2 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 4 Print E-mail

2 CORINTHIANS – CHAPTER 4

Sunday Evening Service, June 30, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

This chapter follows the message this morning of “In The Image of God” with leitmotiv.  The re-occurring theme from Genesis to Revelation is the Glory of God in the light of the glorious gospel of the resurrection of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

2 Cor. 3:18-4:1: “We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.”

 

“Since God has shown us overwhelming mercy in giving us this wonderful ministry of the New Covenant, we don’t allow anything to discourage us. We don’t waver in the face of opposition.  We never think of giving up.  There is no defeat in Jesus.

 

Paul declares it is God Himself who enlightened him of the New Covenant which he received as a gift through God’s mercy.

 

2 Cor. 4: 2-4: “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.  If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, less the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.”

 

On the third day, God said, Let there by lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days, and years.  Let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.”

 

 

The light of the Sun represents the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, the Day Star and the Dayspring from on high. 

 

Also, the called-out ones are the light of the world, the Overcomer who rules the Day with Jesus (the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, shines on these).  These have the nature of God and have been called out of darkness in to His marvelous light.

 

As I said this morning, this “nature of God” is revealed in male and female in union with Trinity at the time of creation.

 

 

John 1: 3-5:  All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.  In Him (Jesus) was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

 

Mt. 13:43: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father…”

 

2 Pet. 2;19:  We have a more sure word of prophecy; you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”

 

The image of God here describes Christ not only as “very God”, but also as the proper man, fulfilling the purposes for which man was created in God’s image. 

 

It is interesting that Satan is here described as the god of this world.  Jesus called Satan the prince of the world (kosmos) (John 12:31).  The word Paul used for “world” is “aion”.  This word means ‘age”.  Could it mean that Satan has partial authority even over this age?  God, Himself is King of the ages.   The age of the Kingdom of God supersedes all other ages.  The present “kosmos” will be totally subjected to God’s Kingdom.

 

 1 Tim. 1:17:  Now to the King eternal immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

2 Cor. 4:5-6:  We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

 

Paul identifies himself here as a “servant”. 

 

The God who created light has shone in my heart.  The same God who said, “Let it be and it was, is the same God who has given us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.

 

2 Cor. 4: 7-12: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 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.  For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death works in us, but life in you.”

 

This treasure is what springs from the light of the glory of the Gospel of Christ; the gifts and power of the Holy Sprit entrusted to jars of clay, the bodies of His apostles.  The inappropriateness of the vessel to the treasure it contained did not cause Paul to doubt his vocation; rather it illustrated the truth that salvation, power, and glory can only come from the Lord.

 

When he describes his journey as an apostle, hard pressed, but not crushed, perplexed, not in despair, persecuted, but not forsake, cast down, but not destroyed, this is the high cost of the foundation of the church of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.  He compares his own experience of persecution and suffering with that of Jesus, the suffering servant.  The life of Jesus is the life that Jesus lives now, His resurrection life. 

 

Many presume today to usurp the title of Apostle.  It may be as the “Kosmos” is being catapulted into the “Last Days”, that these so called apostles may have the blessedness of experiencing the “high cost” for the end of the Kosmos as did the Apostles who birthed the age of the Kingdom out of the Kosmos.

 

2 Cor. 4: 13-18:  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.  Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus and shall present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might redound to the glory of God, for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction , which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 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.”

 

Last year our church went through a tremendous challenge when the church was moved to this location.  We were cast down, but not destroyed.  Our enemies judged us, but here Paul vindicates the suffering for which we did not faint.  I have been to the Cross more than once.  I told Robert Steele last week that when the “covenant” of the land was broken by man and we had to endure the move and re-construction that I knew this was for a greater weight of glory.  I was not about to “quit”, “give-up”, or “back-up” because I knew that through this the Lord would reveal Himself in a greater weight of glory than we have experienced thus far.  I can say, like Paul, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

 

The half has not yet been told of the glory the Lord will receive from the “light affliction” we suffered through the move.

 

When Paul says, it is written, he is quoting Psalm 116.  The whole Psalm fits the experience of Paul admirably.  Verse 5 is magnificently illustrated by 4: 10-12.

 

 

Ps. 116:5: “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.”

 

In these verses, Paul contemplates for the moment, his own death. 

 

Therefore we do not lose heart looks back to verse 1 and sums up the chapter by turning his attention from the present to the future.  Hi sinner nature is his whole personality, which is undismayed and un-despairing.  His body is beaten and decaying, but his spirit is alive and reinvigorated daily.

 

He has moved from the realm of the Kosmos (those things which are seen) to the realm of the Glory, i.e. Kingdom of God (those things which are unseen).   Yet, in the Presence of the Lord, that realm is as real and tangible as this which is seen.

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

www.eastgateministries.com

 
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