OceanSide church of Christ
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Being Epistles of Christ
TITLE: Being Epistles of Christ
TEXT: 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
A.) What is influence?
1. Influence is that “moral or spiritual force, power or capacity by which we have an effect upon a person, condition, or development”
2. Jesus presents this moral influence, under several metaphors:
a.) Salt – Matthew 5:13
b.) Light – Matthew 5:14-16
B.) But tonight’s lesson we are going to study a metaphor used by Paul with reference to influence
1. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men; being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh.
2. With reference to influence – “We are epistles of Christ”
I. EPISTLES ARE WRITTEN TO INFLUENCE THE READER
A.) Just as people will read letters, they will read us as well.
1. For example: 1 Peter 3:1, “In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your won husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives;”
2. One of the greatest ways that we can win souls to Christ is by our lives – people read us like an open book.
B.) They read to see if we live with goodness.
1. The motto of all great men: “God first, others second, and self last.”
2. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” - 1 Cor. 10:24
3. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” - Romans 15:1.
II. EPISTLES ARE WRITTEN TO CONVEY THE EXPRESSION OF THE AUTHOR
A.) As epistles of Christ, we are to give an expression of Christ to the world
1. The mind of Christ - Philippians 2:5
2. Christ living in us - Galatians 2:20
3. We are to magnify Christ in our lives - Philippians 1:20
B.) Our lives are to be transformed into the image of Christ – Romans 12:2, “And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
1. Question: Can others see Christ in me; in my speech, in my dress, in what I do, in my attitude, and in where I go?
2. What impression of Christ do others get by reading our epistle of life?
C.) By giving His expression, we also bear His signature.
1. Our Lord’s disciples were called by Christ’s name – Christian – Acts 11:26.
2. You cannot even say the word Christian without saying Christ.
3. James said, “Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called” – Jam. 2:7.
D.) As epistles bearing the name of Christ, let us so live as to never bring shame and reproach on this name
III. EPISTLES ARE WRITTEN SO AS TO BE EASILY READ
A.) People should be able to easily tell that we are His disciples.
1. Acts 4:13, “Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
2. Let us so live that no one would ever say, “Why, if you hadn’t told me I would have never known you were a member of the church!”
B.) NOTE: Some epistles do not contain much.
1. As an epistle of Christ we are to lead a full and abundant life!
2. Romans 15:14, “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
A.) NOTE: Epistles can also be blotted!
1. The blot will be the first thing seen.
2. The Christian has been washed white in the blood of Jesus - Rev. 1:5.
3. But, sin and the world will spot, blot and blemish - Jam. 1:27.
B.) There are some who have not been written as epistles…
C.) For one to be written as Christ’s epistle, he must adhere to the Gospel and obey it.