Cor. Chapter 4:1-18
verses for this week: 1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory
by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you
perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
week in Chapter 3, Paul spoke of how the Christian has great liberty
in Christ. While some
of the Old Testament ministrations have ceased, many such as the ten
commandments are still in force.
The New Testament ministration will not be replaced with a
third ministration. Things will continue as they are until Christ breaks that
Message of the True Gospel Ministry
Corinthians 4:1 Therefore
seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint
not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, 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.
uses chapter 4 to declare that his preaching was open and sincere.
Each of us need to be men and women that speak straight on
and are people of integrity. The gospel may be hid to many, but it is not due to men
like Paul who clearly preached the complete and whole gospel of
Jesus Christ. When
we remember what kind of mercy God had for us when He saved us from
our sins, we will have courage to speak boldly.
Too many today are concerned about what man will say, and
they tend to try to please them.
A minister’s number one goal should be to please God, and
to do that you must declare and preach the whole word of God without
concern if it convicts the sinner.
That is truly the purpose is to bring the lost to conviction
that they might turn to Christ for salvation.
A man who is a true minister of God will not fail to preach
the entire word of God. He
will renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, and do it openly and
with sincerity. He is to never handle the Word of the Lord deceitfully.
People deceive others when they change the Word of God to say
what they want it to say, or take a scripture out of context to
teach something that God never meant.
We have so many preachers on television that tell us that
great prosperity will come our way when we send our money to them to
continue their ministry. While
I know God will bless those who give to the church, no where in
God’s Word does it promise we will have great prosperity and all
of our problems will vanish when we make an offering.
Rather, we are told that Satan is against us and that every
day will be a battle. What
He does promise is grace to help in that day, and that God will
never leave us nor forsake us.
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom
the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe
not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the
image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves,
but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’
3 says if the gospel is hid, it is hid to those who are lost.
It was certainly not Paul’s fault that the gospel was hid
because he preached Christ and not self.
A true minister will faithfully put forth the truth of God.
By doing this, he commends himself to the people by a clear
conscience due to a life that is lived to the honor and glory of
God. If we speak
swelling words and don’t back it up with actions, our words will
not have the impact that the life lived for God will have.
Satan is the god of this world that blinds the minds of those
who are lost. He is the
father of lies, and tells people that there is no truth in this
bible stuff. Or he may
say “Just put salvation off even if you intend to be saved one
day. Live life to the fullest and live with gusto.”
He never shows you what the life lived like that looks like
until you are the one lying in the gutter or in agony over the sin
that has brought shipwreck to your life.
I’ve never talked to an alcoholic that thought a simple
drink would ever lead to a habit that couldn’t be broken.
The Devil does not want the light of the gospel to shine in
the hearts of men. Paul
said he was a servant of Jesus, and that made him a servant to man.
Mark 10:42 But Jesus
called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are
accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and
their great ones exercise authority upon them.Mark 10:43
But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great
among you, shall be your minister: Mark 10:44
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant
of all. Mark 10:45 For
even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,
and to give his life a ransom for many.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
God that spoke and light came forth at the creation is the one who
has shined in our hearts due to salvation.
This glory that shines from within us is there to let others
see that there is something special about being a Christian.
The Glory of God shines through us by Christ living within
1:3 And God said, Let
there be light: and there was light.
The Power of the True Gospel Ministry
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of
the power may be of God, and not of us.
knowledge of the glory of God is possessed in an “earthen
vessel.” This term is
used to explain how the human body and human nature are at best very
weak. Thank God he uses
weak creatures like you and I to understand some of the greatness of
In the King James Study
bible, the writers had this to say about verse 7.
II Cor 4:7 Reflecting on the strange, incongruous phenomenon of
the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, Paul surmises that God indwells
“earthen vessels,” giving His power to men, so that the
excellency of His power might be magnified in otherwise weak human
vessels. God’s strength displayed and made perfect through human
weakness is the climactic theme of this epistle (cf. 12:1–13:5).
This is the very essence of the model of ministry Paul would
promote, in stark contrast to the triumphalism or self-exaltation of
the false teachers, as well as to some present-day ministerial
models. God, in Paul’s day as well as in our own, is looking for
suffering servants, not spectacular superstars! This truth will be
developed at length in the remainder of the epistle.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed,
but not in despair; 9
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that
the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
verses Paul shows how weak our earthen vessels are, and yet at the
same time, how wonderfully we are sustained by God’s power.
Paul and his friends were always in danger of being slain by
their foes, just like Christ was in his earthly ministry.
Yet they were on many occasions delivered by the Lord, so
that they might continue to bear testimony to Him.
Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of
good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so
must thou bear witness also at Rome.
McGee had some excellent comments on these verses about being
distressed and persecuted.
He was “persecuted,” pursued by enemies, but he was “not
forsaken”—he was not overtaken by the enemies. When he was in
prison, he could write to the Philippians, “But I would ye should
understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have
fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my
bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other
places” (Phil. 1:12–13). Even when he was in prison he could
always say that the Lord stood by him.
“Cast down, but not destroyed.” This is
tremendous—he was smitten down; the enemy got him down, but the
enemy did not destroy or kill him. Actually, in all these phrases
Paul is making a play on words which is lost in the translation into
English. If I could paraphrase it in English, it would be something
like this: “I am struck down, but I’m not struck out.” Even at
the end of his life Paul could say, “… I have finished
my course …” (2 Tim. 4:7, italics mine). Paul seems to be
fighting a losing battle. Can’t you sense that this man is very
weak? And yet, in his weakness, he is strong. If we could have seen this little crippled, weak, sick Jew
up against the mighty juggernaut of Roman power, we would have
concluded that he was nothing.
But, my friend, the fact is he brought a message that withered
the Roman Empire. Even the historian Gibbon said that the Roman
Empire could not stand up against the preaching of the gospel of
Christ. (May I say that the gospel still continues to topple
thrones.) Paul seemed to be so weak, and yet God delivered him again
and again. He used miraculous means and He also used natural means.
God will never forsake His servants.
You and I live in a day of compromise, a day of
expediency, a day when we seem to measure a man by how popular he is
or by how many friends he has. The late Dr. Bob Shuler, pastor in
downtown Los Angeles, used to say, “I measure a man by the enemies
he has.” It is important to make the right kind of enemies. Jesus
said that if we would love Him and follow Him, the world would hate
us. Paul had the right kind of enemies. I am confident that I have
the right kind of enemies also.
For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake,
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal
flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is
written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe,
and therefore speak;
McGee said, Paul was a man of weakness, yet he lived and died daily
for the cause of Jesus Christ.
If others are going to see Jesus today, they look to a
Christian for what Christ is like.
Are we living in such a way that others see Christ in our
daily lives, or do we live to the flesh.
It is not easy to live a sacrificial life that honors Jesus.
Anybody can live for the devil, but it takes a special man or
woman who can really live for Jesus Christ.
Paul refers Psalms 116:10 when he speaks of the battle we
face in the mortal flesh. But he goes on to say “We believe, and therefore speak.”
If we don’t believe God and His word, we truly should never
speak. God’s Word is
true, and God never has and never will lie.
116:10 I believed,
therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
6:18 That by two
immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we
might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay
hold upon the hope set before us:
14 Knowing that he which raised up the
Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us
with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant
grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of
though in the end, Paul’s enemies would finally take his life, yet
he has the confidence that the same God who raised up the Lord Jesus
will some day likewise raise from the dead all who know Christ as
Personal Savior. And Paul endured many things for the sake of the converts,
that as they experience God’s “abundant grace” their
thanksgiving might abound to the glory of God.
Paul was a man determined to serve the Lord, and perhaps no
one ever suffered more for God except Christ Himself.
2 Cor 11:18
Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
2 Cor 11:19
For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
2 Cor 11:20
For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man
devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man
smite you on the face.
2 Cor 11:21
I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak.
Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold
2 Cor 11:22
Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are
they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
2 Cor 11:23
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more;
in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more
frequent, in deaths oft.
2 Cor 11:24
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
2 Cor 11:25
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I
suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
2 Cor 11:26
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of
robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen,
in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the
sea, in perils among false brethren;
2 Cor 11:27
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
2 Cor 11:28
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon
me daily, the care of all the churches.
2 Cor 11:29
Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn
2 Cor 11:30
If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which
concern mine infirmities.
The Hope of the True Gospel Ministry
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet
the inward man is renewed day by day.
man that Paul is referring to is our physical man.
It is full of weakness and infirmities.
But we are not to live in the physical man and look to it for
our strength. We are to
look to God through the spiritual man to be renewed each and every
day. Our inward man is
of course the soul.
12:2 And be not
conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of
your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and
perfect, will of God.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for
us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we
look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are
not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things
which are not seen are eternal.
We can think
of our present affliction as but “light” and “for a moment”
in comparison with the “Weight of Glory” that lies ahead of us
in eternity. This should encourage us no matter what our situation may be.
We need to learn to get our eyes off of earthly things and to
look through the eye of faith to the things we can not see with our
differences if the temporal and the eternal.
we see are temporal.
we can not see are eternal.
these unseen things. Some
of them are: Christ the
Savior, God the Father,
the Holy Spirit, and Heaven.
1 Cor 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God
hath prepared for them that love him.
1 Cor 2:10
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the
Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
1 Cor 2:11
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of
man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but
the Spirit of God.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Random Acts of Kindness. Each
act spreads, and many will be blessed.