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2 Corinthians 4 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2024 6:00 am

2 Corinthians 4 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 15, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shares a powerful teaching about the cost of living faithfully to God.

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Sometimes just being faithful to the Word of God is difficult. Because if you're faithful to the Scriptures and teaching the plain directives of the Bible, you're going to cut across people's values, people's choices, people's morality or immorality, and they're going to see you as the problem and they're going to attack you for it. Just being faithful to the Word can sometimes be difficult.

Today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Pastor Skip shares a powerful teaching about the cost of living faithfully toward God. But first, here's a resource that gives you a comprehensive look at everything the Bible says about the last days. 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. This 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. Let's get started. We'll be in 2 Corinthians 4 as we join Skip today. My mind goes back several years when I sent out, we sent out our first young pastor to go plant a church in another city. He had been on our staff.

He had been a youth pastor. And he had a desire to go to another town. We recognized that and we sent him out.

I mean, this is many, many, many years ago. And I remember our board got around him and prayed for him and he went out. And when he left that evening, I remember just getting this thought and turning to my board of directors and saying, now it begins.

And they looked at me like, what do you mean it begins? Now the training, the real training begins. And what I meant is that he's going to face hardships. He's going to face obstacles. He's going to endure affliction. He has no idea what's coming down the pike. There's an excitement and I don't want to ruin that excitement.

I want him to go out, he and his wife, to be very excited about the place. But I also know that, well, ministry loves company. And that's a play on misery loves company.

There's going to be some hard, miserable times that that young man is going to face. And so I said that that night and sure enough, I told my board, I said, now I'm waiting for all the phone calls that I'm going to get. And I did get calls of now what? This happened.

What do I do? Because I made those same phone calls to my pastor when I did it. When I first came to know the Lord, which was a long, long, long time ago, I was saved when I was 17 years of age, almost 18, turning 18 that summer. And as soon as I prayed to receive Christ, it was Billy Graham, as you know, that led me to faith in Christ, watching him on television. I immediately instinctively knew I needed to be in a church that taught me, that fed me, that equipped me for the future. I didn't know what the future held, didn't know what I wanted to do, didn't know what I wanted to be.

I had a lot of different ideas, photography. Anyway, I knew I had to get back down to Southern California to this church that met in a tent, but I knew they taught the Bible and I needed to grow. So I went down, I got plugged in, I started to grow in my faith. At the same time, while I was growing in my knowledge of God's word, I had a real desire growing within me to plant a church. Now, I didn't feel like I was capable of doing that at that point. I didn't think I was ready at that point, but I was hoping that someday I could do that.

Fast forward a few years, 1981, I married my wife, Lenya. My friend was out in Albuquerque. I had been here before driving through on a vacation.

I decided, okay, I'll come out to Albuquerque. And I was so excited to see what God would do. And of course, God has done great things, but what I did not expect is how hard ministry would be. We have somebody right up here, Kevin Miller.

Kevin, have you discovered that when you went and planted your church? Was it hard? A little bit? Not much? Yeah.

You need to repent of lying. Oh, by the way, next to Kevin, he has got some friends. So Brian and Sarah, is that right? They pastor. You guys pastor in the Chattanooga area in Hickson, is it? Hickson. Are there lots of Hicks in Hickson?

I don't know why I said that, but in Tennessee. Welcome. Would you stand up and just say hi to people? Would you stand through the whole Bible study? It's just something we do with first-time guests.

Do you mind? Just kidding. So I just did not realize the kinds of pressure and difficulty. Then when I went through them and I thought, okay, I got those under my belt, now it'll be smooth sailing. And what I discovered is that you endure a difficulty, and that prepares you for an even greater difficulty coming up. You found that in your own personal life, how God trains you.

Like the psalmist said, God trains my fingers for war. Well, I am so glad that we have the Scriptures to bring comfort because I discovered that Paul the apostle, yes, even the great apostle Paul faced so many difficulties, and this, his most candid letter in several chapters in several places, and we're going to read some tonight. We read some last time that he experienced difficulties, but God also gave him great consolation. So when Saul of Tarsus became Paul the apostle, when he saw that vision on the Damascus road and he came to faith in Christ, that dramatic inversion, there was a man named Ananias who was sent to him in the early days. And the Lord said, Ananias, Saul, Saul of Tarsus, is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel, for I will show him what great things he must suffer for my sake. And he did suffer so many great things. In Damascus, he was let down over the wall in a basket because he discovered there was a plot against him to take his life, to assassinate him.

That wasn't the first time. It would happen again and again as he would be threatened in many places, kicked out of town in most places, and in a lot of these places, spend a few nights in jail. And then later on, years in jail, all because of the ministry that he said he received. So Paul had friends.

We've looked at that on the last few Sunday mornings. He had many acquaintances, many friends, but he also had many enemies. And one pastor years ago, one man of God said, the measure of a man is his enemies. And if we were to measure the effectiveness of Paul the Apostle by his enemies, we would have to say he was quite effective because he made enemies wherever he went.

Why? Because he was straightforward. He was honest. He didn't hold back on the truth. And in those days, you could beat a person up for it or get thrown in jail for it, and it happened to Paul again and again and again.

So just like the one we sent out to plant a church, just like myself and others who have experienced hardships in church planting, so Paul the Apostle and probably everyone who's ever been in ministry has experienced it. I always quote Charles Spurgeon. I do it a lot.

I've done it for years. I love quoting him. I remember that he said, those who find the ministry an easy life will find that it brings a hard death. And he often confessed the difficulties to his own congregation. Sometimes just being faithful to the Word of God is difficult.

Because if you're faithful to the Scriptures in teaching the plain directives of the Bible, you're going to cut across people's values, people's choices, people's morality or immorality, and they're going to see you as the problem and they're going to attack you for it. Just being faithful to the Word can sometimes be difficult. So this chapter brings into focus this idea. How can you stay faithful when the winds of adversity are blowing against you?

How can you endure? Well, we begin where it begins, as we already read. Therefore, since we have this ministry, we have received mercy.

We do not lose heart. That is, we do not give up. Now, the chapter begins with that little word, therefore, and you've heard me say it, and I stole it from J. Burnham McGee, who said, whenever you find a therefore, find out what it's there for. So when you begin a chapter with therefore, you are pointing back to a previous thought.

And the previous thought is this. What Paul said in chapter 3 is God has given us a ministry, the new covenant. Back in chapter 6, who also made us, chapter 3, verse 6, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. So because of that, because we have received a commission to bear the new covenant, the New Testament, the glorious gospel of Christ, therefore, since we have received this ministry.

Now, think about that for a moment. Paul is essentially saying, we didn't make this stuff up. This message that we preach, this gospel that we proclaim, we didn't make this up. And if you think about it, no one in their right mind would make this up. And I say that because so often people say, well, you know the New Testament, the Bible, men just made this message up. Nobody in their right mind would make up this message. Everyone in the world is consigned to a burning, everlasting hell unless they repent of their sins and turn to one person who died in their place.

Nobody would do that. If you leave it up to the world to invent a religion, it'll be like, you're okay, I'm okay, do your best, and it'll all be good in the end. That's the kind of religious systems that people come up with. The biblical gospel, no one in their right mind would ever make that up. It's nothing we made up.

It is something that we have received. And that's why it's important from time to time to make a comparison between world religions and the gospel. Because all the various religious systems of the world basically have the same message, do, do, do, do this, do that, do the other thing.

If you do these things, you'll earn your way. That is far from the gospel message. It is the opposite of the gospel message. The gospel doesn't say do, the gospel says done. It's done. It's finished. It is a finished work Jesus did on the cross.

It is completed. So, therefore, since we received this ministry, we have received, or since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. Perhaps verse one is the first step in enduring adversity. And that is recognizing that you have received a gift. You've received the gospel. You've received Christ. You heard the message. You opened your heart. You received that.

And so it's not something you do. It is something that you receive. And the message that you proclaim, hopefully it's a message you do proclaim, it is something you have also received from Him.

It's a gift. And I love how Galatians begins. The book of Galatians, chapter one, verse one, Paul says, Paul, an apostle, not from men, nor true man, but from God.

It's nothing I did, I desired, I put myself into, I made up. It is the calling that I have received from God. And it's a ministry that I have received from God. Before Paul left the Ephesian elders, it was the last time he'd see them, when he meets on the shores of Miletus and they all gather together and it's a very emotional time. And Paul, the apostle, says, you'll never see my face again. He says, take heed to yourselves and to the ministry that you have been given by the Holy Spirit as overseers of the church of God.

Feed the flock of God, which He purchased with His own blood. You didn't earn it, you didn't ask for it, you received it. So I think that's the thing that will keep somebody going in serving the Lord is to realize God called me to this. I'm called to this. I've received this as a gift, as a stewardship.

And if I've received this as a gift, as a stewardship, then it's always too soon to quit. You just keep going. You pray, you preach, and you applaud. Sometimes you gotta do all three. Sometimes you just pray and then you preach, but then you just gotta do it again.

And then you applaud along and muscle through it. And so we have received mercy. We do not lose heart.

We do not give up. Now let me just say, if you, like so many others that have been here over the years and have gone out onto the mission field or to start churches, maybe you are feeling called to do that kind of ministry. If you are, I'll be your greatest cheerleader. I'll be your greatest encourager. I'll put my arm around you and say, do it, man, go for it, if God has called you. If God has called you, go for it. If God hasn't called you, don't dare touch the ministry.

As James said, be not many teachers, knowing that you will receive the greater condemnation. So you wanna make sure you're called. Well, how do you know if you're called?

Easy answer, fruit. If you're called to be an evangelist, if you're called to exercise the gift of evangelism, and you say, man, I'm called to be an evangelist, but you never lead anybody to Christ, you may wanna try a different gift. Oh, I know that I'm called to be an evangelist. Well, eventually, somebody's gonna get saved if you're called to be an evangelist.

If it's a gift of the Holy Spirit and he animates that gift, there's gonna be fruit. If you feel called to be a teacher of the word, but nobody gets taught, they all scratch their going, I have no idea what he said, he spoke for an hour, but got nothing out of it, maybe you should reconsider your calling so you will know them by their fruit. Jesus said that of false prophets, it's also true of true prophets, true ministers.

Therefore, since we have this ministry, we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. Apparently, Paul was accused of exercising his ministry, of preaching in various places. He was accused by others of having wrong motives, of doing it for the wrong reason. So Paul brings this up as he's already done this. He kind of has answered his accusers who said, you can't trust Paul, Paul said he's coming to town, he never showed up, can't trust his message. And so with that, apparently by just some of the language, people were accusing Paul of having the wrong motives in his ministry, and even watering down the true gospel. Now, if we piece all the pieces together in 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians, the group that was accusing Paul evidently had Judaistic tendencies.

They're often called Judaizers, because you remember probably from Acts chapter 15, there was a group in Jerusalem who bothered the early church in Jerusalem saying, unless you are circumcised and keep the law of Moses, you can't be saved. And Paul and Barnabas had to say, that's hogwash, that's nonsense, that's not really in the Bible, hogwash, you wouldn't find it if you looked it up on your computer Bible program. But they were saying, you need to keep the law of Moses, and that's part of keeping the gospel. So evidently, some of these people were in Corinth, in the church at Corinth, and they were accusing Paul of watering down the true message of the gospel, the true gospel, ignoring the law and preaching his gospel of grace.

So he says, it's not true. We've renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness that is in subterfuge. We don't work in an underhanded mixed motivation. We don't say one thing and then do another thing, nor handling the word of God deceitfully.

We're not trying to trick you with it. We speak plainly, that is, the manifestation of the truth. We speak plainly, we say it as it is. Commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God, that is, those who are really honest about listening to the truth will know that we are speaking the truth. We don't have mixed motives.

Not everyone can say this. Not everyone who brings a message in the name of God is bringing God's message. Everybody quotes the Bible when they want to bring a spiritual message to a church. It's easy to quote the Bible. But sometimes people in quoting the Bible, they actually are misquoting the intent of the biblical message. Well, how can you tell if people are quoting the Bible in every sermon, in every message, in every verbal offering, how do we know what's right and wrong?

Well, there are ways to know if it's true. There are rules of interpretation without getting too tech on you that's called hermeneutics. And basically, you interpret every text in light of its context. If you isolate a text of Scripture and don't consider what's around that text of Scripture, that is, isolating it from its context, you form a pretext.

You can make it say anything you want it to. You can take a phrase out or a verse isolated from a paragraph, and you can make the Bible say the craziest things. For example, the Bible says there is no God. And I can use the Bible to prove that. It says right in the Scripture there is no God. But the context is a little bit different.

The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. Well, that's a completely different meaning now. So it's important to establish the meaning of every text by its context. Whenever you hear the Bible quoted, think, I'm going to look that up and see what the context is.

That's Skip Heitig, with a message from his series, Expound! 2 Corinthians, encouraging you to be faithful even when it means you'll be opposed and attacked. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at ConnectWithSkip.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can share life-changing teaching from God's Word with more people around the world. All believers are called to help others encounter the God who is seeking them out. And our goal is to come alongside friends like you to encourage you to help others connect with God through His Word. That's why we share these messages with you and with others. And today, you can take action to ensure these teachings keep reaching you and so many others worldwide. This year, I'm praying for resources to grow the reach of these broadcasts into more major U.S. cities. And you can help make that possible with your generosity.

Can I count on your support? Here's how you can give a gift today. Visit ConnectWithSkip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's ConnectWithSkip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Tomorrow, Skip shares a teaching about what humans did with God's creation and how He will make it all right one day. Well, when God created life on planet Earth and He created humans, He gave them a choice. And they took that choice and submitted it to the devil in the fall. In a sense, they took the creation that God gave to them and turned it over to the devil. Make a connection Make a connection At the foot of the crossing Cast all burdens on His word Make a connection Connection Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-15 05:01:06 / 2024-04-15 05:10:27 / 9

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