Sermon – Knowing God’s blessing (2 Corinthians 13:1 – 13:14) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Knowing God’s blessing

Dan Green, 2 Corinthians 13:1 - 13:14, 20 August 2023

In this special, our guest speaker Dan Green preaches to us from 2 Corinthians 13:1-14. In this passage we see Paul’s final remarks to the Christians in Corinth, the amazing blessing he leaves them with, and what it means for us today.


2 Corinthians 13:1 - 13:14

13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them—since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(ESV)


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Every matter must be established by the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses. I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent. On my return, I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others.

Since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me, he is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by god's power. Likewise, we are weak in him. Yet by god's power, we will live with him in our dealing with you. Examamine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.

Test yourself. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you unless, of course, you fail the test. And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to god that you will not do anything wrong. Not so that people will see that we've stood the test.

But so that you will do what is right, even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth. But only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak, but you are strong. And our prayer is that you may be fully restored.

This is why I write these things when I'm absent that when I come, I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority, the authority the lord gave me for building you up. Not for tearing you down. Finally, brothers and sisters rejoice. Strive for full restoration, encourage 1 another. Be of 1 mind live in peace.

And the god of love and peace will be with you. Greet 1 another with a holy kiss. All God's people here send their greetings. May the grace of the lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Do keep your bibles open.

We're only gonna be actually focusing in on the final verse, a familiar verse to us, or hopefully. Let's pray as we begin. Oh, god. We thank you, Vate. Your word is sweeter than honey, more precious than gold.

And we pray that it would be to us this evening. Lord help us to see Christ. And his glory. And through Christ to to see you as the great god, who is father, son, and holy spirit. Help us to adore you help us to seek your blessing, your kindness upon our lives.

And all may in response we've been made more secure in our faith and our desire to live for you increase in Jesus' name, we pray. Men. Now there are lots of different ways of saying goodbye to people. And that's beyond the the different ways of saying it like see her or catch her later. There's the shaking of hands, a solid and popular option.

The hug and the slightly more riskier kiss. Something out works well for people you know, usually. I've not tried it with a complete stranger, so I have no idea how it'll go down with them. A bit more street is the fist bump, also known as the brofist of a power 5 in case you're unfamiliar with the lingo. Short lived, and more ridiculous was the elbow bump.

Do you remember the elbow bump during a pandemic? Glad that hasn't stuck. What emails and messages? What what is the most common way of signing off? Thanks.

Because you don't wanna go formal with your ceiling or yours faithfully, like you might in a letter. Occasionally, 2 friends might have a unique, maybe more complex hand handshake but by use, which requires a high level of choreography to do, and means that a quick getaway just isn't. Possible because it takes a good minute or so to go for all the different moves. Regardless of what we do to say goodbye. Let's be honest, most of the time, we don't put a lot of thought into it.

We go into autopilot. Most of the time, we instinctively know what form of saying goodbye to use. And that's when it comes to saying goodbye at church. I'm not talking about how you say goodbye to 1 another once the service is over. When you might adopt 1 or more of those I've just mentioned.

I'm talking about how the service says goodbye to you. How it ends? How it lets you know that it's over? You see, well, there are certain words that are used. And most churches use these.

And I reckon 3 most popular RVs. May the lord bless you and keep you. May the lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. Maybe lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. Or now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.

To be only god our savior, Be glory, majesty power, and authority through Jesus Christ are lord before all ages now and forevermore. Or may the grace of a lord Jesus Christ, and the love of god and a fellowship of a Holy Spirit be with us all. These are familiar words. These last ones, particularly. And I guess if you regularly attended church, over the years as service, you would have heard them numerous times.

And a final 1 of those 3. This is 1 you may have heard or said hundreds. Maybe thousands of times. In your life. It's taken here from the end of the letter of 2 Corinthians, which we find here in the new testament.

What they are are are the final words that the apostle Paul wrote to the church in corinth that we have in our Bibles. It is his goodbye kiss. To them. And with his final words, he is saying something significant to them. Something that he wants the Corinthians Christians to know.

Vaga lord himself wants them to know, but not just them. Us too. And they are just the words we need to hear at the end of a service because they assure us of god's blessing as we go out into the new week. It is possible that we don't get the benefit of hearing them. Hearing what is said to us when they are.

Because we haven't grasped fully what they are saying. We haven't spent any time dwelling on what is being promised to us by them. So what I want us to do this evening? Is to take time to contemplate, to dwell on these famous words, and what they mean. So my hope is that they will become words that you'll want to hear.

Because wonderfully these words could be said to you. Let's look at them again. 2 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 14. May the grace of the lord Jesus Christ and the love of god and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Before we look at the assurances first gives, Let me just make a couple of observations.

First, that notice that these words are a benediction or a blessing. This is not a prayer, but a proclamation. A bad addiction is not the same as a doxology, like the 1 you get at the end of a letter of jude. And doxology is is a brief expression of praise. That we speak to god.

The toxicities that we find in scripture are words that god gives us, to praise him with. And we might want to respond to a benediction with a docxology, like Paul does at the start of 2 crimes. Where we both benediction and doxology side by side. Now if this benediction is not a prayer and is not a doc doxology, What is it? Well, it is simply a pronouncement of blessing from god to us.

Which is delivered by someone like a pastor or an elder of a local church, or if we are reading scripture ourselves, by the apostle Paul to us on god's behalf. So when a service ends with a grace, God is saying something to us. He's making a promise to us. He's guaranteeing that we have something. Secondly, notice who the benediction is given to.

It's given here to everyone in the church in corinth. The verse ends, be with you all. The entire church is included here. This benediction is for the mature, strong, pressing on believer, and for the week, the faltering. The drifting follower of Christ.

Yet it is only for those who are part of a church. For those who have repented of our sins, and put their trust in Jesus to save him by his life, his death, and his resurrection. But it doesn't single out individual Christians as being more worthy or more deserving of this. Paul wants them all to know that god's blessing is on them and for them. And then thirdly, notice that this blessing is trinitarian.

The verse we're looking at is 1 of the key statements that we find in scripture about what god is like. Paul is clear that there is only 1 god. As a Jew, he would have been taught from infancy that the lord our god, the lord is 1. And that remains his belief. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he writes yet for us, there is 1 god.

Who believes that there is 1 god? And, yeah, he has no reluctance in calling 3 persons, the father, the son that is the lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit god. Each person fully god, each person on the same level, 3 distinct persons, the father, the son, and the holy spirit, and yet 1 god. The blessing point is pronouncing on the Corinthians on all of god's people is from the 1 god. However, he also says that this blessing comes to us in particular ways from each person of a trinity.

We experience the grace of the lord Jesus Christ. We experience the love of god the father. We experience a fellowship of the Holy Spirit. And in this order, usually in scripture, a persons of Trinity are listed in order of father some spirit. We're baptized in the name of the father, and of a son, and of a holy spirit.

We pray to the father through the son, by the spirit. But here it is, son, father, holy spirit, because that reflects the sequence of salvation. We are blessed first by the grace of the lord Jesus Christ as we learn that he died for us when we were sinners. Jesus is the way we come to know for father. He says no 1 comes to the father except through me.

It is by experiencing the grace of the lord Jesus Christ, that we come to be blessed by the love of god, the father, and then the fellowship of the Holy Spirit as he makes his dwelling place in us. And so we have a proclamation on behalf of god at the end of 2 Corinthians. What Paul is doing is saying to the members of a church in corinth, I want you to be certain of this, but a grace of the lord Jesus Christ is with you. But the love of god the father is with you, but the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is with you. And when we hear these at the end of a service, we are being told the same.

But we are not on our own. But god is with us in order to bless us. The son with grace, the father with love, the spirit with fellowship. But what does this mean? Because our understanding of his blessing will affect our enjoyment of it.

So let's look at each of these 3 ways god's blessing comes to us. Firstly, the grace it comes to us from the sun, the grace it comes to us from the sun. Verse 14, may the grace of the lord Jesus Christ be with you all. God blesses us with grace. It comes to us.

From the sun, the lord Jesus Christ. Each of the names given to him, tell us something about him. He is the lord. He put back points to his divine nature. Jesus Christ is fully god.

Everything that can be said about god can be said about him. He is Jesus, but he's pointing to his human nature. He is truly man. Everything that can be said about a human being can be said about him, except that he had no sinful nature. And he is Christ.

That points us to his office or his work. He is a mediator that represents us before god. And god before us to bring about reconciliation. He is a prophet who speaks god's word to us so that we can know him. He is a priest who offers up the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins of his people so that their guilt can be removed.

And we can boldly come into god's presence. And he is a king who rules over his people to govern and to guard them. And what is this grace that the lord Jesus blesses us with? How does he show god's goodness to us? Who deserve, who he owes nothing to?

Well, early in the letter Paul tells us, if you've got a Bible, just turn back quickly to 2 Corinthians 8 verse 9, 2 Corinthians 8 verse 9, where we read For you know the grace of our lord Jesus Christ, But though he was rich, yet for your sakes, he became poor. So that through his poverty, might become rich. That's how grace comes to us. It is him becoming poor so that you might become rich. The son of god became poor.

He came into a world full of sin and under the curse of god. He came became flesh and and lived among us. He experienced a weakness and frailty of humanity. He fulfilled all righteousness by perfectly obeying the law of god every single 1 of his commands. He resisted every temptation to sin.

Never once giving in. He was a beloved son, and god the father was well pleased with. He deserve to be blessed by god. And yet for our sakes, he humbled himself. Further by becoming obedient to death on a cross.

The 1 who was without sin, righteous in every way was made sin. Taking upon himself all our sin I'm rebellion and received punishment we deserved as a wrath of god was poured on him until there was no penalty left to pay. He died for us. His body was buried. His soul descended to a place of a dead.

Until the third day when he rose again, as he said he would, giving proof that his sacrifice had been accepted but salvation had been achieved and by his poverty, all who trust in him might become rich. Rich in forgiveness, having our sins, past, present, future forgiven. Ridge in Hope, having god's wrath, deserved condemnation in hell, removed. Of eternal life in the new creation, which in relationship being brought into the family of god adopted as his children, able to call godfather. This is the grace of the lord Jesus Christ.

This grace has been given to us whose faith is in Christ. God wants us to know, but we have been blessed by him in this particular way. By the son. But grace has come to us. And so he proclaims it to his people hearing this benediction.

When we hear the grace at the end of a service, when we hear these words, the grace of a lord Jesus Christ. What is happening is that we are hearing god himself say to his people, to us, if that's what we are. I want you to know, but the grace of a lord Jesus Christ is with you. Right now. He has saved you because of his life, death, and resurrection, your sins have been forgiven.

Every single 1 of them, But judgment of hell, that was over you. Gone. You don't need to fear being condemned because Jesus was condemned in your place. Your future is secure. Yes.

You're gonna have to wait a little longer for heaven, and this waiting won't necessarily be easy. It may get really hard, but it will be worth it. So stay faithful and press on 1 day at a time. That's a grace that comes to us from the son. Secondly, the love that comes to us from the father, the love that comes to us from the father, verse 14 again, and beloved God, be with you all.

Through the grace it comes to us from the sun, we come to know the love that comes to us from the father. It was because god so loved the world, but he gave his 1 and only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, behalf eternal life. When Christ died for us while we're still sinners, he was demonstrating the way that the father has showed that he loved us. It was the love of god that caused him to plan and choose who he would save. It was in love that he predestined us to be adopted as sons through.

Jesus Christ. The apostle John would exclaim in the in his letter. See what great love the father has given us that we should be called god's children. In fact, is what we are. The father sending his son to be the savior of the world.

The father adopting us into his family shows how devoted he is to us. It shows what lengths he would go to for our good. And if he would show his love by offering up his son for us, will he not show his love by supplying all that we need in this life? So we're told to ask, and it will be given. To seek and you're fine to knock, and the door will be opened to you.

We're to do this because our father in heaven knows how to give good things to those who ask him. This is the love of a father, and this love has been shown to whose faith is in Jesus. God wants us to know that we have been blessed in this particular way by the father. But love has come to us. And so he proclaims it to us in this benediction.

When we hear the grace said at the end of the service, when we hear the words, the love of god. What we are hearing is is what we are what is happening is we're hearing god himself say to his people, say to us. I want you to know the love of a father is with you, but he has devoted to you so much sover he is willing to do everything needed to make you his son or daughter, and will do everything to keep you as his son. Or daughter. You are being kept right now in his love.

Remember he's your godfather and he delights to give good gifts. To his children. So ask him. That's a love that comes to us from the father. And then thirdly, the fellowship that comes to us from the spirit, the fellowship of a holy spirit be with you all.

1 of the gifts that the loving father gives to those who have received the grace of the lord Jesus Christ is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The spirit comes and lives in all of god's people communicating to the grace of a son and the love of a father. But also brings specific blessings as a spirit of truth. He gives us desire for the truth of god's word and a delight in it He gives us understanding of what it says and means. He enables us to believe and to obey it.

He helps us to spot what is false. And exercise discernment as a spirit of holiness brings a hatred of evil and a love for what is good. And gives us this yearning to put to death for sin in our lives to to become like Christ. As a spirit of adoption, he causes us to cry out. To god in prayer.

He helps us to know from god's word what to pray for and how to do it. He gives us faith to believe that when we pray, our prayers have been heard and the patience to wait for god to answer them in his timing. He is also the comforter who fills our hearts with love for the lord, for his people, for his cause, even his enemies, desiring that they might be saved. He gives us peace and amidst the troubles and joy and of affliction. This is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

And this fellowship has been shown to us whose faith is in the lord. God wants us to know that we have been blessed in this particular way by the spirit, but fellowship has come to us. And so he proclaims it to us here in this benediction. When we hear for grace said at the end of a service, when we hear those words and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Again, what is happening is we are hearing god himself say to us, address us, who are his people.

And send you to know the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is with you. He's with us and in us to bless us. You are not on your own. That's a fellowship it comes to us from the Holy Spirit. God wants us to be certain, for he is blessing us in these 3 particular ways.

Not just know that he is, but feel that he is, to be aware of his blessing each day. So he proclaims this benediction to us so that we don't forget this. The grace of a lord, Jesus Christ, and the love of god and the fellowship of a Holy Spirit be with you all. Now with understanding, Aren't these wonderful words to hear? Don't you want to hear god save him to you?

Or you can if your faith is in Christ. If you have turned from your sins and put your trust in him, These words here at the end of 2 Indians are to assure you of this, that you have been saved by the grace. Of a son. That you are loved with an everlasting love by the father, and you are in fellowship with the holy spirit who is in us. But his words are also an invitation.

An invitation to you if you are not yet 1 of god's people through faith in Christ. If you would repent and turn, from your sin and come to Jesus and ask him to save you, the grace that comes from the sun will come to you. Christ will forgive your sins, save you from the wrath to come, give you eternal life. The love that comes from the father will also come to you. The father will adopt you into his family, give you everything you need in this life.

And an inheritance in the life to come. And also a fellowship that comes from the spirit will come to you The spirit will live in you and give you the power you need each day. You can leave here this evening, hearing god pronounce his blessing upon you. And that's a best goodbye you can receive today. Yes.

As you go from this place, lots of people might give you a handshake. Some might give you a fist bump if that's your preference. You might even get a hug of someone. Not likely me. I'm not a big hugger.

Outside my family, I've worked out that there are probably only 11 people but I might greet in this way. So if you try it and you're not 1 of the 11, be prepared for an awkward 1. Better than any goodbye you might get in these ways is a goodbye that hopefully Phil will give you in a few minutes' time. When he pronounces god's blessing for the week ahead for you to receive by faith. As he says to you, may the grace of the lord Jesus Christ, and the love of god, the father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

Oh, man. Let's pray. Afl, we thank you for these words that you have left for us to hear. This pronouncement that you give to us, but your blessing is upon your people. And we pray that by faith, we would receive this blessing this evening, but each of us would leave here knowing that we have received the grace of the lord Jesus Christ that he has saved us, but he has dealt with our sins that he has taken the wrath that we deserve, that he has given us eternal life.

That he has filled us with hope and a future. But we would know the love of the father. But we know how much you love us that your love for us is an everlasting love. But you love us so much that you sent the lord Jesus to save us. But you love us so much that you desire us as your children to come to you and to ask for your help for good gifts.

Which you'd delight to give. And all that, we would know that the fellowship of a Holy Spirit is with us. For he is living in us, that he is for us, but he is at work in us, changing us, transforming us to be like Christ, destroying us, that we are your people. Oh, that would we know that? Great blessing this day as we leave.

But also that we would wake each day this week knowing that your grace, your love, your fellowship is upon us, and all may this help us to follow you day by day. Secure in the knowledge that we are safe in your high end's amen.


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