The exotic: a Roman victory parade, in which a long string of POWs and war booty were marched by the reviewing stand amidst a cloud of incense burned to the gods.
The familiar: a reference letter sent to others to introduce and commend a colleague.
Interact with God’s Word
- In light of 2:14, is seeing yourself as a free agent who volunteers time for Christian service an adequate understanding?
- Can you state as Paul did (2:14) that “wherever we go he [God] uses us”?
- Do the widely differing responses to witness that Paul encountered (2:15-16) match your own experience?
- How should your service be impacted by awareness (2:17b) that God has sent you? … that He’s watching you?
- Did Paul’s assertion (3:1-3) that the people he’d worked with were all the endorsement he needed mean that all their conduct was exemplary?
- Did Paul take the credit for lives being transformed (3:3b-5a)? Who did he credit?
- How did Paul’s statement in 3:5b answer his own question in 2:16b?
Spend Time in Prayer
Ask God to give you power and confidence in service as you rely on His Spirit to make you successful.
14 But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing.
16 To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 17 You see, we are not like those hucksters—and there are many of them—who preach just to make money. We preach God’s message with sincerity and with Christ’s authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.
1 Are we beginning again to tell you how good we are? Some people need to bring letters of recommendation with them or ask you to write letters of recommendation for them. 2 But the only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves! Your lives are a letter written in our hearts, and everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.
3 Clearly, you are a letter from Christ prepared by us. It is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on stone, but on human hearts. 4 We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5 It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God.