Boldly Speaking Life
2 Corinthians 4:7-15
This ministry…must be seen in the context of the cross and the resurrection.
Suffering is part of the biblical narrative. The resurrection can’t happen without the crucifixion. It is the kindling to the rapid expansion of the gospel.
v:7 Jars of clay > used to describe the vessel that contains and conveys a message
Jars of clay were mass produced and expendable everyday items
The contrast is purposeful and striking:
Humanity > Clay pot
God > Great and priceless treasure
Paul is saying, “what the vessel contains is what reveals its importance”
Our lives are a display of the message. The container (vessel) is not the point
1 Cor 1:27-28 “but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.”
God chose > this treasure is from God, not us
When the pressure of life rages against the vessel, the strength doesn’t not come from the durability of the pot, rather the sustaining power of God
The saying, “in ministry and relationships you just need to develop thick skin.”
That statement is BIBLICALLY UNTRUE!
Scripture says…Put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:10-20)
Side Note: We are consumed with making ourselves comfortable
The clay pot simply describes the human condition. We are weak, subject to suffering, death, and decay.
This reality begins in Genesis
The good news announces the restoration of the lost image and glory of the first human pair through Jesus Christ, the image of God.
Afflicted - bearing the pressure of the surrounding world
Perplexed - but not thoroughly (optimism)
Persecuted - not abandoned (Deut 31:6)
Struck Down - as a wrestler would throw his opponent to the floor
v:10-12 The DEATH I carry (the process of death rather than actually dead)
Phil 3:10 “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection…”
Paul is an intimate friend of Jesus. He wants all who know him to understand the reality of truly abiding with and in Jesus.
In the body > identifiable person (senses, flesh, emotions, mind, appearance, etc…)
Gal 6:17 “…for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”
Paul’s affliction is bringing life to the Corinthians
• Does your existence bring life to others?
The life of Jesus is being manifested in our mortal flesh
You are a broken unperfected vessel that contains all of God’s presence
Jesus is better
The gospel is greater than any temporary pain, suffering, and even death
Faith > the essential trust to not be discouraged
Hope > sure expectation of a state of eternal glory
Psalm 116 We have, we believe, we speak
We believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord,” whom God raised from the dead (Rom 10:9-10)
Our internal faith comes to expression in our external testimony
By obediently confessing Christ’s gospel we give evidence of our faith and testify that we belong to God’s family.
Believing and Speaking can not be separated!
v:14 Jesus will secure the glorious state of all believers and be with them in God’s presence (2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:27, Col 1:22, Jude 24)
Promise of Resurrection
1 Cor 6:14
1 Cor 15:15, 20
• (v:14 knowing) Do you know? Why? How?
• For what purpose?
• Are you telling others?
Romans 10:8 “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”
v:15 As grace extends to more and more
• What is our posture concerning the message of Jesus?
• Do we believe it contains life?
• Do you find yourself more critical of the things of God or grateful?
• Is my heart bursting with gratitude for the impact, process, and assurance of the gospel?
Future image of magnificent praise (this is where the plan of God is heading)
Week of Prayer and Fasting
2. Sharing the message of Hope