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December 22, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU School of Religion professor Dr. Pearson Johnson continues a Seminary Chapel series titled “The Aroma of Christ – Ministry According to II Corinthians.” The passage is II Cor. 4:13-18.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today were continuing the series from second Corinthians which was preached for seminary students.
Today's message will be brought by school of religion faculty member Dr. Pearson. Johnson turned out the second Corinthians 4 nothing planning this document, one an object lesson in the jar of clay earthen vessel but but that's what I am and providentially that's that's where we are here today. One of my favorite historical characters that Hiram Johnson I said that it is about inner-city Detroit seminary serve as a missing pastor for about 20 years and and or psalmist program and discipleship, love, love reading biography in and in doing biographical sketches, but on Sunday, April 4, 1819.
Before commencing his public ministry in Burma. Johnson said that and I like many people, we read about the writ wrote out some some commitments that he had no recall rules of holy living.
Some commitments he wanted to maintain were copied from a handwritten note that he wrote into one of his first memoirists memoir the life labors of Rev. and arm Johnson by Francis Whalen which is a two-volume work published 1853 be sent first of all, I purpose to be diligent in secret prayer every morning and every evening.
Secondly never to spend a moment and mere idleness.
Third purpose to bring natural appetites within the bounds of temperance and purity want to keep himself pure.
As a minister the gospel fourth purpose to suppress every emotion of anger and ill with five purpose undertake nothing from motives of ambition or love or saying; the famous Baptist historical figures that we we know of, but that wasn't what he saw. Six never to do that which at the moment appears to be displeasing to God. Some of the seek opportunities of making some sacrifice for the good of others, especially believers provided the sacrifice is not inconsistent with some duty in April alone most of the point of our message today and never rejoice in every loss and suffering incurred for Christ's sake in the Gospels, remembering that though like death or not to be willfully encouragement as you go seeking for them in searching for them. Yet like death. They are great gain.
As someone is to focus in on that last one to rejoice in every loss and suffering occur for Christ sake and the Gospels, as we look at the example of Paul here in this passage of second Cricket chapter 4, nine arm Johnson Johnson.
If you've read about America from where it all. You understand that that he knew what it would take to have a faithful ministry, a persevering ministry too much difficulty for sure he had heartrending circumstances, heartbreaking prospects before him and a heart losing potentially hard losing affliction from without and yet he had a graceful gaining ministry and I think showed a model of faithfulness and in ministry for much suffering and difficulty in the text before him was his real life experience in silica significance for an overtaking SMH Apple opportunity go through these paragraph by paragraph in our text we have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves reflected in every way, but not crushed flex but not despairing.
Persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body for we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh so death works in us, but life in you that missing spirit of faith, according to what is written. I believe therefore I spoke. We also believe therefore we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will permit present us with you.
All things are for your sakes so that the grace which is spreading to more more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound of the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart with our outward man is decaying in our inner man is being renewed day by day for momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
We look not at the things which are seen with the things which are not seen for the things which are seen are temporal, the things which are not seen are eternal when read the whole chapter because is clearly framed in such a way.
You see, the obvious framing starts in verse one.
Therefore, we have this mystery we received mercy, we do not lose heart and the number 16 is therefore we do not lose heart around her master care inner man is being renewed day by day disclaims this chapter talking about the faithful ministry of the apostle through suffering the glory of God and into that one encourages that that we can have a faithful persevering ministry through suffering and difficulty. If we will faithfully proclaim the gospel willing to embrace the cost of that ministry and then do so for the glory of God and I will do my best not to spill into rivers messages next and untrue.
His next visit grandpa Brian O'Connell splinted too much, but was hard not to split a little bit and reach back of your incorrect respect correct the things that I mess up to a being in earthen jar lot to correct for sure these things offers my thinking. In verse one through six which which I will cover a faithful persevering ministry is confidence in the gospel of Christ has confidence in the gospel of Christ, we see that answer your degree message about that last time a faithful ministry that perseveres to difficulty must have confidence that that the gospel is powerful to transform lives. We see that the apostle Paul's life. He faithfully proclaim the gospel in the context of second Corinthians we seek. We see this him. He's kind of defending himself against all who came in the coronet they call themselves super apostles might say they said they were there were smooth the speech they were persuasive and a better way than Paul had to offer them instead Paul is not is not that great to listen to is not is not that impressive of the person to follow and so hearsay is not about me it's about the glorious gospel of Christ, and recited, and assuming you have meditated on that note in the last message today recovering verses seven through 12.
Lord willing, and I want us to look at the fact that we must be willing to endure suffering to work out the cost of are going to have a faithful and persevering ministry meant to be willing to endure suffering as a workout.
The cost for to have a faithful and enduring ministry one of three points really and this in the section.
First of all, the realities of the cost involved, Paul doesn't mince any words blessing how difficult the ministry really is described as in various ways.
Second thing I want to see is a reason God God requires that cause why is it part of God's providence and sovereignty that he puts us in positions work ministry is not easy is not affected and receive a lot of opposition and produces a lot of suffering. Why does it have to be that way when you suffering enough in seminary right when he didn't have to go out into ministry and suffer more. While there's a reason God does that is a reason God called Paul to suffer and to have difficult and there's a reason he he calls us to do that he called people like at an arm Johnson to do that, and third way to see the results of the gospel confident ministry than the doors suffering the counts, the cost and other cover three main points knocked on the zoom in and out of the text that we have today to to bring those out. Hopefully you can open them access to from the Scripture. If it doesn't preach a better message on it. I am sure you can with desolate boy guys led me to study the stacks were slow to react. Realities of the cost involved see in verse seven that we bear the glorious message of the gospel in inglorious vessels we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Paul says there's there's a lot written or read aloud commentaries on this and a lot of opinions about what these earthen vessels might be the one thing they agree with is that they are just common fragile carriers of something, usually more important now is more important. Sometimes they were used to refuse earthen vessels or jars of Clay as the NIV translates it Clay pots a complaint may contain everything from wealth to worthless things from foods to two liquid subsides. One rabbi said he had to put one in a clay pot, not an older silt silver vessel to preserve its quality there is to house things like the Dead Sea Scrolls right in which last for a long time and founding in earthen vessels, and client clay pots. There also used to contain the previous days refuse so so the point is is nothing impressive about the vessel, the vessel is inglorious.
It is common it is fragile is breakable so focused on wants us to have here is on the superlative contrast between the glorious message of the gospel and the messenger himself.
The righteousness revealed in Christ and in the center that proclaims that righteousness. Such a contrast between the two when you think about yourself as a messenger, you agree with all that we are just earthen vessels were were common carriers of the glorious message. The tensions not to be drawn to us is to be pointed to Christ. Think of something we have to be careful is one of Johnson's resolutions that he does not seek fame in his ministry within a day ministry that that seems to be the goal of of many pastors may proclaim her state they seek recognition. Sometimes notoriety sometimes opportunity to present themselves before people spend little time on Twitter and you see some of these distinctions see earthenware vessels proclaiming the glories of Christ and you will see people proclaiming their all their their own glorious.
I was likely to see someone safe. My book was just published in on a picture love the cover. They did a great job and I'm like okay someone is crazy, not your mouth, but nonetheless people seem to seek glory so easily.
And that is within us to want to get glory. Only God deserves some of us can blame it on certain pastors or preachers nonsense within all of us to want to steal glory from God to make our message more glorious in the message of the gospel. Paul reminds us here that that we bear glorious message in inglorious vessels. Second thing here. He reminds of the shows about the cost of a being faithful ministers that we bear opposition to the message from both without and from within to be nice if if ministry with was smooth. It was readily accepted, it was popular culture today and Paul certainly live in a culture Johnson doesn't want a place with no Christians.
11 places where were the messages not readily accepted but it's supposed imposing photos. This along several lines verses eight and nine.
He says we are afflicted in every way. He says we are persecuted enough for second were struck down were crushed. He says as well. We bear opposition to the message that we proclaim both from without and from within.
He gives a list of the ways he was opposed both from without and from within. Of these may be our experience as well. They probably have been your experience. If you done a ministry at all gone out and you been like am excited to go out and share the gospel and then someone argued with you, or someone scaring you or family member remove fellowship from you and like that's not the reception that I was looking for was looking for transformation all use these words afflicted or hard-pressed since this is that pressure that we feel may be from the culture around us and I will make too much of each of these words and think Paul is really just giving us parallel phrases to tell us that this interface opposition from outside, from the culture from people think even from within your own heart and mind is afflicted he was. He was perplexed as that upon words here in the Greek and it is at a loss, but not completely lost her or completely losing but he was perplexed problem. Perhaps not able to understand what was happening.
Eric why was always happening and when you read through action.
See the experiences of policy seal and hold mixed bag of results from his preaching and one, one that notice especially asked 19 his ministry in Ephesus, where he received a great reception of the gospel spent a lot of time there preaching and teaching of men, of all things he opposition from the idol maker right they created a riot and it causes ministry to be stopped and move on somewhere else is perplexing. You can always figure out what was going on and people in opposition of the gospel great perplexing circumstances. He was persecuted certainly rejected by men, persecuted both both spiritually and physically.
Upon size were beaten with rods at one point and work beaten almost to the point of death, and that was that there was a time where if a screen opposition physically and and he faced it over and over again or he was just trying to go and help with it with our compassion struck down laid low us with a weapon. One writer said or another writer said body slammed repeatedly is maybe more. The common vernacular, but struck down to slim down. Maybe the most extreme of the four and yet his confidence in Christ didn't waver because those struck down physically wasn't struck down ultimately destroyed ultimately we experience these reactions to and results from our ministry to work. If you haven't, you will if you haven't sometimes it is by the grace of God that we don't and we should be very thankful for freedom for claimant, the general acceptance of the gospel influence of salt and light lives of Christians that stay back that evil influence and progress of of sin and wickedness should be thankful for that. We shouldn't feel guilty that we will suffer more. But we should also expect with a faithful ministry expect to have opposition and suffering, expect that even the come from within, and we are perplexed as to whether we can carry on whether God wants us to continue on. We bear opposition to the message both from without and within. And third, we suffer as well as Christ suffered even to the point of being delivered over to death. Verses 10 through 12 we see this repeated as well. Paul says, always caring about the body the dying of Jesus, and in verse 11. The parallel phrase for we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for for Jesus's sake and in verse 12, so death works in us, we suffer as Christ suffered even a point of being delivered over to death and no one most interesting to me accounts about an arm. Johnson is is is letter that he sent to Ann Heseltine's father they've never read that.
Maybe when you have it is a great book. It's called the three Mrs. Johnson's is not the typical book you guys given unto you like the Mrs. Johnson's on Johnson was married three times. Not not at the same time in succession is when you lost one wife married another sheep died on the mission field and then emerge another who outlast him netbooks and accounts from those as well as perspective of their life alongside Johnson's really really good reading, but heat he met in Heseltine during an association meeting is invited to lunch at the deacons house of John Heseltine while they are and are met and she is called Nancy often. If you read the biography of C referred to as Nancy often one month after meeting her. He wrote a letter declaring his intentions to be her suitor.
She delayed several days and finally she will back that her parents would have to consent or sheet before she would even consider that is great.
She had written during this time in her journal, wondering whether she would be able to commit himself entirely to God, to be disposed of according to his pleasure and she finally concluded in her journal. Yes, I feel willing to be placed in the situation which I can do the most good. That would carry the gospel of the distant benighted heathen, and then Johnson because she said he needed her father's permission sent him a very well-known letter at this time. He says I'm out. Ask you a sent this to John Heseltine whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring to see her no more in this world where you can consent to her departure to heathen land and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of the missionary life will you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean. The fatal influence of the southern climate of India at the time they were getting in India. It ended up going to Burma to every kind of want and distress to degradation to insult the persecution and perhaps violent death, and you consent to all this for the sake of him who left his heavenly home and die for her and for you, for the sake of perishing immortal souls for the sake of Zion and the glory of God. Can you consent to all this and hope of seeing meeting your daughter and one of glory with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamation's appraisal shall redound her Savior from heathen St. through her means from eternal low and despair ON the Casio there is time work. Britain invaded Burma and because of that the Burmese arrested all the American and British missionaries in an Johnson was imprinted in prison for for about a year and was treated very poorly and matter-of-fact. His wife had to walk or sometimes two hours to get them to give them food each day. He was imprisoned and she had a baby right before he was imprisoned right at the very beginning of that and as you try to nurse the baby and and she was so weakened and then fatigued and sick that she has had to take their daughter around to get mercy from people that work for Burmese women is a time of intense suffering and and yet they as they said that they would allow her to go and she went and had a faithful few years there very difficult faithful few years that encourages Rotary more. There's certainly a Johnson biography as well. John Piper has a book called filling up the afflictions of Christ, the cost of bringing the gospel to the nations and the lives of Winton Dale and arm Johnson and John Payton and I think that's etc. as a result of some of Piper's biographical sketches, he would get there their pastors conferences. Those were assembled.
I remember I was for starting seminary listening to those on cassette tape and out of those are listening to those the sketches that ended up going into this one's not silent series of biographical sketches and being really moved by that by the cost of ministry in the lives of many of those who were present there. So read more about that. She ascended and went also. Series always caring about in the body the dying of Jesus, and constantly being delivered over to death. In verse 11. These are interesting phrases in it. Send them again is a lot of opinion but I think what we have going on here is policy is caring about probably a reference in relating his experience as a minister of the gospel to the sufferings and opposition the Christ face both faced both in his life and in his his death is referring to the suffering and death of Christ that he is able to carry about in his own suffering certainly is able to carry about his own ministry dying. He's is it is a different word usually is for death is not death itself, but the process of dying as he faces opposition and sufferings, and if you've ever continuing the course of time face a lot of opposition a lot of suffering some pointer like I would almost assume we this will be a glory as to endure this lasting process of suffering and dying work in his commentary. So this is probably Paul's experience of the hatred of men for Jesus being directed against Paul is his messenger will often face persecution for the Gospels sake as follows constantly delivered over to death. This report referred really to the real prospect of Paul's faithful proclamation would end in death. He was always putting himself up to the precipice of death because of his faithful proclamation of the gospel is willing to do that in the third parallel so death works in us. This is a common theme for faithful believers also has a first current is to he went to the Corinthians, and in fear and much trembling, it's not because he was nervous to speak in favor of them because he was really had genuine fear and trembling about the reaction that he would get from the Corinthians, says all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Peter says don't be surprised. The fire probably come if you reviled the name of Christ.
You are blessed. We live in a day that as ministers we often have so lost sight of what was very clear early Christians that to follow Christ equals embracing suffering for the message of the gospel and some of that we can be thankful for. By God's grace that we don't have to face that often is because of our lack of confidence in the gospel message and willingness to suffer.
This is why Christianity is often a mile wide and an inch deep and as soon as things get difficult. The numbers drop off. People are ready to suffer.
Secondly, let's look at the reasons God requires kind of cost for steadfast ministry to the marina timer quickly reasons God requires cost and I had these, briefly 70 says we are ministers in earthen vessels so that we see this outlined in these so that phrases in the next paragraph I'm coming within into the third, when the next paragraph as well very clearly in the grammar so that the power of the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
The first reason that God gives us why he gives the treasure to earthen vessels the week ministers so that his power will be displayed even in contrast or weakness.
That's all. That's what it is about the message of the gospel right also surrendered 1/16 not ashamed of the gospel of Christ work is the power of God in salvation by many reasons for shame. Not ashamed of the message God's power is displayed.
In contrast, in comparison to our weakness as messages in a week, and afflicted.
We can see a watching and a watching world will see God's power displayed and that's what we see in this affliction, Paul says, but not crushed are not crushed, perplexed, but not despairing persecuted but but never forsaken by God, struck down, but not destroyed.
Regardless of what someone can do us God holds our eternal soul never finally destroyed a watching world sees our weakness. They also see the contrasting magnificence of the gospel of Christ see that verse 10 and 12. Also but also the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies are in our sufferings. Second reason God gives us in his providence freezing week vessels is because Jesus life can be manifested in our lives and our suffering houses happen. Paul says in verse 16 door. Our man is decaying.
Our enemy is being renewed day by day.
I was so this passage that the Dana read this morning that that Paul says you know I will boast of my weaknesses of the power price can be displayed, or can estimate God's power is displayed in our weakness. The life of Christ is experienced as we lose our lives for the sake of the gospel. There's no human explanation for how faithful minister can go on in the face because he faces estimation is divine, God enables us to do that and I also believe there is in these phrases on his verse 1011. There is also a reference to the gospel being proclaimed.
That is the life of Christ is manifested in the message itself and that is both the life and death and resurrection life of Christ.
As is shown to be to be manifest both in the proclamation of the gospel in the trusting suffering of the of the gospel messenger. We depend on the Lord for strength and perseverance in the face of death and then for 15 which lead to the doctor and mainly was so the praise will be increased to God, the spread of grace as we face suffering as we faithful in the message as people come to Christ answer to our prayers praises it is magnified to God by God allow this process to go the way he does. And third, fairly quickly.
The results of the cross. A cost wearing faithful ministry. How can we be willing to pay this cost. See what face we see why God allows. It is cognizant one of the results that can really be encouraging to us first policy God glorified and that's is clear by the way that the message is believed in any praise given to God alone for the transformation of lives. God is glorified. If we have a commitment to God's glory will be willing to suffer for the sake of the message of the gospel and if we love God's glory more than we love our life, we are willing to give of the common comforts of this life and even our very lives for the sake of the gospel message. God is glorified all of God's glory more than life in verse 17 he says even this momentary life affliction were like light reflected your persecuted you perplexed your beaten-down your almost to the point of death, and always under risk of death.
Also, there's an eternal weight control weight of glory beyond comparison. God is glorified. Second, others reap temporal and eternal processes in verse 12. His death in a hospital life and you very process of God using week vessels to proclaim the gospel as the means by which God transforms lives only through this he saw people saved.
Johnson went through this he saw people converted eventually, after seven years. He saw one and then the more in the many others reap temporal and eternal good always willing to endure his suffering because of the benefits it would bring to others, and potential brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe the message of the gospel would see Christ in his suffering and would turn to him.
Nothing pulled back from suffering because we think you lose something that we love let's pursue suffering because of faithful ministry because we will gain something eternally and gain those we love brothers and sisters in Christ. And third, we have resurrection life to look forward to. That's again pushing in verses 13 and 14 that if we have confidence in Christ resurrection and our resurrection. We don't worry so much about death for the second faithful proclamation. Also, I believe, therefore I spoke.
We also believe therefore we speak. Knowing that he who raised Jesus will also raise us. What's the worst that can happen to us.
Someone takes our body right is the worst.
We think the worst. Worse probably is a passive siding, but rather were stiff and for faithful proclaimers. It will be killed, but then he'll express resurrection life both as to the partners fall far better, but to remain freely starting the Philippians in that context. Only what is like to be being depressed, imprisonment both ashamed and new as painful and shameful as this was, it was just temporary and temporal and I like Christ. We would also be raised from the dead as well preach the gospel the premises resurrection life and preaches if you believe they will happen to you as well. A reminder that what is at the center of our belief in our lives and that is the gospel is eternal life with Christ eternal praise to God.
In conclusion, we was nothing to lay our clay pot lives out for the glorious message of Christ and the gospel really is nothing and gain everything the glory of God.
Life eternal souls certainly resurrection life ourselves. It is the best investment we will ever make in a prison encouraging to Paul's example Jetsons example for the encouragement you to have faithfulness to the cancer cost suffering. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in second Corinthians on The Daily Platform