Introduction: In last Sunday’s text (2 Corinthians 2:14-17), Paul laid out the true nature of ministry. Christ vanquished us and now uses us to spread the knowledge of God. The result is that some who hear the message receive it and live, but the rest hear it and are confirmed in their condemnation. Either way, the purposes of God are accomplished. Paul asked, “Who is sufficient for these things (v. 17)?” We find his answer in today’s passage. He declares, “Our sufficiency is from God (3:5).” God accomplishes the work of the ministry through us, bringing salvation and ongoing transformation. He does this in such a way that he gets all glory.
The hymns chosen for this worship service focus on God’s sovereign work accomplished through his word as proclaimed by his servants.
Call to Worship: Psalm 115:1
Hymn HBC 40: Give Praise to God
Notes: James Montgomery Boice wrote this lyrical representation of Romans 11:33-36. It summons us to lift our voices in praise of the One who reigns from the throne of heaven. He is all-wise; he alone establishes our path; he is utterly independent; all good things come from him. To him belongs all glory!
Worship through Giving
Hymn HBC 14: Lord, Thou Lov’st the Cheerful Giver
Hymn Insert (tune: 588): The Lord is Sovereign
Notes: This hymn is part of a series written to extol the wonders of the attributes of God. The theme of this section of the series is the sovereignty of our God. We who serve the gospel must remember our role. “In the sight of God, we speak in Christ” (2:17). It is the Lord who accomplishes his good purposes as we speak his message faithfully.
“The Lord is sov’reign over all, supreme in His dominion.
Creator of the universe, He needs no man’s opinion.”
Scripture Reading: Psalm 67:1-7
Notes: This Psalm expresses Israel’s hope that God would extend his salvation to all the nations. It implicitly acknowledges that salvation comes from God, both in its provision and application. “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.”
Hymn Insert (tune: 49): All Faithful Teachers Well Do Know
Notes: The unknown author of this hymn intentionally reflects the truth of our sermon text. It underscores the truth that we, Christ’s servants “are but feeble men,” and all that we accomplish “is the work of God alone.”
Message: A Minister’s Résumé
2 Corinthians 3:1-6
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn HBC 11: For the Sake of His Name
Notes: Some think that God’s sovereign rule—even over gospel ministry and its outcome—excuses Christians from doing the work. But Paul presents a different outlook. The sovereignty of God gives confidence that motivates and sustains our work. It also serves as an ever-present reminder that the glory belongs to God alone. This hymn blends together the twin, inseparable truths of God’s sovereignty and our responsibility.
Prayer Response: Rob Lynch
Benediction: John Miles