Sunday, September 13, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 6 – LIGHT IN THIS WORLD

Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth began with letting the church know that Paul was happy to hear that the church had received and responded correctly to his first letter.

Remembering James 5:19, 20 " My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."  

Paul explained why he didn't visit them and that he was pleased they had responded well to his first letter, even though not all had repented.

Last week we looked at Paul encouraging the church to allow the offender of incest return to the congregation, because he had truly repented and turned away from his sin, therefore he had been forgiven. Paul said that his punishment by the church forcing him to leave the congregation was enough, and that since he had repented and was forgiven, they must allow him back.

Paul reminded them that it was not that long ago, they too were not living as God wanted them, and they repented, and were forgiven by Paul.

Paul reminds the church in Corinth, and us as well, that forgiveness to those who have repented is essential, not only because we are commanded to do so by Christ, but because when we forgive, we keep Satan from having a way to outwit us.

Satan will use our unforgiveness as a weapon against us in his schemes.

As long as we have unforgiveness against someone who has repented, we are being disobedient to the Lord, which in turn allows a foothold for Satan to work against us.

Satan is always looking for an area of our lives where we are being disobedient, which allows him room to work his schemes against us.

This week Paul explains how we are servants of the Lord and Lights in this dark world


Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

a.      Our character as preachers of this Gospel
                                                                         i.      We have renounced secret & shameful ways

                                                                      ii.      We do not use deception
1.      Holy deeds done in unholy ways
2.      Unholy deeds done in holy ways

                                                                   iii.      We do not distort the Word of God
1.      Meaning to use the word of God for your purpose or agenda

2.      i.e. cults, false religions

3.      The word misrepresented or used to control others
a.      Such as Satan did when tempting Jesus
b.     Notice the scriptures say "tempting" not "trying to tempt"

b.     We set forth the Truth of God's word plainly
                                                                         i.      For all to easily understand

                                                                      ii.      Doing all this in sight of your consciences and God
1.      If the Corinthian church would have listened to their consciences they would have known Paul was preaching the truth from the beginning.

                                                                   iii.       Our gospel (The Gospel of Christ) may be veiled, but only to those perishing
1.      Who is perishing?

2.      Those who reject the Cross

3.      The earlier example given was the Jews who rejected Jesus, His death and resurrection, which is the Gospel that brings life

4.      If you reject the Cross, you reject Christ

c.      We do not preach ourselves, but Christ and the Resurrection
                                                                         i.      We preach ourselves as servants of Christ

                                                                      ii.      God said, "Let light shine out of darkness" (Genesis 1:3)
1.      What light? Christ (Through the Holy Spirit)

2.      What darkness? Man

                                                                   iii.      He made light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of God's Glory

a.      What treasure? The light of the Gospel
                                                                         i.      In jars of clay

                                                                      ii.      We are the clay, man, made of earth

                                                                   iii.      fragile vessels displaying power and glory given to us

                                                                     iv.      the light of God through us

                                                                        v.      Why? to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

b.     We are clay vessels (Pottery and He the Potter)
                                                                         i.      We are hard pressed on every side - but not crushed

                                                                      ii.      Perplexed - but not in despair

                                                                   iii.      Persecuted - but not abandoned

                                                                     iv.      Struck down - but not destroyed

c.      We always carry in our body the death of Jesus Christ
                                                                         i.      So the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body

                                                                      ii.      We are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so His life may be revealed in our mortal body.

a.      I find it interesting Paul tells us, everything we are is the power of God not us, the light that is inside us, light from darkness, we know the Word of God is held in our hearts, and Paul tells us, do not lose heart!
                                                                         i.      I believe, therefore I speak

                                                                      ii.      We have the same Spirit of Faith

                                                                   iii.      The one who raised Jesus from the dead, will also raise us

                                                                     iv.      That Grace (salvation through the cross spread in the Gospel) is reaching more and more people, this should cause thanksgiving to overflow to the Glory of God!

                                                                         i.      Do not lose heart

                                                                      ii.      Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day!

                                                                   iii.      Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us eternal glory that far outweighs them all!

c.      So we FIX our eyes
                                                                         i.      Not on what is seen, but what is unseen

                                                                      ii.      Since what is seen will pass away

                                                                   iii.      But what is unseen is eternal


We, those who are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, are vessels, holding the power of the Holy Spirit, the light of the world within us, to be shown to all.

This light reveals the Glory of God, drawing those who will receive Him to the Cross, however, the Gospel message is veiled to those who reject the Cross, and therefore reject Christ.

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