Victorious in Christ
2 Cor. 2: 12- 17
Being faithful to the Lord is not a one-way ticket to a trouble-free ministry. Despite of Paul’s
faithfulness, hard work and love for the people he is ministering, he still encountered many
problems within and outside the church. Persecutions and attacks from his enemies, problems and
difficulties, heartaches and pains, you name it, he has experienced it. However, in midst of them all,
beyond all those things, we can see the power of Christ at work. The truth is, we can all have victory
through Christ, just like the Apostle Paul.
I. An Open Door (2 Cor. 2:12, 13).
A. Furthermore, when I came to Troas…door was opened unto me of the Lord” (2 Cor.
1. The city of Troas, situated on the north western edge of Asia Minor, has
considerable historical significance. Named after the ancient Troy, the original
site was only a couple of miles away. Troas was specifically mentioned in Acts 16
during his second missionary journey. God had restricted Paul, and Timothy and
others with him, from preaching the gospel in Asia or Bithynia, so they had come
down to Troas. At Troas, the Holy Spirit gave Paul what is known as the
―Macedonian vision (Acts 16:9-10), which prompted him to cross the Aegean
Sea to Macedonia. Eventually, Paul travelled through Macedonia to Achaia,
which brought him to Corinth, where the gospel was proclaimed and the
Corinthian church was founded (Acts 18:1). Two visits to Troas are named (Acts
16:8; 20:5-12). Troas was then a large city, situated not far from the site of old
Troy, and almost within sight of Europe.
B. “A door was opened”: An opportunity for the gospel. Here was an “open door”
which led to the planting of the church in Troas (Acts 20:5-12). Because of the
success of his preaching Paul was assured that this opportunity was from the Lord.
C. “I had no rest in my spirit… “(2 Cor. 2:13). Paul was so concerned and very eager to
hear from Corinth that he could not continue in his work at Troas. Although Christ
have given him a very wide opportunity to evangelize the people in Troas, He went
on into Macedonia, hoping to find Titus.
D. No preacher can be at his best while concerned over the continued failure of his
people to do God’s will. Paul was so upset over the Corinthians he could not take
advantage “the open door” of opportunity at Troas. It is a solemn reflection to
consider how quarrelling or indifferent saints hinder God’s work. Time spent in
getting such “babes in Christ” right with God is time that had better be used in
entering some open doors for Christ. Have you by indifference, misunderstanding, or
a desire to hurt or hinder the work in your church, taken the time of your minister
and others when that time could have been spent in entering open doors for Christ?
If so, you will answer to God for it (Rom. 14:12; 2 Cor. 5:10)! Repent, get right with
God and man, and go do God’s work faithfully.
Illustration 1: Missed Opportunity
In 1269 Kublai Khan sent a request from Peking to Rome for “a hundred wise men of the Christian
religion…And so I shall be baptized, and when I shall be baptized all my baron and great men will be
baptized, and their subjects baptized, and so there will be more Christians here than there are in
The Mongols were then wavering in the choice of a religion. It might have been, as Kublai forecast,
the greatest mass religious movement the world has ever seen. The history of all Asia would have
been changed. But what actually happened? Pope Gregory X answered by sending two Dominican
friars. They got as far as Armenia, could endure no longer and returned home. So passed the great
missionary opportunity in the history of the church. R. Dunkerly, in Resource, No. 2
II. Paul’s Triumph (2 Cor. 2:14)
A. “Now thanks be unto God”. Paul here change his story about his difficulties and
looked above and beyond his troubles. Suddenly an outburst of gratitude can be
seen here and his sadness seen earlier is now turned to joy and thankfulness.
B. Paul met Titus in Macedonia, and heard news that filled him with thankfulness.
Finally, Paul found out how the Corinthians are having positive response to his
C. “which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” Paul’s words here are based on a
Roman triumphal procession, the victory parade awarded a conquering general in
which enemy prisoners were forced to march. Long lines of captives bore
censers filled with burning incense. Sweet spices and aromatics were strewn upon
the street and everywhere was the scented fragrance of victory’s perfume. The
knowledge of God is here the aroma that Paul had scattered like an incense bearer.
Through Christ, God the Victor had vanquished His enemies (Rom 5:10; Col 2:15).
D. What Paul want to tell us is this: those engaged in serving Christ are victors. Their
work is a triumphant march. No matter what the adversities or adversaries, the end
will be the triumphant procession of Christian victory.
Illustration 2: Jesus Is Going to Win
Vernon Grounds tells of an incident that happened while he was in seminary. Since the school had
no gymnasium, he and his friends played basketball in a nearby public school.
Nearby, an elderly janitor waited patiently until the seminarians finished playing. Invariably he sat
there reading his Bible. One day my friend asked him what he was reading. The man answered, ‘The
book of Revelation.’ Surprised, my friend asked if he understood it. ‘Oh, yes,’ the man assured him. `I
understand it.’ ‘What does it mean?’ Quietly the janitor answered, `It means that Jesus is gonna
Grounds concludes, “That’s the best commentary I have ever heard on that book. Jesus is going to
win. That’s the Biblical mind-set.” Source unknown
III. Paul’s Influence. (2 Cor. 2:15-16)
A. The “savour” of the burnt offering, when offered in sincere repentance and faith,
was described as a sweet-smelling savour to God (Gen. 8:21, Lev. 1:9, Eph. 5:2). The
surrendered life and witness of a Christian (Rom. 12:1) is also pleasing to God and
will be used to bring others to spiritual life in Christ. Those who reject its message,
on the other hand, will be hardened further by that rejection. The message of Christ
is both unto the fall of many and the rising of many (Lk. 2:34). The preaching and
living of God’s truth are never in vain, and its results bear eternal consequences, one
way or the other.
B. Paul was further thankful for the privilege of pleasing God. Continuing his analogy,
“In spreading the fragrance of Christ the preacher himself becomes fragrant.
Wherever men take Christ in this dark world, there is being scattered the sweet
smell of salvation.
C. It is implied also here that Paul felt that ministers who were labouring faithfully for
God, have the assurance that their labours would be acceptable to Christ.
D. There was twofold effect of the gospel preaching as we have already mentioned. To
some, the message brings eternal life. To others it is a stumbling block of offence
that bring eternal death (1 Pet. 2:6-8).
E. And who is sufficient for these things? No one in his own strength is adequate and
competent to serve God. But someone has to preach Christ. It is our duty and
responsibility as a Christian to witness and preach God’s Word truthfully and
faithfully, God will take care of the results.
Illustration 3: Hudson Taylor
Years ago, the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of
Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They
wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel. As the author was doing
his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found
it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of
losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.
Whether we realize it or not, our example leaves an impression on others.
Illustration 4: No Heathens
Dr. John Geddie went to Aneityum in 1848 and worked there for God for 24 years. On the tablet
erected to his memory these words are inscribed: When he landed, in 1848, there were no
Christians. When he left, in 1872, there were no heathen.
Spiritual Leadership, J. O. Sanders, p. 24.
IV. His Message (2 Cor. 2:17)
A. Even in Paul’s day, there are already many false prophets and false teachers who
were corrupting the sincere teaching of God’s Word with various elements of
paganism. One of Paul’s main purposes in writing this was to warn against this
compromising teachers. The word “corrupt” has the idea of “peddling” the Gospel,
using the ministry only as a means of making a living rather than building the church
of Jesus Christ. A form of this Gk. word was used to describe an innkeeper or
peddler, and carries the idea of doing any kind of business just to make a profit.
Paul’s ministry was not a business; it was a burden. He was not serving men; he was
serving Christ. He was sincere in method, message, and motive. He realized that
God’s eye was upon him and that Christ’s glory was at stake.
B. In these two chapters we have seen that Paul’s ministry was full of suffering and
sorrow, yet he experienced triumph and joy in Christ. Let us remember that “our
sufficiency is in Christ.
Illustration 5: Is Your Honesty Above Question?
As a schoolboy, I worked with my father during the summer months. Each morning we stopped to
pick up the early edition of the newspaper at a small grocery store.
One morning when we got to work, my father found that by mistake he had taken two newspapers
instead of one. He first thought of paying the man the extra price the next morning, but then after a
moment’s consideration he said, “I had better go back with this paper. I don’t want the man at the
store to think I’m dishonest.” He got in his car, drove back to the store, and returned the paper.
About a week later, someone stole money from the grocery store. When police pinpointed the time
it occurred, the grocer remembered only two people being in the store at the time—and one was my
father. The grocer immediately dismissed my father as a suspect, saying, “That man is really honest.
He came all the way back here just to return a newspaper he took by mistake.” The police then
focused their investigation on the other man, who soon made a full confession. My father’s honesty
made a big impression on that non-Christian storeowner, and on me.
Does your Christian walk square with your Christian talk? Is your honesty above question?
Our Daily Bread, March-May, 1998, p. for April 15
We should not look at our present troubles and difficulties because they are only
temporary. Victory is at hand and its just a matter of time, the victorious Christ will
reward us for all the thing s we have done for Him. Come to Christ now, serve Him reap
eternal rewards more than you can imagine.