Don't Receive the Grace of God in Vain!



2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Cor. 5:17-8
2 Cor.
2 Corinthians 5:18a ESV
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;

Children’s Message:


smear campaigns in our elections
digging up dirt: past & secret sins (how would you like someone to dig into your past and your secrets?)
Matt Lively & our troopers getting intensely screened
Carson King’s beer sign @ football game
newspaper employee dug up dirt on him
others dug up dirt on that employee which led to termination
character attacks
smear campaign against Paul



1. An appeal

Working together with God - working as a part of God’s mission
Don’t receive the grace of God in vain!
like the parable of the sower there are different responses to the Gospel
What is this grace? see 5:17ff (esp. v.20b-21)
Quote from
God speaking to the Servant, His Messiah, about when God would bring His ministry of salvation to the Gentiles
Behold, NOW is the favorable time!

2. No obstacles in your way

The Gospel doesn’t need help and we can’t make it work better
We can hinder it’s work
Paul’s opponents accused him of many things in an attempt to discredit the message he was sharing
Matt Onnen’s neighbor “Are you Tony Onnen’s son? We tried to dig up dirt on that guy. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”
(v. 3) Paul didn’t want and fault to be found with their ministry and so they “put no obstacle in anyone’s way)
(v.4) We Commend ourselves (Who are you going to believe? Can you trust our witness? Look at it for yourselves.)
by great endurance,
it was tough
but they stuck it out & ran the race like they were running for a prize!
in… (3 general afflictions they endured)
calamities (or distresses or “tight squeezes”)
Paul (after being stoned) and Barnabas...
Acts 14:22 ESV
strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
(v. 5) in… (3 specific afflictions they endured)
beatings (stoned till they thought he was dead at Lystra in )
2 Corinthians 11:25 ESV
Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
2 Timothy 3:11 ESV
my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
imprisonments (like in Philippi in Acts 16)
riots (Acts 19)
in… (3 afflictions they chose to endure)
sleepless nights
youth lock-ins???
late night worry
on call 24-7
making tents?
2 Thessalonians 3:8 ESV
nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.
2 thess.
not taking paychecks from churches
(v.6) by… (first set of four; single words; character/attitude)
purity (of motives and life)
in… (second set of four; double words; character & methods/tools)
the Holy Spirit (or the holy spirit)
genuine/sincere love
(v.7) by… (two tools they used) — “with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left”
truthful speech (or the Word of Truth)
Colossians 1:5 ESV
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
the power of God
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
rom. 1:16
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Ephesians 6:17 ESV
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
1 Corinthians 2:5 ESV
so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
(v.8) through… (varying responses)
honor & dishonor
slander & praise
(v.8b-10) We are treated as…
as imposters, and yet are true
as unknown, and yet well known
as dying, and behold, we live
2 Corinthians 4:11 ESV
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2 Cor. 4:11
as punished (beaten; lit. chastised), and yet not killed
Tom Halvorson - was asked during a campaign for state representative if he had ever been convicted of a crime. He admitted he had and was jailed… in Sturgis… for distributing Gospel materials!
2 Timothy 4:18 ESV
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing
Wrote 1 Corinthians with a heavy heart and was often brokenhearted for the people he served and those who rejected the Gospel he preached
as poor, yet making many rich
making others rich with the Good News!
as having nothing, yet possessing everything
Philippians 3:7–8 ESV
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
2 Corinthians 3:7–8 ESV
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?

3. The take-away

The Gospel message is reliable
the messengers had integrity
Don’t disregard it
See through the deceptions of Prosperity Gospel preachers and all who would work for selfish motivations, personal fame, riches, power, & reputation.
You can trust the message of Jesus. God is near you!
You can trust the message of Jesus
The blessings of God’s grace are better than any trial we could go through
Jesus withstood all trials, temptations, and opponents with endurance and integrity
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