(Corrective Doctrine). “ RECEIVE NOT THE GRACE OF GOD IN VAIN “ (2 Cor. 6:1)
We are continuing today with the responsibility of our ambassadorship as outlined in 2 Cor. 5:20; “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ stead, be reconciled to God.” As Ambassadors we are to be faithful:
1. We are to be faithful to the message. Don’t change the message. Don’t try to water the message down to please men. 2. We are to be faithful to the One who privileged us to be ambassadors. 3. We are to be faithful to the cause. Recognizing and taking advantage of the opportunities to witness, as the opportunities occur.
2. Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to take advantage of the opportunities that God sets before us. To know the message, and not say anything is the mark of an unfaithful ambassador. An ambassador is to speak, open your mouth. 1 Thess. 2:4 Paul is speaking to the Thessalonian saints, “But as we were allowed (approved) of God to be entrusted (empowered} with the gospel, even so we speak (open our mouth); not as pleasing men, (to gain power, or popularity) but (to please) God, which trieth (examines) our hearts.”
3. The issue in this verse is: we are to speak! The ambassador for Christ is to speak! When the opportunity presents itself, we are to speak. Don’t clam up, don’t walk away from an opportunity that God sets before us. The ambassador’s job is to be the aggressor, the instigator. Not to wait for people to approach us. As an ambassador we have been given a message, so we are to speak! “For which (cause) I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may SPEAK BOLDLY, as I ought to SPEAK. (Eph. 6:19-20).
4. We are not faithful ambassadors if we don’t take hold of the Opportunities and speak for Christ. We are standing in His stead, and God wants a spokesman! Christ committed a message to us, we have been committed (enlisted) unto the word of reconciliation. But to be a faithful ambassador, to function in our identity, the word must come out of your mouth. As ambassadors, we are Christ representatives. Christ wants to speak through us. Are you telling men, women, boys, and girls, “Be ye reconciled unto God? And are you telling them why?
Because God made Christ who knew no sin, to be become sin on our behalf (so that we would not burn in the lake of fire), so that in Christ we would become the righteousness of God in Christ (that we may be accepted in the beloved). (2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 1:6).
To be an ambassador means,” suffering for godliness sake.” Being an ambassador means being “fools for Christ’s sake.” (1 Cor. 4:8-17). We were called by the gospel to be faithful to the message. And we are to be faithful to the opportunities that we have to speak to the lost. Do you realize that God places lost people in your way all day long? You don’t have to go looking for the lost. They are your next door neighbors, in the grocery store, the classroom, the workplace, the doctor’s office, in airports, and even in our homes, families.
Are we faithful to the opportunities? Are we really laboring for God?
2 Cor. 6:1; “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain.” Paul is saying to the Corinthians, if you are not willing to share the gospel of grace with others, you have received the grace of God in vain. We are ambassadors for Christ. We have been privileged to see the mystery, we have been given the responsibility of being God’s spokesperson. When we won’t share the gospel with others, we have received the grace of God in vain, we have turned away from sound doctrine.
God did not leave us in this world to have the world love us and embrace us, and think we are wonderful and great. And want us to be their next-door neighbor. And if you think like this as a believer, wanting to be accepted by the world of unbelievers, loved and embraced by them, then you are operating by the world’s value system, and that is ungodly thinking.
God did not put the body of Christ in this world to be embraced by the world! the Corinthians did not want to be “the filth of the world,” they did not want to be the outcasts of the day, they did not want to be a fool for Christ’s sake, they did not want to be hated, or persecuted for godliness’ sake, despised, or considered weak. We don’t want to be like the Corinthians, they were indeed saved, but they were weak & carnal (worldly). The Corinthians started shrinking back from the message of grace, they started adjusting, changing the message, watering down the message, making it palatable (agreeable, non offensive) so none of those things happened to them. And just like the Corinthians when you do this, thinking ungodly, you will embrace the wisdom of this world so that you will appear to them bright and intelligent. The Corinthians did everything they could to make their faith a popular, socially accepted thing. And that was ungodly thinking, ungodly living and they weren’t laboring together with God at all.
But we are called to be like the Thessalonians, they were a model assembly, model Saints, who knew who they were in Christ. They were not only faithful to the message they were faithful to the opportunities. Sadly, most Saints receive the grace of God in vain. We act more like the carnal Corinthians, than the Thessalonian saints. Paul commended these saints: “For from you SOUNDED OUT the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward you spread abroad; so that we need not speak anything.
This doctrine isn’t designed for us to go hide ourselves behind closed doors, behind a cloak of religion. But this doctrine is designed for you to go out and follow Paul’s pattern and suffer the consequences for godliness’ sake. And that is what we’re supposed to be doing in the dispensation of grace. Listen to Paul: “And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that you were EXAMPLES to all them that believe in Macedonia & Achaia.” (1 Thess. 1:6-7). Finally:
*I included a few practical ways we can do the work of the ministry: 1. We can pray for people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Tim.2:4) & to grow spiritually (Col. 1:9). 2. We can share right division everywhere we go. 3. We can put the gospel on a business card. 4. We can hand out grace tracts. 5. We can share the gospel & right division everywhere we go. 6. We can put tracts in our purse & in our cars. 7. We can share the truth on social media, Facebook & YouTube, etc. 8. We can send books, tracks, and bibles to those who need them. 9. We can support grace ministries financially. We should all give to grace ministries that do God’s will. We need to do all we can for as many as we can before the rapture. Paul said: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to YOUR ACCOUNT” (in heaven) Phil. 4:17
At the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 cor. 5:10) the issue of good and bad has to do with being useful or useless, worthy or worthless. Functionally Alive, or Functionally Dead. Did we present our bodies a living sacrifice for Christ to live through us or not? At the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will be judged, assessed, and evaluated based on three criteria: 1. Our “Work of faith,” 2. Our “Labor of love.” 3. And, Our “patience of the “blessed hope” in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”
Satan wants to turn us from being faithful to the message, being faithful to the one who privileged us to proclaim this gospel, being faithful to the opportunities. But “God has not given us the spirit of fear; (Timothy), but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Therefore, STIR UP THE GIFT OF GOD (THE DOCTRINE) WHICH IS IN THEE:
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor me (Paul) his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
SAINTS, BE ENCOURAGED TODAY, AND STIR UP THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS IN THEE, & “RECEIVE NOT THE GRACE OF GOD IN VAIN.”