Title: Don’t Get Comfortable
Text: 2 Corinthians 4.13-18
CIT: …knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.
CIS: We are confident in this Message because we have lived it and know we’ll reap the rewards in the end.
Introduction: When Lisa and I were in Colorado, we went to Ridgeway. Ridgeway is the place where True Grit was filmed. We actually saw a couple of places where John Wayne walked and rode. We looked for the ranch where the film opens up as we drove along Last Dollar Road. We saw the steps where John Wayne walked his prisoners into the Court House. We stood at the meadow where Rooster Cogburn put the reins in his mouth and charged the 4 outlaws firing his weapons from both hands.
Of course we then rented the video and watched it. Often times when we watch old movies like that, I’ll say: most of those people are dead now. She’ll say: You’re so morbid! I am, I guess. But I’m continually reminded that this life is but a vapor.
We’re finishing up our series on Paul’s confidence in the message of hope. Next week, I’m having surgery tomorrow and will be down this next week, so I’m asking Andrew O’Kelley to fill in for me. Let me tell you what’s coming up:
- During the Holidays, I had planned to preach in Luke, the 1st two chapters.
- After the new year, I am planning to preach a five to six sermons series on Evangelism with the basis found in Isaiah 6.
- Then, I’ll return to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 – Paul’s Confidence in the Future and the Gospel.
That’s the plan. I might not follow it. If the Lord directs otherwise, I’ll make those adjustments.
Today, we’re in the last message from Paul to the 2 Corinthians explaining his confidence in the message he’s received from the Lord. In Chapter 4, Paul has expressed his Confidence in the message being displayed in its proclamation; its power; and its purpose – the glory of God. He said in v. 1 and again in v 16: We do not lose heart. We don’t lose heart because our message of hope, when it is communicated brings, Glory to God.
Now, I’ve outlined this passage into three parts: Paul states that our message of hope brings Glory to God
- When we live it;
- When we share it; and,
- When we suffer for it.
Transition: Let’s begin with this 1st part: Our message of hope brings Glory to God
1. Live it (13)
exp.: We are where we are because God has brought us here. And that establishes and grows our Faith in Him. I’ll show you what I mean; rd v 13; the 1st part of this verse is self-explanatory; we share the same faith; but notice then he quotes a passage; footnote or cross reference identifies this quote as coming from Psalm 116; Now, you and I are probably not as well versed in the Psalms as most Jews were; So, let’s head over to Psalm 116; 113-116 are The Psalms of the Hallel; Sang/chanted during the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.
113: His Amazing Condescension
114: His Awesome Presence
115: His Exalted Glory
116: His Great Deliverance
117: His Universal Appeal
118: His Enduring Mercy
116: His Great Deliverance
- His Distress – v. 1-7
- His Deliverance – v. 8-11
- His Devotion – v. 12-19
app.: Paul was declaring His great love and faith in the one who had delivered him. And, that this faith lives, or should I say lived in them, too. Furthermore, as we read this today, that same faith lives in us – that is, those of us who have noted our distress and relied on the deliverance from death from our Savior. His action in our lives drives our devotion to him.
t.s.: Paul states that our message of hope brings Glory to God when we live it; and 2ndly, when we share it
2. Share it (14-15)
exp.: Our Message is quite simple. Paul gives it three components here; note the 1st component: rd v 13-14a;
- Jesus Christ is Risen from the Dead; I love Paul’s defense against the Sanhedrin and before the governors Festus and Felix was about the Resurrection. He said: basically, I’m on trial today because I believe in the resurrection. Man, that set the Sanhedrin off on each other. It divided the Sanhedrin because the Sadducees didn’t agree with it, but Pharisees did. Listen here, so much of what we hold to as Christians is built upon this idea that Christ was raised from the dead. Paul says:
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
t.s.: The 1st component of our message is the resurrection of Christ. The 2nd component is
- Our Future Resurrection; rd v 14a-b; knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also; The very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead has quickened our spirits and brought life to our spirits and will also raise us with Him on that final day. Should Jesus tarry, brothers and sister in Christ, you and I have this hope, this knowledge that when we die, our bodies shall be resurrected – in the same manner that he was raised. And the 3rd component here is that we’ll be ushered…
- Into His Presence; rd v 14; for me, that’s heaven; I’m not so into the streets of Gold and the Pearly Gates. No, heaven for me will be the powerful presence of God. As the folks read today, God’s throne is central. Everything moves out in circles from there. But when we see the people there are myriads and myriads, thousands upon thousands surrounding the throne. There are people from every tribe, tongue, people, nation, and language.
Transition: Our message contains the resurrection of Christ and our resurrection into his very presence. Now, if the first section contains the resurrection, this second section contains the results of this message being preached and believed:
– Results; read v 15; I don’t like the way this verse is translated. It’s not wrong, I’d just change a few things if this were my job; in doing so, I think it is easier to see these three results: rd 15a; I’d change it to: for all these things are (on account) because of you; The thought is that these people have been faithful to share the story with others; 2ndly and probably better communicated in a 2nd sentence: Noun: Grace; Verb: might increase; D.O.: Thanksgiving; In order that Grace, having been multiplied (having super-abounded to more and more people), may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God;
How cool and how timely is that? Thanksgiving. Isn’t that what this holiday is all about? A time to bow our hearts before God and thank him for the grace he has poured out on us. And the more faithful we are – in sharing, in living out this gospel – the more thanksgiving flows from the many.
I think Paul is sharing three results of this sharing and living:
- The advancement of the gospel: having been multiplied to more and more people.
- The deep gratitude of the believers: increases Thanksgiving
- The Glory of God; soli deo Gloria;
app.: So, in v 16 – we are confident – we do not lose heart!
t.s.: We are confident as we live it, as we share it and thirdly, our message of hope brings Glory to God when we suffer for it.
3. Suffer for it (16-18)
exp.: rd v 16a-b; Do you know how to endure? He’s told us before, he’s only repeating it: perspective.
- Body vs. Spirit; the outer man vs. the inner man; rd v 17;
- This light momentary experience vs. The Weight of Glory; this verse reminds me of the great verse in Romans 8.18 – 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. And the third example of comparison: rd v 18
- His Perspective: Transient vs. Eternal
Conclusion: I think that’s what the Psalmist meant when he said: Teach me to number my days. You know, there is another verse in the Psalm we looked at earlier. It’s found in v 15: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Maybe we need to look at this life like He does. I think if we did, we wouldn’t be trying to get so comfortable down here.