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Delight Instead of Despair, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
May 14, 2024 7:33 am

Delight Instead of Despair, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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May 14, 2024 7:33 am

If the universe is without a designer, if life holds no purpose, if we are only material and all of life’s happenings are random acts of chance, what hope do we have? But the Bible teaches us that we don't have to live in such despair. What delight to know that even in the face of great difficulty, we need not lose heart! God’s character and purpose reverberate loudly through the pain and frustration of this fallen world! Let’s listen as Pastor Rich unpacks 2 Cor. 4:16-18 in this message titled Delight instead of Despair.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem.

If the universe is without a designer, if life holds no purpose, if we're only material and all of life's happenings are just random acts of chance, what hope do we have? But the Bible teaches us that we don't have to live in such despair. What delight to know that even in the face of great difficulty, we don't need to lose heart. God's character and purpose reverberate loudly through the pain and frustration of this fallen world. Let's listen as Pastor Rich unpacks 2 Corinthians 4, 16 through 18 in this message titled Delight Instead of Despair. This is part two of a message first preached on March 23, 2014 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Whatever is, listen to me, whatever is going on in your life at this very moment, God is working in you. There is purpose behind this. Alicia gave her testimony this morning and I want you to know something. All I did was ask her to give a living picture.

I had no idea what she was going to speak about. It becomes very clear that the same spirit works among us, okay? Because what this tells us is that God is good. Look at me, please. There is never a time when God is not good.

What does that mean? Everything that He does is good, everything. You look at the afflictions that the Apostle Paul experienced. Not once did he arrive at the conclusion that God had forsaken him, not once.

There was purpose behind it all and his objective was the Lord Jesus Christ. He was not going to allow himself to be distracted by the frustrating characteristics of the fallen creation. Too often we try to use God to change our circumstances while He is using our circumstances to change us. Tim Bascom writes in his writing, The Comfort Trap, spiritual dangers in the convenience culture. He says, we're too comfortable to be spiritual. We think we will be able to pursue God better without danger or hardship and yet it works in just the opposite way. Nothing is more difficult than to grow spiritually when comfortable. That's the dilemma the American church faces.

That's why the believer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, his reaction to his exile in a Soviet labor camp was to bless it. Because it was there he discovered that, and I'm quoting from him now, the meaning of earthly existence lies not as we have grown used to thinking in prospering, but in the development of the soul. Romans 8 28, we know that all things, in all things God works together for good to those who love Him. The development of the soul, moving us Christ word. That is our good and that is the good that He's accomplishing in us. Consider the words of the psalmist in Psalm 119. Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good.

Teach me your statutes. It is good for me that I have been afflicted. Only one who knows God can say that. Also, Psalm 66, very striking statement here.

I love this. Psalm 66, for you, O God, have tested us. You have refined us as silver. You laid affliction on our backs. We went through fire and through water, but you brought us out to rich fulfillment. You see, there is purpose behind it.

It is not blind, pitiless indifference. So what is this? When Paul says we do not lose heart, he says I delight instead of despair.

What is it that he's looking for? This thing that is working in us. It is working for us.

It is working for us towards what? This is what he says in verse 17, for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Now listen, Paul was a scholar, he knew Greek, but he also knew Hebrew very well. And I can't help but think that when he uses the phrase eternal weight of glory, he's thinking of a particular Hebrew word, which is the word kabod. Kabod, it's translated weight, it's translated glory. For example, when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea and they ended up at the foot of Mount Sinai, and God came down to the top of the mountain, and there was thundering and lightning, and everything was shaking, even the people.

And they said, Moses, you go talk to him, we can't handle it. That's kabod. It is a sense of weightiness. It is a word that is translated that way. It is also the word that is commonly translated glory. So he says, working for us a far more eternal weight of glory.

It is a sense of impact and a sense of awe. The apostles in the New Testament affirmed, like John says, we shall be like him. Imagine yourself in character, perfectly like the Son of God.

Oh, how I long to be that. And even Paul said, we shall ever be with the Lord. So our glory is that we will be forever with him, just like him.

That's our glory. Paul says earlier in 1 Corinthians 2, eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him. But his spirit has revealed them to us. So we have just enough of a glimpse of the glory that God has waiting for us. There is something far better than the here and now that is coming and waiting for us. An eternal weight of glory. In other words, what is that? What is it that awaits us?

Please listen to this. What awaits you and me is complete, absolute satisfaction. Don't look for it here because you're not going to find it. That's how so many people get so frustrated because they're looking for all their satisfaction here and it won't come.

It won't come. Not only is it an eternal weight of glory, he says it's a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory. That word in the Greek is, if you transliterate it, it's our English word, hyperbole. Translating the Greek, hyperbole.

And it means an extraordinary to an extraordinary degree. And this is how Paul is describing it. Romans 8, 18, for I am convinced that the sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. That's a tremendous promise, isn't it?

This is not just positive thinking. This is stuff that's built on history. This is God's word. This is God's self-disclosure to us.

And I can be confident of that because of what has happened in history. We'll talk about that a little more later. But this next the next illustration I have printed on the back of the bulletin and it's from Tim Keller and he talks about his wife, when he and his wife travel by the ocean or some body of water and she thinks about where the house was, the vacation home that her family grew up in. And it's no longer there. It's just all gone. And the sense of loss that she has, thinking about it, remembering it and seeing it there no more.

Then Keller says this. Christ's resurrection offers something unique. Even religions that promise a kind of spiritual future or spiritual bliss only offer consolation for what you've lost. But the resurrection of Christ even promises the restoration of what you've lost. You don't just get your body back. You get the body you always wanted but never had. Isn't that cool?

I could poke fun at my oldest brother who is here today, but I won't do that. You get the life that you always wanted, but you never had. You get it back. The life that you always wanted, but you never get. You don't get it here, but you get it there. Here's what Keller says, but Jesus Christ is walking proof that you will miss nothing.

Nothing. It's all coming in the future. It's going to be unambiguously wonderful. There is no religion, no philosophy, no human being who can offer this kind of future. And as Christians, our hope for the future is based on the historical fact of the resurrection. So if you're not a Christian, let me ask, why wouldn't you want that? Even if you don't like different aspects of the Christian faith, why wouldn't you want this hope for restoration?

You're not being honest with yourself if you don't want that. This takes us to the how. How is it that Paul can say we do not lose heart? How is it that the inward man is being renewed day by day? How is it that a man who suffers so much adversity can say, I delight, I do not despair? How is the inward man renewed day by day? And we get this in verse 18, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. Let me read that for you a little bit.

This is the how. We look at the things which are not seen. That's what he says. We look at the things which are not seen.

Now, that sounds a tad bit oxymoronic, doesn't it? How do you look at something that's not seen? The word look is the word scopeo, which means to pay careful attention, to keep thinking about. It's very similar to what we have in Hebrews 12, one and two, where he says, looking unto Jesus, in other words, fixing your gaze on the finish line, the objective of your life, of your faith. Here's something that we need to understand. Just because something is not seen doesn't mean it's not real. Question, have you seen your brain?

Case closed. 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 / 2024-05-14 08:09:36 / 2024-05-14 08:14:11 / 5

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