is not about me and anything that we have done. It is because of God, it is God in us, it is God through us, it is God around us.

That’s what he said in the first letter to the Corinthians. He reminded them that their faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. You see friends, if you’re putting your trust and confidence in the wisdom of men, let me tell you something about the wisdom of men.

It fails, it flounders. It will not ever supersede the wisdom of God, nor the power of God. And so our faith has to be rooted in the power of God, that we know that we have an almighty God, and we have a savior who came to this earth, and that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he resurrected to give us a brand new future, and that he is ascended into the right hand of the Father, and he is interceding for God’s people, and this should give us great confidence, and it should humble our hearts that we would totally depend upon him.

The apostle has no confidence in himself. He has no confidence in his ability. Again in 1 Corinthians 2 .4, he says, “‘My speech, my preaching, “‘they were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, “‘but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.’ “‘Paul served the Lord with all humility.

“‘He did not come bragging. “‘He did not come looking to himself, “‘but rather came in the power of Jesus Christ.'” A competent servant is a humble dependence upon the power of God. God’s choice people have always been a humble people, and if you wanna be used greatly of God, you have to humble yourself.

You have to be like John the Baptist, who said that I must decrease, and he must increase. Are you willing? to say Lord let me decrease and you increase in my life let me be the person that is always seeking you you know a great characteristic of the apostle Paul is that when it came to his faults he always appealed to God’s grace think about it many times the apostle Paul said that God’s grace was sufficient for him even though he was struggling and that in weakness he became strong because he depended upon the grace of God Jesus said my grace is sufficient for you God’s grace is more than enough to help you and I to not only be faithful to him but to give him glory to the Lord Jesus Christ the apostle Paul said I labored more abundantly than they all but I am what I am because of the grace of God there are going to be many limitations in our life there are going to be many hindrances in our life but I tell you this one thing that you and I are what we are because of God’s grace it is not because you are smarter, it’s not because you’re stronger, it’s not because you’re somehow better, but rather it’s all the grace of God.

And we need to continue to direct that. We need to continue to direct all glory, all praise to the Lord Jesus Christ because a powerful servant of God, a competent servant of God is a humble servant who is totally dependent upon the power of God.

Now when Jesus appoints us to a task, and many times we may feel inadequate for that task, but we have the responsibility to rely on Him to give us that strength, to do the task. And we have to turn to Him that He will help us to fulfill that task.

That’s why I love the verse in 1 Corinthians 1, 27 that says, God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. Some of you may say, well, you know, Mike, I’m not that good at this, and I’m not good at that.

You might be like Moses when God called him at the burning bush and Moses had a lot of excuses of why he could not do this task that was before him. And he kept coming up with God. This is why I can’t do this.

And you know what? Moses had to learn that he had to trust fully in God, that if God was calling him to this task, that God would use the weak. Now, why would God do that? Why would God use the weak to accomplish His great work?

Why would He use the weak? I’ll tell you why. That way He gets all the credit. He gets all the glory. My friends, the greatest ability is availability. And God is asking us as His servants that we would just humbly depend upon His power, that we would avail ourselves to Him, and that we would say, Lord, here am I.

Send me, use me however you want to use me for your glory. That I want to walk through those doors of opportunity, and I want to be that person that is totally committed to your co- And you say well, how are we gonna be able to do that?

How is it that I can give credit to God and rest in his power? Well, I think the first key is always be conscious of God’s goodness. You know, God is good. Amen He is a good God and the Bible tells us that all good gifts come from above Any ability you have any wisdom you have any skills you have it all came from God and if God raises you up out of a sick bed and if God heals you it is the touch of the healing hand of God in Your life and yes He may use a doctor and yes He may use a nurse and yes He may use other means to bring about medication to bring about your healing But listen remember this that it is his goodness that has been shown upon you and as we humbly depend upon the power of God Let’s not brag about ourselves and let’s give God the glory and let’s give God the credit because his goodness is Upon us we need to praise God for having given us the resources.

You see, that’s the key. If I’m gonna humbly depend upon the power of God, I’ve gotta praise Him for giving us the resources. We gotta say, God, you’re the one that made it possible. Some of you have financial resources and you’ve been using your resources to help other people.

I wanna thank you for doing that, but remember, it is God who gave you the resources. And God has blessed us to be a blessing, right? He didn’t bless us to hold on, but He blessed us to be a conduit of His blessing to other people.

And so when you’re blessed, you need to make sure that you’re giving God praise for His resources and then make sure that you use it for His glory. Make sure that you use all your resources, all your talents, all your abilities for the glory of God.

Why do you do what you do? That’s so important. That’s a big question. Because see, a lot of people pray so they can get attention on themselves. A lot of people give so everybody can notice how much they gave.

A lot of people serve so they can get that pat on the back, they can get that certificate to hang on the wall. They do all these things for their own glory. And a matter of fact, Jesus, He addressed that in Matthew chapter six and He called out the Pharisees even though they were praying, even though they were giving, even though they were serving.

But He said, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. Friends, why do you do what you do? If you’re gonna be a competent servant, it must be for the glory of God. It must be for the advancement of the cause of Jesus Christ.

And so God is the one who provides and He makes us competent. And even though He makes us competent as servants, let’s remember we’re not independent of Him. We’re not independent. I like to tell people we need to be interdependent or we need to be dependent upon God and we need to trust Him.

Some of you say, well, Mike, I still feel very inadequate. Why is that? Why do you feel inadequate to do what God has called you to do? Here’s what I believe, that you are not resting in the sea. Spirit of Christ, but rather you are resting in your ability to control, to control your life and you want everything to be perfect.

Perfectionism has destroyed many servants of God. Well friends, I’m gonna tell you something, we live in an imperfect world. We live in a world where, you know what, people are flawed and people fail and you can’t always wait for the perfection.

Perfectionism has destroyed many a child growing up in a perfectionistic parents and perfectionism has destroyed many a Christian because rather than trusting in Christ for his resources and his power in their life, they are trying to do all the right things in their own strength.

You’re not gonna be able to do it in your own strength. You’re not gonna be able to do what God wants you to do in what you want him to do. So my competence comes not from self but from the Lord. My competence does not come from my perfection.

But it comes from the perfect life of Jesus Christ through me. The power of our ministry as competent servants does not come from within us, but it comes from above us. And that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now the fourth and final point, and I know you’re happy about that, amen. What is it that makes me a competent, sufficient servant? It is that you have a super glorious message. Now think about this.

Paul has been talking about his dependence on God. He’s been talking about how God has equipped him. And as God has given him this passion that he would transform lives and that God has given him this desire to do the will of God.

But now he transitions and says part of our competency is wrapped up in our message. The message that God has called us to share. Let me read verse six through eight for you. Second Corinthians chapter three, verse six through eight, who, referring to God, also made us sufficient as ministers or servants of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the spirit.

For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death written and engraved on stones was glorious so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the spirit not be more glorious?

Here is what the apostle is teaching us, that the reason we are sufficient for this task. Remember he asked the question, who is sufficient for these things? Who could be adequate to accomplish what God has asked us to do even in these times?

And he says the answer is our sufficiency is in God. And the reason that we are sufficient in God is not only because we are dependent upon God, but he has granted us a glorious. message. I like to call it the super glorious message because of the design of the Greek word when he talks about this glorious message that it is kind of like a super glorious message that we have been given.

Now what is Paul doing in these verses? Here the Apostle is contrasting the old covenant with the new covenant. He is contrasting the law with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The new covenant he is teaching us is eclipsing the old covenant that those who belong to Christ in the new covenant enjoy a forgiveness, a salvation, a hope of the kingdom and we are no longer bound by the rituals, we are no longer bound by the ceremonies, we are no longer bound by the traditions of the old covenant.

Now friends, this is why I’m not a seventh day Adventist. And I have friends who are Seventh -day Adventists, but I keep telling them that the old covenant has been superseded by the new covenant and that the old covenant was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus has launched us into the new covenant as he has given his life for us and he has resurrected and ascended into heaven.

And now we live in the age of grace, not in the age of the law. What does that mean? Well, I want you to take your Bible and I want you to go to Jeremiah chapter 31 with me, Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 31 through 34.

This helps us to understand the new covenant. Listen to what the prophet said. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers,” meaning Abraham, meaning Noah, meaning David.

I’m not gonna make a covenant. It’s gonna be different than that covenant. “‘In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant, which they broke, though I was a husband to them,’ says the Lord.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days, says the Lord, I will put my law in their mind and write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

No more shall every man teach his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, for they all shall know me from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more.'” Now friends, what an amazing covenant that God is promising.

And this covenant encompasses, and it is beginning or launched when Christ comes and He… lives the sinless life that he fulfills every aspect of the law in the old covenant that he obeys every jot and tittle in the old covenant by his sinless life and then it is continued as Christ gives his life as a sacrifice.

The new covenant is initiated by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and then it is affirmed and confirmed by the Father in heaven through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and then it is taught as the 40 days of Jesus walking on the earth teaching his apostles appearing to over 500 individuals to confirm and verify that the new covenant is from God the Father and that it is the fulfillment of what Jeremiah had already taught us and so now he’s ascended into heaven and that he is at the right hand of the Father.

interceding, praying for you. How wonderful is that? And so the covenant is new. It is a new covenant that not only initiated in the coming of Christ the first time, but it will be culminated in the second coming of Jesus Christ.

This new covenant, there will come a time where we transition from the tribulation period into the millennial kingdom. And at the end of the tribulation period, he will come with his saints, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

Jesus will come. He will destroy the devil, all of his cohorts. He will destroy the Antichrist. He will destroy the unholy trinity of the one world government and the one world religion and the one world political system and economic system.

And he will destroy that. And he will set up his kingdom in the millennial kingdom. And he will sit on the seat of David and he will fulfill all that has been prophesied by the prophets in the Old Testament.

And he will fulfill all that has been promised in the new covenant. And here’s the beautiful thing, friend, that there’ll be this wonderful truth that people will know God, they will believe in God, they will trust God and they will follow God.

And what a wondrous time it will be. Now, you and I have this wonderful message. We have this wonderful message. Now, I know some people wanna stay under the old covenant, but Paul reminds the Galatians in chapter three, verse 10.

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law and do them. You see, friends, you can’t fulfill the law.

You cannot keep up with the law. That’s why Christ came and lived a perfect life. He lived a sinless life. His life is my life. His life is your life. Meaning simply this, that Jesus was obedient and perfect in the law because you and I could not be.

And so by faith, when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, his righteousness, his perfection, his sinlessness is transferred to us. Now friends, you gotta be tempered in what you understand about this.

It does not mean you’re perfect now. And it does not mean that you have somehow arrived. And it doesn’t mean that you’re better than others. But what it does mean that any righteousness that you have, that when God looks at you, it is the righteousness of Christ in you.

It is Christ in me, his holy life living in me and through me. It’s not me keeping a set of rules. It’s not me keeping a set of rituals. It’s not me keeping a set of feasts. It’s not me keeping a set of guidelines.

but rather it is Christ in me. It is the new covenant that Christ has accomplished. So what is it that makes this gospel so glorious? That Paul says, he says that it’s more glorious than Moses. What is this wonderful, glorious gospel?

Paul helps us understand it in Ephesians chapter three, verse six, the Gentiles should be fellow heir of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ through the gospel. Now here’s what that means, is that this new covenant was given to the nation of Israel.

You and I as Gentiles, we are grafted in to the promises of the new covenant. That now the covenant not only extends to one nation or one nationality or one ethnic group, but it expands to all of the world, to all who believe.

And so I am under the new covenant by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And this is a super glorious message. Paul reminds us that when Moses received the old covenant, that he came down from the mountain, there was a glory that shown about him.

It was so glorious, if you will, so majestic, so bright, so magnificent that the people could not even look at Moses. And so the Bible teaches us that Moses put a veil over his face, waiting for the glory to pass away.

And Paul says this, Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away. The old covenant glory was passing away. It was not designed to be forever. It would be fulfilled in Christ.

This old covenant called the law was designed to push people to look to a coming Messiah who would fulfill the law. that Jesus Christ they were to believe in him they were to have faith in him of a coming Messiah who would do what they could not do and what he is saying is this that the old covenant the law of Moses it could not give life but the new covenant gives life remember what Jesus said in John chapter 10 verse 10 I’ve come that they might have life and that they might have abundant life you see the old covenant the law was never designed to save you it was never designed to make you better it was only designed to help you see that you could never achieve the righteousness of God well I hope these lessons about the competent servant are really resonating with you and your heart and your mind I want you to go back into the text in your own personal time and I just want you to reflect on not only the qualities of a competent servant but how it is that God makes us sufficient for the sayings that he has called us to do.

So this is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ, there is hope, worth having.

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