17. Too many will boast about outward issues in ministry, but God evaluates the heart (2.Cor.5:11-12) God knows what is going on inside the minister of the Gospel. Others will only ever evaluate based on externals since that is what they see. Don’t evaluate your own ministry based on what “fans” say who only watch the outside stuff. They may be impressed, but prayerfully ask God what is going on inside you and you will probably get a clearer glimpse in a few seconds than others see in many months. We must not rely on handshakes, compliments and twitter comments to overshadow the reality of our own hearts.
18. The New Covenant minister is constrained and controlled by the love of Christ (2.Cor.5:13-15) While we may be considered out of our minds for not going the way all others go, it is not our thoughtful strategies that drive us, it is the love of Christ. The New Covenant means that we are so gripped by the death of Christ that we live each moment in light of that love. It is only in the death of Christ that we can know the cure to the self-obsession of the human heart. So because he died, we don’t live for ourselves.
19. We must stop evaluating people according to worldly measures (2.Cor.5:16-17) We humans once evaluated Christ by worldly measures and he was found wanting. But he lacked nothing. How wrong we were. Now anyone who is in Christ is a whole new person. So we must stop judging each other the way the world does. How impressive is he? How outwardly pretty is she? What are they wearing? How powerful is their ministry? How knowledgable are they? How will I benefit if I connect with them? STOP! If anyone is in Christ then they are a new creation . . . and if we are spiritual, then we will find them to be fascinating and infinitely more valuable than what this world offers.
20. God has given us a ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors in a fallen world (2.Cor.5:18-21) God is appealing to a world of self-absorbed fleshists through us to be reconciled to him. What can overcome the total corruption of human rebellion? God made the perfect Christ to be sin, so that in Christ we might become the righteousness of God. This message is no legal fiction or contractual loophole, this is the glory of the New Covenant gospel – sins forgiven: fully, finally, freely, forever!; new hearts given; and the Spirit dwelling within us that we might be reconciled to full relationship with God in Christ!
Let me encourage you to chase the theme of the New Covenant throughout the Scriptures – there is more there than we tend to realise!