We Do Not Lose Heart

Today we read through 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 in order to glean insight from Paul on our commitment for ministry.

First, I noticed the WE statements:

  1. We have renounced – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – disgraceful, underhanded ways
  2. We refuse – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – to practice cunning or tamper with God’s Word
  3. We would commend – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – ourselves to everyone’s conscience
  4. We proclaim – 2 Corinthians 4:5 – not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord
  5. We possess – 2 Corinthians 4:7 – this treasure in earthen vessels
  6. We are – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down
  7. We have – 2 Corinthians 4:13 – the same spirit of faith
  8. We believe – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  9. We speak – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  10. We do not lose heart – 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16
  11. We anticipate – 2 Corinthians 4:18 – look not at the see, but the unseen

Second, see the contrasts:

  1. Sight of God | Veiled – 2 Corinthians 4:2b-3
  2. Blinded | Seeing – 2 Corinthians 4:4
  3. proclaim self | Proclaim Jesus – 2 Corinthians 4:5
  4. Darkness | Light – 2 Corinthians 4:6
  5. Treasure | Jars of clay – 2 Corinthians 4:7
  6. Death | Life – 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 (three times)
  7. Momentary light affliction | Eternal weight of glory – 2 Corinthians 4:17
  8. Seen | Unseen – 2 Corinthians 4:18
  9. Institutionalism (business model) | Organism (body model)
    1. Since we like to bring order out of chaos, we tend to develop systems to solve problems, therefore institutionalism creeps into the church, too.
    2. How can we move from the sacred and acceptable institution toward the organic?

Observations:

  1. Chose relationships over protocol, policies, and procedures.
  2. The purpose of our ministry – 2 Corinthians 4:15 – for your sake, that as grace extends to more people, it may increase thanksgiving and glory to God.
  3. It may be hard serving where we are, but we are able to overcome.
  4. There is a difference between ministry as our calling and ministry are our career – we can retire from a career, but we cannot retire from a calling.
  5. Life may be hard, and persecution may come, but as a sinner, hell really is better than I deserve.
  6. The god of this word has blinded people, so their salvation is beyond my control.
  7. We must proclaim Jesus as Lord, and leave the results to God.
  8. Paul challenges us to believe and then speak – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  9. Always remember that Christ comes before the church – raise your kids in Christ, do not raise them in church.
  10. Our service involves sacrifice: we are in this together – same faith, same ministry, same purpose, same hardship – our people will also need encouragement in ministry.
  11. Who is the WE? (Plural, Paul, other leaders, KGBC). Who is the YOU? (Corinthians and all believers, KGBC). Paul challenges all of us to be involved in ministry, even when it gets hard.

Application (from pastor Ken):

  1. Foundation of God’s Word: the truth and light of his word, that knowledge was in the glory of God in the face of Christ, drives out commitment.
  2. Incarnational Ministry: that Christ is in me and he is seen in my life, mercy, ministry, death works in us, while we have human deficits, Christ is being made known through our frailty.
  3. Integrity of Genuine Faith: don’t lose heart, be encouraged – persevere since we don’t want to disappoint our Father.

Outline:

  1. How to Handle the Scripture – 2 Corinthians 4:1-7
    1. Practiced by Paul the Apostle – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 5-7
      1. Not using secret or shameful methods – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2
      2. Not distorting the message – 2 Corinthians 4:2
      3. Not preaching himself, but Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:5
      4. Not as a vase but a jar of clay – 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
      5. Not from us, but from God alone – 2 Corinthians 4:7
    2. Practiced by Satan the Accuser – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – blinding people, preventing them from seeing the light of the gospel
  2. How to Handle Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:8-18
    1. The Reality of Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
      1. Pressured but not distressed – 2 Corinthians 4:8a
      2. Perplexed but not desperate – 2 Corinthians 4:8b
      3. Persecuted but not disowned – 2 Corinthians 4:9a
      4. Prostrated but not defeated – 2 Corinthians 4:9b
    2. The Reaction to Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:10-13
      1. Experiencing the death and life of Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
      2. Expressing the same faith – 2 Corinthians 4:13
    3. The Rewards of Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:14-18
      1. The Future: a resurrected body – 2 Corinthians 4:14
        1. Raised with him – 2 Corinthians 4:14a
        2. Presented with him – 2 Corinthians 4:14b
      2. The Present: a renewed body – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
        1. Outer decay | inner men renewed – 2 Corinthians 4:16
        2. Momentary affliction | Eternal weight of Glory – 2 Corinthians 4:17 (focus on Preparing us)
        3. The seen | the Unseen – 2 Corinthians 4:18

From Warren Wiersbe:

The Glory of Salvation (2 Corinthians 4:1–6). Unlike the legalists who had invaded the church, Paul had nothing to hide. The Jewish religious system veiled the gospel, but Paul sought to reveal the gospel. The image is taken from Genesis 1:1-3 and transferred from the old creation to the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The Glory of Service (2 Corinthians 4:7–12). Paul paid a price for his ministry, but the legalists went about collecting honors (2 Corinthians 4:3:1). We are vessels; the treasure of the gospel life within is important. As vessels, we must be clean and available for His use (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

The Glory of Suffering (2 Corinthians 4:13-18). Jesus suffered and turned that suffering into glory; by faith, we can do the same thing. It is not wrong to care for the outward person, so long as you recognize that it is perishing. Concentrate on the inner person. It is the invisible that is imperishable. The best is yet to come

About Scott Chafee

Scott serves on staff at King’s Grant Baptist Church in Virginia Beach and Kim is a Chaplain with the Sentara Hospice House.
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