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2 Corinthians 4 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2024 6:00 am

2 Corinthians 4 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 16, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shares a teaching about what humans did with God’s creation—and how He will make it all right one day.

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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. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip shares a teaching about what humans did with God's creation and how he will make it all right one day. Now here's more about this month's resource to help you understand everything the Bible has to say about the future that's coming. 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's 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. Are you ready? Then let's turn to 2 Corinthians 4 and hear what Skip has for us today. 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 won'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. But 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 number one. Number two, you interpret every text by the meaning of the words. That's why people say the Greek says, or the Hebrew, or the Aramaic. It's good to kind of go back, because you can have different words with different meanings.

I can say the word light, and that word might mean the opposite of heavy, or it might mean the opposite of darkness. So you want to interpret every text in the light of its context, in the light of the meaning of the words. You want to interpret every text, number three, according to its grammar. Grammar, man, that was like, I hated English. I don't want to go through grammar again. But it's important when you read any old text, especially biblical text, to find out what are the words are, what is the relationship of this word to that word? The syntax, context, but what part of speech is this? Noun, adjective, adverb?

You just have a working familiarity. If you interpret by context, and by the meaning of the words, and by the grammar, then you add another little segment. You interpret every text according to the background, the historical background. Who was saying? Who was the audience? Who was speaking or writing?

Who is the audience? What did the original author want the original recipients to understand? What was going on in the culture at the time?

What were the standard beliefs of the time? You take that into consideration, it's going to make a lot more sense. And then fifth and final little leg of that is you interpret every text according to the whole Bible. It's called the unity of Scripture, because the Bible doesn't contradict itself. Now, people contradict the Bible, but the Bible has a tremendous unity, so you weigh what one text says against what other texts along that same subject matter say, and you put those five rules together, and you'll be able to listen to Scripture versus being quoted, and weigh to see if that is the intent that Paul, or Jesus, or Moses, or whoever the author is had for the original audience to understand.

Make sense? Paul says that's how we speak. We speak plainly, we manifest the truth, and everyone with an open heart gets it. That's the meaning of committing ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But, verse three, but even if our gospel, so we have this glorious ministry, the gospel, the new covenant, even if our gospel, our message of good news is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

Now, can I just remind you of last week's study, because he's using a word he used in the previous chapter, the word veiled. Now, what Paul is doing here is moving his metaphor. You've heard of mixing metaphors, right? You use one analogy, then you use a different analogy, but you mean the same thing, so you're mixing your metaphors. Here, Paul is using the same metaphor, but he's moving that metaphor. It's not a mixed metaphor, it's a moving metaphor.

Let me show you what I mean. In chapter three, verse 13, he says, unlike Moses who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away, so Moses comes down from getting the law, he puts a veil over his face because his face was glowing. It was glowing, and Paul says he put a veil over his face because the glow was fading, and he didn't want people to see it fading.

It was passing away. It was indicative of the law itself, so he put a veil over his face, a literal cloth veil, because Mo had a glow, and the Mo glow was about to go, so a veil over his face. Now look at verse 15, but to this very day when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Same word, different metaphor. He's speaking about spiritual dullness over their mind, over their heart. They're reading the Scripture, but they don't get it. The Jewish people as a whole have a veil that doesn't allow them to see the truth of the Gospel. Now he uses that same word, that same metaphor, but he moves it a bit in verse three of chapter four. Even if our Gospel is veiled, that is now the unbelieving world have a dullness, not just the Jewish nation, all unbelievers. If our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. Let me remind you of, I'm going back now to 1 Corinthians chapter 2.

You can turn there if you wish, if you're quick with your fingers. If not, I'll just read it to you. This is the first letter to the Corinthians. He said in chapter 2 verse 12, Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God, these things which we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but that which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man, that is, a man who in his natural, unredeemed state, he has not been supernaturally changed by the Spirit of God. The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. What he's doing here is quickly giving characteristics of unbelievers. They're not interested in spiritual things.

You bring up a conversation at Starbucks or at lunch with your friends about Jesus and the God. They don't want to hear. I don't want to hear that. I don't care about that stuff. I'm not interested in those matters. There's no sense of sin or conviction. There's no sense of need. In fact, to them, it's dumb. It's foolishness. It's old.

It doesn't relate to this culture. And then he says in verse 14, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. You remember when Paul the Apostle was standing trial in Caesarea before King Herod Agrippa, and Paul gives his testimony how he came to faith in Christ, and as he does it, he speaks about Jesus who died and rose again from the dead, and he's kind of going through the history of that. Suddenly, the procurator named Festus at the time interrupts Paul and says, Paul, your much learning has made you mad. You've gone crazy. You've studied these things so much. You've gone insane. You're nuts.

You've gone off the edge. He says, I'm not mad, most noble Festus, but I speak the things of reason and clarity and understanding. These things weren't done in a corner. I know that the king has heard about these things, and he continues preaching the gospel, but he was accused of foolishness because to the unbeliever, it is foolishness because they are spiritually discerned. They lack the ability to understand. Have you ever shared the gospel with somebody, and you're having a conversation, and you know, as you're speaking, you're going, man, I'm good.

This is so clear and so plain. Surely, they're going to get this, and they're just kind of looking at you and going, huh? And then you say, come on, can't you see? Don't you get it?

Answer, no. That's the problem. They can't see. There's a blindness. There's a veil.

There's an obstacle. They lack the ability. You might as well be telling a blind man to enjoy the sunset or somebody deaf to enjoy a Rachmaninoff concert.

They lack the capability to do that. They don't get it because these things are spiritually discerned. There was once an atheist who was speaking to a Quaker, and the Quaker was, in his old English antiquated way, was telling about the truth of the gospel and telling about God, and the atheist just shook his head. And so the atheist wanted to trap the Quaker preacher, and the atheist said, have you ever seen God? Quaker said no.

Well, he was a Quaker, so he said nay. The atheist persisted, have you ever heard God? Nay. Have you ever touched God? Nay. Have you ever smelled God?

Nay. And the atheist said, ha, then how do you even know that there is a God? Quaker smiled and said, hast thou ever seen thy brain?

No, said the atheist. Have you ever felt thy brain? No. Has over smelt thy brain?

Course not. And then the Quaker, following his logic, said, then how do you know that thou even hast a brain? When it comes to proof of God, and that's the mistake people make, give me proof. You can't prove there's a God.

Well, you know what? You can't prove there's not a God. But I'll tell you what, there's plenty of evidence that there's a God. It's monumental evidence. So monumental is the evidence that I would say you would be a fool to dismiss the evidence, and it requires more faith to not believe in God than it is to believe in God, based on the evidence.

But there's a problem. Paul says here it's spiritually discerned, and then back in 2 Corinthians where we're reading a veil is over their face. Verse 3, if our gospel is veiled, our gospel is veiled, it is to those who are perishing.

It's an evidence that they're perishing. It continues, whose mind the God of this age, the God of this world has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them? Now, when he talks about the God of this age, who is he referring to? He's referring to Satan. This is interesting that Paul would refer to the devil as the God of this world, the God of this age. You go, wait a minute, I thought the Bible says the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.

It's true, he is. He is God overall, omnipotent, all-powerful, sovereign, all-knowing, omniscient. But Satan, in a sense, is the God small g of this world.

How does it work? 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 so that God sent his son Jesus to redeem the world back to himself. He did that on the cross, spiritually.

He will do that in the future, physically. Revelation chapter 5 highlights that for redemption that will take place at the end of days. That's a whole other Bible study. But the God of this age has blinded their minds. 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 in the fullness thereof, but the minds of unbelievers are controlled by Satan.

So I know this comes for some people as a child. 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. For 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'm 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. That's Skip Heitzing, encouraging you with the truth that Christ will redeem the world. His message is from the series Expound, 2 Corinthians.

Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. We'd love to count you as a partner in sharing God's life-changing truth with more people around the world through Connect with Skip Heitzig. You can play a vital role in this life-changing work today with a generous gift to support this ministry and help expand its reach into more major US cities. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give generously and share God's love with others. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for changing lives. Join us again tomorrow as Skip examines the Apostle Paul's view of the trials and suffering he faced. 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. Can't wait to meet him. I'll be humbled when I do. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, a connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-16 05:09:33 / 2024-04-16 05:18:37 / 9

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