22 Anegada Evening - II Corinthians 4
Introduction: The Family Funeral (older & smaller) = The Caribbean Wings Virgin Gorda Testimony = Minister means servant.
God, Power: the power of God sustains the minister. The minister (and believers) of God faces all kinds of trouble and difficult situations in life. However, he has one great resource: the presence and power of God within him.
God never forsakes him; God saves and delivers him through every situation and trial, no matter how difficult.
II Corinthians 4: 8 – 10 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.
Point 1: The minister (or believer) may be troubled on every side, but God's power saves him from distress.
"Troubled" (thlibomenoi PWS: 4065) means to be pressed, squeezed, oppressed, hedged in, pressured.
"Distressed" (stenochōroumenoi PWS: 1115) means to be kept in a narrow, cramped place; to be crushed.
"On every side" (en panti PWS: 2766) means in every imaginable way and place and occasion.
Point 2: The servant experiences all kinds of trouble and pressure. He sometimes feels as though he is pressured and troubled beyond what he can bear. It is as though a heavy weight is pressing in upon him and about to crush him. But then God steps in and saves him from being distressed and crushed. The presence and power of God sustains His dear child.
The servant (or believer) may be perplexed. . .but God's power saves him from despair.
"Perplexed" (aporoumenoi PWS: 2903) means to be at a loss, to be doubting, not knowing, questioning, wondering which way to go, what to do, what to say. It means being perplexed and unable to find an answer.
"Despair" (exaporoumenoi PWS: 2114) means to be hopeless, to have no confidence or assurance, to be without any sense of security.
The minister is often perplexed, not understanding why this or that happened, what should be done or said, how the situation should be handled, and on and on. Sometimes situations become so puzzling that he is almost stymied and the threat of despair faces him. There is the danger that his confidence and assurance will be shaken. But again, the presence and power of God steps in and saves the minister from despair. God gives him hope and stirs his confidence and shows him the way out. God never allows him to be overcome by despair.
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4).
Point 3: The minister (or believer) may be "persecuted" (diōkomenoi PWS: 2907), but he is not "forsaken" (egkataleipomenoi PWS: 1597).
Ministers are sometimes opposed, and sometimes the opposition is hot and severe. The persecution may be behind his back or to his face. It may take such forms as...
| ridicule isolation martyrdom jokes criticism slander neglect imprisonment|| withdrawl mockery threats confrontation abuse being ignored being censored|
However, God never forsakes, abandons, or deserts his dear servant. God never leaves him alone. The companionship of God, His presence and power is always with His dear servant.
Point 4: The minister (or believer) may be cast down, but he is never destroyed.
"Cast down" (kataballomenoi PWS: 519) means to be smitten down, struck down, or knocked down.
"Destroyed" (apollumenoi PWS: 1000) means to perish, to die, to strike out.
The minister may be struck down, but he is never allowed to strike out; he may be knocked down, but he is never knocked out.
As William Barclay says: "The supreme characteristic of the Christian is not that he does not fall, but that every time he falls he rises again. It is not that he is never beaten, but he is never ultimately defeated. He may lose a battle, but he knows that in the end he can never lose the campaign" (The Letters to the Corinthians, p.223).
We should be standing on the promises of God!
"...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:16-18).
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16).
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Ephes. 3:16).
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).
"And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (Exodus 33:14).
"And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar [gray] hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you" (Isaiah 46:4).
Point 5: Minister— Self-Denial— Cross: the spirit of dying daily sustains the minister. Note three points.
1. The minister is to bear in his own body the dying of the Lord Jesus, and he is to do it all the time—continually—as he walks about day by day. Simply put, Paul...
carried about the dying of the Lord Jesus.
took up the cross of Christ (cp. Luke 9:23).
died to self, that is, to his own desires and wishes.
denied himself in order to live for Christ.
Paul died to self. "Dying" means the sense in which Jesus was dying every day. When Jesus came to earth, He came to secure a perfect righteousness for man. To do this, He had to live a sinless life; He had to struggle against sin every day. He had to die to self, to deny His own desires and live for God. He had to struggle against the daily temptations which men face, and He had to conquer them all.
Spiritually, the Lord Jesus was always dying to self, that is...
always subjecting His body: its passions and urges.
always denying His will in order to do God's will.
always struggling to conquer the pressures of temptation.
always wrestling against the forces of evil and never giving in to them.
Physically, the Lord Jesus was always dying to self. He was always expending enormous energy to share the truth.
As RVG Tasker says, he experienced continuous hunger and thirst, and subjected his body to exhausting days and sleepless nights for the sake of others. He faced continuous opposition from political and religious leaders in order to share and preach the truth (The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. Tyndale Bible Commentaries. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1958, p.73f).
Conclusion: A true servant of the gospel is to die daily; he is to die to the point that the actual passing from this life into eternity is but the final stage of suffering and death for him.
The servant is to die to self so that Christ might be seen in his body. Paul denied himself so that the presence of Christ could be seen conquering the flesh, temptations, and trials of life. When Paul disciplined his body and kept it under control—when he put his urges and desires to death—when he denied his will and did God's will—he demonstrated that Jesus Christ lived within his body. The life of Jesus was manifested and shown to be with him.
The servant is to die to self so that others might receive life. When a servant dies to self, really denies himself so that Christ can live in his body and conquer the flesh and trials of life, others see the power of Christ. They too long for such power. They are led to turn to Christ in order to receive the same conquering life and power. They are led to seek life in Christ, life that is abundant in this world and eternal in the next world.
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:8).
So many places in scripture speak to us and reminds us that though we may think we are at the end of the rope, we are never at the end of hope.
Our perishable bodies are subject to sin and suffering, but God never abandons us. Because Christ has won the victory over death, we have eternal life.
All our risks, humiliations, and trials are opportunities for Christ to demonstrate his power and presence in and through us.
Give God a chance because he works!