2 Corinthians 4

2Co 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

We need to remember those words, "As we have received mercy." If not for the grace and mercy of God, none of us would be saved. This should be enough to praise and thank God for every day. To be thankful that we have been privileged to hear, to have believed and to have received the word which is able to bring us into eternal life.

I sometimes wonder why there is a trend in today's churches to discount or move away from sound doctrine into a more watered down message that is less offensive. The word is how we came to know who Jesus was and what Jesus did on our behalf. The word is how we came to know how God created the world. The word is how we came to know that we are lost and in need of a savior. If we lay aside the written word given to us, we are then at the mercy, not of God but of men (women) who may or may not be telling us the truth. Why entrust our souls to someone who didn't die for our sins, do not love us as much as God, and who cannot possibly be more concerned with our spiritual condition as the one who gave us the bible. It is taking a big chance with our souls to turn away from the word of God in order to have big numbers and unity. Did not Jesus say that straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to everlasting life and few there be that find it?

2Co 4:2 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.

Paul no doubt would not have mentioned that he did not handle the word of God deceitfully if it were not possible that others did do so. We really need discernment to be able to know those that teach and preach. Yes, we want to love one another and yes we want the right kind of unity, but no we don't want deception and we don't want to please men at the expense of the truth.

We need to be very careful about throwing out verses that may be taken out of context or used deceitfully.

Discern and know. Does the speaker really care if a soul is lost? Does the speaker really care if there are sick among us? Does the leader really feel the burden for the flock that he is leading?

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2Co 4:4 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.

That is why so many ignore and allow the gospel to pass by them. Satan has blinded their eyes. We can get so wrapped up in things, in our jobs, in peer pressure, in daily living that we neglect the most important part of our lives and that is the condition of our souls.

2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

Our main focus should always be, not ourselves but Jesus. I keep remembering the words by those who sought Jesus, "Sir, we would see Jesus." Jesus is the one we are to bring to the world. Jesus saves, Jesus is the only way of salvation. We must not move away from Jesus as the main focus of what we are trying to say.

How can the word of God be handled deceitfully?

1. Use only certain verses in a way that will confirm our own agenda or our own message even if the verse would mean something different if it is not taken out of context. This is done a lot.

2. Preach the truth but as a cloak to cover up sin in our own lives. If people hear one speaking the truth but know that they live in sin, it tells them that they can do the same.

3. Deliberately use the word to teach a false doctrine.

2Co 4:6 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.

2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2Co 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

When we have a great cloud of witnesses as Paul and the other apostles who gave up life in this world to bring us the gospel even though it meant they would be beaten, persecuted, killed and suffer loss of property. We see that they had something worth forsaking all to obtain. We can know they were telling the truth because they had nothing to gain in this world by continuing to preach the doctrine they were preaching.  Their message did not get them a rich lifestyle.  Their message did not cause them any popularity.  Their message got them jailed, persecuted and even caused them to be put to death. 

Why would they do all that for a lie?  The apostles would have known if Jesus really was raised from the dead or not.  Why would they suffer so much pain for a lie? If they got rich like today's TV preachers, if they lived in fine houses, if they profited materially, I could see it, but they gained nothing in this life but only sorrow and death.  In eternity they gain everything but in this life they gained nothing.  Their reward in this present life was not houses, lands and money.  Their reward was seeing many saved from sin and inherit eternal life through their preaching. 

Suppose for example that the apostles grew in popularity, had fine houses given to them, big offerings so that they could buy anything they wanted and prospered mightily from the gospel and also suffered no persecution or opposition.  If that were the case many of us may question whether or not Jesus really was raised from the dead or whether the bible was true.  The fact that they did not profit in this life materially or physically shows us that they were telling the truth.  Why would anyone suffer beatings, burnings, loss of property, and death for a hoax.  People die for things they believe in, not for lies and myths. Again I say, the disciples would have known if Jesus did not rise from the dead and did not have to die a martyr's death.  They died and suffered only because they could not do anything else but tell us the truth. 

They sought a better place, not only for themselves but for us who would believe through their faithfulness. What if they would have quit at the first sign of opposition? If they faced unbelief, they moved on to the next place and continued to preach the gospel.

2Co 4:10 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.

The outward person perishes the the inward person becomes strong in spirit and is renewed day by day.

2Co 4:11 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.

2Co 4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

They had the free will to choose to bring us the gospel or keep quiet and live the good life here and now. They chose to die for Christ so that we could live eternally.

2Co 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

2Co 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

All will be raised up and live eternally with God forever. We can then never be harmed or die any more.

2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

This is sometimes hard for people to do but if we live not for this life but for what is to come, we are much happier. Our lives are only for a short time period. Eternity is forever. What does it profit if we gain everything possible in this life and lose our souls for eternity? If we could get people to just see how temporary this life is and how we need to prepare for eternity. We need to get ready and think on things eternal.

The only way to have joy, peace and true love is through faith in Christ and focusing on things eternal. Bringing others to the free salvation God gives us through faith in His Son should be our main goal. Nothing else really profits.

God doesn't leave us alone through all these things. He gives us His Holy Spirit to abide with us while we labor for the gospel.  The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance. He is our comforter, teacher, guide and His presence is ever with us.  We all need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as savior repenting of our sins and then we need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  This is a free gift from God to all who obey Him and believe in Him.

We sometimes worry about who is president. We sometimes worry about our jobs. We have to do those things but that should be way down on our list of priorities. We need to get right with God and make sure that we are in the good way. Allow the spirit of God to lead us and bring us into more truth daily. Do not listen to those who are leading us away from the authority of the word of God.  The only way is to choose God and not neglect the word He has provided for us.  Many died faithfully that we could have the written word.  Let not their deaths be for nothing.  Study the word and learn of God's great love for us. 

11 Corinthians 5

 

 
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