This Sunday (in our morning services only) we begin a series that we will return to throughout the year (sort of like our series in Nehemiah last year). It is entitled “With Clear Hearts” and is a series in 2 Corinthians.
Paul’s letter is a heart-felt defence of his ministry; his integrity and motivation. Paul’s desire to clear his name is not, however, based on his own ego or need for personal gratification. What becomes clear is that Paul’s concern is the gospel and the gospel, for Paul, is not a mere set of beliefs and doctrines but a way of life that has a particular shape and flavour. He has tried his utmost to be an example for his Corinthian converts who are now being drawn away from that example by other so-called leaders. These leaders are not teaching a false Christian doctrine, but are not living a true Christian life. And, in so doing, threaten all that God has done in the Corinthians’ lives. So Paul goes on the defensive.
I feel that this epistle is a timely one for us to explore as a community of faith and not because the relationships in our congregation have been fractured! Instead, I believe there is an analogy for us with our wider society. Over the past few years in particular our society has grown distrustful of our message; questioning our motivations and accusing us of dodgy intentions. Like Paul, we cannot withdraw from our society but we also need to be reminded about the importance of the whole gospel – beliefs and lifestyle – and our desire to see lives changed by Jesus.
I’m looking forward to exploring Paul’s response to the Corinthians and how we might apply that to our response to our wider world.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday, onsite or online!