2 Corinthians 4, We Do Not Lose Heart
1. Don’t Lose Heart Over Unappreciated Service To God (v1-6)
2. Don’t Lose Heart Over Weakness That Reveals God’s Power (v7-10)
3. Don’t Lose Heart Over Suffering That Brings Glory To Jesus (v11-15)
4. Don’t Lose Heart Over Suffering That Earns Eternal Reward (v16-18)
2 Corinthians 4, We Do Not Lose Heart
2 Corinthians 4, We Do Not Lose Heart
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As we look at 2nd Corinthians Chapter 4 tonight, I've titled The Message We do not Lose Heart. We do not lose heart. That's what Paul says in verse one. But he also says that again, in verse 16, the 1st and the almost last verse of the chapter he he's beginning talking about this subject. He ends talking about this subject. He is explaining their position and why they carry on, why he as an apostle carries on. In spite of challenges and difficulties in the ministry that God has called him to. Again, verse one says. Therefore, since we have this ministry as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. And then in verse 16, therefore we do not lose heart. Paul wants it to be clear his heart is not lost. To lose heart speaks of being weary. Being discouraged or fainting, the idea is to to give in to evil because of weariness. In some cases that that it's like you finally give up and so you give in because you are so tired. Our little puppy Maui, he is really good at getting us to. Lose our heart. Because sometimes he wants to go for a walk and we are tired and not really wanting to take him out for a walk. But he will insist, and he has this thing where he kicks his hind leg and he's like, you could tell he's really upset and he's insisting he's like, no, I insist, I insist. And then he has this sneeze of disgust. I don't know if all dogs have this. But he's like. Can't believe you're not going to take me for a walk. He sneezes and disgusts at us until finally we are so weary of his whimpering and complaints and complaining that we cave. We give in now. It's not to do evil, right, but but. We weren't going to do it, the decision. Was firm? No. And then? Out of the weariness of being pestered over and over and over again. Our hearts were changed and we take him out for a walk. Right? Well, Paul, what he's saying here is we don't lose heart that that we're being pestered and the things of life, the challenges of life and even the disposition of the Corinthians toward Paul. He says it doesn't change my position. I'm not caving in. I'm not giving up. Because I'm tired or because I'm discouraged because my heart is faint, I don't lose heart. We don't lose heart and I I can look at this and many times in my life I would be like, speak for yourself, Paul. We do lose heart because there are those occasions and those times where the overwhelming Ness of the situations that we face cause us to be weary, to give in, to change course, to give. It's a battle that we face, much like the Apostle Paul's face. And so what's Paul's secret? How is it that he's able to endure so much and go through so much and deal with so much, even with the Corinthians that he's writing to and stay the course and not lose hearts and not give in when it's really hard and challenging? How is it that he. Stays and and keeps himself encouraged and is not discouraged to deviate to change the course to go a different direction than the path that God has set before him. Well, four points that he will share with us tonight. To help us to follow his example and to not lose heart, we're going to start in verses one through 6 for point #1. Don't lose hearts. Over unappreciated service to God. Don't lose heart. Your service, your labor, your work. Is not appreciated. Verse one again says. Therefore, since we have this ministry as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame. Not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully. But by manifestation of the truth. Commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. I'm using the word unappreciated here for this point because here Paul is talking about. While he's using the word commending, commending ourselves to every man's conscience, and it's not immediately apparent here, but as you take in the book of Second Corinthians and and see what he's writing about throughout the book, this word commending is a strong theme, that is. Is something that Paul addresses over and over again 10 times. He uses this word throughout this letter to the Corinthians. And a little bit of the background here to help us understand is that the Corinthians have experienced some challenging days as well, and one of the things that's happening at this time while Paul is writing this letter in addition to the recovery of the things as they're they were responding to 1st Corinthians, they're also seems to be a short. Kind of hurtful visit. That Paul had in the city of Corinth. In between 1st and 2nd Corinthians, it also seems that there is a letter that was actually in between 1st and 2nd Corinthians that he had sent to them and that that there's some drama there. There's some tension in their relationship and there is now people within the church, new leaders that have either. Come into town or risen up, and they're questioning the authority and the apostleship of the apostle Paul and really asking for proof of his apostleship. And throughout this letter, Paul is over and over saying you're my proof of Apostleship. All of these people coming in and questioning that they have with them letters of commendation and that's why he uses the word commending and and commendation throughout the letter because it's something that they were. Familiar with the people who came into town and claimed to have great authority, they had letters of commendation with them. They said, well, who is this Paul guy? Is he really an apostle? Where's his letters of commendation? It would be similar to what you and I might be for more more familiar with a letter of recommendation. And I experienced this as well. Roman doesn't really believe that I am a great pastor and so. I had to dig up some letters of recommendation to convince him. And so I. Called up my friend ChatGPT and AI chat bot and I said can you? Write a letter of recommendation for Pastor Jerry Simmons. And so this letter sold Roman, so hopefully it sells you to you. I'm not gonna read the whole thing, but it says to. Whom it may concern. I'm writing to express my enthusiastic recommendation for Pastor Jerry Simmons, who has served as the spiritual leader of our congregation for the past five years. That's a little inaccurate. Throughout his tenure, Pastor Simmons has exhibited. Exceptional dedication, leadership skills and a genuine passion for serving the. Pastor Simmons possesses an extraordinary ability, extraordinary to you, to connect with people from all walks of life. His warmth, empathy and approachability create an inviting atmosphere that encourages individuals to seek guidance and support. And it goes on and on and on. Yours sincerely, ChatGPT. I read that to say look a chat bot can write you a letter of recommendation sounds great. That's what these false teachers in Corinth had. They just had made-up stuff. They had stuff that sounded very convincing. And Paul, you don't have some very convincing fluffy stuff. And so you know, why should we believe you don't have a degree posted on your wall? You don't have, you know, some support and recommendation from this leader or that leader? Why should we accept your authority and your apostleship? We need a letter of commendation from you, Paul. Prove to us. And so Paul picks up on this idea of commendation and he responds to to it. Throughout this letter. 1st we see it in Second Corinthians, Chapter 3, verse one. Take a look. At that, it's just one chapter back. You can find it. Second Corinthians 3. One do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others epistles of commendation, to you or letters of commendation from you? These others have these letters of commendations do do. We need that. Know what he says here in Chapter 4 verse 2 is that we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God by doing what is right by handling the word of God in truth, not in craftiness, not deceitfully. But we are. Faithful to what God has declared and revealed. In his word. I want to walk you through a few more occasions of this word comment, commendation or commending that Paul uses here in this letter. So second Corinthians, chapter 5. He says for we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf. That you may have an answer. For those who boast. In appearance and not in heart. Those who boast an appearance and say, look, I've got a really good letter that tells you how. Great I am. Paul says, look, I'm not trying to commend myself to you and compete with this fluffy letter. I'm trying to reveal the truth to you, to help you see the reality that is way beyond the appearance where there is real substance to it. Then in Second Corinthians, chapter 6, verse four, he says in all things, we commend ourselves as Ministers of God in much patience in tribulation, in needs. And in distresses. Here's how we commend ourselves not with letters of commendation and recommendations from all these other people. Here's how we prove to you that we are genuine ministers of the gospel. Patience tribulation needs distresses. Now, these were likely some of the very things that were being questioned by these other false apostles. Charles saying how could Paul be a real apostle? Look how he's always in need. He's always struggling and suffering and he's always facing distresses and tribulations. Paul says no, no, you're misunderstanding. You're you're putting a lot of value in this letter that seems impressive, and you're not putting much value in the suffering that goes along. With ministry and that is required for ministry. He says, look. This is how ministers prove that they're genuine ministers. They suffer through tribulation and needs and distresses with patients. And he goes on even more. In Chapter 6 there to lay out the marks of a minister. Here's how you can tell genuine ministry or a genuine minister by the suffering. That they endure for the cause of Christ. Well, then, in chapter 10, couple verses to look at here, verse 12 for we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise. So there was this comparison and commending of each other between these leaders that were there trying to establish themselves in Corinth. And Paul says, we don't want to touch that with a 10. The whole we're not going to compare ourselves with each other. We're not going to commend ourselves, you know, Can you imagine, like we all just, like, write each other letters of recommendation and then, you know, just pass it to the left. OK. And then you know we we all get letters of commendation and recommendation from each other as we all really just show great support for each other. You know like. That has not not much value, Paul says. Not going to do that. Verse 18 of 2nd Corinthians 10. He not he who commends himself, is approved. But whom the Lord commends see what really matters is who is the Lord called? Who has he raised up and and what is it that he's saying about a ministry or a course? And and it doesn't matter what people say about it. It matters what the Lord says about it. Well then later on in Second Corinthians Chapter 12, final verse on this thread of topic here to look at. But second Corinthians chapter 12, verse 11, he says I've become a fool in boasting you have compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles. Though I am nothing. And so, as he's correcting their desire to have these letters of commendation, for Paul delivered to them. As they're challenging his authority now, keep in mind this. Is a church. That was in Corinth, where Paul spent a year and a half. You know, sometimes we think about missionary journeys and we think about like our two week mission trips and that kind of thing. And there were some places where. Paul was there for two weeks. Like that's Monica, right? But for Corinth, he was there for a year and a half. And now later on, they're saying, hmm, I don't know. Is he a genuine apostle? Paul says I ought to have been commended by you. I lived with you. We we established the churches together there in Corinth. We we we brought the gospel to the city. There was great work that went on. As he's correcting them in this situation as they're asking for letters of commendation, you can understand that that Paul here is saying. The Corinthians do not appreciate. All of the time and energy and effort. And suffering and tears and sleeplessness and. Agony that that I went through. To minister the gospel to them. Paul doesn't say and declare that he feels unappreciated. But at the same time, we can understand. This is what was. Happening, they were not appreciating Paul. They weren't recognizing. His efforts and his sacrifices on their behalf. As they ask for proof of his apostleship. Paul says therefore. Since we have this ministry. As we have received mercy, we do not lose heart, even though the people that I have spent a lot of time with and invested a lot in, even though they don't appreciate me. Paul still regarded this ministry as a gift from God. The ministry is glorious and Paul in Chapter 3 talks about the glory of the ministry and when he's talking about the glory of the ministry, he's not talking about you. Know like a A. Official or formal role within a church or something? He's talking about the glory of the new Covenant, the Ministry of. Knowing God by faith in Jesus Christ, the Ministry of Reconciliation, he'll tie it to in Chapter 5, the Ministry of Knowing God and helping others to get to know God. This is the ministry he's saying look, this is far superior to the old covenant. It is superseding in glory compared to the old covenant. This ministry, this glorious opportunity to know God and to help others know him. This has been given. And so we don't lose heart. Because we've been entrusted. With and the the have the great privilege. Of receiving this ministry from God. So yes, Corinthians. You don't appreciate me. The cost and the sacrifice and and the work that I did on your behalf. And now you're questioning my authority and wanting me to prove and give letters of commendation. But I I'm not going. To let that move me. I'm not gonna let that cause me to be discouraged and give up because you don't recognize and appreciate the the work that I've done. This ministry is worth it. And the opportunity and the privilege that I've been given in this is far superior. Than any appreciation I could receive for it. But not only. That we've received this ministry as one thing, but also we have received mercy. And Paul always kept in mind and had his heart. In that place where he knew. Who he really was. And the judgment that he actually deserved. And the salvation itself, and the forgiveness itself. Was enough for Paul to say I've received mercy. I'm not going to lose heart then to have the added bonus of, but also Lord, you're going to let me know you. And experience the new Covenant and enter into the presence of God and have a real relationship with you. Ohh, how can I ever lose heart? Because I have access. To God by faith in Jesus Christ, my sins have been forgiven, and they were atrocious, and I deserve judgment and hell. But I still get to know you and and then. Are you serious? I get to serve you and be part of helping. Receive from you and to know you. Paul says we do not lose heart. It's too great of a ministry. I've received 2 great of mercy. To lose heart. Even though this church that should have. Really appreciated, Paul. And written him letters of commendation. So thankful for how God used him in their life. That didn't move him when they didn't have that kind of response. And so you could see Paul. Understanding and and and feeling unappreciated. As they're asking him for proof of his apostleship, you could also understand Paul feeling unappreciated as well. There's the challenge of. So few responses to the ministry verse. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the God of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image. Of God should shine on them. Now this is interesting because here Paul is saying we've received this ministry and so we don't lose heart. But here in verse three and four he also. Goes on to say. But there's also those who don't receive it. There are those. Whose minds have been blinded by the God. Of this age. There's a little bit of speculation here. But it's quite possible, very believable, that. These leaders, who had come into Corinth, who were challenging Paul. Large favorable responses to their messages to their ministries and to their invitation. The challenge being extended to Paul, like not as many people responded, you know. Paul had a. Events here at corns when he was here and you know there was about three or four people here. But boy, this guy, reverend so and so comes into town and there's hundreds of people here like, clearly this must be a much better ministry with a much better minister and and and that's the kind of comparison that is going on. Paul says even if our gospel is veiled. It's it's veiled to those who are perishing. Pastor Warren Risby says if Paul was such a faithful teacher of the word, why then did not more people believe his message? Why were the false teachers so successful in winning converts? Because the mind of the lost Sinner is blinded by Satan and fallen man finds it easier to believe lies than to believe truth. Looking at the outward, looking at the response. Sometimes it can be very misleading because it looks really good, sounds really good, and there's letters of commendation to support it. But it doesn't mean. It's valid or true, or of the Lord. Paul goes on in verse 5. For we do not preach ourselves. But Christ Jesus the Lord. And ourselves, your bond servants, for Jesus's sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of. God in the face of Jesus Christ. Paul says we don't preach ourselves. We didn't go there and. And have you know a great? That's not what we're called to preach, Paul says. We preach Jesus the Lord. And and we're bond servants for his sake. But but it's not about us. We're not the center of attention. We're not the focus, but again, here comes false teachers who put themselves as the center of attention and the focus, and they are lifting themselves up. And the Corinthians are buying it. They're believing it. And it's brought them to a place where now they're questioning Paul. Paul, can you send this proof of your apostleship? Maybe if you can get Peter to write you a letter of commendation, that'd be. You know, another apostle and. Would really just bolster our confidence in you and we'd receive from you much more favorably if. You had that. Paul says, look, I'm not going to spend any effort anytime on trying to convince you. That I'm greed. I preach Jesus. That is who the focus is. You may not appreciate it. You may not like it. You may prefer light and fluffy. But I'm going to continue to focus on Jesus and the ministry that he's entrusted to me. Pastor Wars, he says, the way that you look at your ministry helps to determine how you will fulfill it. If you look on serving Christ as a burden instead of a privilege. You will be a drudge and do only what is required of you. Some people even look on service as a punishment. If you don't have. The right perspective. On the ministry that God has given to you the path that God has set before you. It's going to be very easy to lose heart. Especially when your hard work, your levers, your service. But when you have the right perspective. We have this glorious ministry from God, Paul said of this one. And we have received mercy. I would prefer to be appreciated. But it's not a requirement, it's not mandatory. In fact, I would suggest it's pretty normal. For those who are being ministered to in a variety of capacities, not even just in the spiritual sense, but it's normal we don't realize the price people pay on our behalf. We don't most of the time recognize the sacrifice that others are making. For us, I mean, you can just go down to when you're a kid, right? No kid fully appreciates and understands the sacrifices that parents make for them. And that just extends on. I would suggest in the workplace. Many times as employees, we don't appreciate and realize the sacrifices, the Libor, the, the cost of what has been done on our behalf. Fully know or understand or appreciate. The sacrifices that have been made, the cost that it was for. Whatever ministry that we received. For that to take place. You can even look. At the cross, do we understand the sacrifice of Jesus? And one of the songs we're singing tonight, I'll never know how much it costs to see my sin upon that cross. Like we, we understand a little bit, but also do we understand the sacrifice of Christ and what it cost him? And so when we're on the other side now and we're serving the Lord. We can understand that he sees and appreciates he knows what it's costing us. And we've received the ministry from him and the call of our life from him. We we have received from him this glorious ministry and incredible mercy. And so we need to settle in our hearts. So that we don't lose heart when we have the wrong perspective and people aren't showing us the right appreciation. And so now I'm not going to serve my kids the same way because they don't appreciate me. Well, my perspective is wrong. I'm not going to serve my employees because they don't appreciate the great sacrifice when I'm not going to serve the. People of the Lord in the ministry. Of the Lord because they don't respond the way that I want. Them, to my perspective, is skewed my. My heart's been lost. Because my focus has been. Moved away from the Lord. And on to the people. And faithfulness to the Lord needs to be where our hearts at appreciation for the privilege and the honor of serving him, ever mindful of what he has done for us. And when our eyes are there on him. We will not lose heart. Even when our service. Is not appreciated by others. Moving on to verses 7 through 10, we get point #2 don't lose heart over weakness. That reveals God's power. Do you ever lose heart? Get discouraged by the weakness? Of your own self, the weakness of your flesh, the weakness of your mind, the weakness of your willpower. Quite discouraging, quite upsetting. Makes you want to quit. Paul says we don't do that. Let's read verses 7 through 10. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels. That the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken. Struck down but not destroyed. Always caring about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested or revealed in our body. Paul says we have this treasure. This glorious new covenant, this glorious ministry. The presence of Jesus Christ, we have this amazing access to God and amazing fellowship with God and amazing opportunity to serve God. This is a treasure. There's no other way to describe what we have from God. But this treasure from God has been deposited into us. And the idea here that Paul is conveying. Is, you know, there's. Other kind of vessels that are stronger, more beautiful would last longer, would contain the treasure better. But earthen vessels are clay pots. They're easily broken. They often are cracked. They don't hold treasure very well. This glorious ministry. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God that Paul talks about in verse 6. As part of this treasure that we have. But Paul is recognizing himself. As an earthen vessel. Not completely and totally up to the task. Of holding this treasure. This treasure has been deposited. Pastor David Gusick says who is worthy? To be a container for God's light and glory. The smartest person isn't smart enough. The purest person isn't pure enough. The most spiritual person isn't spiritual enough. The most talented person isn't talented enough. We are all just clay pots holding. And unspeakably great treasure. What we have in our relationship with the Lord and our opportunity to know him and our privilege of serving him, it's a treasure. And we're not worthy of it. We could never deserve it. We have the glory of God. And yet we're so. But that's the point. He says that the excellence of the power. Maybe of God and not of us. If it was in a golden vessel, then the excellence of the vessel would be like, wow, look how well this holds the treasure and protects the treasure. If we were. Completely perfect in every way. There would be. A lot of glory in the vessel. But the point is God uses broken human weak. Earthen vessels so that the focus is on the power of God and not on us. So that the glory of God is revealed. Demonstrated how he's able to work in and the mercy he's able to provide to those who are broken and fall down and don't do a really great job holding on to. This treasure that we've been given. He goes on in verses 8 through 10 to. Talk about how broken we are. Hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed. It's not hard to crush an earthen vessel. And a believer who is where the Lord wants them to be living out the ministry and holding on to the treasure that God has deposited can go through experiences that are. Well, hard pressed is the description on every side. And yet the believer can't endure. And not be crushed. Because they're holding on. To the glory of God. They're holding on to Jesus. We are perplexed, he says. But not in despair. Now I like that word perplexed. Hard pressed on every side that's external. Perplexed. That's internal. Here Paul is saying, yeah, a lot of stuff is happening on the outside and we're. Not crushed, but. Also, you know what? A lot of stuff is happening on the inside. And we don't know why. God's allowing what he's allowing and we're not sure how all this is going to work out. We're perplexed by the situation. We're perplexed by the difficulties and afflictions that we face. But not in despair, because we don't lose heart. We don't know everything we want to know. We don't get to see everything. We want to see. We're not able to forecast everything that we want to, you know, know for. How everything is going to work out, but. Perplexed, but not in despair. But I know I'm not forsaken the Lord's with. Me, even when I'm persecuted. And a lot of people have the mindset. If you're being persecuted, you know it's the Lord is absent. Where are you? Lord, I'm suffering, Paul says I'm not forsaken the Lord's with me. Even when I'm being persecuted. Now that's a little. Bit different than hard pressed but not crushed, right? Struck down means he goes down. He's on the mat. But not destroyed. Doesn't mean he never gets back up again, but he gets knocked down. He gets laid flat. Paul goes on to describe it, always caring about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, the the things that he's facing and going through he he can relate it to. He's equating it to. The suffering that Jesus endured at his death. You know, Jesus was weak and had to have someone else carry the cross. Even in his humanity, there was the earthen vessel Ness of his humanity, his nature. He experienced weakness and hunger and thirst and fatigue. He can relate, he can understand. Paul says that's what I'm experiencing I'm experiencing. All of these normal. Afflictions of life, but then this added pressure. This added trouble and affliction that comes. With serving Jesus, who suffered and died. For us, but notice that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. So all of this suffering. I can relate to the suffering of Jesus, but at the same time, the more I'm suffering like Jesus suffered, the more the life of Jesus is revealed in my body, Paul says. And so I don't lose heart over weakness. Frailty failures, difficulties, challenges. Even when I fall down, I'm struck down. Even when I'm perplexed and I don't have answers and I can't figure out what it is that's happening and why it's happening and what God might be doing. I don't lose heart. Because it only goes to show you know what God does, he uses people who are broken and weak and tired and hungry, and those who get struck down and those who are perplexed and don't have all the answers God uses. And so these. Things in my life don't cause me to lose heart. As Paul is writing these things here, I would suggest that it. It indicates that there is time to react to what is happening. And then recover from it. But not in despair, you know, being perplexed can lead to despair. Paul is experiencing perplexity. He's not just like, yeah, I don't care. I'm perplexed, but I don't know. And so it just doesn't matter. I'm just gonna trust. And alright, we'll just. Move on then. No problem, it doesn't affect me at all emotionally. No. When? When. Paul's perplexed. You gotta understand. He's he's perplexed. And it bothers him. And he wishes he wasn't perplexed. And he's tempted to despair, but he doesn't despair because he brings himself back to you. I don't lose heart. This is just God revealing his power through my weakness, and he'll make that even more clear later on in Corinthians as he learns that lesson from the Lord and and shares that with us. Commentator FB Meyer says Paul here confesses that he was troubled, perplexed, persecuted and cast down, always bearing the scars of Jesus and being perpetually delivered over to death. But he gratefully accepted all these disabilities. Because he knew that they gave greater opportunities to Jesus to show forth through him his resurrection power. Every weakness that I have, every deficiency that I have, every frailty that I have. The Lord somehow is able to use that. To further demonstrate his glory, his strength. It's made perfect in weakness. Think about earlier in Corinthians, second Corinthians, chapter one. Where Paul says, blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Probably familiar verses we understand them, we know them. But take a moment and just reflect. This means that Paul needed comfort. And he's able to comfort and offers comfort because he's been comforted because he needed comfort. An earthen vessel just like. The rest of us. And the only thing that he was able. To minister from the only resource he had. Was what God poured into that earthen vessel. So then he was able to comfort others. Don't lose heart over weakness. Over the fact that you need comfort over the fact that you're perplexed over the fact that you get struck down. Don't lose heart. It's serving the purpose of revealing God's power. The glory of God. Earthiness, your brokenness, your weakness. Moving on to point #3 versus 11 through 15, don't lose heart over suffering that brings glory to Jesus. Very similar related to the previous point, but slightly different. Here, verse 11 and 12 for we who are, I'm sorry for we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus's sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. Again, it's easy to read from this that one of the attacks against Paul by these false teachers is look at Paul. He's always suffering. He surely cannot be. The Man of God that you think he is. Did you get any letters from commendation from him? Did did Peter tell you that he's a really an apostle of Jesus Christ, you know, cause it seems like he's a false teacher. Is what the false teachers are saying. I know I bring this up a lot, but worth remembering and revisiting because it is something we're so prone to look at the outside look at the trouble, look at the affliction, look at what is going on, and surely there must be some issue. There must be something wrong because of the destruction. The hurt, the heartache, the difficulty. That is being faced. But that's not what God said about Joe. God said there was no one righteous like him. On the face of the earth. That wasn't the case with Paul, although that was the accusation. So Paul says, yeah, it's true. We're always being delivered over to death. But it serves the purpose. That the life of Jesus is revealed. And and notice in verse 12 he says so then death is working us in us, but life in you. Yeah, we suffered a lot when we were there to, to be able to get the gospel to you in Corinth. But you were the beneficiary. Going back to the beginning. You don't appreciate what it costs us to serve you there in Corinth. You don't get it. You're not appreciating in it. And yes, it did it. It cost us greatly. There was death. Working in US. But that death working in us, we accepted willingly because we knew it would produce life in you. It was worth it. We sacrificed on your behalf. So that you could know the Lord, that Jesus could be glorified before you verse 13. And since we have the same spirit of faith according to what is written, I believed, and therefore I spoke, we also believe and therefore speak. Knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and will present us with. Here Paul quotes from Psalm 116. And they're the salminus is talking about an occasion where there was deliverance. Psalm 116, verse 3. The pains of death surrounded me. The pangs of SHIELD laid hold of me. I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord. Oh, Lord, I implore you, deliver my soul. Verse six, he says the word preserves the simple I was brought low and he saved me so that so almost there is recounting this time the situation, the pains of death surrounding I've been experiencing death and great difficulty. Later on in someone 16 verse 10, I believed. Therefore I spoke. I am greatly afflicted. So he's quitting here. The Psalm is saying. Look the psalmists. Called out and told the Lord I'm greatly afflicted. The psalmist believed in God. This almost called out to God and expressed their affliction and their hurt and their heartache to God. And so Paul quotes that and says. We did the same thing. We call out to God in our affliction. We have the same spirit of faith. And so we speak the same thing. He who raised up the Lord Jesus. We'll raise us up as well. So we trust God, we're suffering greatly, and it looks like death. But we're not gonna lose heart because we trust God. We're gonna be resurrected with him and with you, knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and present us with you. And then verse 15 for all things are for your sakes, that grace having spread through the many may cause Thanksgiving to abound, to the glory of God. All things are for your sakes, you're judging us. In regards to all of the suffering that we're experiencing. But missing the point that we're suffering to this degree, we suffered to that degree when we were in your midst. For your sake, for your benefit, we didn't have to suffer it, didn't we? Didn't have to have those. You know, sleepless nights while we worked to provide for ourselves. We didn't have to work so hard and sacrifice so much. But for your sake. We went to great lengths. So that Jesus could be glorified in your midst. For your sakes. Pastor David Gusick says here's the irony the Corinthian Christians despised Paul because of his great sufferings and because of what they thought. Was their great lives of victory. But they did not see that their lives of victory were only made possible. Because God had made Paul such an effective servant through. That they experience the benefits that they experience. They totally missed the point that. It was the work that God did through the suffering of Paul. That brought them. To the place where they are and gave them. The opportunities that they had. Paul says I'm not going. To lose heart over that. Jesus was glorified in your midst. Jesus is still being glorified in the midst of my suffering. And so I'm not going to lose heart. I am suffering and it it could be described as death. But Jesus is being glorified and I trust him. I'll be resurrected with him, so even if it costs me my life. It will be for his glory. And it will be for good. Finally, point #4. Don't lose hearts over suffering that earns eternal reward. Verse 16 through 18 says, therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing. Yet the inward man is being renewed day by day for our light affliction, which is. But for a moment is working for us, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are. Again, Paul says. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Therefore, adding up all these truths, adding up what we know about the Glorious Ministry we've been entrusted with about the mercy that God has extended to us about the the reality of the future and the resurrection and the God that we serve and the work that has been done as a result of the suffering. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, even though it's taking such a toll on us and draining us completely and and externally, we feel the perishing. But internally, he says. There's a renewal. Refreshing in our hearts. And he renews us every day to be able to suffer more the next day. Internally, he applies the ointment and the solve to be able to endure the pain that the day holds. On the outside, yes, they're suffering. There's hard relationships, there's challenging situations, there's painful circumstances. They're there's suffering on the outside perishing. But the inward man. Is being recharged, renewed, refreshed, encouraged. In this fellowship with God, in this connection to God in the life of the spirits. Is for real. Paul's not just saying words. He's not just saying things lightly. He is saying this and meaning it. We can take this to heart. And understand this can be the reality. Pastor David Guzik puts it this way. Everything Paul says about suffering, he says. As a man who probably suffered more than you, or more than anyone, you will ever meet. This was not theory to Paul. But real life? Paul suffered more. Than you, I know it's hard in our times of suffering. To accept the idea that others might suffer more than us, right. Paul suffered more than us. And and he said this. Our outward bound is perishing at the inward man is being. Renewed day by. Day we can take it with authority that this is the reality. This is the possibility. That yes, life is challenging and hard, and the suffering is great. But there can be that internal. And our connection to God and our relationship. With the Lord. Doesn't mean that we're never perplexed, but we're not in despair. Doesn't mean that we're never struck down, but we're not destroyed because then the Lord gives us that renewal that we need to get back up. That renewal that we need to trust him. He goes on in verse 17 to say for our light affliction which is, but for a moment is working for us. A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Awesome contrast here light, affliction exceeding and eternal weight of glory. But but what Paul calls light affliction. Is not what we would call light affliction. He talks about perishing in verse 16, right? But but because he's so focused on the eternal weight of glory, what is to come? He's able to have a more balanced perspective on the perishing suffering that he's experiencing right then and there. And so he's able to refer to it as light affliction. But for a moment and all of us know how suffering feels. It doesn't feel like it's a moment, right? You go to the dentist and does it feel? Like you're just there for a. No, it feels like you're there for weeks. Cause it's suffering, but again, Paul has his eyes fixed on eternity and so he says it's light affliction. It's just for a moment and it's working for us. It's working for us. It's accomplishing something. Count it all, Joy James tells us, right? Because it's working for us. Interest at a rate that you can't even imagine in eternity. It's an exceeding an eternal weight. G Campbell Morgan says Affliction is not something to be endured in order to reach glory. It is the very process which creates the glory. Through travail comes birth through suffering comes the triumph through dying comes the living. It's not that you have to endure the suffering and just gonna get through it to get to the other side. But it's the process of the suffering that generates the glory that God has in store for you in eternity. So don't lose heart. It's it's working for you. It's for your benefit. It's earning for you eternal reward. And and without that suffering, without that affliction, that light affliction which is. But for a moment, you wouldn't have the glory to look forward to you. There would be less reward for you. If you didn't go through the affliction and the suffering and the difficulty and the challenges. So Paul says I don't lose heart over suffering cause it's earning. I'm trading it. Right now I'm trading it. For an eternal weight of glory in eternity, and you can see his perspective in verse 16 or verse 18. While we do not look at things which are seen, but that things which are not seen. The things which are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal. We have our eyes fixed on eternity. And that's what helps us have the right perspective. So that we do not lose heart even when our service and hard work and great sacrifice are unappreciated. By the people that. Were serving on behalf of the Lord. We don't lose heart. Because it's working for us. We may not get the reception and response that we want in this life. But it's working for us for eternity. More exceeding and eternal weight of glory. My weaknesses, my frailties and failures, my earthen vessel Ness, that. Exposes cracks and brokenness and. I don't lose heart over that. Because it's revealing the power of God and the glory of God. His strength is made perfect in weakness. At showing people God. In my weakness than I am in my strength. That's not the way that I think. Right, that's not normal thought. But the weakness reveals the power of God. In a way, that strength does not don't lose heart over suffering that brings glory to Jesus. It might be. Not seen favorably. It might be ridiculed and scorned and questioned and doubted by people around but. It's bringing glory to Jesus, those things that you face, those hardships that you endure. His name is being made known. Don't lose heart. Over suffering that it earns. The exchange rate. It's light affliction in comparison to eternity. It's momentary affliction in comparison to eternity. And what is awaiting there? For those who do not lose heart. Is an exceeding and eternal wheat of glory. I want to finish up. Tonight looking at this. Passage, 2nd Corinthians 4. We do not lose heart. I want you to ask yourself this question. Is my life worth? We all face difficulty and hardship and you know we we face challenges in life. Sometimes those challenges Peter will deal with this in his letter later on in the New Testament. Sometimes those challenges in suffering that we face are not for good reason, not worth suffering for, to suffer for doing evil. Yeah, you you might suffer for doing evil. There's no credit for you in that. If you suffer and handle that well when you do an evil. But if you're suffering. For doing what the Lord has set before you. It's worth it. Is your life worth suffering for? Listen, I want you to know it should be worth suffering for. Your life has so much meaning and value, and the plans and purposes that God has for you. Are worth way more suffering than you think. You can even handle. Your life is worth. Suffering for the call of God in your life and his plans and purposes for you, you should. You should consider your life worth suffering for and. And if you don't, you need to reset. And not try to go suffer and hurt yourself. And I'm not saying that. But I'm saying reset to. Fix your eyes on eternity. And fix your eyes on what is it, Lord, that you have for me because my life shouldn't just be like making it through to the end and just, you know, wandering around and not much consequence either way. My life should be a series of. I want to serve the. Lord, it's going to cost me greatly. But it's worth it. And so I'm. Going to choose. To do what God has set before me. And that's in my relationships. That's in my workplace. That's in church. That's in Ministry of all sorts and sizes. That's in the way that I spend money that's in the way that I save. It's in every aspect of my life. I'm going to do what God wants me to do. It's going to cost me, but I'm going to sacrifice for you, Lord, because you've delivered to me. And Grace and ministry. Far more exceeding value than anything that. I could sacrifice for you. And so, Lord, I'm going to suffer for you, for your name. I'm going to do what you want me to do. No matter what it costs me. And I'm going to look forward to that exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Is your life worth suffering for? It should be. It can be, but you need to fix your eyes on what the Lord desires to do in you and through you. But I pray for each one of us that you would help us to not lose heart. But it's easy to lose heart in the face of affliction and difficulty. But I pray that you would give us a great. Clarity on your call in our lives. On your plans and purposes, your will for us. Lord, that we could recognize the worth and the value. The path that you've set before us help us learn to trust you. To believe you at your word. And Lord, no matter. What obstacles we might face and how others around us might perceive it? Help us learn to be faithful. To that which you've called this to. Lord, would you renew us internally even now as we pray this? Or that you be renewed and recharged to face. The life that you've set before us, the call that you've commissioned us with. Or that you have called us. To walk on. May we do so faithfully. Walking with you. And representing you. We pray this in Jesus name.