A Testimony of Transparency
2 Corinthians 4:1, 2
Intro: The Apostle Paul was dogmatic about transparency.
Notice his statements:
A. Recognized the Calling
Paul was constantly aware of the burden of the ministry.
It wasn’t a career.
It wasn’t a job.
He wasn’t mama called and daddy sent.
Paul referred often to the importance of the ministry as a CALLING.
- Colossians 4:17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
- 1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
- 2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
B. Renounced the Craftiness
There are too many con-artists in the pulpits.
I hate to say it, but independent Baptist are many times the biggest bunch of suckers.
Their lack of discernment and spirituality make them perfect marks for the con-artists.
Paul was outspoken about his attitude toward transparency.
- 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness
Renounce: to speak out, set forth, declare; forbid
- Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
C. Respected the Conscience
Paul’s respect for the conscience of his hearers IN THE SIGHT OF GOD was a huge motivation to keep it honest – keep it true and keep it transparent.
NOTE: A man that has seared his own conscience will not respect yours.
A man with a defiled conscience will have no problem defiling yours.
Paul was an example of…
I. Transparency with the Ministry
Paul welcomed accountability – I Corinthians 4:1-5
Paul invited them to judge him
II Timothy 3
- 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
- 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
II Corinthians 6
- 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
- 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
- 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
- 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
- 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
- 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
- 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
TURN TO I CORINTHIANS 4:1-5
- The Request of a Steward – vs. 1 Let a man so account of us…
- The Requirement of a Steward – vs. 2 …a man be found faithful.
- The Restraint of a Steward – vs. 3 – I judge not mine own self…
II. Transparency with the Money
This whole chapter is talking about giving, taking up offerings, handling money, etc.
- 2 Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
Paul was adamant that he did not want their money.
II Corinthians 12
- 14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
- 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you;
Paul urged his young preachers not to pursue personal gain.
I Timothy 6
- 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
- 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
- 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
- 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
- 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
- 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Transparency with the finances of the church is absolutely essential.
Budgeting, reporting, accounting, who handles the money, who enters the totals, etc.
III. Transparency with the Message
One thing the Apostle Paul couldn’t tolerate was liars in the pulpit.
- 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
- 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
- 12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
- 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
II Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Contrast II Peter 2:1, 13, 14
Paul didn’t hold back.
- Acts 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,