2 Cor 6:1-13
The apostle Paul was, no doubt, a serious man. He also had an earnest father’s heart, and it’s reflected in every one of his letters.
Even when angry, Paul never loses sight of his main mission. And that is to claim as many souls in Jesus’ name as he can possibly claim.
He had confidence, but never ego. He had contempt, but only when he saw effort from others that didn’t reflect the urgency that he knew was of paramount importance.
The first 13 verses of Chapter 6 in 2nd Corinthians make it easy to visualize that passionate Paul, maybe standing in a torrential downpour with his pockets empty and turned out. Some component of his letters always has to take the time to convince his readers that he, and all those who move to and fro to spread the message and love of Christ, are not charlatans.
For any of you who have ever watched the Monty Python movie Life of Brian, you’ll recall scenes of what amounts to faith barkers peddling their babble in a dusty bazaar while others mill about listening and mocking the message. Paul never takes for granted that his body of work rises above that noise. Too much is at risk to make assumptions, and he knows that.
How Much Do We Suffer for Christ?
Very few of us can comprehend the sufferings of the apostles. It would be no surprise to me if you read Chapter 6 without spending any real time reflecting on the beatings, imprisonments and hunger referenced by Paul in v.5 alone. That’s almost incomprehensible stuff for Christian living modern-day America.
But, as I sat in church today, listening to some announcements at the beginning of the service I was struck by one in particular. Our church has both a front and back entrance that are used by regular attendees, and beginning next week, we are going to be locking the back door as the 10 AM service begins.
The reason? Security.
Can any of us equate this to the peril that Paul encountered? No, of course not. But two or three years ago it wasn’t even on the radar.
What will this look like in another five years?
One thing’s for sure, and it gets back to the urgency that I feel Paul bleeds as he leads into Chapter 6. It really is time. It’s time to come to Christ, cherish the grace and get to work building the kingdom that might just take this world back from the enemy.
We don’t lose anything by trying. The world, as it is now, is already lost and so reclaiming it risks nothing.
The world is truly absorbed in its own affections but our job is to approach without regard for that. As Paul approached the people of Corinth with a heart wide open, the only prescription for more salvation and greater civility is in the gospel of Jesus Christ.