Courage For The Conflict

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

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.

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.

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.

INTRODUCTION

In this passage, Paul shares with us some things that “We don’t do,” as Christian ministers.

I. FIRST, WE DON’T GIVE UP 

AV, “We don’t faint.” NASB, “We don’t lose heart.” GNT, “We don’t become discouraged.” Phillips, “We let nothing daunt us.” Daunt means, we don’t let anything intimidate us so that we are ruled by fear.

I love the Good News Translation of verse 1…God in his mercy has given us this work to do, and so we do not become discouraged. All of the above translations are excellent. When we lose our courage, we tend to faint, become discouraged, drop out of the ranks or even hide in the brush because we are intimidated by the foe.

Paul gives us some reason why we do not become discouraged and give up.

  1. God gave us this ministry-Ministry is a gift, a precious gift, a wonderful gift.
  2. God gave us this ministry because He is merciful–we do not deserve to be His ministers.
  3. God gave us a better ministry than those of the Old Covenant. I have a better ministry than Moses. Moses proclaimed the LAW, I proclaim Jesus and GRACE. 

Don’t pass this off as if it is not directed toward you. I’m not talking to myself alone. Every true believer has a ministry. If you do not know what your ministry is, you need to find out. If you don’t have a clue, begin visiting the Nursing Homes once a week and wait for God to speak. I got a beautiful card today from a woman who lives on the other side of the county. Eleven years ago, I ministered to her daughter who was dying of cancer. My last visit with this young lady was an experience that I cherish. I felt a strange compulsion to walk her across the finish line, I had never done this before. I thought that she and I were alone but her mom and aunt we listening outside the door. I held her hand and exhorted her to finish the race and moments after I left, she took her flight to glory.

It was a special moment. I have never had another experience to compare with this precious memory. Her mom and aunt will never forget that day and one or the other sends me an encouragement card two to three times a year. These two precious sisters: Mary and Dana have the gift of encouragement and they use it for the glory of God.

You have a ministry  [a spiritual gift] and it is your fault if you don’t know what it is. If you don’t have a clue, follow your passion until God speaks clearly. The only reason I can be in Ministry is the mercy and grace of God. He gave me this ministry and I dare not quit.

II. WE DO NOT RESORT TO DECEPTION IN ANY FORM

Look at verse two...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. The false teachers were famous for twisting the truth, distorting the truth. They used all forms of subtly and flattery. They were masters of the “Hidden Agenda.”

There is no veil in the New Covenant…nothing hidden in the dark, nothing disguised, but all is simple, plain, open and transparent. Paul said:

  1. We tell the truth and renounce secret and shameful ways. We keep things simple and lay them on the table. No hidden tricks up our sleeves. I talked to a man last Sunday evening about accepting Christ as his savior but I told him the truth…Jesus will save you but you have to be willing to repent of your sins and accept HIM as the LORD [sole authority] of your life.
  2. We don’t distort the word {RSV says “Tamper”}. Literally the Greek word means to adulterate which means to mix lies with the truth.
  3. We don’t try to deceive by masking, veiling the truth. Paul made it clear, that hiding the truth is the method of the god of this world…alias “Prince of the air”“Ruler of the Cosmos.” The devil is a clever con artist. His purpose is to hide the truth or to blind you so you can’t see it. People are hearing about Jesus but they are not seeing His deity, His glory and this is the work of Satan. He wants to blind us so that we do not see the truth about Jesus.

III. THIRD, PAUL SAID, WE DO NOT PREACH OURSELVES

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.

F.F. Bruce says, “The true herald does not draw attention to himself or devise his own proclamation.” Warren Weirsbe says, “It would have been easy for Paul to have built a fan club because weak people thrive on associating themselves with great men.” Tasker says, “First and foremost, the minister is a servant of Jesus Christ and it is the love and loyalty for His Master that compels him to serve others.”

John the Baptist said,  You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

People don’t need to see us, they need to see the light in us.

All my professors in college were moderate to liberal and they questioned every miracle and cast doubt on the atonement. When I got to Seminary, I discovered the same liberal, unbelieving element. One N.T. professor was subtle in doing so, but he was teaching “Identification” instead of “Substitution.” We strive to be like Jesus instead of Jesus resurrecting Himself in us through regeneration and sanctification. The same professor did not believe in hell. I do admit, that no one was more liberal than this man but many doctrines were questioned during my 7 years of higher education. I made up my mind during those days that I would preach the bible and not worry about the things I could not understand or resolve. 

Isaiah 55:10-11 became my watch word: “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.” They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to,and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

I have been faithful to preach God’s word for 47 years and my goal is to always exalt Jesus and the older I get, the more I understand the truth of this passage, Jesus must be preached. The Gospel must be shared. God has promised to bless it and He will. 

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