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Be Well Pleasing to Christ 

Second Corinthians 5.9–21 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • September 18, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 


  1. What was Paul’s previous point? 
    1. We do not lose heart because 
    2. although we experience trouble here, 
      1. we know that something far better is coming. 
      2. Therefore, we continue to walk by faith, for 
        1. though we have not seen what we are going to have or experience, 
        2. we trust Christ that it will be just as He said. 
  2. That being the case, listen to how Paul continues to build his case. 


  1. 5.9–11 • Please Christ

    9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
    1. Knowing that what we suffer now 
      1. works for us something better to come, 
      2. we make it out aim to please Christ. 
    2. Paul continued to show the motive for his ministry, 
      1. that it was not about him, 
      2. that he was a genuine apostle doing what the Lord of heaven wanted him to do. 
    3. What did Paul next for why he made it his aim to be well pleasing to Christ? 
      1. We must appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. 
      2. That makes sense then that Paul would want to be well pleasing to Christ. 
    4. What will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ? 
      1. We will receive according to what we have done in the body. 
      2. Does it matter whether the actions were good or bad? 
    5. Why did Paul introduce the idea of the terror of the Lord? 
      1. It fits in with what he just said about the Judgment. 
      2. The Lord WILL give to us according to what we have done. 
        1. That should strike terror within us that we please Christ. 
        2. That should motive us to do good. 
    6. Since the Lord will give to us according to what we have done on earth, 
      1. Paul was moved to persuade men to be well pleasing to the Lord. 
      2. Paul was also moved to persuade men because 
        1. we are well known to God. 
        2. Then Paul added that the members at Corinth should have known Paul well also. 
  2. 5.12 • Boasting

    12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.
    1. Since Paul and his team were well known to the Corinthian Christians, 
      1. did the team need to commend themselves to the Corinthians again? 
      2. No, they knew them well enough that the preachers did not have to say anything. 
    2. Instead Paul gave them an opportunity to do what? 
      1. They should not have been questioning Paul, but 
      2. they should have been boasting about Paul and his team. 
    3. This would give them an answer for those who boasted in appearance but not in heart. 
      1. With this Paul alluded to his critics at Corinth. 
      2. Based on the things they had said, their hearts were not right, but 
        1. the Corinthians knew Paul, Timothy, and Silas enough 
        2. to know of their sincerity. 
  3. 5.13–15 • Living for Christ

    13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
    1. Think about the ministry of Paul: 
      1. If someone thought he was beside himself, standing outside of himself, picturing him as being out of his mind, 
        1. then it was all for God. 
      2. If someone thought that he was of sound mind, 
        1. then it was for their benefit! 
      3. Either way, his critics could not win. 
    2. What was compelling the evangelistic team? 
      1. The Love of Christ compelled them. 
      2. What did the team judge? 
        1. If Christ died for all, that means all died, or had died. 
        2. He died for them so that they might live how? 
    3. We no longer for ourselves. 
      1. For whom do we live? 
      2. Instead of naming for whom we live, how did Paul describe him? 
  4. 5.16–17 • Knowing Christ

    16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
    1. How is verse 16 a conclusion or application from what Paul had just said? 
      1. What the members of the church were before their dying to themselves, 
      2. was not how Paul regarded them. 
    2. What part of Christ’s life do we know? 
      1. We know of His earthly life. 
      2. We know of His life in a natural body. 
    3. Do we still know Him that way? 
      1. No, for He died, rose from the dead, and then ascended into heaven. 
      2. Now we know Him as out of the flesh. 
    4. Paul did not regard anyone according to the flesh because 
      1. they were new creations in Christ. 
      2. It is all a matter of the Spirit now. 
        1. To make that point further Paul stressed what it means to be a new creation in Christ. 
        2. What has passed away? 
        3. What has happened to all things? 
  5. 5.18–21 • God Reconciling the World to Himself

    18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
    1. All things have become new, but 
      1. all things are of what or of whom? 
      2. They are all of God – See Rom 11.36 
    2. Why, according to what Paul continued to say, are all things of God? 
      1. He has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. 
      2. What He has given us is the ministry of reconciliation. 
    3. How did Paul picture reconciliation in verse 19? 
      1. God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ. 
      2. He did this by not imputing our trespasses to us. 
      3. And by committing to us the word of reconciliation. 
    4. As ambassadors for Christ, what was Paul and his team saying or doing? 
      1. They were imploring the world to be reconciled to God. 
      2. Notice how in verse 20, Paul showed us what an ambassador Christ is: 
        1. It is as though God were pleading right through the ambassador. 
        2. And they were imploring on Christ’s behalf. 
    5. According to verse 21, how was reconciliation made possible? 
      1. Did Jesus know sin? 
        1. Does He know about sin? 
        2. Yes, because He is the one who teaches us about sin. 
          1. What then does it mean that He knew no sin? 
          2. He did not know it from experience. 
      2. God made Jesus to be what? 
        1. He made Jesus to be sin. 
        2. He carried our sin and paid the price for our sin. 
      3. Why did He do that? 
        1. That we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. 
        2. Without the righteousness of God, we will receive bad for our bad. 


  1. What should the aim of your life be? 
  2. Are you beside yourself or are you of sound mind? 
  3. Have you accepted what you are in Christ?