Over the past 6 weeks at Wildwood, we have been working our way through 2 Corinthians 2-5. To help us understand and remember these passages more, we have been using the image of a fishing trip. If someone goes fishing they gather up all kinds of gear (rods, reels, tackle, etc), and head to the lake. Even though all fishermen love their gear, it would be absurd for a fisherman to drive all the way to the lake, and then spend all his/her time organizing their gear on the dock and never actually fishing. We drew the parallel that in the Christian life, God has equipped us with lots of gear (His Word, His Spirit, community, spiritual gifts, etc.). God has given us this gear (at least in part) so that we might go fishing. Jesus said to His followers “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus was calling all who followed Him into a lifetime of ministry and service to others. Since we have been equipped for this purpose, how absurd would it be for a Christian to spend all their time sitting on the “dock” and never actually employing their gear in the purpose for which it was given. Over the past 6 weeks we saw 14 observations from 2 Corinthians 2-5 that helped remind us “Don’t Forget to Fish.” Below I have attached these 14 points. If you attend Wildwood and heard this series of messages, I hope this list helps you continue to process and apply the great truth of this passage. If you have not been at Wildwood in the past 6 weeks, I hope this list might serve as a study aid if you wanted to read and study this passage by yourself. Enjoy!
1. Find victory in captivity. (2:12-14): Followers of Christ are captivated by their Savior. It is in His protective care that they find encouragement when life (and ministry) presses down on them.
2. Find purpose in the procession. (2:14-16a): Christ is leading His followers on a triumphant parade through their lives, spreading a knowledge of Himself everywhere they go. Your life is a parade route for the King!
3. Ministry is not about us. (2:16b-17, 3:4-5): No one (on their own) is adequate for the ministry God has called us to. Thankfully, God graciously intervenes to make us adequate for the ministry He is calling us to.
4. Ministry is about God changing other’s lives through us.(3:1-3): After many months of ministry among the Corinthians, the fruit of Paul’s ministry could be seen in the changed lives of the Corinthian people. Know that God is using you to shape and change people’s lives in Christ!
5. Don’t quit. (4:1): Ministry can be hard and discouraging. Paul does not quit because he believed Christ had this ministry for him. Take heart! you have a place in His plans as well.
6. Don’t cheat. (4:2): Paul did not manipulate people or water down the truth to try to “make the sale.” We shouldn’t either!
7. Employ the winning strategy. (4:3-6): The only way people grasp God’s truth is for God to “turn on the lights” so they can see. Therefore, we should pray throughout our time in ministry and ask God to be at work “turning on the lights” in front of us so that people might find the truth and respond in faith.
8. Contrast our frailty with His glory. (4:7): We minister in a series of contrasts. It is this contrast that provides the perfect canvas on which God’s grace might be seen. One of those contrasts is between our “Jar of Clay” body and His overwhelming glory. Because we are not perfect, God’s perfection shows even brighter in greater contrast.
9. Contrast our death with their life. (4:8-15): As we serve Christ we may face opposition. This opposition may feel like “death” to us, but enduring through it leads to “life” for those we are serving.
10. Contrast our present with our future. (4:17-18): We currently live in a fallen world, but one day the fallen will be replaced by the perfection of heaven. In contrast to the glory of our future, today’s present struggles look like momentary/light afflictions.
11. Believe one day the bus will move. (5:1-5): One day Christ will tap us on the shoulder and “move the bus” revealing our eternal home. Knowing this produces groaning today, but longing for our future. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives today begins the interior “remodel” of our lives that will be complete in eternity.
12. Live today remembering whose home you will be in tomorrow. (5:6-10): Knowing that we will see Jesus face to face in eternity, we make it our purpose to live our lives today according to His purposes.
13. Fish for Him. (5:11-15): We engage in ministry because of Jesus. He has asked us to, and one day we will give an account about our investment in ministry. Also, His love is a controlling influence motivating us to lay down our lives for another.
14. Fish for them. (5:16-21): We engage in ministry so that others might be reconciled to God and have their lives changed. Paul chose to see people for who they would become in Christ, not just who they were today. We should follow that example as well and be God’s spokeperson in their lives.