Ministers of Righteousness
(Will the real men and women of God please stand up?)
2 Corinthians 4 Feb. 25, 1996
Scripture: 2 Cor. 2:14 - 3:6
I. Their Calling
A. It is a privilege received through the mercy of God.
1* Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
B. It requires openness, vulnerability and honesty.
2* Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
C. It reveals the contrast between man's sinfulness and God's righteousness.
3* And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4* The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
D. It is Christ-centered, not man-centered.
5* For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.
E. It is God-illuminating.
6* For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
II. Their Conviction
A. It is God-honoring.
7* But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
B. It is divinely sustained.
8* We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
C. It is resurrection revealing.
10* We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
11* For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
D. It is life-affirming.
12* So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
E. It is the natural result of faith.
13* It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak,
14* because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
F. It brings glory to God.
15* All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
III. Their Crowning
A. It is a present reality.
16* Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
17* For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
B. It is a future hope.
18* 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.