THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST BEYOND boundaries 2 Corinthians 10:12-18 A call for a sincere commitment to preach the Gospel of Christ! 2 CORINTHIANS 10:12-18 (NVI) “12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper boundaries, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the Gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our boundaries by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” “Go for souls and go for the worst.” “Some men's ambition is art. Some men's ambition is fame. Some men's ambition is gold. My ambition is the souls of men.” --William Booth Since the times of Jesus, throughout the ministry of his disciples and apostles, and up to our time, the church itself and the religious leaders often have stood in opposition to sharing the Gospel of Christ. “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10,NIV) God loves all people and wants to pour over them his forgiveness and mercy. Paul’s call to go “beyond” relates to the continuous work of taking the Gospel to the entire world. Paul’s words about preaching the Gospel in “other places far beyond you” ( NLT) reveal he was never satisfied with reserving the message for the benefit of the Christian community, including the religious leaders. “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19); “Preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15); “Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his [Jesus’] name” (Luke 24:47); “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21); “You will be my witnesses [...] to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The spiritual secret of an abundant life within the church is to "go beyond” the ordinary, never accepting a routine and inactive life in our role as pastors, leaders and members. What should we do, as Christians when we face opposition and obstacles to preach the Gospel of Christ? As Christians, we must assume three actions to “go beyond” the boundaries and fulfill the great commission. 1. WE MUST CROSS OUR BOUNDARIES TO PREACH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. (v. 12-13) Galatians 6:3-4 (NIV) “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” As with Paul’s experience, What are those “boundaries” that prevent us from fulfilling the great commission to make disciples for Christ through evangelism? What are those boundaries that prevent us from loving our neighbor? Paul, just like Jesus, knew very well that the accusations of those false apostles would never prevent him from spreading the truth of the Gospel of Christ. 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” When we compare ourselves with others we may feel proud because we think we are better, but when we measure ourselves against God’s guidelines, it becomes obvious that we are not good enough. Don’t worry about the achievement of others; on the contrary, ask yourself constantly, "How does my life fit with what God wants? In what way is my life comparable to Jesus Christ’s? 2. WE MUST EXTEND OUR BORDERS TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (v. 14-15) Galatians 2:8 “For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.” In order to extend our borders spreading the Gospel of Christ, we must leave aside all selfishness and recognize and value the work of everyone in the church. Today the church seems to be confined within its own borders, ignoring that God gives us a particular area of ministry beyond, as was Corinth to Paul. God has assigned each one of us to a particular field/ area of ministry in a given time. “We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you” (v. 14). Additionally, when God gives us a particular field / area of ministry, we must also finish the work in that territory. The church and its leaders must prevent falling in the “comfort zone” within the ministry; on the contrary, they must extend their borders with the Gospel of Christ. 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NIV) “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” Let’s not wait for Satan to take the lead to “go beyond” our borders and to win the battle to destroy God’s people. There are two types of Christians: Those who say “I can’t” and those who say, “Why wouldn’t I be able to...?” Can you enlarge your territory? Your territory can be your family, your neighborhood, your workplace, your ministry, your city, your college or university, etc. 3. WE MUST EMBRACE OTHERS WITH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST FOR HIS GLORY! (v. 16-18) God gave Paul a particular field of ministry, which he completed, and afterwards he moved on to “preach the Gospel in the regions beyond” and to embrace others with the good news of salvation (v. 16). While the false apostles shrouded themselves with their own arguments, Paul was determined to continue his work to embrace others. Acts 19:21 (NIV) “After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. ‘After I have been there,’ he said, ‘I must visit Rome also.’” It’s really easy to take the Gospel of Christ where the price of evangelism has already been paid. Romans 15:20 (NIV) “It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” When we do something right we want to tell others in order to receive recognition. But recognition is dangerous, it can inflame our pride. It is much better to seek God’s approval before that of men. Then, when we are taken into account, we are free to give honor to God. Jeremiah 9:24 (NIV) “‘Let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD. ” BOUNDARIES TO EMBRACE OTHERS WITH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST BEYOND OUR REGIONS: • The boundary of comfort and greed • The boundary of compliance and routine • The boundary of the past and the guilt • The boundary of criticism and opposition • The boundary of mistrust and fear of the unknown • The boundary of prejudice • The boundary of fear of failure Romans 5:7-8 (NIV) “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Malachi 1:5 (NIV) “You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel!’” Christians must assume three actions to go beyond the boundaries and fulfill the great commission to preach the Gospel of Christ: We must go beyond our boundaries, we must extend our borders and we must embrace others with the Gospel of Christ for his glory! 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NVI) “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” Romans 10:14-15 (NIV) “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only reassuring response for the anxious and restless heart. Also, the beautiful truth of the Gospel of Christ is that it changes everything. Let’s preach the Gospel of Christ beyond boundaries. The Holy Spirit makes the church go “beyond boundaries.” Amen.