Sermon Detail

Living in Gospel Community How To Live With (Christ-honoring/gospel-driven) Sincerity

October 03, 2021 | Buster Brown

“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you. Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace... 
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."
 2 Corinthians 1:12-15, 20-22

This passage deals with the theme of 2 Corinthians, which is Paul exposing the error of the “super apostles” (2 Cor 11:5-6) These “super apostles” were: 

  • Busy commending themselves to one another (2 Cor 3:1)
  • Belittling Paul as one who is “unskilled in speaking” 
(2 Cor 11:6)
  • Preaching “Another Jesus” and a “different gospel” 
(2 Cor 11:4)
  • Bartering in deceitfulness as they disguised themselves as apostles of Christ, but in reality they were minions of Satan (2 Cor 11:13-15)


1. Labor to have a clear conscience toward God and man (Acts 24:16, 2 Cor 1:12) 

The function of conscience is not to provide norms 
but to judge whether or not our behavior has conformed to the standards of Scripture.

Three Elements of a Clear Conscience

a. Governed by the truth of Scripture.

“The commandments of God are eternal, but in order to obey them we must appropriate them internally. The 'organ' of such internalization has been classically called the conscience...For the Christian, the conscience is not the highest court of appeals for right conduct. The conscience is important but not normative. It is capable of distortion and misguidance.”  RC Sproul, How Should I Live In This World?

b. We respond to the teaching of Scripture by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”  Proverbs 28:13

c. We live in community with others who have an earnest desire to honor Jesus. (2 Cor 1:15b)

“My conscience is held captive by the Word of God. 
To act against conscience is neither right nor safe.”  
Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms (1521)

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a GOOD CONSCIENCE and a sincere faith.”  
1 Timothy 1:5

“...through the insincerity of liars whose CONSCIENCES 
ARE SEARED”  1 Timothy 4:2

“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their CONSCIENCES ARE DEFILED.”  Titus 1:15

“...having a GOOD CONSCIENCE, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”  1 Peter 3:16

2. Embrace the integrity of simplicity (holiness, pure motives) and sincerity (clearness of thinking and speech, “examined by the light of the sun and found pure”).

“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” (as compared to earthly wisdom) 2 Corinthians 2:17

This attitude is in contradistinction with “earthly wisdom.”

“(Gospel) integrity prompts one to act on what is right even if it is risky, unpopular, or unpleasant, and to do so even when the hail of criticism falls.”  David E. Garland, The New American Commentary, 2 Corinthians

3. Continually stay centered on the glory of Jesus and the coming judgment (the Day of the Lord). (v.14, 21-22)

Helping broken people treasure Jesus.


1. Who were the “super apostles” (2 Cor 11:5-6) and what characterized these deceitful imposters?

2. Why is it incredibly important to continually strive to live above reproach before the watching world? (Matt 5:16)

3. How do people who are made in the image of God commit vile deeds that are beyond comprehension (Note: “kill the cockroaches” - Rwanda killings, 1994, where 800,000 were killed in 100 days)? 

4. How does being involved in godly community of the past (historical understanding) and the present form our conscience?

5. What do we mean when we say that sincerity is “that which is examined by the light of the sun and found pure”?