Established in Christ 

April 25, 2024/
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Hope for Today (English)
Established in Christ 
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II Cor. 1:15-22 

Hello and thank you for joining us. Today we are looking at the last part of Second Corinthians 1, the title is Established in Christ. When I heard this title, I thought of foundations.  

Think about the foundation of a building.  Normally it is not visible, and it is usually one of the first things to be built, and the rest is built on top of the foundation. If the foundation is doing what it is supposed to do there are no problems, however, if the foundation fails you immediately see the results in the rest of the building. 

Are you established in Christ? This is like the foundation of our lives. Who we are and all we do changes when we are established in Him. We say this is the best place to start, having Christ as your foundation and building your life on Him is the best decision you could ever make, if you haven’t already done it, now’s the time, to do it.  

Let’s give our attention to Bible teacher J Mark as he teaches us about being established in Christ.  

You don’t need to live very long to discover that your most carefully laid plans don’t work out. How do you respond when your plans fail?  

One response is fatalism, the belief that events are fixed in advance and we’re powerless to change them. This leads to discouragement, despair, and even suicide. Another response is to recognize the sovereignty of God. As His followers, we make plans based on the best knowledge we have of His will. But we admit that we can’t see the whole picture like He does. When our plans change, we can still acknowledge His goodness.  

Sometimes, when plans fail, those who don’t fulfill them are accused of being indecisive, uncommitted, or uncaring. But we should never reach that conclusion hastily. There may be legitimate reasons why they couldn’t fulfill those plans.  

In Second Corinthians 1:15 to 22, the apostle Paul defends himself from accusations by his critics in Corinth. We’ll see how this defense of his actions illustrates how we too can be “Established in Christ.” So, listen as I read Second Corinthians 1:15 to 22. 

15 And in this confidence, I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit.  

16 to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea.  

17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No?  

18 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No.  

19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.  

20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  

21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,  

22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 

As Paul explains his change of plans to the Corinthian Believers, he reveals to them and us the WAYS that we are “Established in Christ.”  

The First WAY (that we are established in Christ) is,  

According to God’s Plans 

Paul begins this section by referring to his previous statements about his confidence in God, in the Corinthian Believers, and the testimony of his conscience. God had delivered him from what appeared to be certain death (verse 10). The church at Corinth had played a part in his deliverance through prayer. And Paul’s conduct and communication with the Believers were sincere and transparent. 

Paul says, “I wanted to visit you again.” He had planted the church at Corinth and developed lasting relationships among the members. Now he wanted to renew those relationships. He also knew some of the challenges the church was facing. As a wise leader, he wanted to address them in person. So, he made plans to visit. 

He intended to visit Corinth on his way from Ephesus to Macedonia and then stop with them on his return trip. We don’t know why those plans changed. But the anti-Paul party in Corinth accused him of being careless and changing his mind frequently.      

When you look at how Paul followed God’s plans in other places, it’s hard to make this charge stick. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were planning to preach in Asia Minor, but the Holy Spirit said “No.” Instead, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia asking him to come and help them. Paul sensed this as God’s leading and they set off for Macedonia. That was a major change of plans, but not because Paul was indecisive, cowardly, or uncaring.  

Paul responds to these charges against him with an indignant negative! He asks, “Was I a ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ man, not knowing my mind, or not keeping to my decisions, when I thought I did know it?” He reminds his readers that he made his plans based on his understanding of God’s will. Hopefully, you and I do that too, but sometimes God changes our plans. 

Have you ever wondered what God is doing when He changes your plans? I have. Like Paul, I’ve made plans for something that is within God’s will, but the plans don’t work out. I’ve often asked, “Lord, why didn’t this work out?” Sometimes I learn the answer, but many times I don’t. I’m learning to trust that God knows best.  

  Let’s not be like those in Corinth who criticized Paul’s character because his plans didn’t work out. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt and treat them the way we want to be treated. And as we faithfully follow God’s plans we become more firmly established in Christ.  

The Next WAY (that we are established in Christ) is,  

According to God’s Promises 

To strengthen his defense, Paul appeals to the example of Jesus. Paul’s life was devoted to the service and proclamation of Christ. The charge of insincerity and instability was ridiculous.  

He reminded the Corinthians that the Christ who was preached to them by him, and Silas, and Timothy, was not a yes and no man, wavering back and forth between two positions. Jesus was a consistent “YES” man. He said what He meant, and He meant what He said! 

Paul further reminds his readers they hadn’t experienced Christ in a way that was uncertain or unsatisfying. “The firmness of Paul’s statement, and his use of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, indicates that the person and work of Christ were under attack from false teachers at Corinth. The proof of his truthfulness with them was the Gospel which he preached.” 

Paul writes, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” All the promises given by God are made possible and fulfilled in Jesus to the glory of God the Father. This was the Gospel Paul proclaimed. 

It was common in the early church to proclaim “Amen” in unison to affirm the truthfulness of what had just been spoken. Isn’t it strange then, that some of those same people would be distrustful of the man who had brought them the Good News and taught them to use this term? If there is a charge of inconsistency, it seems to lie more with the Corinthians than with Paul.  

Through Paul’s ministry, Christ was proclaimed as the “yes” of all God’s promises so that the Father would be glorified. The Son of God taking on human flesh, was tangible evidence of all God’s promises being fulfilled; past, present, and future.   

Have you experienced the “yes” of God’s promises? Do those promises direct your steps like they did the apostle Paul? Can you appeal to God’s promises to validate His message through you? His promises are absolutely true, and through them, we are established in Christ.  

The Final WAY (that we are established in Christ) is,  

According to God’s Presence 

Here again, are the final verses of our text to refresh your memory. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  

I follow Paul’s argument this way; you accuse me of being unfaithful to my promises because God changed my plans. But the Gospel I brought to you in Corinth was based on the unchanging Word of God and resulted in transformed lives. Furthermore, God has authenticated my ministry by giving me, and all of you who truly follow Him, the seal of the Holy Spirit.  

Here, Paul makes the ultimate appeal to being established in Christ. First, he refers to the anointing; that is, God’s people being endowed with gifts by the Holy Spirit for the work of ministry. Next, he states that God has sealed us; that is, He has set His mark of approval and ownership on us confirming that we belong to Him.  

And finally, He has bestowed on us the Spirit Himself as the down payment of our eternal inheritance. A down payment is a legally binding promise that the entire amount will eventually be realized. The Spirit Himself is God’s pledge of the fulfillment of our future glory with Christ.  

Have you received the anointing of the Holy Spirit? No, that doesn’t necessarily mean speaking in tongues – although it could! It means having the fruit of the Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, and so on. And it means using the spiritual gifts God has given you to build up His church.  

Do you have the witness of the Holy Spirit in your spirit that you belong to God, as Paul mentions in Romans 8:14 to 16? Are you led by the Spirit of God as you walk through daily life, finding victory over the desires of your flesh? Are you confident in the security of your future based on the down payment or guarantee that you have received?  

As Christ-followers there will always be those who criticize us, even from within the Church. But if you and I are truly committed to Christ and following His will, we can live with confidence. That doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes or that we’ll never need to ask for forgiveness. But it does mean that the accusations of others don’t need to cripple us or deter us from the plans Christ has for us.  

Can you see the evidence of God’s plans, His promises, and His presence in your life? If so, these confirm that you are being established in Christ.     

Thanks, J Mark for sharing this teaching from God’s Word. We trust that you have been blessed. The vision of Heralds of Hope is to use media, and radio, in this case, to make disciples of Jesus Christ to accomplish the great commission in our lifetime. As disciples of Jesus, we want to be like Him, and to be like Him we study His Word. So, thank you for joining us for today’s study.    

If you have any questions about today’s teaching or if you like a copy. Just contact us and ask for it by title. Here is how you can reach us. The best way is by email. Our email is [email protected]. If you don’t have an email, you can write to us, our address is Hope for Today, Box 3 Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Or you can connect with us on our website. Our website is heraldsofhope.org. On our website you will find other helpful resources and more teaching programs like this one, so please look around while you are there. Again, the website is heraldsofhope.org.  

We look forward to next week and hope you will join us then as we study the next section in II Corinthians. Have a good week and as Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.” Go live in that joy and peace.

*This episode is an exposition by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with an opening and closing by Arlin Horst.

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