The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Paul begins our story by explaining his motives for ministry. 2 Corinthians 5: 11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. [1] Why did Paul feel he owed the Corinthian church this explanation? He had planted the church, but then other leaders who were better speakers, wealthier, and more successful came on the scene. The people were ashamed of Paul and decided they didn’t want to listen to him anymore. Paul was trying to show them their distorted value system.  

No Manipulation for Paul

We aren’t sure what the other leaders were doing, but they were apparently manipulating the people and asking for money. Paul clarifies throughout the letter that his motivation to preach came from a responsibility to God. 2 Corinthians 2: 17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.[2]

2 Corinthians 4:1Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.[3] Paul tells the Corinthians that he preached honestly, not manipulating God’s truth because He knew God was watching him.  

Paul is a Model for Us

In this world of social media, we need discernment. We are not to manipulate or twist the Gospel for our own gain. Slick presentations of TV evangelists may not present the whole Gospel, but enough of it to gain a following. Popularity may lead to more money. Ministry does require funding, but how are the donations used? Are they used to help spread the Gospel or to buy fancy houses and private planes? God desires that we share the whole Gospel in a way that points to Jesus and not ourselves. Sincere, honest hearts share God’s love in the message so that God gets the glory. Remember, God is watching and knows the motives for ministry.

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[1-3]Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

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