Thursday, February 21, 2019

2019.02.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

Questions for Littles: What ministry was written and engraved on stones (2 Corinthians 3:7)? How glorious was it? But what was happening to that glory? What ministry is more glorious (2 Corinthians 3:8-10)? What is happening to this ministry and its glory (2 Corinthians 3:11)? How should a minister speak, if he expects that the glory of his ministry will increase and last (2 Corinthians 3:12)? Who was not so bold (2 Corinthians 3:13)? What evidence was there, during the apostle’s day, that the ministry of the commandments had not been able to do the Israelites lasting, spiritual good (2 Corinthians 3:14-15)? How can this veil be taken away (2 Corinthians 3:16)? To whom, ultimately, do we turn, when we turn to Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17)? And what does the Lord, the Spirit, give us? And what do we see, when our blindness is removed (2 Corinthians 3:18)? And what effect does this have upon us? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn the secret to the apostle’s boldness with the Corinthians. He is joyously hopeful about what God is doing through his ministry. Can you imagine a minister who claims that what he is doing is more glorious than when Moses went up the mountain, met with God, and then came back down with the Ten Commandments, engraved on stone by the finger of God?

Well, every true gospel ministry is in fact more glorious than that! God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to be the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to take away spiritual blindness and make dead hearts into live ones. And this is great incentive for ministers to be very bold preachers.

It is also great incentive for all of us to be very bold hearers! For, what is it that happens when, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, we listen to the Word preached? We get to see the glory of the Lord! In fact, when we turn to Jesus, we are not just turning to a Man who atoned for us. We are turning to God Himself, in Christ.

Christ is fully God and fully man, and we do not turn to a nature, but a Person. And, when we turn to Him, we turn to the Triune God. It is at this point that Scripture emphasizes especially the Third Person of the Trinity. When we turn to Jesus, we turn to the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit’s great work, as He opens our eyes and enlivens our hearts, isn’t just to enables us to “behold His glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,” but also to transform us into that same glory as His adopted brothers and sisters. This is the glorious freedom of the children of God!

Now, if you know that this is what God the Holy Spirit is doing during preaching, then wouldn’t you expect ministers to be bold preachers, and congregations to be bold hearers?
Whom should you expect to “see” in preaching? What should you expect to be happening to you? What kind of preaching should you expect from a minister who knows this?
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

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