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Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:11
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.
Insights: In today’s verse we see the phrase, “we persuade men.” It was from these three words I titled this weeks sermon Ministry to Men. I am using this word men in a universal sense. It could be men or women. It is referencing humanity at large. In today’s verse we see our persuasive ability actually begins with the Lord God Himself. Notice the verse states we fear the Lord. This fear is the kind of fear Solomon wrote about in the book of Proverbs when he stated, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” I contend, at some point, we followers of Jesus lost this reverential fear of God. We take Him for granted and then wonder why they Lord is not working in the midst of our lives. Let’s skip the “we persuade men” phrase once again and move to the manifestation aspects of this verse. Notice we are first made manifest to God and then to the consciences of others. Manifest means to make known or evidential. We can see and observe something that is made manifest because it has been pulled out and revealed. When we are discussing being made manifest to God then we are alluding to our usefulness to Him and His kingdom. This idea is found in Paul’s other writings when he discusses vessels for noble and common purposes. Our manifestation before the Lord allows us to be noble vessels which are useful to His kingdom. We also become useful and manifest to others because we are useful to the Lord. He equips us, because we have wisdom from our fear of Him and we are useful because we are made manifest to Him. With this equipping having taken place we are then able to persuade men of the truth regarding the gospel and our Lord Jesus Christ. I write all of this in order to say, our persuasion of men begins with the Lord. Beloved, let us cultivate our relationship with Jesus and let us be in awe of what He will do in and through us to persuade others of the truth regarding His saving work.
1. Do you fear the Lord God?
2. Would others characterize your life as being useful to the Lord God in terms of your service to Him?
Prayer: Father, I all too often fall short in my service and obedience to You. I know at the end of the day it is because of a relational disconnect on my part. Help me to be manifest to You, and therefore, useful to Your kingdom. Grow me in Your grace so I can truly persuade men regarding their need for a Savior. Amen.
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