2 Corinthians 4
We do not lose heart
- Life wasn’t meant to be easy – but we do not lose heart
- This is the theme of these chapters of 2 Corinthians with similar translations of a phrase in Greek; we do not lose heart, we do not give up, we are very bold, we are always confident.
- Not always the way we feel?
- We find it hard to keep going sometimes – how do Christians in other countries cope where they are so devastatingly persecuted?
- They do – so can we
- Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
- There is nothing secret or underhanded or deceptive or unreasonable or illogical or even unscientific about the things we believe.
- It’s simply the truth as given to us by God himself.
- We commit to it, do it, live it, share it: setting forth the truth plainly.
- And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
- We are not surprised when people don’t get it!
- Despite people’s self-confidence, sure of their own thinking; but the “god of this world”, Satan veils their minds
- He doesn’t want them to know Jesus is the Lord
- That’s the truth but he is the Father of Lies
- The sneakiness: people have their minds so clouded they can’t even see that their minds are clouded
- Tell people that and it’s likely they will take offence!
- For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
- But we have had a glorious, merciful, gracious blessing.
- It’s not something we worked out for ourselves; we are not more clever or holy than anyone else.
- God has opened our eyes and minds to the truth – to…
- Knowledge of God’s glory, especially in the face of Jesus Christ
- Salvation, new life, a new creation, we are born again, we have eternal life, we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God himself.
- But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
- We have a problem with our frailty – we are only human – in breakable, mortal bodies which give us pain, let us down, have serious weaknesses. And we sin.
- Do you want to see what a Christian is really like? Then don’t look at me. I’m not good enough. Look at Jesus – he did it right!
- If I get something right then you should know that that is God’s all-surpassing power at work and give him the glory.
- We are hard pressed on every side,
but not crushed;
but not in despair;
but not abandoned;
but not destroyed.
- These difficulties are inevitable BUT with each a means of recovery
- It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
- We believe and share what we believe…
- Because God said it
- Because it’s true
- Because Jesus is alive
- Because the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us
- Because we know that one day he will also raise us with Jesus
- Because we will be together in perfect peace with our Lord
- We believe and share what we believe…
- Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
- I think we all know the meaning of “outwardly we are wasting away”!
- And I hope we all know the meaning of being “inwardly being renewed day by day”
- Prayer so we relate to our Lord and Saviour,
- Bible reading so we get truths to overcome the dullness Satan would impose on us,
- Christian fellowship so we can encourage each other
all help with this
- It all seems hard going – but the best is yet to come! Any troubles now seem heavy but, “this, too, will pass” and they will turn out to be light and momentary
- The eternal glory outweighs all that we carry in this life.
- So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
- The here and now is right in front of us and we cannot avoid living through it,
- We cannot avoid paying attention to it.
- At the same time we need to make an effort – for our own sakes
- Get our attention off the present and more onto the eternal – one of the purposes of the Sabbath day, too.
- So… We do not lose heart!