2 Corinthians 4

Therefore, since we have this ministry, The word therefore, is always a word that takes you back to statements that have been made. As Dr. Magee said, whenever you find a therefore, you must ask, wherefore? And wherefore the therefore? Paul has been talking about the ministry that God has given to him. In the previous chapter, verse six, he said, who has made us able ministers of this new covenant, not of the law, but this covenant of grace. So if the covenant of the law was glorious however this new ministry of the Spirit is even of greater glory (verse eight). For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeded much more in glory. So Paul has been called to bring the glorious truth of God’s grace to the world.
In contrast to the law of Moses, in which established the basis for which man could relate to God, God has now established a new relationship that Jesus said when He took the elements of the Passover Supper. When He took the cup, He said this cup is a new covenant in My blood, which is shed for the remission of sins. In the old covenant they had to bring the blood of an animal. The priest would slay, it would offer the blood of the animal and make a sacrifice for their sin. Without the shedding of blood there was no remission of sin. So now the new covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ, whereby we relate to God, but not through our works but through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

When man sought to relate to God by his own works, his relationship with God was always tenuous. It could vary from day to day even as you know. You have good days. You have bad days. There are days when things seem to go well. You are sorting of floating on top. Then there are days that everything seems to go wrong. Man, you are out of sorts. If your relationship to God was based on the way you feel or whatever, it would be a very tenuous relationship. But we have a very solid relationship because it is not based on my work, it’s based on the work of Jesus Christ. That doesn’t vary. That doesn’t change. Thus I have this beautiful relationship that is steady, that is constant, because it isn’t dependent on me. It’s not dependent on my goodness, my faithfulness, my righteousness, but it’s dependent on the work that Jesus Christ has done for me, God’s glorious grace! So this is the ministry that God gave to Paul.

So seeing that we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, (Paul said), we do not lose heart. Now, the ministry was not easy for Paul. It was not a popular ministry with the Jews. In fact they looked at Paul as an enemy. They sought more than once to destroy Paul because they looked upon him as a traitor and as an enemy of Judaism. So it was not easy because Paul was constantly facing persecution, facing death, death threats, constantly made on the life of Paul. So he said, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
And then talking of the ministry, he said, 2But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, 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. What Paul is saying is, I haven’t been guilty of twisting the Scriptures, twisting the meaning of the Scriptures, to try and make them say what I want them to say.
Now there are those who are, they call it, iso-Jesus, instead of exo-Jesus. Exo-Jesus is getting the truth out of the text. Iso-Jesus is trying to put the truth into the text. In other words, you give the text and then you try to twist it to make it adhere to a position that you have adopted. There are many who do that. It isn’t a true exposition of the Scripture. It’s a twisting of the Scripture.
For instance those that are teaching what is called the prosperity doctrine. God wants them to be prosperous. God wants them to drive fancy cars. God wants you to support them so they can drive those fancy cars! They try to justify their lavish lifestyle that it was God’s purpose and desire.
They come to the Scripture that talks about the robe of Jesus, that was woven from top to bottom throughout, it didn’t have seams, so they say that that was a designer robe. Jesus wore designer clothes. And thus He wants us to wear designer clothes.
That Scripture tell us how that Judas was sort of the treasurer of the group, he held the purse. It tells us that he was thieving out of the purse. So they say they had so much money, Judas was able to take out and they didn’t even miss it because they had so much money. And so God wants us to be prosperous and wealthy.
That’s twisting the Scriptures to make them sort of mean what a person wants them to say in order to support a particular doctrinal position that isn’t necessarily true, surely not Biblically true. So Paul said, we don’t do that. We’re not dishonest with the Scriptures. We’re not using craftiness or we’re not handling the Word of God deceitfully.
Oh, how important it is that we are careful as we teach the Word of God, that we do not handle the Word of God deceitfully. James warns against that in his letter. He said (James 3:1), My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment, or greater condemnation.
The Bible tells us unto whom much is given, much is required. There’s a tremendous responsibility incumbent upon the person who stands in front of other people to expound the Scriptures. The tremendous responsibility to be honest to what the Scriptures say and not to get into the crafty little games of twisting the Scriptures in order to draw out a meaning that isn’t there. One of the best rules of Biblical interpretation is just to believe it as it says it. The plain obvious truth is the truth. God wasn’t trying to use subtleties and craftiness and hide the truth behind couched meanings.
There are always people who are looking for secret interpretation, but Peter says no Scripture is of private interpretation. The Lord gave me an insight on this you know. No one else has this, you know. No, no, the plain obvious meaning is the meaning.
There are always people who are sort of looking for some hidden motive, some hidden thing. There was a lady in a church that I pastored years ago, and you would say, well, good morning, how are you today? She would call me up in the afternoon. She would ask when you said good morning, what did you really mean by that? I meant good morning. You know, I mean, she was always looking like you were trying to get some kind of a coded, secret message, or you know, I’m not that smart. I just say what I mean and I mean what I say. That’s what God did. He said what He meant and He meant what He said. The plain obvious meaning is usually the correct interpretation.
So we haven’t handled the Word of God deceitfully. We haven’t twisted the Scriptures, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
I realize that I am standing before God. I am responsible to God. And one day I will answer to God for the ministry that He has given to me and how I have handled His Word. And that is why we seek to be very careful to not go beyond.
Now in this radio program that we have, “To Every Man an Answer”, many, many questions call for speculation, where the Bible doesn’t give any clear, distinct Scripture that is relevant to that subject. So when a person asks a question to which we do not have a clear Biblical answer, we try to just say, well, we don’t have a Scripture that deals with that. Be honest. There is no Scripture that deals directly with that, but we then often will give an interpretation of this is, what we feel or it would seem to us that. But always couch it with , “this is our opinion”. This isn’t the Word of God. There is no Scripture, but this is how I see it. Or whatever, but we always make it known that, hey, it’s only speculation. That’s all it is. Speculation is just speculation. And one man’s is as good as another.
3But even if our gospel is veiled, We haven’t tried to you know, use craftiness or subtleties in our speech. And so if the gospel is veiled or hid, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4whose minds the god of this age (Satan) has blinded, Paul is very open. He is very clear as he presents the gospel. If people don’t understand, the reason why they don’t understand, is that the God of this world, Satan, has blinded their eyes.
Now it is interesting that Paul calls Satan the god of this age or the god of this world. You see, originally when God created the earth, and created man and placed him on the earth, God gave the earth to man. As sort of a wonderful gift, God said to Adam, have dominion over the earth, over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over every moving and creeping thing, for I have given it unto you. Take good care of it. And so God gave to man this beautiful earth to enjoy, to take care of.
When Adam sinned, he forfeited the earth over to Satan. Satan became the god of this world, the world system. No longer was it God’s. He had given it to man. No longer was it man’s. He had given it to Satan. (Romans 6:16) Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, your are that one’s slaves whom you obey. Adam yielded himself to Satan to obey the suggestion to eat of the tree that God had forbidden. He became a servant of Satan. And Satan became the possessor of the earth.
Jesus, twice called Satan the prince of this world. Now the purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, was to redeem the world back to God. Originally it belonged to God. God gave it to man. Man forfeited it to Satan. So Jesus came to redeem the world back to God.
Satan knew that. So Satan took Jesus to a high mountain at the beginning of His ministry. He showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. He said, all of them, all of these, I will give unto You and the glory of them if You will just bow down and worship me.
Now Jesus didn’t dispute Satan when he said they are mine and I can give them to whomever I will. Jesus didn’t dispute that. He didn’t say, well, no they are not yours. What are you talking about? But He acknowledged, yes the earth had been forfeited by man over to Satan. His purpose of coming was to redeem it back to God. The price of redemption was His death, the righteous for the unrighteous. So Satan was saying, look, You don’t have to go to the cross.
You remember when Jesus first revealed Himself to the disciples or when they first acknowledged that He was the Messiah, Jesus began to say to them that He was going to be turned over to the Gentiles, and be crucified and slain! Peter cried out, Lord, spare Yourself, (literally). Jesus said, get thee behind Me, Satan, you offend Me because you don’t understand the things that are of God and things that are of man.
Satan’s suggestion is, don’t go to the cross. Spare Yourself. So Jesus paid the price. He redeemed the world back to God through His death. And so we read of the redemption through His blood.
Now, He has not yet taken possession. We are waiting for Him. We are praying for that day. He told us to. He said, pray Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Not yet has it come. Man is being governed by Satan. Satan’s will is being done. He is the god of this world, the god that the world worships. But we pray Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done. And one day, His kingdom shall come. And He shall rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the earth.
Now in heaven that transaction, the full redemption, will take place. John gives us an insight into that day in the fifth chapter of the Book of Revelation. As John is in heaven as he beholds the Father as He sits upon the throne. There is a scroll in His right hand with writing within and without, sealed with seven seals. He hears the angels as he proclaims or says, who is worthy to take the scroll and to loose the seals? John said that no man was found worthy to take the scroll, to look upon it. John said I began to sob because no man was worthy until the elder said, don’t weep John behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed. He is going to take the scroll and loose the seals. John turned and he saw Him as a lamb that had been slain. He came forth and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits upon the throne. All of the praises and rejoicing in heaven as the result of this is the day when the title deed of the earth will be remanded back to God and the kingdom of God shall come.
In the opening of the seals, it brings God’s judgment, God’s purifying, God’s cleansing of the earth from the unrighteous that are dwelling upon it, from the pollution of sin. Jesus will then return with His church to establish God’s kingdom upon the earth.
So the gospel that we preach is not hid only to those who are lost because the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not.
It’s important for us to realize that a person does not receive Jesus Christ because his mind has been blinded by Satan. As God said in Isaiah chapter one, come now let us reason together, saith the Lord. Let’s be reasonable. But there are those who don’t have the capacity to reason because their minds have been blinded by Satan. They cannot take a honest look at the Scriptures because Satan has so distorted the truth in their minds. It is quite obvious as you witness to some people that they are really controlled by the power of Satan holding them as a captive.
There are people who can talk to you rationally on every subject in the world except Jesus Christ. You bring up the subject of Jesus Christ and it’s like lighting a fuse to a stick of dynamite. There is just an explosion because they cannot rationally talk about Jesus Christ. They can talk about the Dodgers and this terrible losing streak that they are having right now. They can talk about the chances the Angels have. They just blew the series that they had with the Mariners. But you know, they can talk about many different things. They can be very cordial. But you bring up the subject of Jesus Christ and you’ve just lit a fire. They cannot rationally discuss Jesus Christ. The reason for that is that their minds are being distorted. The facts, the truths, are distorted. They are under Satan’s control and Satan’s power. He is holding them. He is lying to them. Their minds are blinded. So it is necessary when we are dealing with people that are in that condition, that we bind the power of Satan.
This is what Jesus was talking about when He said, whatsoever you bind in earth will be bound in heaven. Now these people cannot make a rational decision concerning Jesus Christ because of this work in their mind that is distorting truth. We have to free them from Satan’s distortion. And that we do through prayer as we bind the work of Satan and the perverting of the truth in their minds as a result of what Satan has done.
You see if a person can once look honestly at the Bible, what it teaches concerning God, concerning creation, concerning sin, concerning God’s provision for sin, if they look at the prophecies and the Scriptures from a reasonable, rational base, it makes sense to fully commit your life to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t make sense to live in sin. That’s folly! Sin is destructive! But you see, a person cannot rationalize that.
As Isaiah said when he said come now let us reason together, he said, they do not consider, they are not able to rationalize. Look at what sin is doing to you. Look how it is destroying you. They can’t! We get frustrated. We say, can’t you see? The truth is, they can’t, because their minds are blinded.
So we have to take the offensive. We have to bind Satan’s work through prayer. When Satan’s work is bound and they have a clear mind to rationally consider the Scriptures and the claims of Jesus Christ, then they will receive Him. They would have to be a fool not to receive.
The God of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. Their minds are blinded. They can’t see until we through prayer, free them.
We talk about free moral agency. I have often wondered if there is such a thing as free moral agency. Because it is wrong to say that a person who is living in sin is a free moral agent. He is not free. He is bound by his sin! He is blinded in his mind to the truth! He is not free at all. He is a captive. He is held by the power of sin. He’s not a free moral agent. How many people there are who are wanting to quit? Those things that they are doing, they know are hurting and destroying. They are longing, desiring, crying, pleading for help! But they are bound. They are not a free moral agent. They are bound by the power of darkness!
You say, but, we are free moral agents. We’ve been set free by Jesus Christ. Free to what? Free to surrender our lives to His control. So really I’m not a free moral agent, I’m controlled by the Lord. I’ve willingly surrendered.
So at one point in my life I was a free moral agent. When I was freed from that power that Satan had, by which he bound me, and that day that I made my decision to commit my life to fully follow Jesus as Lord. I exercised my free moral agency on that one occasion and since then I’ve been a bondslave of Jesus Christ to do His will. But that’s by choice.
So the thing is, and truth is, you are either bound by Satan, serving Satan, He is your lord. You are doing his will. Or you are bound by Jesus Christ, His servant, doing His will. One of the two, if you are not one, you’re the other.
If Jesus isn’t your Lord, then you are as, Paul said, you are by nature a child of wrath. Even as others as Satan are controlling you, as you are living according to the lust of your flesh and the lust of your minds and are by nature the children of wrath even as others. You’re bound by Satan’s power. You are following the course of the world that is being directed by the prince of the power of the air. Or you have submitted your life and you are now following Jesus Christ and He is the Lord of your life.
So the glorious gospel of Christ is not hid, except to those whose minds have been blinded by Satan. Those that believe not, lest the light. They are living in darkness. You cannot see in darkness, absolute darkness. They can’t see the truth, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
This glorious light of Jesus Christ. Oh, how blessed we are that the light of the gospel has shined on us! That we have been set free from the powers of darkness, set free from the god of this world! And we are living in the glorious light and understanding of Jesus Christ, having been redeemed by His blood, the image of God!
In Hebrews, chapter one, it opens with some tremendous words concerning Jesus Christ. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being” (and this is the beautiful heart of it) “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person,” That’s why Jesus could say to Philip, if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. When Philip said, just show us the Father and it will suffice. Jesus said, look Philip, if you have seen Me, you’ve seen the Father! He is the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” So the express image of His person.
Now we were made in the image of God, man was. But man fell through sin. But as we yield our lives to Jesus Christ, it is the purpose of God to restore us into the image of God, once again. And that is the process that is taking place in the life of every believer. The Holy Spirit works within us to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. When we do things that are uncharacteristic of Jesus, out of character, the Holy Spirit checks us. He prompts us. As we yield to the Holy Spirit, more and more, day by day, He is conforming into the image of Jesus Christ.
As we read in the last verse in the third chapter, “But we all with open face beholding the glory of the Lord are being changed from glory to glory, into the same image, that is, the image of Jesus, who is the image of God.” So God is restoring us into His image. Beloved now we are the sons of God, it doesn’t yet appear what we are going to be but be know that when Jesus appears, we are going to be like Him for we will see Him as He is.
So the god of this world blinded the minds of those that believe not, they are in darkness, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. That’s all we are. We are your servants. We are here to serve you for Christ’s sake, to serve you in your spiritual needs. We’re not here to rule over you.
Jesus said to His disciples, the Gentiles love to exercise lordship. It shall not be so among you. Whoever would be your minister, let him be the servant of all. So we are here, as Paul said, we don’t preach ourselves, but we preach Jesus Christ. Ourselves, all we are your servants for His sake.
6For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, When God created the earth, the earth was without form and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep. God said, let there be light. He commanded the light to shine out of the darkness. Let there be light and there was light.
who has shone in our hearts Oh, the God who spoke light into existence, called for light out of the darkness.
He has shined into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Oh, what a glorious thing! This glorious truth of God, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, shining in our hearts. God has opened your hearts, to allow you to see, to allow you to understand! How blessed you are! How blessed we are that we’re not still as the world around us, in darkness! We need to rejoice daily that God in His love saw fit to open our hearts to the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ! When the world is wrapped in darkness, hopelessly lost, here we are redeemed, cleansed, children of God because the light of the glorious gospel, the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
7But we have this treasure (he said) in earthen vessels, What a treasure! What an absolute treasure, this treasure of eternal life, the riches of the gospel. We have this treasure, Paul said in earthen vessels or in clay pots! Isn’t it interesting? God takes something so absolutely valuable, I mean it is priceless. What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Your soul is worth more than all of the wealth of the world. What would it profit a man if he gained the whole but lost his own soul? This glorious treasure, this priceless treasure, the knowledge of God, and the glory of God, salvation!
God has put this treasure in an earthen vessel! Now you say, well, if He put it in a gold chest, you know, if He…no, He put it in an earthen vessel in you, in your heart and in my heart, this wonderful treasure that I have in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The knowledge of the glory of God, this hope. It’s in this earthen vessel. Our bodies were made out the earth, in these clay pots.
For the purpose that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. So that we wouldn’t glory in the vessel. Now therein is a great danger, the vessel seeking glory. Paul is talking about the ministry still, not handling the Word of God, craftily, deceitfully, but honestly. Not twisting it to say something that is doesn’t say. We preach not ourselves. We don’t exalt ourselves. We don’t seek to draw people to ourselves. We seek to draw them to Jesus Christ. We’re just nothing but servants, your servants, for His sake. This glorious treasure that we have to give to people, God’s put it in these clay pots. So that the glory doesn’t (you see, just a clay pot. You don’t glory in that clay pot!) but if it’s filled with expensive perfume, then you glory in the fragrance, but not in the pot! You don’t say, what a wonderful pot! Can you smell the glorious aroma coming from it? No, no, no!
Yet there are those who try to exalt themselves and try to, you know, receive adulation. You know, they whenever they tell a story, they are always the hero. You know this person was very sick. They went to Oral Roberts. He prayed for them. They went to Bennie Henn and he prayed for them. They were just getting worse, but then they came to me, you know, God healed him. You know, praise God. Well, you are exalting yourself. You’re trying to say I have more power than Oral and Bennie, or whatever, you know. You make yourself the hero. That’s preaching yourself, that’s not preaching Christ! You are trying to bring glory to a clay pot. When you do that, you are a cracked pot.
Now in those days they used these pots for different purposes. The Bible talks about how the potter working with the clay, has the power over the clay, to make whatever kind of a vessel he wants, a vessel of honor, a vessel of dishonor and so forth. Some of these clay pots were used for garbage. Some of them were used to bring water into the homes. The women would take their earth jars down to the well and bring the water home. There in the house, for cooking purposes, for washing purposes and so forth, and drinking purposes.
Have you ever had a plastic container in which you kept water in your house, kept it in your refrigerator? But then when you went to drink the water, you got the taste of plastic. Have you ever had that? Yuck! I don’t like plastic flavored water. I like good, water, tasteless water, you know! I don’t want it to taste of the vessel.
So it is important as we contain this glorious treasure, that as we share the treasure, as we pour out, that people don’t get the taste of the pot, that we don’t color the taste! But that people receive the pure pleasure of God from our lives, as it pours forth, God’s truth pours forth from us, it doesn’t take on the color or it doesn’t take on the taste of the vessel, because the excellency must be of God and not to us. That’s why God does such a ludicrous thing. He puts this valuable, priceless treasure, in clay pots, in order that the excellency might be to God and not to us!
So then Paul goes on, concerning the ministry, not an easy profession. He said, 8We are hard pressed on every side, In the eleventh chapter, he’ll begin to enumerate for them, some of the troubles he experienced. The five times that he was beaten by the Jews, with forty stripes save one—thirty nine stripes. The three times he was caned by the Jews. The one time he was stoned. The three times he was shipwrecked. He’ll begin to share some of the troubles that he encountered in bringing the gospel to the Gentile world, troubles on every side. Perils, he said of my countrymen. Perils of the city, perils of the countryside, perils of the sea.
Troubled on every side! yet not crushed; (but not distressed. Surely there are a lot of troubles, but the Lord is on the throne!
We used to have a very dear sweet lady in Huntington Beach, who had a tremendous gift of exhortation. Mother Byrd, a saint of God, she was in her nineties and just was a godly, saintly woman. Her theme was sort of, God is on the throne! I would go over to her many times to talk to her and we were troubled on different issues. She would always say, but Charles, God is on throne! He hasn’t vacated the throne. You would go away from there just, oh, praise the Lord! God is on the throne! God is in control! You just needed to be reminded of that. You sort of forget it for awhile because it looks like chaos, you know. But God’s in control!
Troubled on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, We don’t know which way to turn. Life sometimes can be very perplexing, very confusing, and sometimes in our perplexity we despair. There is no way out. I’m through!
No, he says, but not in despair; We’re not in despair. We are perplexed sure, but God has a way out. We are not in despair.
We are 9persecuted, Oh, how Paul was persecuted. Read the Book of Acts and the persecution that Paul experienced as he shared the gospel.
but (he said) not forsaken; He was forsaken by man. He wrote to Timothy and said when we had our first hearing before Nero, everyone forsook me, but the Lord stood by me! We’re not forsaken by the Lord. We’re persecuted but He never forsakes us!
We are struck down, We get discouraged!
but not destroyed– 10always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, Paul said, I bear the marks of Jesus Christ in my body. Paul had scars from the stoning. Paul had scars from the stripes that he received from the canings. Paul had scars all over his body, but he said these are the marks of our Lord Jesus Christ! These are the marks that I received in preaching the gospel!
So always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. So we are facing death continually. And Paul did! He always seemed to rile people to the point where they wanted to kill him! Over and over they attempted to kill him on many occasions. From the time he was first converted, he had to escape from Damascus, where he went right after his conversion. He went to Damascus, but he had to escape from Damascus by being let down in a basket over the wall because men were waiting at the gate for him to leave. They were going to kill him. That’s a great way to get started in your Christian walk. And towards the end when he was in Jerusalem and he was arrested by the Romans, there were forty men who took a vow among themselves that they weren’t going to eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul, these forty radicals.
So facing death. He says always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, Always facing death for Jesus’ sake!
that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. Again, death and life, we face death, but the purpose is that the life of Jesus might be made manifest.
Paul wrote and said that his desire was that Christ be magnified in his body either by life or by death. I don’t care. I just want the Lord to be magnified. If He can be magnified in my death, great! If He can be magnified by my living, great! Just the Lord be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death!
And so we are always facing death for Jesus’ sake. That the life of Jesus might be made manifest because I’m going around sharing the life of Christ with people. There are those who receive and are excited. Then there are those who are angry because maybe their friends have received Christ.
We’ve had death threats around here. Women who have come and accepted Christ, they were in a “live-in” situation. They moved out after receiving Christ. The guys were so mad they were going to kill us because their girl friends had moved out on them, you know. So manifesting the life of Christ often times brings threats of death.
12So then death is working in us, but life in you. We’re facing the death but it’s bringing you the glorious truth of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
13And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, Now, this is a quotation of Paul from the sixteenth Psalm, it seems like in this whole last few verses, he had this sixteenth Psalm in mind.
You might turn to Psalm 16 and you’ll see how Paul is sort of reflecting. Paul had a great working knowledge of the Scriptures. So much of what Paul writes is based upon his understanding of the Scriptures from the Old Testament. Thus as he was facing death, the threats of death, no doubt this sixteenth Psalm was often a comfort to him.
Even as you have found that the Psalms have been a comfort to you in different types of situations. The glorious thing about the Psalms is that they cover just about any issue that you might face, discouragement or whatever, there is a Psalm that will speak courage to your heart and give you comfort. So Paul, like we do, I’m sure turned to the Psalms often to find solace and comfort.
The Psalmist was praying, preserve me. It’s David’s praying, actually. It is actually a prayer of David. “Preserve me, oh God, for in Thee do I put my trust. Now David, you remember, he was facing death too. Saul was out to kill him. Always while Saul was alive, David was fleeing. Later on Absalom, his own son, sought to kill him. So preserve me, oh God, for in Thee do I put my trust. (Psalm 16:1-11) “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the Lord, You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You. As for the saints who are on the earth, They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; their drink offering of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names on my lips (That is the names of the other gods.) O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad; and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
And then that coupled with Psalm 116, no doubt, in the mind of Paul, in Psalm 116, where David said I have believed, therefore I have spoken. (Verse 3) “The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. (Paul said trouble on every hand and all.) Then I called upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul! Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, (Paul is talking about these very things.) my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed, (Here is Paul quoting now, this passage.) Therefore I spoke, I am greatly afflicted. I said in my haste, all men are liars.” So this taking about death and all, Paul related to that.
Going through, I know what David is talking about, and as it is written, I believe, therefore I spoke, Paul said, we also believe and therefore speak, 14knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
Paul said to the Romans, chapter eight, (Romans 8:11), “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwell in you.” We believe in the resurrection of the dead through Jesus Christ. That same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in us. He will make alive our mortal bodies by His Spirit dwelling in us, knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up also by Jesus and shall present us with You. We shall be together with the Lord by the power of God’s Spirit raising us from the dead.
15For all things are for your sakes, All of these things that I have gone through. All of the tribulations, all of the persecutions, all of these things are for your sakes. I’m doing it for your sake, Paul is saying.
that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Now, having spread through the many, is one of those parenthetical phrases. Thus to get the meaning just leave that out for the moment. That grace may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God! That’s the thought! I want this abundant grace to just abound to the glory of God. And through the thanksgiving of many is your sakes and for your sakes that you might give thanks for this abundant grace that it might abound to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though we’ve been through and do go through all of these things, the persecutions, the distress and all. Therefore we do not lose heart. We don’t give up. We don’t give in. We keep going.
Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. My body is going to pieces. It’s falling apart. The outward man is perishing, Paul said. The marks of death, facing death. But my inward man is stronger than I’ve every been. In walking in the presence of the Lord and with the power of the Spirit, the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17For our light affliction, (Paul, looking at these things said it is a light affliction. Why? Because he compared it with the weight of glory. Paul said (Romans 8:18), for the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed. Jesus said (Matthew 5:11-12), blessed are you when men persecute you and say all manner of evil against you for My sake. Rejoice! Be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven! Light affliction, compared with the glory that is going to be revealed!
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, It’s not lasting! It will pass! But the glory is eternal. The eternal weight of glory.
So the temporal, compared with the eternal. That’s always the comparison that we must make. The temporal pleasure weighed against the eternal consequences, the temporal suffering weighed against the eternal glory, we need to live our life in the conscienceness of the eternal. If we get involved in the temporal, material world, it’s easy to get down. It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to give up. But if we keep that eternal perspective, we keep going in spite of the obstacles that we might face and all, we keep going because we have the eternal goal in view. With the eternal goal you are able to endure the afflictions. You are able to endure the persecutions because you’ve got eternity in view.
Moses had eternity in view (Hebrews 11:24-29). He chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to be known as pharaoh’s daughter, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt because he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. He was looking at the eternal.
Yes, I can be the pharaoh for Egypt for twenty-five or thirty years. I can enjoy all of the fame and the wealth and all—and spend eternity in hell. Or I can be with the people of God, suffer the affliction of the desert wandering and so forth with God’s people, but spend eternity in the kingdom of God! So because he had recompense of the reward. He esteemed the reproach of Christ or the people of God, greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. Therefore he endured because he could see the invisible. That is the secret of endurance.
18while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. The things that are seen are the things of the material realm. The three dimensional world in which we live. We don’t look at that. We look at the things that aren’t seen—the spiritual realm, the spiritual world. The man who can see the spiritual world is the man who will come through. He is the man who will endure. The man who will make it. The man who will come out on top because he sees the spiritual realm, the spirit world. He realizes that’s the real world. The world that you see is not the real world. It’s a phony world filled with a lot of phony people. The real world is the spiritual world. That is where we live.
Our citizenship, Paul said, is in heaven. From whence we look for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us about Abraham (Hebrews 11:13) and the others, who actually said, we’re just strangers and pilgrims here. We are looking for a city which foundation, whose maker and builder is God. They recognized we’re just passing through this world.
We’re only here for a short time. We’re passing through. This world is not my home, we used to sing. I’m just a passing through. My mansion is laid up somewhere beyond the blue. I mean we need to keep that in mind. This is not our permanent place. We’re here temporarily, but God is preparing a place for us that we might be with Him in His kingdom and in the glory of His kingdom, forever.
So we look at those things, which are not seen, For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Oh God, direct our vision towards the eternal things! God help us to see the Spiritual value in the things that we do. And we measure our lives not by the temporal rewards or benefits that we might accrue to ourselves, but by the eternal rewards that we might receive.
Jesus said (Matthew 6:19), don’t lay for yourselves, treasures on earth. Moths and rust can corrupt them. Thieves can steal, but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven. There, they can’t be corrupted by moths or rust. There they can’t be stolen. And the whole idea is that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also! We look at the things which are not seen, because they are eternal. There is where I place my value in things that will last forever.

Father, we thank You for the eternal perspective. Help us Lord, to grasp it as we go through life and all of these things are laid out in front of us, to distract and to draw our attention and minds on the material world in which we live. Lord, when we become engrossed in it, we become discouraged, worried, fearful, anxious. But Lord we need to get our eyes on You and the things that are eternal. And help us, Lord, to keep our eyes fixed upon the eternal values, the things of eternity, Your kingdom, Your love, Your grace and that eternal life that we have in Jesus Christ. Though the outward man perishes, and the things of the world fade away, one day we’re going leave them all behind. Lord, help us that we will lay up the treasures in heaven that when we enter in, we might have a glorious, abundant, entry into Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8155, (NKJ Version)

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