Paul Testifies to the Marks of the Ministry Part 4
2 Corinthians 6:7-10 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. KJV
Paul declares his life and ministry to be governed and regulated by the “word of truth” and of course he is referring to the incorruptible Word of God that lives, remains, and continues forever (1 Peter 1:23). Our Lord Jesus prayed for us to the Father with these words, “I have given them Your Word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth” (John 17:14-17). Paul likewise continually gave thanks to God for the Colossian believers for His indescribable gift of Jesus Christ when he wrote this, “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:3-6).
Paul declares that his ministry is all of God’s Power working miraculously in him and through him. Paul declares his weapons of warfare to be God’s amour or hoplon meaning an implement, instrument, utensil, or tool he was able to use at any time and at all times as he faced attacks from the enemy in the spiritual realm, in his soul where the realm of his mind and thoughts dwelt, and in his physical body. Paul spoke of this amour or God to the Ephesian believers in this manner, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17).
Paul’s imagery was that of observing the Roman soldiers carrying the sword in their strong or dominant hand for attack and placing their shields in their weaker hand to defend against the enemies attack, Paul became very familiar with these soldiers and their weapons being in their captivity for so long. Paul now begins to contrast what was said about him from the reality of who he truly was in the sight of God the Father and he first declares how many people defamed his character by calling him an evil man as he declared when he wrote these words to the believers in Rome, “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), ‘Let us do evil that good may come?’ Their condemnation is just” (Romans 3:5-8). Paul was counted by many as a deceiver or planos and especially many Jews who knew him before his conversion to Christ meaning an imposter or misleader or an evil seducer leading people or souls into error; it is the idea of a wanderer, a tramp, or a vagabond looked upon by the world as useless and good for nothing. This is exactly how many of the Jews felt concerning the Apostle Paul.
Paul and all that he did as a Pharisee had been purposely forgotten by the Jews, for they considered him a traitor and turn coat and one to be perpetually spurned by every so-called respectable Jew, yet Paul was well-known to God and to every true regenerated born again man, woman, boy, and girl. What Paul sorrowed over was his own sin and weaknesses and those of his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ but not even persecutions, his thorn in his flesh, his sin and failure, rejection from his own Jewish people, attacks from satan and his minions, nor any other thing could drain away the joy given to him by our Lord Jesus Christ Personally as He declared by these words recorded for us by the Apostle John, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:9-11). Paul was even considered by many of the false apostles to not be a true Apostle of Christ because he did not live an outwardly lavish or prosperous lifestyle in this world, but often went without living poorly but his proclamation of the gospel and the souls that were being born again of the Holy Spirit was the way he made many people rich forever and though he had little of this worlds goodies, he “in Christ” was heir to all things as he wrote to these same Corinthian believers with these words in his first letter to them, “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 2:21-23).
“We must expect to meet with many alterations of our circumstances and conditions in this world; and it will be a great evidence of our integrity if we preserve a right temper of mind, and duly behave ourselves, under them all. The apostles met with honour and dishonour, good report and evil report: good men in this world must expect to meet with some dishonour and reproaches, to balance their honour and esteem; and we stand in need of the grace of God to arm us against the temptations of honour on the one hand, so as to bear good report without pride, and of dishonour on the other hand, so as to bear reproaches without impatience or recrimination.” Matthew Henry
“Paul was often spoken evil of by Jewish men and Gentile men, but he never let that blur or make hazy or fuzzy his focus on pressing forward for the high call of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Philippians 3:14) and continued to run his race of faith knowing who he was “in Christ” and what he had “in Christ” no matter all the critics, agitators, and naysayers.” 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…
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