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1228. Light Momentary Affliction

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
April 13, 2022 7:00 pm

1228. Light Momentary Affliction

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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April 13, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Brian Hand concludes a seminary chapel series studying the book of 2 Corinthians with a message titled, “Light Momentary Affliction,” from 2 Corinthians 4:13-18.

The post 1228. Light Momentary Affliction appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today, we're concluding the series from 2 Corinthians, which was preached for seminary students. Today's message will be brought by BJU Seminary Professor, Dr. Brian Hand. 2 Corinthians 4, verses 13 to 18, I'd like to call a Psalm of Paul. What we find here is Paul picking up one of the words and phrases of a Psalmist in the Old Testament and deriving from it a message that he extends in New Testament terms, but is one that is familiar to us and yet crucial to our ministry. We cannot have the aroma of Jesus Christ without the information that Paul reveals here. We cannot have the aroma of Jesus Christ unless we live the data, the scriptural injunctions that come from this text.

And what we have essentially is going to be overturning reality, the reality that we experience in the present age with reality. Have you ever noticed that some of the statements of Scripture don't feel very accurate or sympathetic at times? Migraines are not trivial.

Things like chronic depression, Crohn's disease, cancers, even lasting injuries. So when we come to a passage in the process of our daily Bible reading or in preparation of giving the Word of God to other individuals, and we hear words like, a light affliction which is but for a moment. Something inside of us bristles just a little bit. God doesn't really understand what we're going through or He wouldn't say such ridiculous things. Now we're hopefully spiritual enough individuals we won't put that on the outside and lay that out there for other people to hear what our hearts are saying. But the reality is we have to return our hearts to the Word of God and listen to it. Otherwise, we're misunderstanding what God is saying. He's not indifferent towards our suffering.

He's not careless with His people, but rather His compassion and care helps lift our eyes off the present, off the moment, off the sorrow and grief that we experience right now that seems so real that it would overwhelm us. And He lifts our head towards eternity, towards a reality that lasts forever, undimmed, unthreatened, and cannot be undone. Let's read this text together, beginning of verse 13. For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not on the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. The passage in front of us today is crucial to our understanding because we walk through a world that is full of lots of valleys, of lots of different shadows, of various kinds of death. Sometimes it's death to the human spirit. Sometimes it's death, really literally, to the human body. But it's suffering. Is there anything that can allow not only us as ministers of the gospel, but then congregations to whom we minister or counselors that sit across from us and we're trying to direct in a way of life and health and peace, can we really direct them in a way that gives them any kind of hope?

Or are they left and are we left paralyzed with the thought that God doesn't know what he's talking about? Our affliction is not light. It's not for a moment. Faith alone is what can lift our eyes off of the moment into eternity.

Why? Because it's unseen. None of us has been there. None of us has been in heaven to bring back a report. What does the New Testament say later on? But that faith is the substance of things hoped for. It's the evidence of things not yet seen. You go, how can it be evidence if it's not because we believe, because we know the Lord, we've come to recognize his love for us and we believe him.

We actually trust him. And so we carry on through a life full of suffering and hardship, knowing that there's a greater outcome. The text before us teaches the simple theme, because faith sees the unseen, stake your ministry on both present and future renewal that God gives. It begins by presenting that because faith sees the unseen, rest your proclamation on present and future renewal. That is the very message that you give, your very success in giving out the gospel, in leading people through the scriptures depends on your ability to see the unseen. Without it, your message itself will dry up because you have nothing to say. Without it, your message becomes at best hypocritical because you don't really believe what you're saying.

And eventually you fall silent in it. We proclaim God's word because you have at present the same spirit of faith that the apostles and prophets had. Look at verse 13 again with me. We having the same spirit of faith, the same spirit as with whom? Well, he's going to tell us according as it has been written, the same spirit that the psalmist had when he wrote. That's the faith that you have that you never considered yourself among the company of the psalmist. Now, the Holy Spirit has not inspired you to write scripture, but do you know that your faith is no different from David's?

It's the same kind of faith. We're the same kind of people troubled by the same kinds of troubles that David faced. We don't have to be king to realize that there are people who sometimes hunt for our souls.

We don't have to be in a position of quite that high leadership to realize there are others who would like to displace us and take our either authority, opportunity. Didn't Paul have some of those and he referenced them in Philippians? Where some people are even out there preaching Christ of envy and strife and some of goodwill. Some are not doing it sincerely and Paul's like, ah, that's fine.

They want to displace us. We face the same things that the psalmist faced, but it's the same faith. So continue. We having the same spirit of faith according as it is written, I believed, therefore I have spoken. We also believe and therefore speak.

So let's look at Paul's chain of logic here. He says to us, the psalmist believed. I'm more of a teacher than a preacher, so you tell me. Since the psalmist believed, what did the psalmist do? According to the passage, since the psalmist believed, what did he do? Faith made him speak. That's why I say the faith is the basis of your ministry. You cannot give off the aroma of Jesus Christ if you let go of faith or if you somehow diminish faith.

If you don't focus your attention on continuing to believe, not just as the event leading you to salvation, but an ongoing daily event in which we confess our desperation and our need of Christ. The psalmist believed. Faith made him speak. The psalmist recorded the link between faith and speech. We have the same spirit of faith.

Conclusion? Speak. You cannot be that minister of the gospel without the faith, but having the faith, speak. That leads us to look at the psalm because it would be interesting to find out exactly what the psalmist was experiencing. This comes from Psalm 116.

I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he has inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me.

Does that sound like the afflictions that Paul references? The pains of hell got hold upon me. I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord. O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord and righteous, yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple.

I was brought low and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul. For the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. Thou has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed, therefore I have spoken. I was greatly afflicted.

He confesses everything here. And so you see that the scriptures are not minimizing the suffering that we go through. When Paul references this light affliction that is but for a moment, his point is not to say, nah, you're not really suffering. No, you don't really hurt. You're counseled, Lee.

If you would just buck up a little bit, you'd be fine. It's not to minimize the suffering, but rather to view the suffering in light of faith in God. The psalmist himself found himself in all this trouble.

And let me remind you of the kinds of words that he used. Sorrows of death, pains of hell, trouble, sorrow. He was brought low, death, tears, falling and afflicted.

That doesn't sound like a life of flowery beds of ease, does it? Without faith, it becomes impossible to speak of the goodness of God. Without faith, we cannot praise his mercy. Without faith, we do not learn to love him. Without faith, we cannot call on him. Without faith, your message becomes hypocritical, then perfunctory, then silent. Believe, therefore speak.

So let's return to Paul. How can he press on in ministry in the face of such opposition, faith? And what do we run into in chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians, the same book, but a litany and a list of the troubles and trials that Paul has gone through and the scriptures tell us in other places, he counts everything as refuse for the knowledge of Christ Jesus, his Lord.

He's willing to die daily because of Christ. He's willing to view every imaginable affliction and sorrow and suffering and heartache and pain, ostracism through the lens of faith because faith overturns the reality that we experience down here with the ultimate reality of eternity. Although we understand we don't have the same supernatural gifts of prophecies, the apostles and prophets, we have the same spirit of faith.

So let that lodge in your thinking. What did Elijah believe? In what God did Elijah trust?

The same God in whom you trust with your faith. And even Elijah needed the Lord to remind him that there is a community of faith. And doesn't Paul exactly do that here? We having the same spirit of faith. We're also able to speak and carry on in the ministry of the gospel. The second portion of this passage, it's teaching us that because faith sees the unseen and we're resting our proclamation on present and future renewal, let's turn our eyes from the present and the camaraderie of faith we have to the future.

You have the guarantee of future resurrection. Did you know the New Testament continually points to resurrection as the core or the foundation, you could say the heart of the Christian message? That is if you do not dwell adequately on the resurrection, you've kind of lost almost as it were the dynamo or the driver of the Christian message in some way.

We have it in places as early as Acts chapter two verse 31 where Peter is proclaiming that he or David seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ. It's the resurrection that allows even David to persist in faith and speak of the Messiah who is coming. Or in Acts chapter four verse two, they taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

And this is in spite of the opposition faced by the rulers who are all telling them, be quiet. I mean if all the religious leaders of your nation are giving unified testimony, be quiet or we're going to bring the force of state and civil law against you and the apostles are kind of like, no, sorry. Where do they get that kind of courage to speak resurrection?

The hope of the resurrection, the knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that had already happened and then the hope of the resurrection that they themselves would one day possess. I mean the worst they can do is kill you. We talked about this in an exposition of revelation class and I laugh at it. I say, antichrist, at the apex of his power is doing what? Killing Christians, believers, tribulation saints. And the very moment he kills them, they're outside of his control forever.

In other words, the only thing he succeeded in doing is promoting them to glory and he lost a bunch of citizens in his kingdom. Some power, that's the worst that the world can do to us. Wow, in light of that, affliction really does seem to be dimming in its significance, doesn't it?

The worst they can do is promote you to glory. That's not so bad, is it? The worst that's going to happen to us is we'll have some aches and pains and suffer and I'm not minimizing any of that. Neither does the word of God. It's real suffering but the worst is that this is going to go on for 60, 70, 90 years and we'll be in eternity forever with undimmed, glorified, resurrected bodies. If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be in the likeness of his resurrection. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen? And if Christ be not risen, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is in vain. Direct link between faith and resurrection and the rest of 1 Corinthians 15 is going to go through what topic? The resurrection and this is what your resurrection body looks like and this is the security and hope of the resurrection. So the proclamation of the gospel, of the good news is resting on our fellowship of sharing of faith. It is also resting on the resurrection that stands in front of us.

We have hope that allows us to continue on in ministry. I was once on a sports team. Most sports teams, however, have lots of banners, right?

You can go over to the gym, you see all the banners of all the things that they have won. We didn't. People boast, they call it trash talking. We don't trash talk in the seminary.

Yeah, I'm gonna get a better grade on the test than you do. Whatever. We didn't trash talk. We didn't trash talk. You know why we didn't trash talk?

There's nothing to boast about. We were so bad. We never won.

It's never been a season long. If by some fluke we won, they chalk it up to, yeah, well, the first and second and third strings of the other team were all sick with the flu and they put in their, we never won. We couldn't have a proclamation of a message of glory and of hope where there was no faith that you could possibly succeed. And unless you have confidence in the resurrection that Jesus Christ is bringing to us, there's no way you're going to endure ministry.

You can't do it. God calls us in this passage to look beyond the seen to the unseen and only faith is able to do that and by that faith have your ministry strengthened to continue proclaiming the gospel. The second section of the passage overall is verses 16 to 18 and it shifts its focus slightly from the proclamation of your ministry to the endurance of your ministry because faith sees the unseen, rest your ministry endurance on both present and future renewal.

To begin with you have to persevere because right now at present your inner man is being renewed day by day. It's one thing for somebody to hold all hope off there in the future. I mean, imagine if somebody promised you a return on the investment and you couldn't actually track the investment and see if it was growing. Oh yeah, with fits and starts, up and down a little bit but somebody said, and trust your money to me and I'm going to invest it for you and then when you retire you'll have plenty. You're like, I'm a little nervous about that.

I want to be able to track my stocks and figure out whether my investment is really having a return. We want to know. Well, in spiritual terms we don't have the right to demand from God knowledge with reference to eternity though he lays some of this out and he still holds out eternity as ultimate but do you know there is intermediate evidence concerning why you should endure and that intermediate evidence is look, look at your own life.

Your inner man is being renewed day by day, isn't it? Proof of that. Well, when you sin what's the response of your conscience and heart? Guilt.

So then what do you do? Unlike the world, we don't have to run off and get drunk or do something to stifle that guilt to silence it on our own terms we turn to the Lord, repent, confess our sin and guess what we have? Our inner man is renewed and every time we open the word of God and look into God's perfect law of liberty our inner man is renewed. Day after day after day we have hope. We fall. We're discouraged.

We look at scripture. How many days do you get up in the morning? You're like, oh, not again. I can't do this and even your coffee's not helping as you chug it and you start reading scripture and for some reason that particular verse stands out to you and your inner man is renewed day by day and you're like, I never knew you put that verse in that location that just happened to be in my reading.

My inner man is renewed today. It's exactly what I needed to hear and sometimes it's not real pleasant by the way. Sometimes the Lord is saying, you know, I don't really abide griping and complaining.

You know what I did with Israel when they griped and complained? So stop it. You're right.

You're right. Trust you. We need to go back to Paul's quotation of Psalm 16 and see the suffering in that Psalm one more time and the reason we need to see that suffering is to show you that even the Psalmist was being renewed day by day and I've tried to parallel that by putting the suffering that the Psalmist experienced in blue and the renewal in this kind of orangish color. I love the Lord.

Why? He's heard my voice and my supplications. What does it do for you when you know somebody hears, when you know somebody's actually listening? It hasn't stopped up his ears, but he's listening. It renews your spirit because he has inclined his ear into me.

That's a step further. That's actually leaning over and looking at you. Go ahead.

Tell me. He's inclined his ear to me. Will I call upon him as long as I live? Oh, the sorrows of death compass me and the pains of hell got hold on me. I found trouble and sorrow then call I on the name of the Lord. Oh Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord and righteous. Yes, our God is merciful and our man being renewed day by day. The Lord preserves the simple.

I was brought low and he helped me and our man is renewed day by day. Return unto thy rest. Oh, my soul for the Lord has dealt bountifully with me.

His inner man is being renewed. Thou has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, my feet from fault. Those things are real, but God is the deliverer. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

I believed, therefore have I spoken. Incredible that, and that's again why I call this a psalm of Paul because Paul is picking up the same themes and juxtaposing the trouble of ministry, the hardships of ministry, and yet through it, the ministry endurance on the basis of the renewal of the inner man. Paul alluded to the psalm precisely because God does not simply wave off our sorrow.

He causes us to think light of our sorrow when we view it through the eyes of faith. It's much easier we know to look at the outer man perishing. And another good reason in the province of God, my knee started acting up just a couple of days ago again. I don't need the brace on my knee. I'm fine.

I'm good enough. But it's a reminder. It's a constant reminder. Outer man is perishing. Things are getting older and I wish I were 32.

But the Lord continues to preserve us and continues to renew us. You know a chainsaw doesn't do much for itself. I burned out a chainsaw once.

Anybody have enough experience with them to know how you might per chance burn out a chainsaw? No oil. It's got gas.

That should be enough. A chainsaw has to be renewed constantly. If you fail to put both oil mixed with the fuel for the engine and then bar chain oil and then all of a sudden your log is smoking, you're like, huh, wonder why that's happening. Ah, it's probably nothing. And you keep going.

Then the engine starts smoking and then cuts out and you can't get it back on again. So are our lives. The inner man is renewed day by day as you walk with the Lord and trust in him. Finally, you need to persevere because in the future a surpassing weight of glory awaits you. Not only is God already at work daily, daily propping up his people, daily saving us, daily encouraging us, daily warning us, rebuking us, disciplining us, but daily with us and renewing us, but also in front of us is a surpassing weight of glory, verses 17 and 18. Now we get to the actual statement of it. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more eternal or exceeding an eternal weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. It's not good enough to continue focusing on the trouble.

You know what? It doesn't do good for your spirit to keep watching the news program and the election returns, right? You actually have to set that aside and go elsewhere and consider something eternal to put your mind at ease.

So set aside the focus on the present, the outward man, and look at eternity. Very quickly here. Several years back, we decided to build a pavilion at our house. So we leveled the area all by hand. There's a little hill here and got it all leveled out. We dug three foot deep piers for the pavilion to rest on and poured concrete for that. That was all fine and good. A lot of hard work, a few blisters, not too much trouble. Then we started raising the pavilion itself.

It was okay. Individual pieces, by the way, came in a kit. I'm not that good as far as my building ability is concerned. But when we had to put those headers up on top of the main pieces, each of those headers weighs probably 300 or 400 pounds. And I'm sitting there looking at it going, okay, my parents are in the red 70s and that balance is a little bit off. Roll him out. My wife, no, not my wife, my son. My son was about 11 at the time.

He's strong for 11, but he's 11. And we had various things propping it up and we'd gotten it up there, but we had to shift it all to get it all square. We shifted it and one of them went off the other side, broke on the other. We were exhausted and worn out. I had to walk away.

I was so upset. This is not working and I walk away. I'm sitting on the front porch going, this is stupid. I shouldn't have taken on this project and there's too much pain.

Look, I got all cuts all over the place. But I could hear my wife and kids saying, this is going to be great. I can't wait till this is done.

We're going to be able to sit out here during the summer and it'll still be cool. And I got up off the front porch and I went back and we kept working. Why? Because with all the cuts and all the injuries and all the afflictions that I was really experiencing, the exhaustion and heat exhaustion even, when you can see through suffering to the objective, you can persevere. And that is why Paul calls our attention to this faith sees the unseen. You must stake your ministry on the present renewal that God has given to you through the community of faith and through the renewal of your inner man. And you must stake your ministry on future renewal, the promise of the resurrection and then the reward that he brings. So what is the aroma of Christ?

Again, this is the last in our series. What is this aroma of Christ? You know all things that have aromas, citrus, mint and coffee beans, right?

All these things affect whatever you put them in with. I love the smell of coffee. You can put coffee, you can rub up against coffee for a while and you can get some of the oils or whatever from the beans on you and it smells. Citrus will do the same thing.

Mint will do the same thing. What is this aroma of Christ that we have been talking about all semester long? Well, can I remind you that as far as the Old Testament is concerned, the people of Israel were supposed to take certain spices, mix them in specific proportions and nobody else could ever mix a similar proportion. So God would accept only this as his incense, only this as his sacrifice and you go, but wait a minute, that's not me, that's Jesus Christ.

God doesn't accept, but we are in Christ and insofar as we become people of faith, through faith, as being in Christ, you proclaim the same message of the gospel, dying when he died, rising when he rose so that when God views you, he views you as his son. You smell like Jesus now. The scent of your life, your ministry, your suffering as it ascends, perfected by Christ before the Father is the aroma of Christ.

That brings everything that we've covered this semester together and gives us hope. Father, I pray that you would help us to look beyond the moment, look beyond the scene, look beyond the suffering that we will experience in ministry that we already are experiencing ministry. The daily care of the churches, Paul would say. The rejection by others as Paul experienced physical trouble, just the sufferings of our own flesh. May we look beyond these things to a hope that you have provided us because we know that you love us because through the eye of faith, we see you and we believe, therefore we speak. To Christ, may we pray. You've been listening to a sermon from BJU Seminary Professor, Dr. Brian Hand. This concludes our series in 2 Corinthians. Thanks for listening and join us tomorrow as we'll hear more chapel messages from the Bob Jones University Chapel Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-01 21:23:58 / 2023-05-01 21:35:47 / 12

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