Paul Testifies to the Marks of the Ministry Part 3
2 Corinthians 6:6 “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned” KJV
Paul now shifts gears (so to speak) and begins to testify to the life he lived personally and in his ministry before these Corinthian believers during the times he was physically in their presence. Paul recites his behavior or manner of life he lived under such harsh, bitter, and cruel persecutions. Paul declares his life to be lived in pureness or hagnotes meaning clean, modest, and innocent; in chastity or celibacy abstaining from sexual immorality in the exact manner as he (Paul) wrote to the Thessalonian believers urging, exhorting, and encouraging them to continue to walk or live a sexually pure life before our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, for this was and is His Will for all of His children, Paul wrote, “For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thessalonians 4:2-8).
Paul next describes his ministry of reconciliation by knowledge or gnosis meaning absolute knowledge or understanding, perception, to be made aware of or to be sure of the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of the Christian faith, especially of things lawful and unlawful for Christians; it is knowledge taught by the Holy Spirit bringing moral wisdom that leads to and is seen in right living in this world. Paul declares that longsuffering or makrothumia to be a mark of his life and ministry meaning patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, and forbearance; it conveys the image or picture of the embers of wood fragments or coals burning slowly and taking a long time to extinguish or go out which pictures a person who is slow in getting angry or avenging wrongs perpetrated against him or her. Paul in writing to Brother Timothy warning him of difficult times that would come reminded him of the life he (Paul) had lived before Timothy with these words, “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:10-12).
Paul also describes for us how God the Father has done and is exhibiting this longsuffering or makrothumia for many millenniums with sinners who will never come to Him in repentance and faith, but yet He still allows them to live upon His Earth enjoying all the pleasures of its beauty and substance, likewise of the gift of human life itself as Paul declares with these words, “What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His Power known , endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Romans 9:22). Paul’s life and ministry was always marked by kindness or chrestotes despite the very cruel, callous, and cold treatment he received from unregenerate men as he described to Brother Timothy above in 2 Timothy 3:11 meaning usefulness, that is, moral excellence in character or demeanor; it means exhibiting gentleness, goodness, and graciousness to others despite the treatment you receive from them. This kindness or chrestotes is exactly what God the Father has shown and is showing to us by sanctifying us, setting us apart for Him, and making us acceptable to Him through the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:7) and it is how Paul exhorted the Colossian believers to live with one another when he wrote, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
Paul had nothing in him that enabled him to live his life and conduct his ministry of reconciliation in such a manner, but instead it was God the Holy Spirit giving him strength to walk this way in repentance and faith (Colossians 2:6) and the good fruit in Paul’s life and ministry was produced by God the Holy Spirit as Paul described such fruit in this manner, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Paul lastly here describes his life and ministry by love or agape meaning brotherly love, affection, good will, and benevolence resulting in a love feast with the object of such love, but Paul also describes this love as unfeigned or anupokritos meaning love that is real and true without deceit or deception; love that is not hypocritical or insincere and love that is undisguised having alternative motives, but love exactly as the Apostle Peter declares with these words, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22). Note: Paul uses the little English word by or the Greek word en before each one of these nouns he describes his life and ministry with and this little word is a primary preposition denoting or announcing as a sign or indicating a fixed position in place, time, state, and condition.
“Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now.” A. B. Simpson
“Paul’s life, doctrine, and ministry was always lived with this one aim in mind and that is what he declared when he wrote this, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16), meaning that when he was made aware in his inner man by God the Holy Spirit of sinning against the Father or offending any man, he was quick to listen and make things right through prayer and repentance.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…