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2 Corinthians - The Glory of the Gospel, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2024 10:00 am

2 Corinthians - The Glory of the Gospel, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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April 16, 2024 10:00 am

Author Kay Warren recalls her visit to Rwanda not long after the horrific 1995 genocide that left 1 million dead.  She expected to find monsters there- men and women with leering menacing faces.  Instead she found people smiling, chatting, caring for their children, living life.  Upon her return she wrote, “There were no monsters in Rwanda, just people like you and me.” She writes, You might as well face the shameful truth:

You and I, put in the right situation, will do absolutely anything.

Given the right circumstances, I am capable of any sin. 

 All of mankind is broken- the beautiful image of God in each of us is distorted and marred by our sin nature.  The world offers a thousand fixes, but we find ourselves irreparable.  So the question is, “Can anything make a difference?Is there a remedy for broken souls?  In today’s message, Pastor Rich addresses this question from our text in 2 Corinthians 2

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Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Author Kay Warren recalls her visit to Rwanda not long after the horrific 1995 genocide that left one million dead. She expected to find monsters there, men and women with leering, menacing faces. Instead, she found people much like herself, smiling, chatting, caring for their children, living their lives. Upon her return, she wrote, There were no monsters in Rwanda, just people like you and me.

She continues, You might as well face the shameful truth. You and I, put in the right situation, will do absolutely anything. Given the right circumstances, I am capable of any sin. All of mankind is broken. The beautiful image of God in each of us is distorted and marred by our sinful nature. The world offers a thousand fixes, but we find ourselves irreparable.

So the question is, can anything really make a difference? Is there a remedy for broken souls? In today's message, Pastor Rich addresses this question using our text in 2 Corinthians 2. Let's listen in. This is the third part of a message first preached on February 2, 2014. It's the introductory sermon to a series titled The Glory of the Gospel. To hear this whole message, you can visit delightingrace.com. And so as we look at this section of 2 Corinthians 2, 14 to 5, 21, here is the theme. This is what we are going to cover. This is the glory of the gospel, that the regenerating Spirit of God with the illuminating Word of God transforms the redeemed people of God based on the reconciling Son of God pointing to the righteous goodness of God and overcomes the distracting enemy of God.

Now that's a mouthful, isn't it? By the time we're done with this, you're going to have that memorized. Because that is the glory of the gospel.

These themes are all encompassed and wrapped up in this section of 2 Corinthians 2, 14 to 5, 21. The key verse is chapter 3, verse 18. Look there with me.

But we all, 3, 18, but we all, he didn't say y'all, he said we all. Is there a contraction for that? Wall? No. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord. Can you say that? Do you know that? Do you understand that?

Is it real in your life? Are you being transformed? We're in a battle. There is a battle for your life. There's a battle for your mind.

There's a battle for your heart. And there is an enemy of the soul. And Paul says in verse 11, we are not ignorant of his devices. He's an enemy of God. He is but a fallen angel. He is not divine. He is not deity. He doesn't have the attributes of deity. He's not omniscient. He's not omnipotent. He's a created being. But he is a supernatural being. But he is a deceiver.

He is an accuser. And here is his work. You know what his work is? His work is, are you listening to this? His work is very simple and it's subtle. His work is to distract you away from God and to lead you to think that you know better.

That's his work. Very simple, isn't it? It started from the beginning. It started way back in the garden. Keep your finger in 2 Corinthians. Turn with me back to Genesis 3.

We know the story. Adam and Eve are in the garden. There is one tree that is forbidden. God says, don't go near it. Don't go touch it. Don't eat of that because something bad is going to happen when you do. One prohibition.

That's all there is. Why? Because genuine love must be tested.

It must be free and spontaneous. The serpent comes to Eve and the woman said, no, we can't eat of that tree lest you die. Look at verse 4, Genesis 3, 4.

Then the serpent said to the woman, you will not die. For God knows that in the day that you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil. You know what that is? That's the first commercial. What do commercials tell us? Immediate gratification, act now. It's there. It's plastered all over them.

And we're going to be watching all the funniest ones tonight, aren't we? Immediate gratification, act now. You need this.

You want this. Act now. Those are his tactics. And his tactics subtly distract you away from God. Look what happened, verse 6. Put yourself in this verse. You are Eve, verse 6. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes and the tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.

She also gave to her husband with her and he ate. And we are living the rest of the story of a broken world that needs rescue. And it is the gospel of grace that gives us hope because it is the gospel that changes lives. But we know the enemy.

We are not ignorant of his devices. And as Paul talks about and celebrates and manifest and outlines the glory of the gospel, he begins in verse 17, Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph and through us diffuses the fragrance of his knowledge in every place. As I have surrendered myself to Christ in faith, that brings transformation. It changes my life at the core so that in me is a principle of life that did not exist before.

It is the doctrine of regeneration. It's what it means to be born again. It means I am in his parade. I'm marching to his drum beat. And yes, there are crowds surrounding me and some of those crowds, many in those crowds might be jeering, some of them are cheering. But there is no mistaking the power of the gospel in a life genuinely transformed.

And I have witnessed it even from my childhood where I grew up as a missionary in Columbia, South America. And this man, his name was Marcelino, and he worked in a tire shop. And he went on payday. The first place he would go was to the bar.

He would spend half of his paycheck there before he comes home to his two room house and beats his wife and five children. And he responded in faith to the gospel of grace. And God transformed his life so that when my parents left the mission field, Marcelino was the pastor of the church. That's the glory of the gospel. In his book, Has Christianity Failed You? Ravi Zacharias points to one of the greatest proofs for the truth and the reality of the resurrection of Christ. It is the changed lives of Christians. Because if you want to know what the gospel is, just turn three pages back, if you have the right Bible.

No, I'm just kidding. First Corinthians chapter 15, we delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. That's the gospel. And he did that in your place in mind. That's the gospel. Very simple, isn't it?

Why? Because we're broken and we need rescue. We cannot rescue ourselves. Ravi Zacharias writes this, during the course of nearly forty years I have traveled to virtually every continent and seen or heard some of the most amazing testimonies of God's intervention in the most extreme circumstances. I have seen hardened criminals touched by the message of Jesus Christ and their hearts turned toward good in a way that no amount of rehabilitation could have accomplished. I have seen ardent followers of radical belief systems turned from being violent brutal terrorists to become mild tender hearted followers of Jesus Christ.

I have seen nations where the gospel banned and silenced by governments has nevertheless conquered the ethos and minds of an entire culture. And then Ravi says in his own words, he lists his own examples to Christ's power and transformed lives. He says, I've been in the Middle East and marveled at the community at the commitment of young people who have risked their lives to attend a Bible study.

British author A.N. Wilson, who only a few years ago was known for his scathing attacks on Christianity, celebrated Easter at a church with a group of other church members proclaiming that the story of the Jesus of the gospels is the only story that makes sense out of life and its challenges. Wilson said, my own return to faith has surprised none more than myself.

My belief has come about in large measure because of the lives and examples of people I have known, not the famous, not saints, but friends and relations who have lived and faced death in light of the resurrection story or in the quiet acceptance that they have a future after they die. That's the glory of the gospel. You see, we're broken, we're all broken, every one of us. We need restoration. And the gospel brings that restoration. The gospel changes our lives, the gospel transforms our lives. And you say, man, I'm broken, how can I be of any good if I'm a broken person, I'm still getting over my brokenness.

Here's good news for you. Vance Havner writes it this way, God uses broken things. Broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength.

It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter weeping bitterly who returns to greater power than ever. The glory of the gospel is the restoration of that which is broken.

And this Peter who wept bitterly is the one who wrote this, you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. That's the glory of the gospel. Amazing grace. How sweet the sound.

My chains are gone. Thanks for joining us here at Delight in Grace. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-16 12:12:49 / 2024-04-16 12:17:24 / 5

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