In 2 Corinthians 6 commentary part 2, we’ll take a close look at what Paul is saying about those who are involved in ministry at that time. This is a clear description, or maybe a template of how a Christian ministry should behave (along with all the ministers who reside within it). That’s easy to say, but who would the Lord consider ministers?
The short answer is all of us should be ministers for the Lord, whenever the Father sees fit to use us in such a way. I’ve created a page about that entitled, “What is a Minister?” due to come out in a day or two as of the release date of this post, that shows how we can get to that conclusion. Ministering doesn’t necessarily mean preaching, but could mean anything that you do outwardly in obedience to the Lord. Something that the Father has specifically ordained you to do.
When Jesus had been tempted in the wilderness, the angels ministered to him. I doubt they were preaching to Jesus. They were conveying messages, or whatever the agents of the Lord were instructed to do. Maybe even bringing him food to end the fast. Go and check out the power behind the word “Minister” at the aforementioned page. It means more to us than how we most commonly use it today!
Guidelines for Ministers of God
in 2 Corinthians 6 verses 3-10, Paul gives us a great outline about the general attitude of those who would be ministers of the Lord. I feel that it’s important to break it down because this is one of those groups of verses that if you read them through, there’s not allot of chance to let anything sink in and cause for you to really think about it. This is a ‘best chewed slowly’ type of spiritual food.
3 Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed:
“The Ministry” we’ll consider the mission of the Body of Christ as a whole. If anyone reading this has ever shared the Gospel with anyone, it doesn’t take long to figure out that preaching the Cross and Christ crucified is offensive to those who perish.
1 Peter 2: 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
So when the Apostle Paul speaks of giving no offence in anything, he’s talking about not making the ministry look bad by living ungodly lives, breaking laws, or living in the flesh instead of the spirit. Strive to live a life worthy of the call. For man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watching, in fasting;
These are what I am going to call the “IN” verses. When you as a minister find yourself IN any of these conditions, this is not a time for a “why me God” session. This is an OPPORTUNITY to approve yourselves as the ministers of God! There’s nothing kept out of the loop here when he mentions “all things”. All does not mean some, it means all.
Paul brings up ten different items here: patience, afflictions, necessities, distress, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, and fasting.
In Much Patience
Patience has been an issue for me for many years (more like all of them). But Paul isn’t even talking about regular patience, but specifically says much patience. Perhaps he’s referring to the point where patience is about to expire, when patience begins to become an actual burden. The opportunity present at that point is to remember how patient the Lord has been with all of us, and try to take it the extra mile.
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
How do you handle afflictions? When you’re sick or injured, weak or weary, do you keep the presence of mind to approve yourselves as ministers of God? Paul gives us something to ponder and to go by when we are challenged with any kind of affliction.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When we’re afflicted, it’s easy to start questioning the Lord, even turning on him. Some believers are healed, some aren’t and wonder why. Even still, despite any form of affliction, there is an opportunity to approve yourselves ministers of God by adhering to that same attitude toward your affliction that Paul did toward his.
I believe that most of us can relate to this. Another word that we can use here would be lack. What’s our attitude about needing something that we don’t have? Jesus had this to say about it:
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
There is a secret to being able to take no thought of the things that you may need. The phrase ‘take no thought’ is as if to say ‘don’t sweat it’. The secret is to concentrate (to the best of your ability) just how big God really is! The Lord had to get this into my thick skull several years ago. I wrote about the experience and I’m sure it will bless you. Go to Supernatural Truth – A Vision. It was one of the most humbling and eye opening experiences of my life. The Lord in dramatic fashion put what I was worrying about concerning necessities into perspective.
When we are in times of need, it is important to take stock in our attitudes toward the Lord. You don’t know what he’s got in store for you tomorrow. Keep mindful that this is an opportunity to approve yourselves as ministers of God by keeping faith against all things that may attempt to sway you. Keep yourselves unspotted from this world.
The thing about this is that distress often happens by way of a necessities problem. If you get your heart right about the necessities or lack issue, the distress goes away. However there are many ways we are targeted by distress.
Sudden horrible news is one way. An instant terrible circumstance is another. One of the most damaging ways distress affects us is when there is something coming that is outside of our control, and we have time to frenzy over what seems like impending doom at our doorstep.
The example of a Godly reaction to these type of circumstances, particularly those that are outside of our control to do anything about, was given to us by the High Priest of our profession himself:
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and knelt down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
There is nothing that you can ever go through that will stress you out more than Christ was that night. And how did he respond? “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”
Stripes these days would be synonymous with a beating of some kind as a form of punishment. In this case, punishment for adhering to the Faith. To see ample example of how we are to behave as ministers of the Gospel in those kinds of situations I would like to point you to the entire book of Acts. One example after another is given throughout that particular book.
Philippians 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Again, if you study the book of Acts you’ll find that all of the apostles of Christ were imprisoned at one time or another because of their preaching the gospel. Some lived to preach another day and others never got out alive. But all understood that it was part of the job. If the world hated Jesus, it will certainly hate his ambassadors. Jesus said:
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
In any of these items that we are going through, it is important to remember that the Lord has not abandoned you just because something happens to you that you don’t like. If you’re free, serve him as a free man. If you’ve been imprisoned because of the faith, serve him in the prisons. Your personal whereabouts may be a result of your ministry, but being a minister of the Lord does not cease because of your whereabouts.
This is referring to times of a whole lot of noise and confusion, disarray and disorder. The prophet Elijah went through something that would be considered tumultuous:
1 Kings 19:
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Amidst all of that tumultuous activity, Elijah was able to decipher that still small voice. And Jesus in the middle of the tempest, kept his cool and rebuked the wind and sea, while all of the disciples were panicking. These are two examples of approving yourselves as ministers of God. Using faith in the Lord and his presence around you as a cooling agent when things get hot and wild.
Does your behavior change when you are working? Are you three different people? One type of person at church, another at home, and another at work? Just something to think about throughout your day.
Labor is a part of human existence, and it has been since the fall of Adam. Genesis 3 tells the tale. Through labor we are born, and live out the rest of our lives in one way or another laboring. The Bible has all kinds of scriptures that speak to labor and out attitude toward it. My personal favorite on this topic is:
Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Concerning labor from a ministerial perspective, Paul has this to say:
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
We are all called to watch by the Lord Jesus, and Apostles Paul and Peter.
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
In many places to watch is along side prayer in one way or the other. Perhaps it could be said we should watch for what needs to be prayed about. We are to also be watching for the return of the King, the Lord Jesus. That is what the parables are all about in Matthew 25, and Luke 12. Check them out.
So according o the Lord and the Apostles, we are to watch in a manner that would approve ourselves as ministers of God.
Jesus describes the attitude that we should avoid and the attitude we should have while fasting. They are as follows:
Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
This is a clear example of how the Lord would like for us to fast, in such a manner that we would approve ourselves as ministers of God, not attention grabbers of men.
There is another part to this in the pipe that will continue on with verses 6, 7, and 8 (at least). As I’ve called these the IN verses, the next three verses will be called the BY verses. The ten different items that we’ve taken a look at in this post could be summed up in one word, and that would be Tribulation.
We as the Body of Christ are promised tribulation while we’re sojourning through this world. Being in the world but not of the world. Ambassadors of Christ in a hostile nation. How we respond to various trials and tribulation will show the world what kind of minister of the Lord we are.
I hope that you enjoyed this (extremely lengthy) post! If it’s blessed you please help us out by sharing this post or others on this site. Feel free to leave a comment if you so desire and God bless all of you! Thanks for reading 2 Corinthians 6 Commentary Part 2!
- Through Christ – 2 Corinthians 3 Part 2
- 2 Corinthians 6 Commentary Part 4
- Preaching 101 – 2 Corinthians 4 Part 3
- 2 Corinthians 6 Commentary Part 3
- 2 Corinthians 6 Commentary Part 5