Topic: Don’t lose heart!
by Jaymark Molo
Key Texts: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Illustration: “Many years ago a young midwestern lawyer suffered such deep depression that his friends thought it wise to keep all knives and razors from him. During this time he wrote, “I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not.” He was wrong. He did recover and went up to become one of America’s most-loved presidents, Abraham Lincoln.” —C. R. Hembree
Someone has said that if you could convince a man there was no hope, he would curse the day he was born. Hope is an indispensable quality of life. What do you think?
FCF: There are times when you feel like God just isn’t listening. Mean voices are rising with guilt and condemnation or angry slander. You feel like you’ve prayed your guts out. You’re battling fear. You just want to fly away, to escape the trial. Much worse, you want to kill yourself. You need a break from the stormy weather—and you need it now. You’ve tried everything and nothing changes. You are on the verge of giving up.
Proposition: We do not lose heart! (v. 1).
I. Power of God (v.7).
A. “Earthen” or “clay” jars, as opposed to bronze ones, were readily discarded; because clay was always available, such containers were cheap and disposable if they were broken or incurred ceremonial impurity—an odd container for a rich treasure. This serves to show that the power released through the preaching of the gospel is from God and not from us (v. 7)!
B. This principle is illustrated by a series of these statements: “We are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body.” (vv. 9-10)
C. We are like clay, but we can’t be filled with the power of God until we first empty ourselves of the pretense that we can get by on our own. “It is only when we are helpless that we really open our hearts to God.
II. Process of God (v. 16).
A. Though Paul was outwardly wasting away (cf. vs 7–12) he did not lose heart, because inwardly he was being renewed day by day. This constant renewal of strength is opposed to losing heart.
B. God is not interested on how fast you grow, but strong you grow. When you feel like giving up—remember this: God is not finish with you yet!
III. Perspective of God (vv. 17-18).
A. The disparity is threefold: (1) in time—for a moment contrasted with eternal; (2) in magnitude—light contrasted with weight; (3) in character—affliction contrasted with glory (vv. 17-18).
B. This is the reason why we do not lose heart. Our troubles are light, they are momentary, and they secure eternal glory. Paul’s troubles were exceedingly great. He was poor, often without food or clothing; his body was weak and sickly; he was homeless; he was beset by cruel enemies; he was repeatedly scourged, he was stoned, he was imprisoned, he was shipwrecked, robbed, and counted as the scum of the earth; he was beyond measure harassed by anxieties and cares and by the opposition of false teachers and the corruption of the churches that he had planted at such expense of time and labor. Can you relate?
C. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (v. 18). Everything depends on the standard of judgment. But remember: His perspective is always better than mine! You can trust Him!
Conclusion: Hang on!