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Weak Containers, Strong Content (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)

Sermon on 19 July 2020 by Pastor Paul


Introduction

Many of us want to serve God with all our heart and soul. But we may become weary from life’s hectic schedule. It is important to come back to God’s word to realign ourselves with God, and draw strength and peace to serve in accordance to His truth.


Message

1. We speak the truth, and in accordance to the word of God

God loved us so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die for us. Through Jesus, we can live upright again.

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. - 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

We need to reject underhanded methods and lies. As servants of the most high, we must make godly decisions. Do not rely on human cleverness. Come back to the bible and accept the true meaning of God’s word. His word gives us life. We should obey His word by putting His words into action.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. – John 6:63

2. We preach the good news, which reflects the glory of Christ

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. - 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

It is the responsibility of Christians to share with others about Jesus. It is part of the Great Commission. Even little children can preach the good news. Let us be bold in sharing.

And said to Him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” – Matthew 21:16

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” – Matthew 5:13-16

We should not hide the light. The gospel is our light, shining in darkness. We are the light and let our good deeds shine for all to see.

We should share the gospel plainly, not with clever speeches.

For Christ didn’t send me to baptise, but to preach the Good News – and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. – 1 Corinthians 1:17

3. We are unworthy servants of our Lord Jesus – We preach about Jesus only

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. - 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

We should not focus on our material blessings, or about how good we are. Our sharing should be centred on Christ. Let us not steal the glory of God – He deserves all praise. Let us give God all adoration and only boast about Him.

In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’ – Luke 17:10

So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you…and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. – 1 Corinthians 3:21-23

4. We are nothing – Christ is our everything! Our great power comes from God only

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. – 2 Corinthians 4:7

We need to recognise that we are nothing. We are like dust on earth. God gave us life.

Then the Lord God formed the mane from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and them an became a living person. – Genesis 2:7

We are weak containers, fragile clay jars. But Christ is the strong content within us.

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. – 1 John 4:4

It is no longer that we live, but Christ that lives in us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

When we are weak and tired while serving the Lord, let us come to Him in prayer. His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Trust and depend on His strength.

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his word through me. – John 14:10

We serve Him, and not ourselves. Let us serve our Lord Jesus wholeheartedly. Let us not seek man’s approval.

For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. – John 6:38

Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me.” – John 8:42

5. We may face persecution, but our faith still remains in Christ who strengthens us

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Jesus told us that we will have many trials and sorrows, but we do have His peace.

I have told you all this so that you many have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

What is stopping us from sharing about Christ? We may fear rejection, but remember that rejection of us is a rejection of Christ.

Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” – Luke 10:16

Jesus himself was rejected, but He did not stop preaching about the kingdom of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in haven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Matthew 5:10-12

6. Our patience and longsuffering in Christ glorifies God which encourages the hearts of others

Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. – 2 Corinthians 4:11-15

We are on parade all the time. Our families, friends and colleagues are watching us all the time. They will witness how God sustains us and this will encourage their hearts to draw close to God.

Let us be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged by hardship, for God will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:7,9

7. Hope in Christ, focus on things that are eternal

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Our hope should not be on the things of this world, or on our health and wealth. Our hope should be on our creator. In the presence of Christ, there is joy. Do not be troubled. Trust in Him.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?...Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. - John 14:1-6

God’s words are eternal. Our life on earth is temporary. We will leave someday. Let us not be discouraged by sufferings we may face. Christ is our greatest treasure and He is within us. Let us focus on the things that are eternal.

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. – Matthew 24:35

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Closing

May God’ words grants us strength, peace and comfort as we draw close to Him and serve Him.

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