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Sacrifice Outlives Survival, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2024 10:00 am

Sacrifice Outlives Survival, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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May 8, 2024 10:00 am

Today’s message from 2 Cor. 4:7-15 is titled Sacrifice Outlives Survival. Our life on this earth, as Job put it, is few days and full of trouble, but we have immortal souls. We are meant to spend eternity with our Maker. It is clear that Paul believed this truth down to his core through his willingness to take risks for Christ and live with abandon. Malcolm Muggeridge writes, “ I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus”.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Today's message from 2 Corinthians 4, 7 through 15 is titled Sacrifice Outlives Survival. You're listening to the second part of this sermon, which was first preached at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem on March 16, 2014. We can't imagine the hardship that the apostle Paul had to experience, and he will cover that a little bit later on in this book, in this letter.

But just reading from this here, understand this. Never once did Paul conclude that God had forsaken him. Even in all the adversity that he faced, never once did the apostle conclude that God had forsaken him. You see, for Paul, it wasn't about his physical well-being. It wasn't about his physical survival.

He was pleased to give himself with abandon. And in terms of survival, it could be physically. In terms of survival, it could be emotionally. In terms of survival, it could be a preoccupation with what people think about you or with what people can do to you. Paul knew very well what people could do to him, and many of them did do it to him.

Many of us know very well what people can think about you. But if our preoccupation is our own survival, then that will distract us away from the character, from manifesting the character and purpose of God. We will be concerned about the well-being of the clay pot instead of manifesting the beauty within the pot. Job chapter 14 and verse 1, man is of few days and full of trouble. How true that is. But for Paul, survival was not his concern, and why is that?

I think we know why, but it's good to say it. The issue of longevity of life, had that been settled for Paul? The issue of longevity of life? Was it settled for him? Yes or no?

Absolutely yes. The issue of longevity of life had been 100% settled for him. He had this thing called eternal life.

So maintaining life was not an issue for him. Paul was the one who could say, and you and I can say, it is well with my soul. Now, how can we be when we get to that point, when we can say it is well with my soul, therefore what happens with my physical being is not a preoccupation of mine. What did this mean for Paul? Because he could say it is well with my soul. The issue of longevity of life had long been settled for him, and therefore what did this mean for Paul?

It meant that he could invest himself with abandon, and he did. Sacrifice outlives survival. Let me put it another way, donation of your life trumps duration, speaking in physical terms. The donation of your life trumps the duration of your physical being. You see, this is a common paradox that we see throughout the Scriptures, and particularly in the New Testament. It is this, that life comes from sacrificed life. Life proceeds from sacrificed life. Jesus made this point very clearly in John chapter 12 verses 24 to 26. Please read this with me if you can see it. Everybody, let's read together. Most assuredly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone.

But if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, let him follow me, and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my father will honor. Those are amazing words.

Amazing words. And this is a key truth and principle in the New Testament that sacrificed life produces more life. Hence the title of today's message, Sacrifice Outlives Survival. This was Paul's approach. Now, Paul was willing to sacrifice and invest himself with abandon. And he did so. And what are the outcomes of his own personal sacrifice in his ministry as he lived alone to serve God?

What are the outcomes of that? In other words, you take that clay pot. Paul himself was the clay pot, but what was the beautiful thing that grew in that clay pot?

Here is the flowering plant. Verse 7, the excellency of the power of God. This is one of the most well-known statements of 2 Corinthians where God says, my strength is made perfect in what? Your weakness.

You see, what is that? That is the beautiful flowering plant in the clay pot. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. Verses 10 and 11, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies. Again, verse 11, the life of Jesus also manifested in our mortal flesh.

He is speaking of our physical beings. This jar of clay, this earthen pot is simply there to manifest the beauty of God's character and purpose. The life of Jesus manifested. Verse 12, look what he says, so then death is working in us, but life in you. Sacrificed life produces more life.

Life is working in you. Verse 15, thanksgiving abounds to God's glory. You see, when I surrender myself to my sovereign, and I live for the audience of one, and I live as if his is the only opinion that counts, this is what flows from it. It was Paul who said in Philippians chapter 1, that with all boldness as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.

Do you hear the words there? The words of a man, the disposition of a man whose physical well-being and survival is not a concern to him, except for the fact that his body can be used as an instrument to manifest the character and purpose of Christ. He said, for me to live is Christ, to die is gain. What does he mean here when he says that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body, the life of Jesus.

Let's consider two things here. What does it mean if the life of Jesus is manifested in my physical being? It's his character. With my physical being, I can manifest Christ's character of serving. The mind of Christ is that others are more important than myself. Jesus personified that. He lived that.

It was his mission. Philippians chapter 2 is all about that. That is the mind of Christ, but also if my body manifests the life of Jesus, I believe there's a second element to it because he mentions this coming down into verse 14, and it is the resurrection. The life of Jesus is the fact that Jesus died and was buried and then he rose again. So it is the hope and the power of resurrection that I may know him and the fellowship of his sufferings and the power of his resurrection. He says in Philippians chapter 3, he begins chapter verse 14 saying, knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus, listen to the confidence there. What is that? That is that Paul is living in confidence.

Why? Because in history, at a point in time in history, the physical person Jesus walked out of the grave. It's history. And because of that history, Paul now lives in the confidence that he too one day will do the same thing, not because it's wishful thinking, not because somebody just said so, but because somebody actually did it. Knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and will present us with you. So it's living in that level of confidence because death has been overcome and therefore my survival is not my preoccupation. It's an incredible disposition, an attitude, isn't it?

The effectiveness of it, oh my. What we see here is this disposition in the context of juxtaposed to system or systemic opposition. Paul lived in that and it's what you and I are called to live in as well. We are called to live in a system.

Our context of life is a system of opposition. And if you're reading the news at all, if you're up on current events and all, you are becoming keenly aware that the system is becoming more and more in opposition to the character and purpose of Christ. 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 / 2024-05-08 10:11:48 / 2024-05-08 10:15:43 / 4

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