Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Four reasons you should keep heart in evangelism: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Text: 2 Corinthians 4

Theme: Glory in Christ, not the flesh

1. By enduring weakness (1-5)
     E. Suffering magnifies God's adequacy (2:12 - 5)

Chapter four gives several reasons to glory in Christ, not the flesh: 1) Because God saves the lost (1-6), 2) uses the weak (7-12), 3) raises the dead (13-15), and 4) rewards the faithful (16-18). Our physical weakness magnifies God's power in salvation, and this should encourage us to glory in Christ, not the flesh.

God saves the lost (1-6). Unlike false teachers who tried to discredit him, Paul commended himself to men's consciences by proclaiming the truth (1-2). The reason some do not believe, is because they are perishing (3), Satan is blinding them (4), and only God can cause the light of the gospel to dawn on a person's heart (5-6). Our inability to make people believe magnifies God's power to save the lost, and should encourage us to endure unbelief for Christ's glory.

God uses the weak (7-12). Trials and physical pain can discourage those who minister for Christ. However, "We have this treasure [gospel of Christ] in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves" (7). Afflictions, pressures, and persecutions of believers magnify God's power in saving the lost, and this should encourage us to endure weakness for Christ. 

God raises the dead (13-15). Perhaps one of the greatest discouragements a believer might face in proclaiming the gospel, is the fear of dying. But when one believes God will raise them with Christ, even death has no sting. The hope of resurrection should encourage believers who face death for Christ's glory.

God rewards the faithful (16-18). Even though our physical bodies are decaying, God renews our "inner man" "day by day" (i.e., conforms us, more and more, to the knowledge, attitude and conduct of Christ; cf. Colossians 3:8-10), and will use our "momentary, light affliction" to "produce for us an eternal weight of glory" (cf. 1 Peter 1:3-9). The hope of inward renewal and eternal glory should encourage believers to endure weakness for Christ. 

Our physical weakness magnifies God's power in salvation, and this should encourage us to glory in Christ, not the flesh. 

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The Gospel

Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).


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