2 CoriIn 2 Cor 6, Paul beseeched the Corinthians to work together with the Lord and with him and the others with whom he served the Lord in the ministry. In 2 Cor 5:17-21, he explained that God has given all new creatures in Christ the ministry of reconciliation. That is, others learn of the gospel through the witness and testimony of those of us who are saved.
To be workers together with Christ, we:
Must not receive the grace of God in vain – 2 Cor 6:1-2 – Paul was able to labor in the ministry the way he did because of the grace of God that was given to him [1 Cor 15:10]. He assured the Corinthians that they had been given the grace of God to help them, as well, based on the promise that the Lord made to Jesus in Is 49:8. The Lord will succor Jesus in his millennial reign and, since we are laborers together with him, he also succors us now [in this accepted time and in this day of salvation]. You receive the grace of God in vain when you get saved and refuse to minister the word of reconciliation to others.
Must give no offense in anything – 2 Cor 6:3 – Paul wouldn’t do anything that would cause others to reject Jesus Christ or blame the ministry [1 Cor 9:19-27; Rom 14:15-21]. Likewise, he exhorted the Corinthians to live by the same rule.
Must approve ourselves as ministers of God – 2 Cor 6:4-10 – to minister the word of reconciliation to others takes a lot of grace. The grace of God strengthened Paul and got him through everything.
A worker together with Christ:
- Needs much patience – it takes time for the seed sown to become harvestable fruit and it takes lots of time for people who get saved to grow.
- Can go through:
- Afflictions – Paul suffered a great deal as a preacher. When you live for Christ in a world that doesn’t like Christ, you are going to suffer [1 Pet 2:19-23; 4:12-14].
- Necessities – Paul often struggled to make ends meet [Acts 20:34; Phil 4:16]. Sometimes he went hungry and thirsty [2 Cor 11:27].
- Distresses – troubles accompany the ministry. Paul knew about these [2 Cor 12:10].
- Stripes – Paul received a total of 195 stripes on five different occasions [2 Cor 11:24].
- Imprisonments – Paul was jailed frequently [2 Cor 11:23].
- Tumults – these were riots and uprisings of mobs against Paul’s preaching [Acts 17:5; 18:12; 21:30-32; etc.].
- Labours – Paul often had to work to support himself [2 Thes 3:8].
- Watchings – these are like all night prayer meetings.
- Fastings – voluntarily skipping meals.
- Gets his work done by:
- Pureness – working with Christ requires a pure heart [1 Tim 1:5] and a pure conscience [1 Tim 3:9]
- Knowledge – Paul knew what he was preaching. God revealed it to him [Gal 1:12; Eph 3:3; etc.]. Too many people in the ministry don’t know what they’re talking about.
- Long-suffering – patiently enduring hardship.
- Kindness – just like Jesus [Lk 6:35].
- The Holy Ghost – Paul was filled with the Spirit. You can’t get this work done without the Holy Spirit.
- Love unfeigned – Paul didn’t fake his love for others [2 Cor 12:15].
- The word of truth – Paul preached the true word of God [1 Thes 2:13].
- The power of God – Paul preached in the power of God [1 Cor 2:4-5].
- The armour of righteousness – Paul wore the whole armor of God [Eph 6:10-18].
- Is a paradox
- Honour and dishonor – he was honored by the saved who loved him [Acts 20:36-38] and dishonored by the lost who hated him [Acts 24:5-6].
- Evil report and good report – some maligned him [Acts 16:20-21] and some gave a good report of him [Acts 9:27; 2 Pet 3:15].
- Deceiver and true – like Jesus, some thought Paul was a deceiver [Matt 27:63], and yet he was true.
- Unknown and well known – At one time he was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea [Gal 1:21-22] and yet he was well known [Gal 1:23-24].
- Dying and alive – he constantly faced death [2 Cor 1:8-10; 4:10] and yet he lived [Gal 2:20; Phil 1:21].
- Chastened yet not killed – 2 Cor 11:23-25 they tried but they couldn’t kill him until he had finished his course [2 Tim 4:7].
- Sorrowful and rejoicing – Paul cried plenty of tears [Acts 20:31; 2 Cor 2:3-4] but always rejoiced [1 Thes 5:16].
- Poor and making many rich – in this Paul was just like Christ [2 Cor 8:9]
- Having nothing and possessing all things – Paul knew the truth of Mk 10:28-30.
Must love others who work together with Christ – 2 Cor 6:11-13 – Paul told the Corinthians that “our heart is enlarged.” That is, their hearts were “dilated with affection;” they loved the Corinthians. And they wanted the Corinthians to love them. He wrote, “be ye also enlarged.”
Must not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers – 2 Cor 6:14-18 – In writing to the church, Paul said, “ye are the temple of the living God.” God said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” As a result, the church, can’t be yoked with the Lord and yoked with unbelievers. Workers together with Christ don’t minister the word of reconciliation by working together with unbelievers. Notice:
- Righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness
- Light has no communion with darkness
- Christ has no concord with Belial
- He that believeth hath no part with an infidel
- The temple of God hath no agreement with idols
When men yoke up with unbelievers to do the work of God, God leaves them alone and will not work with them. So, the admonition is for us to separate from them; they are unclean. And the promise of God is that he will be a Father unto us and we will be his sons and daughters. We are already his children by the new birth. However, the picture here is from Ex 4:22 where Israel was called out of Egypt to be with the Lord. Likewise, we separate from the world and enjoy our family relationship with each other and with the Lord. We can get others to join us when they get saved but we can’t be yoked together with them.