Faithlife Sermons

Focus on the Unseen



➟ ➟ ➟ 2 Corinthians 4.16-5.10
I love this passage, don’t you?
Did you know the basis of this passage is found in today’s scripture reading: 4.8-12?
Paul is showing why he didn’t give up despite all the trouble he experienced.
He was afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. He was constantly being given over to death. Death was at work in him.
This is Paul’s life as an apostle. I don’t know if we can even imagine what it was like.
➟ ➟ ➟ But look at 4.16 again. Therefore we do not give up.
Despite the physical difficulty he’s experiencing.
Constant beatings had made it difficult for him to see or hear.
His body is not recovering like it used to.
His strength is no longer as sustaining
Having to work harder to keep things in memory.
Every am when he wakes up, everything hurts.
His physical infirmities are just one example of how his joy, faith, and courage could be drained.
But again, therefore, we do not give up.
This type of mindset is so essential.
➟ ➟ ➟ At times, life becomes so hard that it would be easier to give up than keep going.
Many of us are continually beaten down by.
physical problems
financial problems
family problems
emotional problems
the flesh with its addictions, bad habits, and recurring temptations.
Some days the enemy fills our minds with thoughts like:
What’s the use?
Why even try?
Who cares?
I think Paul struggled with this too. But look again at how he framed his circumstances:
➟ ➟ ➟ afflicted - but not crushed.
➟ ➟ ➟ perplexed - but not in despair.
➟ ➟ ➟ persecuted - but not abandoned.
➟ ➟ ➟ struck down - but not destroyed.
➟ ➟ ➟ 4.16 - we do not give up.
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.6 - we are always confident.
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.8 - we are confident.
I think this just just so amazing. So inspirational. So encouraging.
➟ ➟ ➟ This is what it means to focus on the unseen. This is what we’ll be talking about together this morning. We’ll examine:
What fueled Paul’s endurance.
The application for our daily life.
The glory to which Paul looked ahead.
Whether our life is in step with these priorities

What Fueled Paul’s Endurance?

What enabled Paul to have such faith? What motivated him to keep his attitude where it needed to be?
➟ ➟ ➟ 4.16b - Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.
➟ ➟ ➟ 4.18b - he focused on what is unseen and eternal. Simply put, Paul focused on what he couldn’t see.
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.7 - for we walk by faith, not by sight. This is an illustration of what 4.16, 18 look like.
Doesn’t mean we throw caution to the wind … but now ...
we operate from the perspective that our treasures are found far beyond this earth.
The things that really matter aren’t here. It is our reliance upon this fact that gets us through.
Ephesians 1.18-23 fits in here. Paul’s prayer for Christians was that the eyes of our hearts be opened. (He doesn’t pray for our physical eyesight … prays for our spiritual insight) Insight into what?
➟ ➟ ➟ knowledge of the hope of his calling
➟ ➟ ➟ understanding of the wealth of his glorious inheritance.
➟ ➟ ➟ the immeasurable greatness of His power toward those who believe, according to the mighty working of His strength.
In 1.20-23a, Paul expounds on the strength you’ve been given.
➟ ➟ ➟ The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you.
➟ ➟ ➟ The same power that seated Christ at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven is in you.
➟ ➟ ➟ 1.23b - you have been filled with that power … you have been filled with Jesus … in every way.
➟ ➟ ➟ Look at Ephesians 2.6 - will we remember our location? We have been seated … with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.
This passage fits in with Colossians 1.13 - we’ve been transferred into the kingdom.
And not just any ordinary place. Not a backwater location. Where are we spiritually? We have been seated …with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.
➟ ➟ ➟ Now, look at Ephesians 3.17-20. Paul prays again that we understand or comprehend:
our being rooted firmly in love.
God’s love in every way possible.
To know Christ’s love - experientially.
How we’ve been filled with the fullness of God.
How we operate from the perspective of power - not weakness.

How This Fits into Everyday Life

➟ ➟ ➟ 4.17 - momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
The problems, stressors, and difficulties of life are not without meaning and purpose.
Those things are not happening in vain.
They are not just random acts of nature in a godless, purposeless world.
God’s son or daughter understand those things are happening in order to produce an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
We see them as momentary and light afflictions.
This is amazing, when you consider how Paul’s pain went on for decades and was on a scale that could, without the assistance of divine strength, break a person.
➟ ➟ ➟ 4.18 - His focus was on the unseen. The inward renewal of v.16.
This kept him going because he knew this incomparable glory awaited.
When he is down, when he is hurting, … he makes the decision not to focus on how hard things are… how unbearable the pain is … but rather focus on how heavy the weight of glory he’ll experience because he held out. He pushed through.

What Glory?

In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul illustrates what the weight of glory is.
5.1-5 - we get a new, resurrected body.
5.6-8 - we get to be with Jesus.
5.9-10 - we get through to the other side of judgment.
Don’t read 5.9-10 outside of it’s context. They’re not written in fear.
They’re written in the strongest of confidence.
Because Paul knew there is no condemnation for those in Christ, he made it his aim to be well pleasing to God.
Let’s expound on the first two of Paul’s illustrations:
5.1-5 - the weight of glory is the new body.
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.1 - tent vs. building. (resurrected body was durable and permanent)
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.2 - while we’re in the flesh we groan - earnestly desiring our heavenly dwelling.
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.3-4 - Paul’s first preference was to be alive when Christ returns. He wanted his fleshly body to be swallowed up by life.
Instead of dying … he wanted Christ to return so he could be further clothed in the new, spiritual, immortal body that we are promised to get on that occasion.
But this is not his call. He doesn’t get to tell Jesus when to return, so his second preference is...
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.8 - be away from the body and at home with the Lord. This another aspect of the weight of glory we’ll experience. Upon our death we are with the Lord.
➟ ➟ ➟ Connect Philippians 1.21...
Paul is saying that if God determines to delay Jesus’ return, the he’d rather go and be with Him, even if he must be stripped of his body.
But this is not his call either. He doesn’t get to choose the day of his death. So...
➟ ➟ ➟ 5.6-7 - Paul was willing to remain on earth and walk by faith and not by sight.
➟ ➟ ➟ Philippians 1.25 - no matter what happened - Paul was going to use his time on earth to advance the kingdom and find joy in others.

Is Your Life in Step With these Priorities?

Let’s make application from these three passages:
➟ ➟ ➟ Colossians 3.2 - have you set your mind on what is above?
➟ ➟ ➟ Philippians 3.20- do you live like a citizen of the kingdom?
➟ ➟ ➟ Philippians 1.21 - do you view death more as a gain than a loss? Have you become so entangled in this world that leaving here is no longer desirable?
Jim, Cain, and I talked Wednesday pm about keeping our heart heavenward.
So much has happened in the first 145 days of 2020.
➟ ➟ ➟ This is what 2020 feels like....
Think about what we’ve endured thus far:
➟ ➟ ➟ Political turmoil / division with a president impeached and acquitted.
This was just the latest in things in the wake of rancor, malice, and hatred on both sides.
We’re so partisan and political that we look at everything through a political lens. Even a virus.
The virus is racial. The virus picks out the oppressed and passes over the rich.
➟ ➟ ➟ Everything is seen in terms of red or blue; liberal or conservative; straight/gay; educated/uneducated; Fox News or CNN
Leaders on every level and party undermining themselves acting beneath the dignity and respect of their office.
Never in our lifetime have things been so ugly. It’s affecting us all.
➟ ➟ ➟ Look at our social media feeds.
➟ ➟ ➟ Kobe Bryant died.
➟ ➟ ➟ Devastating / deadly tornados in TN killing scores of people …➟ ➟ ➟ even Christians that have connections to people here at Kettering.
Stock market crash
➟ ➟ ➟ World pandemic … and all the stuff it brought:
grocery runs; panic buying guns / ammo; ➟ ➟ ➟ toilet paper hoarding; meat shortages.
60 days of quarantine.
Family difficulties; work stress; weight gain; remote education;
➟ ➟ ➟ General life disruption.
How have you responded?
➟ ➟ ➟ Does 2 Corinthians 4.8-9 describe your response?
➟ ➟ ➟ Does 2 Corinthians 4.16a describe your attitude?
➟ ➟ ➟ Are you living by the principle of 2 Corinthians 5.7?


If you haven’t yet given yourself to Christ, now is the time.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know what the only thing that gets you from here to the next life is Jesus.
I do not that only those who have died with Christ have hope.
They trust in His power to literally raise us up into the heavenlies after we die.
Will you respond today?
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