Epiphany 8
Series B
2 Corinthians 3:4-6
February 27, 2000
Having Self Confidence

A common need for people today is self-confidence. That goes from the young child learning to tie his own shoes to the teenager learning to drive the family car.  Self-confidence involves the worker learning a new task all the way to the student learning a new way of doing the old math.

 We have trouble believing in our abilities and ourselves. Consequently, we often fail in what we try to do.  Paul’s opponents looked at their abilities as letters of recommendation for their sufficiency and competence. However, Paul found the source of his competence in God who made him adequate for every opportunity and challenge. When we lack self-confidence, we need not give ourselves a dose of positive thinking but we need to go to Christ who enables us to do all things.

We are confident and competent because…

1.     We have faith in God. Listen to V. 5 “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as {coming} from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,”

Paul’s opponents found their competency in themselves. To back up their competency they had letters of recommendation written on their behalf.   These people thought that letters written to extol the virtues that the possessed would matter to something.

Paul needs to find no praise from men.  His competency comes from what God thinks about him. Paul’s competency comes from a divine source. God had given him a mission, which was carried out by His command and His commission.  When you and I are looking for commendation and approval where do we go to find approval? Like St, Paul we need look only to one source which is the Lord who places His mark on us and approves us on the basis of what He has said and done.

We have competence and confidence because we have faith in Christ. We also have competence and confidence because…

2.     We have Christ with us. Listen to V.4  “And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.”

The reason we do not need letters of recommendation as far as God is concerned is because our confidence come through what Christ has done for us and what He does through us.  As you and I have been baptized into Christ Jesus we have put on Christ.  He now lives in our heart. We find favor with God not based on what we have done or on the basis of what we have not done.  We find favor with God because He dwells within us.  A condescending teacher might look down their nose at the student and say “you won’t matter to much" And who among us have had someone said something similar? Such statements sting.  They smart. They can get to us! BUT we never have to worry about how we measure up with God because He has chosen to dwell within us. We have Christ living inside of us. Because He chooses to dwell in each believing heart we mean much to God.  As the Bible reminds us “Now the dwelling place of God is with man!”  

We have faith in God. He dwells within us. Therefore we can say…

3.     We have the Spirit to empower us.  Listen to V6 “who also made us adequate {as} servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

When the Spirit comes upon us He empowers us to will and to do His good and gracious will.  We now have a new covenant with God.  A covenant is a relationship between two parties. In this case it is God and His people. They enter an agreement or a contract.  God will bless and the people will be faithful. A covenant is a sign of grace in which God takes the initiative and offers the covenant. In the old way of doing things the people would break the covenant over and over again.  But Christ has done us one thing better. In a new covenant He writes His will on our heart by His Spirit.  We are now new people, New people in Christ Jesus.

Thus we can say this day that we are new people. New people because of the covenant. An agreement based on God’s amazing grace found in Jesus Christ. Christ is the one who writes it. He is the one who empowers it. He is the one who places it within our heart. This is how you and I are found to be competent. We are new people. New people in Christ Jesus our Savior.

+ Soli Deo Gloria+