Caring For The Lord’s Church, True Freedom

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Liberty No One Can Take Away

Book of 2 Corinthians 3

Today the Christian is considered more of a legalist than a believer.

Christians are looked on as just a people trying to force their will upon others.

These things are simply not true of the true Christian!

We can be sure that there are certainly legalist who may or may not be Christians but the commandments of God are not about legalism the Word of God is about proclaiming “freedom”!

We may be loosing our freedoms here in America but the freedom gained from loving the Lord is a freedom that we cannot lose.

This is a freedom that “No One Can Take Away”!

*****2Co 3:1  Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 

We know that from time to time a church must seek a new Pastor and in doing so they will have to consider the credentials of that person.

Paul says that a new minister’s first credentials should never be letters of commendation from himself or from others.

We should remember:
Paul had been accused of arrogance.
Paul had been accused of making himself better than others.
Paul had been accused of distorting the Word of God.
Paul had been accused of saying that it was only he who preached the truth.

Remember Paul had already said his ministry was based on a true calling of God!
And Paul had already said the main credential for a Pastor was what he “preached” the Word of God!

2Co 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 

1) Then the first qualification of the Pastor is that he preach the whole council of God and never corrupt the Word of God.

There had been some men who had come to the church at Corinth with great letters of recommendation but all they done was to dispute the Apostle Paul.

No one is qualified for the ministry of God just because someone else says they are!

There are many things that mean so much more than that!

2) The next qualification of the Pastor is, “does does he really care for God’s Church”.

*****2Co 3:2  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 

An epistle is essentially a letter. Paul considered these “born again” Corinthians as his personal letter of recommendation.

These people were written on the heart of the Apostle Paul.

Anyone who knew Paul, knew how much he cared for this church. They were very dear to him!

So we also see that people who have changed lives, are far more important than letters!

It was these people who were the proof that Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

3) The greatest accomplishment for any Pastor is that his ministry bears fruit!

The greatest commendation for Paul was the changes lives of the people in Corinth and their testimony.

The testimony of this church before the world was Paul’s greatest letter of commendation.

1Co 1:6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 
1Co 1:7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 

1Co 9:2  If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 

Each believer that steps outside the doors of the church and witnesses for the Lord is a special letter of recommendation for his Pastor!

The public and those who knew him, will see the difference of that changed life!

*****2Co 3:3  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

When we accept the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, then His words are written in the fleshy tables of our heart, by the Holy Spirit.

Remember it is the Holy Spirit that inspired all the Word of God!

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 
2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

It is the Holy Spirit who is then the writer of all Scripture!

It is the Holy Spirit who writes the words of Christ in our hearts!

1Co_6:11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Apostle Paul is saying it is this process of salvation that is much more important than any letter of recommendation by any human!

These are the things that should matter to any church seeking a Pastor!

These are the things that should stand out when a Christian walks out into the world!

A Pastor’s greatest recommendation is the changed lives of people he has led to the Lord!

Every believer is said to be read of all men and this is all our challenge that Jesus is our example of how to walk in this world.

1Pe_2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Being led by the Holy Spirit!

Rom_8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

And then walk in “faith”!

*****2Co 3:4  And “such trust” have we through Christ to God-ward: 
2Co 3:5  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 

Another recommendation that should be recognized is that Pastor will hold himself accountable to God.

If that person is looking to man for his help and his reward, then he is not a true Pastor called of God!

If he is called by Christ then Christ will provide his needs. His sufficiency is of God!

He knows he has no power to change the heart of a believer.
He knows he does not have the power to give life to any person.
He knows that the assurance and security and the care of that person, these things are of God.
He knows that he cannot impart the Holy Spirit to anyone, the Holy Spirit does His own work!
He knows that salvation comes at the expense of Jesus Christ.

Only Christ can qualify any Pastor, Preacher or Missionary to share the Word of God!

The phrase “God-ward” means that this man knows that he serves God, he serves before God, and God will certainly inspect his work!

John the Baptist also clearly understood these facts!

Joh 3:27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 

It is God that enables us all!

*****2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 

We must remember what Jesus said at the Lord’s Supper.

Mat 26:26  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 
Mat 26:27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 
Mat 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 

Every can called of God is to be a minister of this New Testament, this New Covenant.

The Old Covenant was written on tables of stone.

**The New Covenant must be written of the fleshy tables of the heart of each individual!

The Old Covenant brought death. The “wages of sin are death”.

**The New Covenant brings life. The “gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ”.

A covenant is an agreement made between two parties, a contract drawn up between two people.

In the Old Testament God dealt with man through the law, but now God deals with each of us through the Holy Spirit.

In other words, today God deals with each individual in a personal relationship.

No one can share God’s presence by God’s Spirit unless God allows this to happen!

It is God who has allowed this to happen, which is why the New Covenant is far superior to the Old Covenant!

A personal relationship is far better than any relationship from a distance!

Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 

The laws of man and the Laws of the Old Covenant were written of paper, stone, or wood
and therefore external.

The New Covenant is written on the heart of the believer and is therefore internal!

The Holy Spirit gives life and returns us to the relationship of mankind before the sin of Adam.

Col 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 
Col 3:11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 

The Believer is therefore “innocent” just as Adam was “innocent” before sin entered into him.

We are again wrapped up in God and the things of God!

Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

If the Old Covenant is considered glorious by some, then the New Covenant must be considered even more glorious by all!

*****2Co 3:7  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 
2Co 3:8  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 

There is no doubt that those 10 commandments written on stone tablets let all of us know what God considers to be sin and the “wages of sin is death” which means a complete separation from God throughout eternity.

The actual intent of those commandments were then to teach us repentance!

**Those laws have some glory because they were given to Moses and actually written the first time by the hand of God.

God’s glory shone in the face of Moses.

Exo 33:20  And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 
Exo 33:21  And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 
Exo 33:22  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 
Exo 33:23  And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

**Those commandments were glorious in that they revealed the nature of a Holy and Righteous God.

We can only approach God in this same way!

Exo 34:6  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 
Exo 34:7  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

**Those laws are glorious because they show all the world the great need of salvation!

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 

The glory of God was so bright upon Moses face, that the children of Israel could not look upon his face but this glory was to be done away with because it was only temporary.

The glory on the face of Moses faded in a short time!

The glory of the Old Covenant was only a temporary arrangement between God and man!

No one could keep all the law, all their lifetime and with just one failure came the sentence of death!

The New Covenant is much more glorious because of the ministration of the Holy Spirit!

Joh_6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Rom_8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Gal 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 

The Old Covenant brought only condemnation.

*****2Co 3:9  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 
2Co 3:10  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 

The Old Covenant brought “condemnation”!

The New Covenant brings “righteousness”!

These things are as far apart as the East is to the West.

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

By comparing the New Covenant to the Old Covenant we see that in actuality the Old Covenant really had no glory at all!

The Old Covenant then actually brings a curse to all who try to live by it!

Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

There is no one who has ever lived that have obeyed all the law all the time of their life!

So God had made these things to be only temporary!

*****2Co 3:11  For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 

The truth of the perfect relationship with God is that if we desire to have a personal relationship with our God we must invite God’s Spirit into our hearts and our lives and that can only be done by asking the Lord Jesus Christ in believing faith.

BUT, Those that cannot trust in the Triune God can have no part of Him!

This is the God of the Bible!

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 
Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

All those seeking some other way to reach our Father in Heaven will never find one!

The point of all these Scriptures of the Apostle Paul is to prove that a true Pastor will not serve the Old Covenant but he will serve the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.

Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 
Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
Eph 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 
Eph 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 

It is the knowledge of these things that give us the hope that in truth is reality!

*****2Co 3:12  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 
2Co 3:13  And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 
2Co 3:14  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 

Many people ask, well what was the “spiritual” of the vail on Moses face.

The Old Covenant spoke with a veiled meaning but the New Covenant speaks clearly, is bold, and is plain in it’s meaning, because the New Covenant is given by the Holy Spirit!

1Co 2:12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 
1Co 2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

We must notice that the people withdrew from the glory of God until Moses placed that veil upon his face. “They could not look to the end of that which is abolished”.

Even today all those who are lost and even many of those who say they are Christian cannot look to the end of that which God abolished!

Some of these are certainly legalist.

Many still work and work to keep the law, believing all the time that they are earning the favor and the acceptance of God, but this is impossible!

We all at one time were blinded to the intent of the Law and many still are today, including most all Jews.

The Law was given to show us that man will always come up short of the “Glory” of God.
The Law was given to show us that man will always come up short of the “perfection” of God!
The Law was given to show the world that no one, absolutely no one, could keep those laws all their lifetime and that we all desperately are in need of a Savior who could keep the Law!
The Law was given to reveal the nature of God’s Glory and God’s Perfection!

In truth that veil was not covering their eyes, “it was covering their hearts”!

*****2Co 3:15  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 
2Co 3:16  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 

Not just in Moses time. Not just in Paul’s time, but even today when the Old Testament is read, those that still follow the law are still blinded to the truth.

The true purpose of the Law is still hidden!

In fact the purpose of the entire Old Testament is to point this world toward Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament still holds great importance to everyone:

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 
2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 

We just cannot linger in the Old Testament but we must move on into the New Testament. Notice the message of Jesus:

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 
Joh 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The Catholic Church say that it was established by the Apostle Peter and what does Peter say?

Why then do they add to the “Doctrine of Peter”?

Act 10:43  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 
Act 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 

Peter said the Old Testament was a witness for Jesus Christ and whoever placed their “faith” in Jesus Christ would be relieved of the burden of all those old Laws!

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament!

The New Testament is written in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit!

If your heart is occupied by God, it will be noticed by all others!

This is where the freedom of the Christian comes from!

Joh 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Our “freedom” and our “liberty” come from the Holy Trinity, the Triune God!

*****2Co 3:17  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 

We should be clear, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not the same they are two of the persons in the God-Head with our Father in Heaven being the third.

There is no liberty without the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is Jesus Christ who freed us all from the burden of the Old Testament Laws.
It is the Holy Spirit who writes the New Testament Law into our hearts.
It is our Father in Heaven who forgives our sin!

Gal 4:6  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 
Gal 4:7  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

Eph 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 
Eph 2:22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. 

We must never doubt the intention of the Word of God, it is the entire Word of God that will lead us to perfection!

*****2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We are being changed gradually and we will be changed, this is a continuous operation until we meet the Lord!

We must not be impatient if this process seems slow.
We must not be complacent over our partial transformation which we may feel.
We must never turn our gaze away from the Lord.

Remember Peter walked on the water as it was pavement, until he took his eyes off the Lord!

If the likeness of Jesus Christ is not your intention, then you only have religion but not salvation!

We must be changed into the same image, “from glory to glory” and that can only happen by the Spirit of the Lord!

Free from sin.
Free from the Law.
Free from the bondage of sin.
Free from the power of Satan, which is the fear of death.
Free from corruption.

Free to stand face to face with Jesus Christ!

1Jn_3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

When we stand before the Lord, that is when our own knowledge will increase and we will know all things.

1Co 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 
1Co 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 

This is the goal of each and every believer and this is why we are looking for the day we will meet our Lord in the air!

Tit 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 
Tit 2:12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 
Tit 2:13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 
Tit 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

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