Sermon Detail

Living in Gospel Community The Lord Who Empowers, Calls, and Emboldens

October 17, 2021 | Buster Brown

“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold…”  2 Corinthians 3:1-16 

Paul is defending the legitimacy of his apostolic ministry by underscoring the fact that the living God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, has given him confidence in the sufficiency that comes from the Lord. God has qualified him and gifted him to be a minister of the new covenant, and, because of the glory of the gospel of grace, He has been emboldened to speak the word of the Lord.

Keys to Boldness

1. Having confidence because our sufficiency is from the God of all mercy.

“ one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?”  2 Corinthians 2:16

2. Looking to the Father who has called us to represent him daily by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

“Calling is a ‘yes’ to God that carries a ‘no’ to the chaos of modern demands. Calling is to keep tracing the story line of our lives and unriddling the meaning of our existence in a chaotic world….Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.”  Os Guinness, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

3. Rejoicing in the exceedingly glorious gospel of grace. (v.7-11)

“The office of the law is to show us the disease in such a way as to show us there is no hope of a cure: the office of the gospel is to bring a remedy to those who have no hope. For as the law leaves man to himself, it condemns him of necessity to death; while the gospel, bringing him to Christ, opens the gate to life.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Corinthians  

“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”  Romans 3:19-20

4. Having a hope which leads to boldness (courage, plainness of speech). (v.12)

Hope and boldness are the result of understanding the power of the Lord in opening eyes to the glory of Christ. 

“ it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”  Philippians 1:20  

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:31


1. What is the source of our confidence?

2. Regarding calling: What roles and responsibilities has the Lord called you to pursue? (List 3-4 and evaluate them as part of your Lord’s day experience.)

3. How does the law bring condemnation? How does the gospel bring righteousness and hope?

4. What does gospel boldness (courage, plainness of speech) look like in our culture?