on catching up the sermon summaries

I have a few minutes… can you summarize 2 Corinthians in a few minutes?

But before that, I have to finish 1 Corinthians. One of my favorite chapters of the Bible, 1 Cor 15, was the text for our Sunday AM message to begin the new year: The Resurrection of the Body. There is much to say about this chapter, 58 verses in all, but I chose to speak to a subject for which the doctrine provides some exhortation for spiritual stability: “The doctrine of the resurrection of the body provides a spiritual foundation to stabilize the morality and mission of the Christian life.” The whole content of the doctrine is aimed at verse 58, ‘Therefore… be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding…’ The point of the resurrection for us should be that we live a life without regard to earthly reward – we have a much better, much more sure heavenly reward.

Our second message on 1/7 covered 1 Cor 16 and the last half of Ac 19 [the riot at Ephesus half]. I am afraid I didn’t cover the riot in as much detail as the passage deserves, mainly I used it as a historical fact to fit in with Paul’s discussion of travel plans in 1 Cor 16 along with some glimpses at his discussion of travel in 2 Cor. All of this helps us see how Paul’s plans changed with various events and puts the writing of 1 and 2 Corinthians into context. Basically, through this period, Paul was having a fight with the Corinthians. He announced travel plans in 1 Cor 16, apparently announced alternate plans in a ‘painful letter’, then changed his plans again. These changes were brought about by changes in the Corinthian issue, the Ephesus riot, and discerning the Lord’s leading. The title of the message was “Man Proposes, God Disposes” [a nice Calvinistic title for my reformed friends]. The theme was mainly this: we have to plan to serve God with the light we have, ready and flexible to be changed by God’s sovereign disposition of our affairs. My points for this message were very homiletically correct: Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. Plan C was broken into Plan C1 and Plan C2. I thought it was an interesting little device, anyway…

Our third message of the day dealt with 2 Cor 1-2: “Addressing Conflicted Saints“. Paul is writing to the Corinthians in the ‘cooling down’ phase of the fight he has had with them. Titus delivered the ‘painful letter’ mentioned earlier and was successful in getting the majority of the Corinthian church on side once again. 2 Corinthians is Paul’s final word before coming on an extended visit. The church has been severely rebuked and is turning towards the apostle now, but Paul still has a few items to clear up. Thus he begins his letter with a message of comfort in suffering. He also wants to clear up the discrepancies that arose in their minds over his travel plans (see above) and assure them of his motivation of love in the whole affair. Paul calls them to triumph with him in the gospel as a sweet savour to God of lives given over to the will of God in all things.

Our next Wednesday, 1/10, saw more snow in Victoria. We don’t do snow here. I am becoming more Victorian every day, so I found myself ‘freaking out’ at the renewed presence of the white stuff. We cancelled our Wednesday meeting. I’m getting old!

Sunday, 1/14: First off was a message from 2 Cor 3.1-5.10 entitled “Why We Keep Going“. The message dealt with some of the things Paul explained to the Corinthians about his ongoing ministry in spite of difficulty and rejection. The proposition: “The spark that lights the fire for any sort of Christian ministry is the transforming power of the gospel.” This is seen in the lives of the Corinthians as living epistles commending Paul’s ministry, it is seen in the glorious ministry of the new covenant, and in the privilege of proclaiming Christ though a mere man. The motivating power for gospel work is the gospel – in spite of rejection, trouble, what have you. The gospel outweighs it all.

The next message was “Why You Should Keep Coming” (2 Cor 5.11-7.16). In it I taught the doctrine of reconciliation, which means great spiritual change between man and God but also means great change in relationship between man and man. The point of the message was that the result of the gospel should be a change in our relationships, love the saints, separate from the world, make room in your hearts for those who preach the gospel. In the local church this should resolve itself into real commitment for one another and a valuing of the church relationships above those of the world.

We closed the day with “The Grace of Godly Giving” (2 Cor 8-9). The proposition for this message was “Christian giving measures the depth of the ministry of reconciliation.” In a way the apostle is putting the Corinthians to the test. Are they coming his way? Let them show how open their hearts are by opening their wallets.

Finally, last Wednesday night, we finished up 2 Corinthians with “We are Glad when We are Weak and You are Strong“. The last four chapters of the book are the strongest, where Paul lays down the gauntlet to the remaining holdouts who are considering the false apostles to have some credibility and have little regard to Paul. In the passage, Paul establishes apostolic authority. The authority of the apostle’s establish authority in the church. But apostolic authority is most effective when it doesn’t have to be exercised. This was the proposition: “Christian authority is seen best when its people accept apostolic teaching and have no need of apostolic discipline.” The title of the message is the theme that Paul expresses at the end – We are Glad when We are Weak and You are Strong. Paul would rather his people be spiritually strong, i.e., in submission to apostolic authority on their own, rather than having to exercise his authority directly.

Well, that catches us up and sums up 2 Corinthians somewhat. I don’t totally understand 2 Corinthians and found it a little difficult to preach through. I think that the book doesn’t lend itself to preaching in ‘broad sweeps’.

But now we are turning to Romans. We will be in the book for two weeks. This will be a little preview of my next series, after the NT survey is finished. I imagine we will be in Romans for several years.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3


  1. Jerry Bouey says:

    Bro. Don, your link to the sermon, “Man Proposes, God Disposes” is not working – neither here in this blog entry, nor on your main page for the NT Sermon Notes. Thanks in advance for fixing the link. God bless.

  2. Jerry Bouey says:

    I figured out that the comma was what was messing up the link, so I put a period there instead and now can read the message. God bless.

  3. Don Johnson says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Jerry. All fixed now.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3