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2 Corinthians 4 - Part C

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2024 6:00 am

2 Corinthians 4 - Part C

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 17, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip examines the apostle Paul’s view of the trials and suffering he faced.

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Here's what Paul would say. All the trials, all the persecution, all the heartache that I go through continually. It's worth it.

It's worth it. Hear the man. Hear the man who suffered more than any man I know for the gospel. And that is Paul. Can't wait to meet him.

I'll be humbled when I do. Help others around the world deepen their understanding of God's word with the gift today to keep these Bible teachings going strong on the radio, on television, and online. And we invite you to partner with us by giving a gift to help connect others like you to the life changing power of the gospel. Your generosity helps keep these teachings you love on the air to reach many others as we expand into more major US cities and all across the world. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate.

That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. All right, we're going to be in 2 Corinthians 4 as we begin today. Jesus referred to Satan as the prince or the ruler of this world. Here called the God of this age or the God of this world. Ephesians refers to Satan as the prince of the power of the air, the one that now works in the sons of disobedience. And that's an interesting description of the devil. The prince of the power of the air. Especially when you think that the media uses airwaves to communicate.

Radio, television, internet, it penetrates the atmosphere. And I think in a very real sense, just what you and I know about media and the media and social media, he's the God of this age, but he's the prince of the power of the air, the one who works in the children of disobedience. So people have a veil because Satan has blinded them from the truth, and that's what he wants. So we live in a world made by God, but controlled in its value system by the God small g of this world. So the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, but the minds of unbelievers are controlled by Satan.

So I know this comes for some people as a shot. Wow, you're giving them way too much credit. Not really. In the last part of 1 John, 1 John 5, verse 19, John says, we know that we are of God, little children, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

That's a statement. We're of God, the whole world, as opposed to the children of God, lies under the sway of the wicked one. That's what Paul is getting at in this verse. He has blinded the minds of unbelievers. So Satan has always wanted worship. I will be like the Most High. The world worships Satan unconsciously.

How does that happen? Well, he uses every distraction possible to keep them from sensing their need for Christ, sensing their need for salvation, which would drive them to the cross. If you haven't read Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, I recommend it. I had to read it in high school. It's a good book on C.S. Lewis writing from the strategy standpoint of the devil, training a young demon on how to tempt people and ruin their lives, even if they become a Christian, how to make them impotent, spiritually speaking. The Screwtape Letters by C.S.

Lewis. How the God of this age works and gets people to worship Him. Or verse five, we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord, and ourselves, your servants, for Jesus' sake. Every verse in this chapter, there's just so much and I get so bogged down. I get so tempted to just kind of drill down with every nuance.

It would take us forever to get through it. So let me just point something out and then we'll move on in this verse. We don't preach ourselves. It's not about Paul. It's not about my ministry, my words.

Quote me. It's always about God's truth. But Christ Jesus, the Lord, and ourselves, your servants, for Jesus' sake. This is how Paul thought. Paul thought, once I give my life to Christ as His servant, I, by default, serve other people. I serve God's people. Because I am attached to Jesus Christ and these are Jesus' people, I become their servant.

Now, I want you to follow that thinking. Once you come to Christ, and most of you have, if you have not found your place of service in the body of Christ, you haven't completed the trajectory. You've been saved to serve. How are you serving? What are you doing to serve believers around you? How are you being plugged into the church, the body of Christ? This is why we talk about Life Track, where you discover your spiritual gifts and you discover how to use those gifts in the context of the body of the church. And it's so satisfying for you and so helpful for others. I love seeing my grandson tonight.

He's one of the cameramen in the video crew. 12 years old. He went through Life Track, as did my granddaughter. I want to find out what my gifts are. I want to start serving the church. So you're never too old. You're never too young to find out what you were saved for in the body of Christ. Yes, to reach the world, no question. But also in the church, what are your gifts?

How are you using them? So we are your servants for Christ's sake. It took a little longer than I wanted, but next verse. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Now in this verse, Paul is going all the way back to Genesis chapter 1, where it says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God brooded or hovered over the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. Paul is referring to the first time God spoke light into existence. So he might mean simply this, just as in the beginning God brought light in the midst of darkness by the Holy Spirit brooding over the face of the waters, so too in a spiritual sense, when the Holy Spirit broods over the soul of an individual, he brings him out of spiritual darkness into spiritual light.

That's probably his reference. Some commentators believe that in Paul's mind also could be the Damascus road experience, where Paul is on that Damascus road and a light shines from heaven. He describes it later on as a great light. Later on even, he describes it as a bright light, brighter than the noonday sun. It shined out of the sky and lit him up.

And of course ignited a fire in Paul that never went out. So either way, God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. I hope you from time to time just pause and say, Thank God I'm not in darkness any longer. You know, just think of your life before you came to Jesus. The Bible says you were once darkness, now you are light in the Lord, Paul wrote.

He called us out of darkness, Peter said, into his marvelous light. I hope from time to time you just realize, Man, this is marvelous. I know you have trials, I know you have afflictions, Paul did too, but I hope, again, you focus on the mercy that comes with the gift.

I hope you focus on, like we said last week, not the black dot on the white sheet, but there's so much white on that sheet still left. You focus on that. And from time to time you go, Man, what a great life I have, what a marvelous gospel.

You say, Oh, but you don't know I'm suffering this back issue or this kidney issue or cancer or relationship. Granted, granted, welcome to the human race. But you know what? You're not going to hell. Just remember that. You're not going to hell.

Somebody could have perfect health in a beautiful mansion, have lots of friends and lots of money to make all the plastic surgical changes on their face as they age that you can't. But if they don't know Christ, this is the last good time they'll ever have. This is the last fund they'll ever have.

They might have more followers on Facebook or Instagram than you do, but it's the last friends they'll ever be able to enjoy. You're not going to hell. You've had the light of the glorious gospel shine in your life. And then verse 7, but we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. In ancient times, they would put treasures, something valuable, in clay pots. They used them for storage. They stored water. They stored wine. They stored oil. All of those were precious commodities. They could store jewelry to hide it from thieves.

The pot wasn't the issue, wasn't great, wasn't noticeable, but what was inside was. So we have this treasure. What treasure? The gospel, the message that changes lives so that other people don't have to go to hell but can go to heaven forever and ever and get peace and meaning in life.

We have that in clay pots. So there's a little bit of a comparison here. We're comparing the nature of the message to the nature of the messenger. The messenger isn't impressive, just a clay pot. The message is impressive because it's life-changing. The messenger can't change a life. The message can change a life. Now, the message needs the messenger to speak it. But when the messenger speaks the message and a life is changed, you don't say, what a marvelous messenger. You say, what a great message. The gospel changed another life.

That person's going to heaven, not to hell. Just like if you had a great beverage. Let's say you went and got some, I don't know, what's your favorite drink? What's your favorite ice cream drink?

Would it be a float, root beer float? Do they have those still? Okay, so I don't know if there's like a, I should know this, if there's like a local favorite. Like in California, it was a day shake.

What is it here? Is it a green chili shake? Do they do that?

No. Let's just say, let me, I'm being crazy now. You go to Starbucks, have a great cup of coffee.

And let's say it's like, wow. Now, when you taste it, you go, wow. Where'd you get this cup?

I've never had such good coffee. It must be because of the cup. Well, that's silly. You see, it's not the pot. It's not the container.

It's not the messenger. It's what's inside that made the difference. And so it is with any man or woman of God.

I remember a dear woman came up to me after a service and she grabbed my arms and she goes, never leave. Now, I think she was being very sweet, but listen, I'm a pot. It's just a pot. The message is what attracts you. It's the message that changes you. And any clay pot that makes a lot of itself, I'm awesome, is really a crackpot. It's not about the pot. It's about the message. We have this treasure in clay pots, earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, not of us.

By the way, I was just reading not too long ago. You know that show on TV, Storage Wars, where people buy these little storage units. They auction them off and then they find like some treasure. So on one of these programs, a guy spent, you know, they looked inside.

It looked like, well, there could be some good stuff. So he paid $1,000 for a storage unit. But he dug inside the storage unit and found gold bars, silver bars, and coins that were worth $500,000. Another Storage Wars, there was a safe in one. I don't know how much they paid for it, but they opened up a safe, and there was like $7.5 million in a safe. And when the owner discovered, wow, I forgot that it was in the storage unit, you know, he had to pay $1.5 million, offer $1.5 million to the person who bought the storage unit to get back $7.5 million.

What was important, the storage unit or what was inside it? So think of that when you think of the gospel that's inside of you. He continues with his own trials in verse 8. We are hard pressed on every side yet not crushed.

We are perplexed but not in despair. Paul is talking about his own personal life, his own personal ministry. He's thankful that he has this ministry from God, but it hasn't been easy. Persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed.

That is, I keep getting back up. Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. As soon as he gets saved, he gets attacked in Damascus. Later on, he goes to the Jerusalem church.

There's problems in the Jerusalem church. They attack him there. He goes on the road with the gospel. He gets stoned, I mean, not stoned, but rocks thrown at him in Lystra. He goes to Ephesus, they riot. He goes to Philippi, they beat him and throw him in jail.

I mean, everywhere he goes, he has these things happen. That's why he says, I always carry about the dying body of the Lord Jesus. And here's what Paul would say, all the trials, all the persecution, all the heartache that I go through continually, it's worth it.

It's worth it. Hear the man, hear the man who suffered more than any man I know for the gospel, and that is Paul. I can't wait to meet him.

I'll be humbled when I do. When Paul was arrested and put in jail in Rome, he writes to the Philippian church because they're all worried. He's in jail again for a long time. Paul says, but I want you to know, brethren, the things that have happened to me have actually happened for the furtherance of the gospel. I'm in jail here for the furtherance of the gospel. In jail, I am able to preach to fellow prisoners. In jail, I am able to preach to prison guards that I am chained to, and many in Caesar's household are coming to Christ. The gospel is being furthered.

Don't feel sorry for me. It's worth it that the life of Jesus may be manifest in our body, for we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. Now, that's sort of hard for us to understand at first, but let me tell you the principle. The principle that Paul is working off of is that life comes from death. Death yields or produces life.

You live off that principle, by the way. Anybody have a burger today, raise your hand. If you had a hamburger or if you had any kind of beef at all, raise your hand. Did you have? That was your protein. How many of you had chicken today, raise your hand.

Any fish? Okay, so some of you obviously didn't eat anything. But those that did, you're operating by this principle. From death comes life. Those animals had to die. A cow died for you. Well, I went to Chick-fil-A, a chicken died for you. So that you could live. And you seem to not be worried about the death of that poor animal.

And you shouldn't be. God put it on earth so you could kill it and eat it and be nourished by it. But you live and operate on the principle that out of death comes life. So then death is working in us, but life in you. So we're doing this for your benefit, for the furtherance of the gospel and your benefit, your encouragement. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what is written, I believed and therefore I spoke, quoting Psalm 116, where the psalmist writes out of great distress like Paul was in and spoke words of faith to himself and to the Lord, believing his promises, spoke faith-filled words. I believed, therefore I spoke. We also believe and therefore speak, knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and will present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore, we do not lose heart. We don't give up. We don't stop what God called us to do. We don't say, this is too difficult, I quit. We don't lose heart, even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

What is the outward man? It's your flesh, it's your physical body. You're growing older. As you're growing older, you're getting weaker. Your body peaks in your 20s. Mid-20s to early 30s, you're at your peak. You're at your peak strength. Think of pro-athletes.

They're not in their 70s. Your reaction time is at its peak. Your ability to recover is at its peak. But you soon discover, pretty quickly after that, that the outward man is perishing. And you discover the truth that we're gonna look at next week.

Just peek ahead, chapter 5, verse 1. For we know that if our earthly house this what? Tent. He calls it a tent, a temporary dwelling. I love going camping, but only for a few days.

I don't wanna live in a tent for a long period of time. There's time to leave the tent and get into something more permanent, and that's how Paul will describe our physical body as a tent. Death is the transition, eternity and heaven is the permanent dwelling. That's what we are called to do.

So we don't lose heart. Our outward man is perishing, decaying, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. I hope, I pray, it is my weekly prayer for you that your inward man or woman, the inward you, is being renewed. I pray that you continue to grow. You know, no matter who you are, no matter how well-informed you are, no matter how spiritually mature you have become, self-included, we all need to keep growing. We all need to keep growing and expanding. I have in the back of my Bible signed by J.I. Packer a little note, 1 Peter 3.18, grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I asked him to sign my Bible, that's what he wrote. Grow. Never stop growing. Never come to a place where you know it all, where you plateaued.

Always continue to grow. What a great reminder that whatever you may face for the sake of the gospel is ultimately worth it. That's Skip Heitzig, with a teaching from his series, Expound, 2 Corinthians.

Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you quickly reference everything the Bible says about the end times. The book of Acts says we need to understand the days we live in and how we should be spending our time, energy, and finances. The first step is information, and this month to complement Skip's series, The End is Near, we're offering the excellent Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy by Tim LaHaye and Mark Hitchcock. This 450-page hardcover book is a reference guide to what the Bible says about the end times, covering over 150 topics from Armageddon to the wrath of the Lamb. The Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is a comprehensive survey from the world's foremost experts on biblical prophecy. Here is what Tim LaHaye said about the importance of understanding what the Bible says concerning the future. To me, the signs of the times are evident that we're in the last days.

In fact, I call them the last days of the last days. I believe that the people that had a great deal to do with the early church were the expositors of the scripture but gave Christian evidences. Why do we believe what we believe? And one of the reasons we believe what we believe is because of prophecy. The Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is our gift to you this month when you encourage the growth of Connect with Skip with a gift of $50 or more. Make your financial vote of support at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. With the Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy on your desk, you'll find yourself reaching for it frequently as events in these days speed forward. Receive this excellent hardcover book with your gift.

Go to connectwithskip.com or call 1-800-922-1888. Join us tomorrow as Skip begins a teaching to show you that what God has for you is infinitely better than what the world offers. Listen, dear one, the very worst that God has for you is better than the very best the world has for you. So if this is all I trust in God, okay, that is much better than anything the world would give you apart from God. Make a connection Make a connection At the foot of the crossing Cast all burdens on His word Make a connection A connection Connect with Skip Hyton is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-17 05:08:31 / 2024-04-17 05:18:03 / 10

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