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8 Keys To A Lasting Ministry - Part 3

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2023 9:32 pm

8 Keys To A Lasting Ministry - Part 3

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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June 4, 2023 9:32 pm

May 31, 2023 – Message from Pastor Josh Bevan

            Main Scripture Passage:  2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Topic: Ministry


            Download SCRIPTURE REFERENCE

A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

If you have your Bibles tonight, flip over to 2 Corinthians chapter number four.

It feels like a long time since we've been here. It's good to be back preaching on a Wednesday night. So 2 Corinthians chapter number four, and when you find your place, we're actually going to, it's 18 verses, but we're going to be reviewing some of that chapter as we've looked at. This is a part three sermon, so if you would find your place, we'll stand and read in verse one down to verse number 18.

So if you have not read a chapter of the Bible today, you're about to get that, all right? Verse number four, if you'd read verse number, or verse number one, if you'd read verse one with me. Therefore, seeing we have this ministry as we have received mercy, we faint not. He goes on to say in verse two, but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. If you'd read verse three and four with me, but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. He says, for we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earth and vessel that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.

If you'd read verse eight and nine with me, we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believe, therefore have I spoken.

We also believe and therefore speak, knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God, for which cause we faint not, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. He says, for our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

And then if you'd read verse 18 in conclusion, while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Father, your word is again our joy. We pray that you would bless tonight as we assemble together to learn and grow that we might be able to be lights in this world for the glory of God. Lord, we live in a world today that is in so much need of truth, and we pray that we would be messengers of that truth. Help us to be faithful and help us to be fruitful, and may we do it all for your glory. If anyone tonight doesn't know Christ, may this be the night of their salvation.

We ask it in Jesus' name and all God's people said, and you may be seated. Well, in our service on earth to our Lord, we will face obstacles and challenges and hardships and struggles. Jesus never said the narrow path would be the easy path, did he?

Pilgrim's Progress, if you've ever read that book or never read that book, you should. It's a very wonderful and one of the best-selling books ever to be written, only to be beaten out by the Bible and Webster's dictionary, written by a Christian who was in a prison for preaching. Paul was no stranger to the pains that that path provided for him from persecution to imprisonments. He faced beatings. He faced being whipped. He faced imprisonments, people trying to kill him, those who lied about him, but he also faced the friendly fire of people inside of churches that were attacking him.

In 2 Corinthians 11, he says in verse 28, beside those things which are without that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Yet Paul was one who just never quit. He faced incredible low times. He never threw in the towel. He fought a good fight. He finished his course.

And as he writes in 2 Timothy 4, he kept the faith. I like what Dave Brandon wrote in our Daily Bread. He said, what would you think of a baseball player who played seven seasons without hitting the ball in fair territory? One of the best players of all time, Mickey Mantle, did the equivalent of that.

His walks and strikeouts add up to more than 3,400 trips to the plate, which would be seven seasons worth. Or what would you think of an inventor who failed hundreds of times in his experiments? Thomas Edison, perhaps the greatest inventor in American history, spent many long months failing before he found a filament that would stay lit in his incandescent light. The lesson behind these experiences is clear. We have to look beyond the failures to keep persevering.

Well, isn't that true in our Christian life? I can't think, he says, of a better example of someone who persevered despite apparent failure than the Apostle Paul. His list of failures would lead most of us to quit. For one, the people in a church he founded in Corinth stumbled badly.

For another, he went to prison numerous times, thrown in shipwrecks, beatings and betrayals, and you could have a picture of defeat. Yet Paul's ministry is remembered for its unmistakable success. Let's learn to look past our failures, because by God's mercy, we need not to lose heart. And tonight I want to look at how we can have a lasting ministry. And I believe there are keys that are in this chapter that really define why Paul was able to continue in the ministry and last like he did. And 2 Corinthians is the most personal of all the books that Paul ever wrote.

He's very open. He just really pours his heart out in a very clear way. When you read verse 1 as well as verse 16, he uses the phrase we faint not. And it's a phrase that means giving up due to discouragement, fear, becoming despondent. You quit under the weight of hardships.

And he says, we will not do that. We will continue on and finish the course. And I believe you're here tonight because Jesus means something to you because you're serious about your faith there. There is a desire in your heart to live for Christ. Not every Christian sadly has that same passion and focus.

Many have been pulled into the cares of this world and lesser motivations of living. But tonight you have shown that you have a desire to hear the word of God, to sit under it, to receive it. And I would encourage you to place these eight keys in your life and really make them a focal point for your own ministries that God has called you to. And all of us have a ministry to fulfill. There's something that God has you on earth to do. It's not just to live.

It's not just to breathe. It is to serve him, to minister to him. And the vehicle through which he has called us to minister to is primarily through the church and our physical families, to minister to those he's given to us in our marriage and our children, but also to those in our spiritual family and then to this lost world. So the first key we saw was in verse number one.

And I just want to review the first five and then we'll look at the next three. We looked at these earlier in May and the first one was recognizing ministry is a gift of mercy. He says in verse one, therefore seeing we have this ministry as we have received mercy. And so Paul was struck by the reality that everything he was able to do for God was never something that he earned that he worked for.

It was a gift. You have to realize that everything we do for God at lighthouse, everything you do in service to God in his church is a get to not a have to. We always raise our kids with the idea that, hey, we get to go to church tomorrow. We don't have to go.

We get to go. We get to serve the Lord. We get to serve in whatever capacity of ministry and whatever area. So always remember that and be overwhelmed with the mercy of God. And I can tell you people who many times will get burned out of ministry, get burned out of something.

They lose sight that that is a gift that they were given. Because when you have a great esteem and appreciation for what you're able to do for God, then it's hard to be ever burn out of that. Secondly, have integrity. He says in verse two, but we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth. And the word integrity comes from a Latin word integrity, which means the whole of something.

And here it's the whole of a character, not a fraction of a character. And so to have a lasting ministry, you have to be authentic. You have to be real.

You have to be genuine. That's why staying in a church your entire life is important, not jumping from this church to that church to next year going to another church. And sometimes you see people do that.

They're always jumping and jumping and jumping, and there's no stability to them. It's important for people to know you for long seasons of your life, to know you and your strengths and your weaknesses, your ups and downs, because they can help hold you accountable, right? I can tell you if you come to Lighthouse long enough, you will be tempted about something to, well, maybe I'll just find another church.

You have to ask yourself the question, is that what God wants you to do? How strong would a family be if you had that mindset? How strong would a sports team be? How strong would a company be?

Nothing strong like that, is it? And so praise God. And Paul, he's still dealing with the church of Corinth, four letters deep, years of ministry, and he just never threw in the towel.

So have integrity. Thirdly, remember that the gospel is the only hope for the lost. He shares that in verse three and four, if our gospels hit, it's hit to them that are lost. How could we ever quit when we have the only saving message for this world?

If we had the cure for cancer and we just stopped sharing it, how selfish would that be? We have to keep going because people need Christ. Fourthly, center your ministry and preaching on Christ. Verse five, he says, remember, we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord. And that has to be the focus of everybody's ministry, is the preaching of Christ. When people write out their testimonies to share, we always tell them, make the theme of your testimony, Jesus Christ and him crucified. You don't want to have a testimony that doesn't bring up Jesus early and often. He needs to be the center of even our testimony. When we begin to talk about how we came to Christ, Christ needs to come up early and often. So focus on Christ. When you share the gospel, center it on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Number five, rely on God's power in the midst of trials. And we saw that in verse eight down to verse number 12. In verse seven, Paul likens the believer to a clay pot.

He says, we have this treasure and earthen vessel. These clay pots were, you know, one by a dozen for a dollar. I mean, they were just so cheap and people would put, you know, things inside of them. And it wasn't the clay pot that was of value because you could break it and throw it away.

It was just no big deal. But what was contained in those clay pots was what was the value. And he says, we're just a fragile clay pot, but we have this treasure inside this earthen vessel or this clay pot.

And as brittle and as weak as this clay pot is, it was able to withstand so much turbulence. He says in verse eight, we are troubled on every side. It's a word that means to be squeezed like grapes being squeezed to retract the juice out of them.

And here, Paul is the grape. He says, but we're not distressed, referring to a confined narrow way. We may be under pressure, but we're not confined to that. Verse eight goes on to say we are perplexed, but not in despair. That perplex means we're puzzled. We were in a situation.

It's very difficult how to solve this, but we're not utterly at a loss. It's the idea of saying we are at a loss, but not a total loss. Verse nine, he says we're persecuted, but not forsaken. We may be hated by the world and chased by the world and beaten by the world, but Jesus has never forsaken us. And then he says we're cast down, but not destroyed. And so you see that through all of this, he was able to overcome as a frail, weak, brittle, inexpensive clay jar who contained the priceless treasure that was able to sustain him and unimaginable onslaughts of the enemy. So, and then in verse 10, Paul ties together these four paradoxical statements into a powerful truth.

He says in verse number 10, always bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. And the glorious truth you find is this, the trials of life that were designed by the enemy to destroy you, in fact, become the tools to carve off the fleshly parts of our life so that Christ can be seen more in us. Do you ever feel like things in life make you weaker? But then you look back and you're like, you know what?

Those were things that actually made me stronger. And that's what God can do. Because what happens is you get pushed to places where you can only rely on God.

You begin to say, you know what? There's no one else I can lean on. And sometimes God will do things to remove every other item to hold you up, every other crutch to hold you up.

And the only hand you can reach out to lean upon is the Lord's. You see that in David's life. You know, David's wife, Michael was taken from him. He had to run away. He couldn't be around his family because that wasn't safe anymore.

They knew where they lived. Jonathan was taken away from him. Even at the end of his end there, when he was running from Saul, he went away with the Philistines to battle and they said, no, you're going to turn on us. And so he went back and they found that all of their children and possessions were taken at the end of 1 Samuel, I believe is in chapter 30. And literally everything in David's life was removed from him. And it says in the men that he was with, these 600 men said that they were talking about killing David because when they went to this battle, all their stuff was taken, all their wives and children. And the Bible says when he had lost everything in his life, everything was taken from him. It uses this phrase and David encouraged himself in the Lord. And there's going to be seasons of life where the Lord is all you have and you'll realize he's all you need, right?

And that's so true. And then we see number six, if you're going to last in ministry, if you're going to have a persevering faith that finishes the course and keeps the faith, you verse 13 have to have conviction not to waiver. He says in verse 13, we having the same spirit of faith according as it is written, I believed and therefore have I spoken. We also believed and therefore speak. One thing a faithful believer must do to have a lasting, impactful, God bless ministries to have a deep in your soul conviction not to waiver. You must believe in what you speak and speak what you believe in. And this is probably the thing that is most irritating when it comes to politicians, isn't it?

You ever vote for somebody and then six months later that are doing the opposite of what they said they were going to do a year later and they go back on their word and and uh, you know, once they got your vote, then they, they, they weaken up and it's like, you know, you just want somebody with some backbone, don't you? Somebody with some conviction, your beliefs cannot be based upon the acceptance of the message by the world. Rather your life and message must be based upon something that transcends that it's gotta be based upon God.

It's gotta be based upon the word of God. Notice what Paul bases his conviction on, what he aligns it with. He says, we having the same spirit of faith and then he uses this phrase according as it is written, we having the same spirit of faith, the same spirit as who?

Who's he talking about? Well, what you find here, he, he refers back to Psalms one 16 the same spirit that he's speaking of is the same spirit that David had in Psalm one 16 when David went through some heavy seasons. Listen to some verses out of Psalm one 16 David said, the sorrows of death come past to me and the pains of hell or she old the place of the departed that get hold upon me and I found trouble and sorrow. He says in verse six of Psalm 16 one 16 I was brought low and he helped me. Verse eight he says for thou has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. And then he says this, I believed therefore have I spoken.

I was greatly afflicted. You know, you, you see where Paul in the midst of verse eight through 10 were troubled on every side, not distressed, perplexed, not in despair, persecuted, not forsaken, cast down, not destroyed. You ever, you ever read?

Let me ask you a question. Where do you turn to in the Bible when you're going through like a really heavy season? You go to the Psalms. What else do you read when you're like everything's taken from you in life? You go to the book of Job.

We go to these places, don't we? We read about what other people in difficult situations say, and we know that that Paul must have been a companion and reading these texts from the Psalms of David and, and just finding comfort. He, he must have, he must have learned so much from someone 16 that, you know, he didn't have the New Testament.

He didn't have all these things that we have. And so he grew up with the Old Testament and that's what was instilled in his heart. And in the midst of all these trials, he, he finds that David believed and therefore he spoke. David was a man of conviction, you know, trials, affliction, and even the threat of death did not deter David.

David believed, therefore he spoke. I think about Daniel chapter three, three teenage boys, Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, you know, taken away from their homeland. Parents were probably killed. These, these young teenagers are taught a new language that are given new names. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are their Babylonian names. Names that they grew up with Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael were names that honor God.

Now they're having names that honor pagan deities, taught a new language, new customs, new diets, all of these things. Nebuchadnezzar builds a 90 foot golden image to himself because he's that awesome. And he is, um, commanding everyone. When the Sabbath harp trump and all these different instruments begin to play that you have to fall down and worship the golden image.

Well, the musicians begin to play the Chaldeans sound off the band. Everybody falls except three guys. Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, and they wouldn't bow down and Nebuchadnezzar is so outraged by these three guys. Daniel three has the story. I mean, what do you do if you're three teenagers and the most powerful man in the world is calling you to bow down and if you don't bow down, you will be burned alive the day of. There is no court hearing.

You're just toast. Verse 14 says, Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, is it true? Oh, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods nor worship the golden image which I have set up. And he thinks he's being very merciful here. Verse 15 because he likes these guys.

I mean, if you read a couple of chapters back, these were like the cream of the crop. He really liked, he liked these, these three young guys. He says, now if you be ready that at what time you hear the sound of the cornet flute harpsack, but sultry dulcimer and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the image which I have made. Well, but if you worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour in the myth of a burning fiery furnace and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

You know, it's three teenagers. They could have said, let's bow down with our bodies, but not with our hearts. Let's bow down externally, but not internally. But they were men of conviction. They believe therefore they stood. I bet 90% of Christians would have easily bowed without even thinking about it in our world today. I mean, you have somebody who comes out with transgenderism and they'll be like, well, you know, I think it's, you know, the Bible's old and you know, it's cultural, the Bible.

They begin to say stuff, they back down real quick. Somebody comes out about, I do think it's something that we give one day to our veterans and 30 days to people who have a homosexual desire. How do you have pride month for a month? Where was that vote ever happening? Did anybody have to vote on that? You didn't vote on that, did you?

Wouldn't that have been nice? Well, I can tell you there is a bigger picture that is being forced down the world's throat. You know, I think somebody showed Google didn't even have any picture of veterans or nothing. It was just a blank screen on Veterans Day. This is, this is, this is the, this is what the world thinks of you veterans. Isn't that something we're going to celebrate for? And don't get me started. Let's just go back here.

It's disgusting, isn't it? I would encourage you, don't shop at target. You're free to do whatever you want.

I will never buy a penny of anything from target and I don't drink so bud never will have anything anyway. And it nice to see them guys facing some backlash. I think it's encouraging too when people find out, Hey, we do have a voice. Yeah, it's not just Christians that are against that stuff. And let me say this, I don't hate homosexuals. They're not the enemy.

They're a mission field, right? I mean, they need the gospel. People say, what do you make a big deal out of homosexuality? Well, you know, liars are spoken against in the Bible too.

Yeah, but nobody's having a whole month celebration of liars. Does that make sense? There's difference, isn't there?

Is that right? So back to this, I have all these rabbit trails. These little bunnies are running right now. It's like chasing.

I'm like, no, go back. So it says in verse 16, like what do they do? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said unto the king, Oden, Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. That statement is so dynamite.

It would be, it could be said like this. We don't even need to really answer you on this. Like we, Nebuchadnezzar, we don't even have to respond to this. I've already spoken once.

We are not recanting. In other words, I would rather die than go against my conviction. Your threat of death doesn't sway me. There is no external human force that can affect my convictions. Heaven has defined me. Here I stand. There's nothing else I'm going to do but this. It's just an incredible thing. It's just your parents aren't there.

No one else is there. All your friends from Israel have fallen. Jerusalem piers have fallen. Verse 17, they said, if it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. And then this, but if not be it known unto the O king that we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which thou has set up.

I mean, that is dropping the mic and leaving the stage, isn't it? Most of you would be familiar with the story. He turns the furnace up how many times hotter? Seven times hotter. They bind them in ropes, don't they? And they get their mightiest men and they throw these three teenage boys in a flaming furnace. And when they throw them in, it's so hot that the fire comes out and consumes the guys throwing them in the fire. And Nebuchadnezzar is up there on his little perch looking down and he says, did we not throw three men in the furnace? He says, what is this that I see a fourth and he looks like unto the son of God? Guess who showed up in the midst of that fire? And this is the pre-incarnate Christ. This is who the Bible even refers to as our elder brother, Christ Jesus, the Lord, who the Bible says that the, you know, the ropes came off of them and they, he said, come on out. They come on out.

This says not even the smell of smoke was on them. And Nebuchadnezzar changed his whole tune. Never read Daniel chapter four. I believe Nebuchadnezzar one day will be in heaven.

He, uh, he declares God is the true God and he's a fool. You know, we need to be people of conviction. I believe America is at a terminal state.

I believe this nation is a stage four cancer victim right now. Spiritually. I was, um, during Matthew this morning, chapter 21, Jesus, the triumphal entry. He goes into Jerusalem, sees a fig tree. He's hungry. So he, he stops to eat. And, um, and it's so humbling to think that because his breakfast that morning was walking to see if there's some fruit on a tree. None of us have ever done that in our life. You know what we do? We walk to cabinets that have more than we, we have such a variety.

Um, and then, then we open up a refrigerator that is just teaming with food. Jesus is walking to find figs on a fig tree, doesn't find anything. And so he curses the fig tree.

It's only negative miracle Jesus ever, ever does. And, and he goes on to tell them in Matthew 21, I believe it's verse 43 says, and it's a picture of, of him going to the nation of Israel and there's no fruit there. Do you know what's interesting about the fig tree? It says it had, it was very, very strong with leaves is overflowing with leaves. It looked beautiful, but it had no fruit.

Israel was very religious, externally looked very good, but there was no reality, no substance. And he says, I'm going to take the kingdom of God from you and give it to a nation that brings forth fruit. And as I was reading that this morning, I get a text this morning from a, from a missionary in the Philippines and he says, uh, he's got a picture here with just a hundred pastors, young guys. He says, pastor Josh, exciting news. God's moving powerful ways that our global retreat over a hundred men, including 40 young leaders gathered from Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, us and more. This Saturday we're graduating 1,075 students from global life university.

We have guests coming from South Korea, Cambodia, other provinces have joined us. Thank you for being part of this great gospel ministry. And he goes on to talk about it. I believe God is looking at Americans saying, you, you have rejected me. You don't want me, you want to turn off the light. Then I will take the blessing of the gospel from this nation and giving it to a nation that brings forth fruit thereof.

I mean it, he literally texted me like right when I get done reading that and it's just like how clear that is. And that's sad. It's sad for America. You, you, you want to be a, you want to be a patriot. You're going to be a patriot. Uh, share Christ with this nation is the greatest thing you can do to love this nation. If you love America, you love them with the gospel. You cannot do more for this nation than that. You give them the gospel. I listen, I, I mean nothing against our veterans cause service to our country.

Nothing could be really more honorable in the physical sense. We're so thankful they fought for our freedoms and die for them. But I know many veterans, it just breaks their heart because they know the sacrifice.

I know my grandfather who lost his mind because he went to Vietnam and all the battles he went through and as it takes a toll, not only in your body but on your mind, doesn't it? And to see where nations gone, but we need to be people of conviction, don't we? We need to believe in therefore we speak. It was in the 15th century, the great reformer Martin Luther stood on the trial for his faith that died of worms in Germany. He was challenged to recant his doctrine of salvation by faith and other faithful views to scripture that the Catholic Church had fallen away from. He was threatened to be declared a heretic and possibly burned at the stake. In such a dire strait, this is what Luther said, quote, unless I am convinced by the testimony of, and he's standing before the leaders of the Catholic Church who are threatening his life as they burned many at the stake. He said, unless I am convinced by the testimony of the scriptures and by clear reason, I am bound by the scriptures I have quoted. My conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other.

God help me. Amen. I mean, that's a man of courage and no wonder the reformation just exploded off of that. And so you must believe you. You must have a heart filled with the word of God.

You can't speak what you don't believe, right? I mean, you have to have some deep essential truths in your heart. If you're a young person here who doesn't have a deep faith in Christ, I can tell you this world is going to chew you up and spit you out. If you don't grab a hold of this, you take it lightly, you will fall.

Not might, you will. 75% of young people who grew up in churches fall away. Why is that? Because it was mommy and daddy's faith and they never took it serious and they're going to find themselves. People who attend Lighthouse, young people who don't take it serious, I'm telling you, just so you know, there's going to be young people who have attended this church who didn't take this serious, who find themselves in hell one day, who heard me preach and heard all these things and God will give you over blindness because you took it so light, you better take this serious. And I love to see the faithfulness of so many young people. But I, I grew up with teenagers and young folks that I went to school with who took it light and they have nothing to do with God now.

So sad, so sad. They went off to college, went off to some university and began to believe what that professor said. He was a, I'll just say a moron.

It's going to say, and I held myself back, but Bible refers to him as Mora. So it kind of gives me some liberty. The word means foolish.

Let me give you two more reasons. If you want to have a lasting faith, not only do you have to have a conviction, like to just believe it in, like speak it, but seven maintain the right motive. Jump down to verse 15. It says for all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the Thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. Here in verse 15 we have two great commands of Christ revealed, loving God supremely and loving others.

Sincerely. Paul said, we do all things, all things, all the trials, all the hardships, all of these things for the benefit of the Corinthians, his utter selflessness. He was willing to spend and be spent for them. He endured for their sake so that they might be saved.

He declared in verse 12 that when these persecutions caused death to come to Paul, the benefit was salvation life to the believers at Corinth. You know, one of the keys to faithfully enduring and ministry and service to God is to put others before yourself. Selfishness is a lie. You know, the most miserable people in the world are selfish people. We were all that way and we have some very giving teenagers. It's not just teenagers that have struggled with this, but if you take like a selfish young person, they're the most miserable person to be around and they're the most visible person for themselves.

You can give them whatever they want and they're still miserable. I was a youth pastor for years and I could see this at times and many kids that were selfless and once a kid became selfless, the joy came to their life. I always knew when a kid was growing up was when they begin to do things for others. They wash dishes without their mom or dad telling them. They took out the trash.

They begin to be a grown up and stop living in a make believe adolescent world that's so damaging. And so true story of survivors of Nazi death camps. There was an attitude of determined giving. They said it was one of the things that distinguished people that survived those death camps from those who perished. They said if a prisoner was on the verge of starvation but he had a crust of bread or a scrap of potato that he could share with his comrade and suffering, he was psychologically and spiritually capable of surviving.

A survivor of Treblanka described it this way. In our group we shared everything. The moment one of the group ate something without sharing it we knew it was the beginning of the end for him, end quote.

Yeah, something. Not only did Paul faithfully minister out of his love for others but secondly his motive was not only for others but it was also for what he says there in verse 15, the second part of that, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. As more and more people come to know Christ, more and more would be overwhelmed by the magnanimous grace that has been bestowed upon them and would cause God to receive more and more glory. Paul ministered for the glory of God. He had a vertical motive but a horizontal service. So do you serve God so that God would be honored and glorified?

Do you have a passion and zeal to do things so that others would benefit? Let me give you an eighth and final key to maintaining a lasting ministry and I think this is so rich. Look at verse number 14. He says, knowing that which he was raised up, the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus and shall present us with you. And what you find Paul having here at the end was an eternal perspective. If you go down to verse 16, he continues this thought. He says, for which cause we faint not but though our outward man perish yet the inward man's renewed day by day for our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen but the things that are not seen for the things that are seen are temporal but the things that are not seen are eternal.

And so he believed that he had a deep seated conviction that Jesus Christ resurrection was a prefigurement of his own resurrection and glory. Verse 16 he says for which cause we faint not we don't become weary and well doing for in due season we reap if we don't faint as Galatians says, we don't lose heart in the midst of adversity, trials and oppositions. Those who quit take their eyes off the finish line.

They look at the present pain. If you've been involved in athletics, you know how that can work. I remember when I would be in training or in two days or in college playing basketball, we would run for the first two weeks without hardly even touching a basketball. I mean, he would take us out and run us for two hours. I almost couldn't play because I just would just annoy him. I'm like we just get in shape by playing but it was so miserable. We started practice with a three mile run warm up for basketball. I'm like this is not cross country sir. You always got them little guys who can run forever. It's just annoying.

I just did not enjoy it. And then you go back and you run sprints and after the first two weeks then he really took it easy. The rest of the year is just getting through that. But I just know when you got into training, you couldn't think about like my legs are killing me right now or my side. I got this grant. If you focused on it just made it worse. You said the focus on like one step, you know, I'm just moving forward. I know what I want to do and I just never quit.

Just keep going. People who run marathons, Braden runs these long races. They look at the finish line. They're not thinking about all the pain they're in there.

They're looking ahead. The joy of finishing. And this is this is the Lord and Hebrews 12 two says looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. It was the joy that allowed him to endure the cross and he and he, we didn't find joy in the cross. He found joy in what was past the cross.

He despised the shame and he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. So, so we have to have that view and verse 16 says, but though our outward man perish at the inward man is renewed day by day. This outward man is our physical body, the clay pot, the part of us that is perishable. You know, the aging process is a humbling process, isn't it? It can be discouraging the order you get the pain your body feels, limitations you begin to experience, the physical weakness that you face, things you used to be able to do.

You just can't do them as much anymore. Some, some people who've maybe been able to go out and work for three, four hours in the yard as the years have gone on, they, they have to take, mow the first part of their yawn in the morning, lawn in the morning, they yawn in the afternoon and then they, they mow the second part in the afternoon. But the Bible says our outward man is perishing. It is decaying.

It is aging. Bible expositor Michael Andrews says he was reading about a group in Florida, senior citizens who were sitting around talking about all their ailments. One man said, my arms are so weak, I can hardly hold this cup of coffee. Another said, yes, I know I feel the same way. Another, he said, my cataracts are so bad, I can't even see my coffee. A third responded, I can't even turn my head because the arthritis is in my neck, to which several nodded in agreement. Another said, my blood pressure pills make me dizzy. Another went on and an old man winced as he shook his head. I guess that's the price we pay for getting old.

After a short moment of silence, one woman said cheerfully, well, it's not that bad. Thank God we all still have our driver's licenses. Aging can have some positive aspects too. He says in a hostage situation, you're likely to be released first. I really thought whether I should read these or not, just have to. He said, you can throw a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.

Your investments in health insurance are finally beginning to pay off and your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either. Our outward man is perishing, isn't it? But this is, yes, just wait.

I told you, I'm on daughter year, so I'm the oldest person in the room right now. But aren't you thankful that our outward man, our inward man is renewed day by day? Well, I tell you, I'd rather have an aching outward man and a faithful inward man. Spurgeon says, as our body through pain and disease is constantly sinking toward the grave, here is our continual consolation that our inward man is renewed day by day and the inward man is the spiritual part of us.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they marred that image, but Christ came to redeem us that we might be born again and the image of God would be restored in us spiritually. And I want you to see how the Bible sees this. It's always helpful to... What does ultimate reality say about our condition? As bad as we can feel physically, what does ultimate reality have to say about this?

What does God have to say about this? Look what it says in verse 17, for our... What kind of affliction? Our light affliction, which is but for a moment.

Is that good news? It's light, which is... It's not heavy, it's easy to bear, not burdensome, not difficult, having little weight, easy to be lifted. I mean, this is how the Bible's defining... And then it's momentary, which means it's brief, fleeting, passing quickly, short-lived, transitory. So the Bible tells us what we face, these afflictions.

And the guy who's writing this, friends, faced more physical trauma than any of us, and probably all of us combined in an abuse sense and in a persecution sense by far. And notice that Paul says these light afflictions and momentary afflictions also work for us in verse 17, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Not only does God declare they're small and temporary, but they also have a positive benefit to the inward man. The temporary outward sufferings produces an eternal inward benefit. The phrase, a far more exceeding, it's an interesting word. When it says it works for us a far more exceeding, it's... See if you get the English word here, it's a Greek word, hyperbole, hyperbole, where we get our English word hyperbole.

So the phrase, ace, hyperbole, forms the strongest emphasis Paul could have used, which means out of all proportion, beyond any limits, there is no way to over-exaggerate this, is what he's saying. It works for us beyond your scope of even comprehension and eternal weight of glory. Like whatever you're going through creates an internal benefit that is beyond anything that your mind can ever imagine.

You can't exaggerate it. How wonderful is that? Aren't you glad your pain's not wasted? Romans 8, 18, that's why Paul says this. Let's read this verse together. Paul writes, for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

He says the sufferings, you can't compare that to how great the reward will be. I mean, this is the consolation that we have from the Word of God. It's momentary. It's light. The Bible's like, it's just not a big deal.

And we're like, man, you don't realize what... It's just light. But it's just momentary. You're just on earth for what, 70, 80 years? God's like, 1,000 years is a blink to Him. It's like, it's nothing. You wait till you see what I have in store for you forever.

This is how we have to view this. So when you get up in the morning, you're limping, say, man, thankful this is light and it's a momentary thing. When you wake up at three in the morning, you're like wide awake.

Might as well get up. My dad tells me, he's 68 and he said, I can only sleep till three, sometimes four, 30, sometimes in the morning. And he's like, might as well get up. He's like, I can always take a nap.

He works still a few days just to help the church out, but my brother's church. That's why a lot of times seniors will take a nap in the day because you don't sleep in your 70s like you did when you were 17. You don't wake up and you're like, man, my back feels great. You don't wake up in the morning and touch your toes, do you?

This is the aging process that's the reality. 1 Peter 4.14 says, if you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you on their part, he's evil spoken of, but on your part he's glorified. That's why Jesus said in Matthew 5.10, he says, blessed are you which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven and blessed are you when men shall revile you, persecute you, say all men are evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven for so persecuted they the prophets which are before you. You know when somebody says something negative to you because you're a Christian, they are just blessing you eternally. You're receiving rewards eternally that you wouldn't have received otherwise. In your mind, you could be thinking like, you just blessed me better than my 401k or whatever other retard. I mean, you have just dumped blessing on me by your curses.

I mean, Jesus is literally, it's an incredible, it's like an exaggerated happiness. He's like, like shout for joy, like be so excited. I mean, don't probably do that in front of them. Like, yes, say it again. You know, cuss me out. This is great. Lay it on me. You know, as Christians, you know what our natural response is? How dare you say that?

I'm going to talk to HR. You know, I mean, Christians get all mad and worked up and fired up and God's like, momentary light. You think that's something Paul's like, come on.

I wrote you a whole book here. It says nothing. You read about second Corinthians, all the lashes. I tell me this is light and nothing.

What did they give you? They call you a name, but you lose out on the promotion because you're a Christian. Big deal. What's the big, you lost your job.

So what do you have your life? Your family was never put to death at the stake, were they? You know, Peter history records that they literally killed his wife by crucifixion in front of him. And when it was his time to die, he says, I'm not worthy to die in the same manner as my Lord. Turn the crucifixion upside down.

They crucified Peter upside down according to history. Momentary in life, friends, momentary in life. And look how he concludes as we finish in verse 18. He says, while we look not at the things which are seen, you think that's important to remember? But the things which are, what do you think that means? Well, that's more than the temporary, isn't it? That looks better than what y'all look at in the mirror in the morning when we look up in the morning, right? We look in the mirror, it's like, boy, there's some work I need to do here.

Praise God that there's more than the temporary, the body that wears down, the eyesight that fades, the health, all these things. But the things which are not seen for the things which are seen, they're temporary. We look at the world, you know, people are building sandcastles around this, aren't they?

They build some nice sandcastles. But there is a judgment coming and we know it's there. We look at the things which are not seen. We look at what's eternal. The key to victory in the midst of trials in a sinful fallen world is not to look at a temporary things. We have to have an eternal mindset.

Many believers, I tell you, have lost their joy because they focused on earthly instead of heavenly things. You won't find Christians complaining when they have an eternal focus. They just don't complain about stuff. They're like, you know, it's really not that big a deal. You know, I really they'll say stuff like this. You know, I really believe that God has a bigger plan.

I think he's really working. I really think that doesn't mean that you don't share prayer requests. It doesn't mean you don't share burdens. It doesn't mean you do those things because you need prayer. You need encouragement. Sometimes you have to pour your heart out to one another, just like Paul did, just like David did, just like that.

I'm not saying don't do that, but what I'm saying is you don't get bitter, you don't get angry, you don't get living with anxiety, complaining all the time. You don't act like an unbeliever. Those who finish the race that God has called them to finish well because they have the right eternal focus.

It is our vertical vision that is the secret to our horizontal endurance. So in conclusion, recognizing ministry is a gift of mercy. Never forget, we get us, we get to serve him. Have integrity. Remember the gospel is the only hope for the lost. Center your ministry on Christ. Rely on God's power in the midst of trials.

It's the treasure in a clay pot. Have conviction not to waver. Keep a right motive for God's glory and for the good of others and have an eternal perspective and we want to get to the end and hear our Lord say, well done, now good and faithful servant. Amen. Is that your desire tonight? Amen. Amen. If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ, why don't you come tonight? Trust in Christ. Let this be the night of your surrender to him. If you don't know him, you're not living for eternity. You're living for a temporary world that will burn up and vanish away.

Don't waste it. Let's all stand. Father, we thank you for your word tonight. I pray father that you would allow us as Christians to take serious the words of Paul that you inspired him to write of us to be faithful to what you've called us to.

May what burdens your heart burden our heart. Lord, I pray as we come into this Sunday that we would be those who have invited people, have family, friends, loved ones that could come. I pray for souls to be saved even tonight. If someone doesn't know Christ, that they might come and be saved. May we have an eternal perspective. Some who are struggling going through hardships, may they find their peace and strength in Christ. You are our hope and consolation. In Jesus' name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-04 22:46:30 / 2023-06-04 23:07:10 / 21

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