2nd Corinthians 4:1-6

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So we’re going to continue in Second Corinthians today. And by the way, for those of you that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet and get to know a little bit, I’m Wayne Staker and my wife Nancy and I mainly minister with the senior group here at Alpine Bible Church. So if you want information about the senior group that’s normally us guys that are 55 and older, but we’re pretty easy, Go on that. But anyway, if you want information, talk to me after and I can give you my number and then we can just text back and forth or or email back and forth and I can let you know what’s happening with our 55 and. We also get the privilege of ministering throughout the week of various of activities that are going on at the church as well. But but that’s kind of who we are. So second Corinthians, chapter four. Now, this second letter that Paul is written to the Corinthians, it really he spends several chapters trying to address the false teachers that have come into the Corinthian church. And really, not only were they false teaching, but they’re really trying to undermine his ministry. And in the process of undermining his ministry, they’re even calling his calling his calling in the Lord and his apostleship into question. And they’re causing the believers in Corinth to maybe even question a little bit. And all the while, they’re trying to get these Christians in Corinth to go back under the law, to go back under law.

And they’re trying to preach this law and grace kind of thing that they’ve got to be together. And so Paul is addressing these false teachers. And we’ve seen him talk about the validity and the value of his ministry. And today we’re going to get to see what where he gets that value and where he’s who’s given him this ministry that he has that he’s fighting so hard for. And so in verse one of chapter four, second Corinthians, it says, Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. Cool. I think it’ll get up there eventually, but therefore, you guys have it in your little books too. If you have one of those. So that’s cool. Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. And you remember the first verse of of this book that Paul and Timothy are writing together. So everything’s we in this one. And so Paul and Timothy, they they knew that they had this ministry as a gift of God. It wasn’t just something that they took on themselves. It was a gift of God that they were able to have this ministry. And so he even explains back in chapter three, verse six, he says, God has made them sufficient to be ministers of this new covenant.

So they knew undoubtedly this came from God. But here’s a unique thing about this New Covenant and Paul calls covers this a bunch. Back in chapter three, we’re going to reread a couple of verses back there because this ministry of the New Covenant that he has is so much superior to the old covenant. And the point the reason he wanted to make that point is that’s what these false teachers were trying to do, get everybody to go back to the old Covenant and so he says in chapter three and verse three, he says, The old covenant is a letter written on tablets of stone. But. The New Covenant is written with the spirit on tablets of human hearts. That’s the difference between the old Covenant and the New Covenant. In verse three, in chapter three and verse six, he says, The old covenant kills as a ministry of death. But the New Covenant gives life in the spirit. And he says in chapter three and verse nine, he says, The old covenant is a ministry of condemnation. But the New Covenant is a ministry of righteousness. And then he says in verse 11, at chapter three, the old Covenant had an end. It had a purpose and it had an end. And praise the Lord Jesus is the one that fulfilled it and brought it to an end. The New Covenant is permanent and last forever. Praise the Lord. What? What great things? Listen, because Paul or God had given Paul and Timothy this.

It’s a wonderful ministry that they had in the New Covenant. Paul says, We don’t lose heart. We don’t lose heart. And the phrase the phrase we don’t lose heart. It really means they’re not faint hearted or or even and even more specific to me is they don’t lose courage. They’re not going to let this stuff cause them to lose courage. The ministry that Jesus has given them, it was by Jesus and through Jesus and in Jesus. And so it was all about him. And so they have no reason to lose heart. And so he says, I said, it doesn’t matter what the false teachers are saying, it doesn’t matter what the challenges are they’ve had with the Corinthian church, and they had a bunch. It does none of that matters. They didn’t lose heart. But here’s the thing they were concerned about. They were still concerned that the false teachers were twisting the word of God and deceiving the people. And so they talk about this concern in verse two. Second Corinthians chapter four and verse two. He says, But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word. But by the open statement of the truth, we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. What a verse. We’ve renounced disgraceful and underhanded ways.

The insinuation. That’s what those false teachers were doing. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word. Again, the insinuation, that’s what those false teachers were doing. They wanted the Corinthian church to know That’s not our plan. That’s not the way we function, that’s not the way we operate. We’re not going to stoop that low. Everything that we’ve taught and the way we’ve lived our lives have been. It’s been open and honest. We haven’t we haven’t done any of that kind of stuff. And we have not. And we will not employ any of those kind of methods. He wants a church, the Corinthian Church, to know that. And this phrase that this is really unique to me, this phrase, the open statement of the truth. It can really take two forms. We can speak verbally and state the truth of God by speaking it plainly and speaking it understandably to people so that they get it. That’s an open statement of truth. But here’s the other thing. We can speak the truth of God when we live lives that others see the reflection of Christ in us. That’s openly speaking the truth as well. That’s an open statement of the truth. That’s why Paul and Timothy were able to say, We commend ourselves or we present ourselves as worthy to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. We can stand before everyone’s conscience in the sight of God, because we’ve spoken the truth of the Word of God and we’ve lived our lives in the truth of the Word of God.

We’ve been consistent with the truth of the Word of God in our lives. Now. Paul and Timothy, as you know, if you read much of the New Testament and you understand, Paul, they were faithful teachers of God’s word and they lived lives that matched that. So why didn’t more people believe their message? And why did it seem like so many people were being led away by these false teachers, were being so easily swayed by these false teachers? And we could ask the same question today. Right? Man. There sure are a lot of people that seem to easily be swayed by this false teaching and the stuff they hear and the stuff they see and they’re sure aren’t. Very many people that want to hear the truths about Jesus Christ. Right? Not too much different these days, but here’s what we learn from the next couple of verses. Second Corinthians four and verse three says this and even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. So the unsaved, the gospel is veiled. How does it get that way? It says, in their case, the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ. Who is the image of God? Oh, Paul already explained back in chapter three and verses 13, 14 and 15 that the minds of the Israelites were hardened and their hearts were veiled.

He says in verse, starting in verse 14, In chapter three, he says, But their minds were hardened. For to this day. When they read the Old Covenant, the same veil remains unlifted because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes. To this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. Isn’t that interesting? Whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. Because only Christ can take it away. And in a similar way, the gospel is veiled, the gospel is veiled, or it is hidden to those who are perishing to unbelievers. And they can’t understand the message of the gospel for one very specific reason. The God of this world is blinded their minds. Paul’s reference to the God of this world is obviously talking about Satan, right? Ephesians chapter two and verse one says it this way. He says, And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world. Listen. Following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Satan is the prince of the power of the air. He he’s the god of this world. And first, John, chapter five and verse 18 says it this way.

He says, We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who has been born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. And we know that we are from God. Listen. And the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. The whole world lies in the power of the evil one. You know, some translations say instead, as opposed to saying the God of this world, they say the God of this age. And that actually is helpful to us because it helps us understand that Satan has power only for an age. And he is powerful. But but his power is going to come to an end. There’s a time when Satan’s power comes to an end and we know this Jesus Christ has already defeated Satan’s power by his death and resurrection. Right? And so Satan’s powerful, but he don’t keep that power all the time. He’s powerful in this world right now toward the unsaved, but he doesn’t keep that power all the time. Listen to Colossians chapter two and verse 15. It says, He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him. Now, there’s a lot to this verse. And so I’m going to tell you that the he obviously is Jesus. And so if we read this the way it’s really to understand it all the way it says Jesus disarmed or took away the power of the rulers and the authorities and the rulers and authorities in this verse are princes and chiefs of demons.

And so Jesus took away the power of the princes and the chiefs of demons, and he put them to open shame by triumphing over them in himself, by his death and resurrection on the cross. He’s defeated death. He’s defeated Satan. Hebrews Chapter two and verse 14 says this It says, Since therefore the children share in the flesh and blood, he himself likewise took part of the same things by becoming a man. That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death. That is the devil. Jesus destroyed. Satan destroyed his power. He still has power for this age. He’s the God of this world and he is a powerful being. But he doesn’t have ultimate power. Only God has the ultimate power, and God will exercise that power one day and totally take power away from Satan. But for the time being, he has it. He has power over the unbelieving world. And unfortunately, like we’ve talked about, they’re all too willing to to follow his agenda. Our present world is all too willing to follow Satan’s agenda, all too willing to jump in behind him and be drawn in by that power. And what does Satan use his power for over unbelievers? He blinds their minds.

What a unique way that God uses to explain the schemes of Satan to us. He he blinds their minds. You know, Satan’s battle has always been with the mind. That’s always been his battle. He if he can get believers now I’m talking about believers, not unbelievers. If he can get believers to doubt or question God, he’s been successful. You remember. You remember Eve in the garden. What’s the two things Satan said to her? Did God really say that was the first one and the other one was. Surely you won’t die. God’s not telling you the truth. That’s the techniques that Satan uses all the time. Did God really say and God’s not telling the truth. That’s how he tries to affect the minds of people. And if he can do that with Christians, he’s successful. He counts that as a success. Because you know this the good news is that he can’t have us. Praise the Lord. If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan can’t have you because God already does. You’ve already been grafted in. You’ve already been adopted into God’s family. So Satan can’t have us. But what He can do and what he will do is try to make us make us ineffective for the Lord by causing us to question and doubt God and His Word. That’s the things that Satan tries to do with believers. Now, with unbelievers, he has a whole different technique.

He a completely different strategy with unbelievers. And that strategy is to blind their minds to the truth of who Jesus is. And the verse continues on and explains exactly what it is the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ in the image of God. If Satan can keep these truths from entering the minds of unbelievers, then these truths never have a chance to get into their hearts where the real relationship with with Christ dwells, right? If they don’t get into the mind, they’re never going to get to the heart. Satan tries to keep these truths from getting to believers. Now. We got to take a break here and just say there’s two really eternally important. I would call them truths in Second Corinthians chapter four and verse four. They’re extremely important to us. The first one is this Jesus Christ is literally God’s revelation of himself to humanity. Jesus is God. If you want to know about if you want to learn about God, look at Jesus. That’s what we’re saying. He’s the exact representation in the image of God. Colossians one and 15 says He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. And the first part of Hebrews one and verse three says this He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. What a unique way of putting it.

Jesus is the exact imprint of the nature of God. Exact. So not only is Jesus the the exact imprint of God, of his nature and the image of God, but He’s the light of the gospel, which is eternal, which brings eternal life. The light of the gospel comes from His glory. John, one verse four says in him is life and the life was the light of man. He’s the light. And then John eight and verse 12 says, Jesus spoke to them saying, I’m the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. That’s Jesus. Jesus is the light. And so if you don’t have Jesus, what you’re doing. Walking in darkness. Pretty straightforward. If you do have Jesus, you’re walking in the light. You got the light. And we can see this very clearly in what goes on in this situation when just by looking at the sun, the sun in our universe, the sun shine, and all the time. Right. All the time is shining. Do we see it all the time? No. Sometimes things get in the way. We’re on the other side of the world. It’s cloudy like today. We don’t see the sun sometimes. And really the same. It’s the same with the gospel. Jesus is the light of the gospel and he is always shining. But Satan tries to put various barriers, various hindrances between the unbelievers and Jesus, between the lost and the light.

That’s what Satan would like to do. When people see past those barriers and they see the glorious light of the gospel, they see Jesus, then they begin to be transformed to. To become more and more like him. Like we talked about at the end of chapter three last week in verse 18, it says this and we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image. Wow. From one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. So. Paul and Timothy because they have this New Covenant Ministry and it’s all about Jesus being the image of God and being the light of the gospel. They knew that they couldn’t abuse this gift of Jesus from Jesus by proclaiming themselves in any way. They just couldn’t proclaim themselves. The only way to truly honor this ministry was to proclaim Christ as Lord and Him alone. And that’s what verse five says. In second Corinthians four, it says for when we for what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus sake. Paul and Timothy had this. Great desire to lead people to Jesus and to build them up in him. And that was our whole goal. That’s all they really cared about. They and so much so that they said, if if we’re anything where your servants, for Jesus sake, we’re just your servants.

And you know, in the Bible, servants are handled in a couple of different ways. There are hired servants who usually received a wage and they had certain rights, but then there are also bond servants and bond servants receive no wage and they had no rights whatsoever. They were bound to their master completely and totally. And the New Testament word for servant that that’s being used here, that is for servants of Christ, is bond servant, meaning the Paul and Timothy are saying that. And it’s the same for us as believers that we belong totally to our Master Jesus and we have no rights. All we are here to do is serve you. And you know, when we trusted Jesus Jesus, he gave us the right to become children of God. And that’s the only right that really matters anyway, right? That’s the right that we have as believers to become children of God. And that’s only because of Jesus. So. Jesus said that he came to serve and not to be served. And really, when you when he did that, he gave us this perfect example of what being a Bond servant is. In Mark chapter ten and verse 45, he says that exactly. He says, for even the son of man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many.

And then Philippians chapter two, starting in verse five, he says this. He says, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God, a thing to be grasped dilissen, but made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant and being born in the likeness of a man. That’s what our Lord did. That’s. That’s. That’s the level of service that he says is being a bond servant. And as bond servants of Christ, we we express our service to him by serving others. And that’s exactly what Paul and Timothy are trying to say here. They’re saying that we’re your bond servants. Corinthian church. We’re your bond servants and we’re your bond servants, for Jesus sake. And that phrase, for Jesus sake, means on account of Jesus or because of Jesus, because he’s the image of God, because he’s the light of the gospel. That’s the reason we’re your bond servants. And then Paul finishes up this this section of God’s word in verse six, he says, For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Another very unique verse. This is fun. So we know there’s only God can make light come out of darkness, right? That’s what He did on the very first day of creation in Genesis chapter one and verse one.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over. The face of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light. And there was light. That’s how light came into the world. That’s how light came into darkness is because God spoke it and it happened. And interestingly, the in the first creation, the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters and God commanded light to shine. In the New Covenant or in the new creation. The Spirit of God moves in the heart of a person and God shines in our hearts. What a huge difference and what a wonderful difference. Physical creation began with light, and so does spiritual creation. The spirit of God shines in our hearts and the new spiritual life begins. And that’s why Paul can say and we’ll go through this verse in a few weeks, but that’s why Paul can say in in chapter five and verse 17, a second Corinthians. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he’s a new creation. The oldest passed away and behold, the new has come. And God has a very specific purpose when he shines his light in our hearts and he says this, it’s to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.

And here’s the really unique thing to me God doesn’t shine in our hearts just to give us knowledge, just to make us smart. He does do that. He gives us that knowledge of his glory, but he shines in our heart and gives us that knowledge so that through us, that knowledge can shine in the hearts of others. We can extend that knowledge and shine that same knowledge, help that same knowledge to shine in the hearts of others. And when you think about it, Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is a really unique picture of this and a wonderful picture of this because Jesus Christ, right there on the road to Damascus shone his light in Paul’s heart. And from that day on, until until Paul died, he he went out and he spread the light of the knowledge of the glory of God as it is seen in the face of Jesus. That was Paul’s mission. That was Paul’s plan. That was his. That was his purpose. From that time on, Paul did exactly what verse six is saying. So we’ll finish up this morning. Man, I’m fast. We’ll finish up this morning. There is a truth in this passage that really ought to get us excited. That really ought to get our hearts pounding, man, because I think it’s pretty cool.

If you’re a saved believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, here’s the truth about you. You have the same New Covenant Ministry that Paul and Timothy had. Every one of us that are a believer, that are believers has that same New Covenant Ministry that Paul is making such a big deal about here that he says, this is so important, I’m going to protect it. Because others are slamming it. We have that same. And just like them, it’s a gift from God and it’s the ministry. It’s by the mercy of God, just like it is, was to them. And we too now can go out and lead people to Jesus and build them up in Him. We can have the very same purpose and do the very same activity, the very same function that Paul and Timothy did. And that’s exciting to me. That’s a that’s a wonderful thing. But there’s more because as believers now, there’s several things that we saw in these verses that are helpful to us as well. As believers. Doesn’t matter what we’re facing. Doesn’t matter what we’re dealing with, doesn’t matter what the challenges we have in our lives. None of that things matter. None of those things matter because we’re ministering the gospel of Jesus through Jesus. It’s not us. It’s Him. And we get our direction and we get our encouragement from him. So we don’t need to lose heart either. I know a lot of things go on in our lives that just cause us to be down and cause us that lose heart is a really good phrase for it.

We just lose heart. I’m a little bit down, but listen, it’s all Jesus. It’s all his ministry. It’s all his gospel. And when we look at it that way, when we realize that it’s all all we’re doing is we’re ministering Jesus to other people, not us. We don’t need to lose heart. There are so many things, so many reasons not to lose heart. Secondly, as believers, we too can encourage or are encouraged to speak God’s Word plainly to others and live lives that reflect Jesus Christ. We’re encouraged to do this, to be open statements of truth, just like Paul said he and Timothy were. Be an open statement of truth. Speak God’s word plainly to people. Let them know. Let them help them understand it and and reflect Jesus with our lives. We can do that. Thirdly, as believers, we really have a unique calling. And again, it’s no different than the calling that Paul and Timothy had. We have this unique calling of helping unbelievers see what Satan is trying to keep them from seeing. We want to help them see what Satan would like to have them not see that Jesus is the light of the gospel and He’s the light in this dark world. What a wonderful thing.

He’s the exact representation. He’s the image of God. Those two things are so important, and we have the great privilege of helping people remove that veil that Satan is trying to keep over their eyes and Lord willing, believe these truths and become saved, believe these truths in their hearts and have a relationship. Get a relationship with Jesus. We have that privilege. We get to be a part of that. That’s pretty fun. As believers, we’re also bond servants of Christ. Sometimes, you know, you look at servants and you think that’s an awful thing. But in in this case, it’s a wonderful thing. We get to serve the Lord and we serve. We’re bond servants of Christ. We serve others as our way of serving him, and we serve others for his sake. Again, because of all he is and all he’s done, because he is the glorious light of the Gospel and because he is the image of God. That’s the reason we serve Him and that’s the reason we serve others. And finally, listen as believers, God has shown His light into our hearts to give us new life. Praise the Lord for that. And he gives us the light of the knowledge of his glory as it is seen in Jesus, so that we get to do this through us. That same knowledge might shine in the heart of others. God gives us that opportunity to share that with others.

And. And again, what a privilege, God. God really gives us as believers a tremendous and a huge privilege to serve him and honor him with these type of things. And so Paul and Timothy knew that God had made them sufficient for this Ministry of the New Covenant. It’s God that had done it the same, and God makes us sufficient for the same thing. And they can only be effective as what? Effective in this ministry, as they were willing to be led by the Holy Spirit. And and they focused on the one who really is the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. That’s when they were effective. That’s what they were trying to get across to the Corinthians, that that’s what they were going to do regardless. And the same is really true for us. You and I have that same challenge and every day of our lives, really. And here’s my prayer, is that we be led by the Spirit of God and that we will continually rest on our identity in Jesus as we minister the Gospel of Jesus to the world around us. And again, all through Jesus by Him and through Him and in Him, it’s all about him. And that if we’re ministering through him, the one who made us sufficient as well, that ministry is going to be it’s it’s going to accomplish what Jesus wants it to accomplish. And that’s the privilege and the blessings that we have as believers.