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People Read You 

What kind of story are they reading? 

Second Corinthians 3.1–3 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 14, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 


  1. 3.1 • Letters of Commendation

    1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?
    1. What had Paul just said that prompted these questions? 
      1. He had to remind them 
        1. that they did not peddle the word of God, but 
        2. that they spoke sincerely from God. 
      2. Should he have needed to remind them of those things? 
        1. No, they knew what he was and 
        2. what he preached, 
          1. which they then embraced and 
          2. became followers of Christ. 
    2. They should have told others what Paul was and 
      1. what he preached 
      2. so that others might embrace the same thing. 
    3. Paul sounds shocked 
      1. that he would have to reestablish himself and 
      2. his preaching team to the Corinthian Christians again. 
  2. 3.2–3 • People Read You

    2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
    1. What did Paul mean, that is why did he say this after what he said in verse 1? 
      1. Evidently, Paul and his co-workers were not written on the hearts of the Corinthians. 
      2. However, he let them know that they were written in his and Timothy’s heart. 
    2. Paul and Timothy had preached to the Corinthians and taught them the way of truth. 
      1. They had accepted that truth and became followers of Jesus Christ. 
      2. Others read them and knew what they were. 
        1. How did that happen? 
        2. It happened because 
          1. they had had heard the truth from men they believed to be genuine. 
          2. Yet, by questioning Paul’s authenticity they were calling into question their own Christianity. 
    3. The Spirit of the living God worked right through the preaching of Paul and Timothy, and 
      1. by having that happen, 
      2. the Corinthians became epistles of Christ. 
    4. Notice the contrast between 
      1. tablets of stone and 
      2. tablets of flesh. 
        1. What did Paul mean? 
        2. He contrasted stone with flesh. 
          1. Stone is hard. 
          2. Flesh is soft. 
        3. He also contrasted 
          1. the commandments written on stone by the finger of God 
          2. with the life of Christ written on their hearts by the Spirit of God through preachers. 


  1. Can people tell that you are a letter of Christ? 
  2. What do you think of all the writers of Scripture? 

We Are Not Sufficient of Ourselves 

Second Corinthians 3.4–6 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 14, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 


  1. 3.4 • Trust Through Christ

    4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God.
    1. Paul and Timothy trusted through Christ toward God for what? 
    2. That when they preached the word of God, 
      1. it was the Spirit of God writing in their hearts, 
      2. not Paul or Timothy. 
  2. 3.5–6 • The Source of Our Sufficiency

    5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
    1. Paul and Timothy trusted through Christ toward God because 
      1. the men did not think that they were sufficient of themselves, 
      2. knowing that none of this came from them. 
    2. It all came from God. 
      1. Therefore, whatever they were able to do and 
      2. whatever they preached, 
        1. it came from God. 
          1. He provided the content and 
          2. He provided the resources to get it done. 
        2. Therefore, they would never dare to think as anything coming from them. 
    3. Starting at the end of verse 3, 
      1. Paul began transitioning to a different topic. 
      2. His focus will be upon the new covenant. 
    4. What then were they not sufficient of? 
      1. They were not sufficient for the new covenant. 
      2. They did not originate the new covenant. 
        1. God revealed it to them. 
        2. Then He enabled them to do what they needed to do to get it into the world. 
    5. What did Paul mean that the new covenant 
      1. is not of the letter, but 
      2. is of the Spirit? 
        1. He explained that the letters kills. 
        2. Whereas the Spirit gives life. 
      3. However, does not the new covenant come to us in letter? 
        1. The message does not originate in letter, but 
        2. from the Spirit of God. 
          1. Therefore, it is the Spirit that gives life, 
          2. not the letter. 


  1. Do you believe that the Bible Books of Matthew through Revelation show God’s will for us? 
  2. How much do you need God? 

How We Become Like the Lord 

Second Corinthians 3.7–18 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 14, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 


  1. 3.7–8 • The Glory of the Ministry of Death

    7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
    1. Was what Moses delivered glorious? 
      1. Yes, it was. 
      2. It came from God, not Moses! 
    2. Remember that Paul was contrasting 
      1. what was written on stone versus 
      2. what was written on flesh. 
        1. He was contrasting what Moses delivered on stone versus 
        2. what Paul and Timothy delivered by preaching. 
    3. How did Paul picture the glory of what Moses delivered? 
      1. The face of Moses had glory after being in the presence of God. 
      2. However, that glory on his face would pass away. 
        1. That symbolized what Moses delivered. 
        2. God never intended for it to be permanent. 
          1. See Galatians 3.19–20. 
          2. Remember what drives the message of the Bible is Genesis 12.3. 
    4. As glorious as was what Moses delivered, 
      1. it was still a ministration of death. 
      2. It commanded what had to be done. 
        1. Failure to do it 
        2. meant that the person had sinned. 
          1. Sin brings death. 
          2. Therefore, what Moses delivered brought death. 
  2. 3.9–11 • A Greater Glory

    9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
    1. Although the Law given through Moses had glory, 
      1. it was a ministry of condemnation. 
      2. The world needed to learn of sin – See Romans 3.19–20. 
    2. However, the new covenant through Christ brings righteousness. 
      1. That makes it more glorious than the ministry of condemnation. 
      2. The old covenant had glory, but 
        1. it did not have what man needed 
        2. to have the glory that excels. 
    3. Also, 
      1. if that which was passing away had glory, 
      2. how much more that which remains has glory. 
  3. 3.12–14a • Boldness of Speech

    12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14a But their minds were blinded.
    1. To what hope does Paul refer? 
      1. The hope of the glory that he just discussed. 
      2. Our hope is to partake of the greater glory. 
    2. Paul preached a more glorious covenant. 
      1. Therefore, he could use bold speech, and 
      2. did not have to hide anything as Moses did. 
    3. Why did Moses put a veil on his face? 
      1. We tend to answer to hide the glory on his face for it frightened them. 
      2. However, Paul reasoned that what was on the face of Moses faded. 
        1. The children of Israel would have seen the glory fading, 
        2. then they would have seen the temporary nature of the Law. 
    4. Therefore, their minds were blinded. 
      1. While the Lord spoke of a new covenant, 
      2. it evidently did not connect with them. 
  4. 3.14b–16 • A Veil

    For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
    1. They continue to see that the old testament was permanent. 
      1. They have a veil on their faces or on their hearts, 
      2. even as Moses had a veil on his face. 
    2. Why does the veil remain for them? 
      1. When a person turns to Christ, 
      2. then the veil is taken away. 
        1. Therefore, if a person does not turn to Christ, 
        2. the veil remains. 
    3. The key is understanding 
      1. the purpose of the old covenant and 
      2. how Christ fulfills it. 
    4. The old covenant is about the Christ: 
      1. Romans 3.21–22 
      2. Romans 10.4 
      3. Galatians 3.21–25 
      4. Revelation 19.10 
      5. Matthew 5.17–18 
  5. 3.17 • Liberty

    17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
    1. The old covenant brought condemnation or death. 
    2. However, the new covenant brings righteousness. 
      1. The new covenant through the Spirit writes on tablets of flesh. 
      2. The Spirit of the Lord was in the preaching of Paul, Timothy, et al. 
        1. Since it was the Spirit of the Lord bring this new ministry, 
        2. He did not bring condemnation or death, but 
          1. He brought righteousness (Remember Romans 3.21–22), and 
          2. righteousness brings liberty. 
  6. 3.18 • What Happens When We Look into the Mirror

    18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
    1. Rather than having a veil on our hearts, 
      1. the veil is gone and 
      2. we look into a mirror. 
    2. For what do you use a mirror? 
      1. You use it to see yourself. 
      2. However, what does Paul say we should see in the mirror? 
        1. We should see the glory of the Lord. 
        2. Remember that it is the Spirit of the Lord 
          1. writing on our hearts. 
          2. Therefore, we should less of ourselves and 
            1. more of the Lord as time goes on and 
            2. eventually see Him only. 
    3. We experience a transformation, 
      1. going from glory to glory, 
      2. from our glory, the old covenant’s glory, whatever, 
        1. to the glory of the Lord because 
        2. it is the Spirit of the Lord working through His word preached 
          1. that effects these changes. 


  1. Remember why Paul said all of these things. 
    1. He did not bring a message of preaching himself. 
    2. He brought a message that connected those people with life from the Spirit. 
  2. We connect with the Spirit through Christ.