2 Corinthians 3 Lesson

Making A Difference!

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Making a difference has little to do with how we change ourselves, and everything to do with how our words and actions spark change in others. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he clarifies three things:

  1. He is not writing to brag about his accomplishments,
  2. Anything that has been accomplished was because of God working through him, not because of him or his abilities,
  3. The effects of his ministry are best measured by the changes that have occurred in those he ministered to.   He does not need, nor is he seeking a letter of commendation or any other form of recognition.

PAUL’S LEGACY

The Apostle Paul wrote the following:

  • “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?  You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” – 2 Corinthians 3:1-3.

Paul is talking about his legacy. A legacy is what is left behind when we are no longer around.

OUR LEGACY

So what about us?   What will our legacy be?   That is up to us.   Every day we have an opportunity to impact our own legacy.   When we are gone, will people remember us as servants of the Lord or servants of the world?

As Christians, we are called to be the “the salt of the earth,” and the “light of the world.” (Mathew 5:13-14)

Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount:

  • “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Mathew 5:13-16.

With God’s help, we can indeed be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.   It is not up to us or our own abilities.   It is instead about how we allow God to work through us.   Our actions and inactions can speak volumes to those around us.

For example:

  • Do we quote the Bible when trying to help somebody through a challenging time?
  • Do we help those in need?
  • Do we take the time to listen and get to know people?
  • Do we practice hospitality?
  • Do we refrain from cursing, drinking too much, and hanging out with the wrong crowd?

SEEING A SERMON

One of the best ways to impact our legacy, and those around us, is in how we live our everyday lives.   There is a beautiful poem entitled, “Sermons We See,” by Edgar Guest, that goes:

“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; 
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. 
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear, 
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear; 
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds, 
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done; 
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run. 
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true, 
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do; 
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give, 
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind. 
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind 
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be. 
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today 
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold; 
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told. 
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear, 
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear. 
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say, 
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.”

CONCLUSION

What we say and what we do will have an impact on those around us. We can lift them up, and we can also drag them down. Therefore, we need to watch our words and always make sure we are acting in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called. (Ephesians 4:1)

When Paul says to the Corinthians, “You are our letter” (2 Corinthians 3:2), what he is really saying is that his effectiveness as an Apostle will be determined, in part, by the spiritual growth of those around him. That will be his legacy.

The same can be said of us.  Our effectiveness as disciples of Jesus will be determined, in part, by the spiritual growth of those around us.  That will be our legacy.  Therefore, to serve the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds (Mathew 22:35-38), we need to constantly be asking ourselves what we can do to help those around us grow spiritually.  This means taking the focus off ourselves and focusing our attention on glorifying God and serving others. 

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 2:3-5.

Comments

Dan

Great post. I’ve seen people stand up for God when they could have been silent. Sometimes it may seem like a small thing but can have huge effects.

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Christine Kesterson

Hi. I think this is a great idea that could really take off and build Christian unity. To be effective, I think your comments might need to be brief. More like the size of a daily bread, focusing on a major point or two from the direct Scripture. This comment seems more like a sermon, bringing in other Scriptures. In your comment, you might also pose a challenge question. For example for this passage: At the heart of Paul's message is the judgement of God over man and the fruit of the Spirit in one's life. How does the Spirit bring unity when we practice these principles?

Reply
Dan

Great post. I’ve seen people stand up for God when they could have been silent. Sometimes it may seem like a small thing but can have huge effects.

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John
Dan

I think it takes guts, and/or faith to do that.

The temptation to want to avoid conflict might be strong.

Reply