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Delight Instead of Despair, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2024 8:27 am

Delight Instead of Despair, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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May 15, 2024 8:27 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 three of a message first preached on March 23, 2014 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. 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, 1 and 2, 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. Look at, he says, look at, why can he look at the things which are not seen?

Here's why. Because in history, the infinite God of the universe has given us enough to look at to be confident of the things that are yet unseen. There is a historicity to the Christian faith.

It is a faith system that is built upon people and the events in history specifically focused on one person. There is what Ravi Zacharias calls an empirical adequacy to the Christian faith. For example, look at John chapter 20. John chapter 20 verses 29 to 31.

Remember, this is after the resurrection. Thomas comes to him and Thomas is the one who said, unless I see, I will what? Not believe. I've got to see it before I believe it. He must have been from the state of Missouri, the show me state.

All right. And Jesus says to him, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. And then John, the apostle John continues this in his gospel. And truly, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

An eyewitness account of actual history, person and events in history. That same John in his first letter, first John one, one to three. This is how he begins his letter. That which we have heard, which we have seen, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled concerning the word of life. That which was manifested to us, we have seen and bear witness and declare to you that eternal life, which was with the father and was manifested to us. That which we have seen and heard, we declare to you.

Here's what all this is saying. We look at the things that are not seen. Why can we do that? Because we have seen enough to know that what we're looking at is true.

And we can expect it. And so he says, we're looking at the things that are unseen. But he also says that we are not looking at the things that are seen. We are not looking at the things that are seen. Listen to this. What we pursue is partially defined by what we do not pursue. The here and the now, the physical.

Remember what we said? This is nothing but clay pots. This is not permanent.

Therefore, it is not paramount. It is temporary. And the Lord said, this is a groaning. The Lord teaches us this is a groaning creation.

This is what the Lord said in Matthew chapter 6 verses 19 to 21. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth. They will rot. They will be taken away from you. But instead, lay up treasures in heaven. They don't rot. They don't take it. They're not taken away from you. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Paul is reiterating exactly the same thing right here. In other words, we're not in passionate pursuit of the physical things of the here and now. Not even my body. The survival of my body is not a paramount concern in my life.

Why? Because it's temporary. And the temporary things of this existence are at best fleeting. They will one day be gone.

Oftentimes, they're very frustrating. But that doesn't mean we're just simply called to asceticism where we just abandon everything physical as much as we can. That's not what the Lord is teaching us. He teaches us that we have to be persevering stewards of what he has entrusted to us. Understanding that behind it all there's purpose. Even in the adversity that we face.

Let's look at this practically for just a couple of moments here. Concerning the things that we are pursuing in our lives. Do you find yourself ever saying, I'm just too busy to pray and to consume God's word? Last week, Gary gave us testimony to his practice of just reading huge chunks of scripture. And he gets a bigger picture and it's all in context.

And the Lord's given him through that much better understanding of the scriptures. Are you too busy to do that? Are you too busy to commune with God in prayer and consuming his word? Then I have a question for you. Are you too busy to breathe?

Because that to you spiritually is the same thing as breathing is to you physically. Are you suffocating? You might say in the pursuit of the physical things of this earth, I have too much debt.

I have too much financial responsibility or too many liabilities to give. I don't have any significant proportion. Maybe it's time to rediscover contentment and generosity. The statistics are showing this generation that's coming up is not all that generous. It's not me saying that.

Those are statistics by numerous organizations. Where's generosity going? Maybe it's because we're so much in pursuit of physical things. We need to learn contentment and generosity, which may mean for some of us downsizing a little bit.

I don't know. Number three, do you say, you know, I just don't have enough time to connect with God's people. And we're all about that here. We are intentional about developing a community of grace that loves God demonstrated by loving people in a culture of discipleship.

What does that mean? It assumes that people connect with each other. Are you too busy to connect with God's people? Then I would ask you to do this.

Reassess the things that will make a difference 100 years from now. And I think you will find that they are not things. Lastly, are you too preoccupied with your own emotional safety to reach out to the unregenerate? Or even like Paul, he had right to be preoccupied with his physical safety for reaching out to the unregenerate.

But he did, because his physical survival was not a primary concern to him. But maybe you do find yourself preoccupied with your own emotional safety even just to reach out to the unregenerate. Then I would invite you to take the initiative to serve and love one who is not yet reconciled to God. You see, the things that we pursue are to some degree defined by the things that we do not pursue. But he says, we don't look at the things that we see.

We look at the things that we do not see. Those are the eternal things. The eternal things are the lasting things. Those are the things that restore me, that restore my soul.

And I find myself, Paul says, in passionate pursuit of those things. I am laying up treasures in heaven. Why? Because that's where my citizenship is. That is where I belong. I belong here.

I'm just passing through. I'm not building a mansion here. I'm simply living in a tent. And that's, by the way, what he says when we get into chapter 5. This physical body he equates to a tent. It's a temporary thing.

He's not putting his stakes down too deep, is he? Let me say this also. If you are in Christ, if you are a child of God, the things eternal where your citizenship lies, your communion with God through prayer and consuming his word, listen to me. That is your element. That's your element. Like water is the element for the fish. So is breathing to us physically.

Fixing your gaze on the things not yet seen based on the things we have seen. That is our element because that's where our citizenship lies. That's where we belong. The psalmist knew this. Psalm 63. I love this passage of scripture.

Look what he says. How precious is your loving kindness, O God. Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings and are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of your house. And you give them drink from the river of your pleasures. For with you is the fountain of life. In your light, we see light. That is a good text.

He knew where to find his satisfaction. And so I would encourage you, loved ones, to drink deep from God's fountain. Breathe deep in communion with God. And you will find yourself being renewed day by day. Your inward man, your inward person being renewed day by day. And though outwardly, you may be engulfed in the frustrations of a fallen creation. And you will be able to delight even in adversity.

You will not despair. Let me conclude with one brief quote from C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.

Aim at earth and you will get neither. 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 / 2024-05-15 10:23:04 / 2024-05-15 10:27:45 / 5

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