Why We Do Not Give Up (Keep On Keeping On—Do Not Lose Heart) (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)

by Doug Nichols

A. Paul gives Seven Reasons for Discouragement:

1.Counterfeit gospels exist (v. 2).
“…but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

gospel of self-indulgence, “prosperity theology”
gospel of self-pity (inner-self), gospel of self
gospel of good works, “She was a good woman. If she wasn’t a Christian, than no one is.”

2.We are engaged in a spiritual battle with the god of this world (v. 3-4).
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

3.Human weaknesses characterize us (v. 7).
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…”

It is easy to be or feel overwhelmed with work. The other side is to believe the “cliché” “God never gives us more than we can handle”

4.We are hard-pressed in all kinds of ways (v. 8-10).
“…we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, etc.

5.The wear and tear of the spiritual battle (v. 16).
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

6.We have troubles and afflictions (v. 17).
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…”

Our OM team in India, we were all beaten, after we were able to drive away, we discussed if we should return to the OM base in Bangalore, to safety – “No brother, let’s continue with our task because none of us are married!”

7.It often appears that we are losing the spiritual battle and will be defeated (v. 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.”

Muslim from Iran – came to the USA, bought a New Testament and read Matthew 10:34-36, “Jesus said, ‘I did not come to bring peace, but a sword, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own family.’” He treated Christ as Savior, saying Jesus must be God, for only God would require such a commitment.

B.Paul also gives Seven Reasons for Not Giving Up:

1.The true gospel (v. 2). “…but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

2.One true God. In the midst of spiritual battle with Satan, we serve the one true God who is the God of salvation (v. 4, 6).

(vs. 4) “…in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

(vs. 6) “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

Pabudus in India, “This God is a god of wood, stone, metal – I serve the Living True God – the Lord Jesus Christ!”

3.Power is God’s. Weakness is God’s deliberate purpose so that it may be plain that the power is not ours but His (v. 7).
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…”

God always gives us more work than we can handle and problems we cannot solve – This is His work to be done in the Spirit not in the flesh.

4.God’s Grace is Adequate. Although we are hard pressed in a variety of ways, God wonderfully has an answer (v. 8-10)

“…we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

We are exactly the color and nationality God in His sovereignty made us. Our very lives (bodies) are to radiate Christ.

5.Spiritual renewal. Although the wear and tear of spiritual battle is causing us to waste away, we know at the same time the spiritual miracle of inward renewal day by day (v. 16).
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

Are we renewed daily by God through His Word? Margaret: No Bible no breakfast!

6.Trouble Here, Glory There. Eternal glory outweighs troubles. Although we have troubles and will continue to do so, eternal glory before us far outweighs them all (v. 17).
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…”

momentary/light/affliction – eternal/weight/glory

(momentary contrasted with eternal, light contrasted with weight, affliction contrasted with glory!)

Philippians 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake”

J. Oswald Sanders said, “Any decision you make today will be contested by Satan tomorrow!” We are pilgrims, passing through. This life is to prepare us and others for Glory.”

7.A right perspective (understanding). Finally, it may often appear that we are losing the battle, but that is to consider things from the wrong perspective (v. 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.” I have written in the margin of my Bible: “Through faith we can see not seen things.”

Land purchased from spiritual great, great grandchildren of David Livingstone – Zambia.

Malawi – “Would you follow in steps of our hero David Livingstone and give us a Word from God?”

Therefore, we do not lose heart
(v. 1, 16):
“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart…” (1)

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” (16)

-13 Missionaries went to Africa and had many problems (6 died, 6 returned home, leaving only one and he later quit).

Romy Sabado -Starting work among street kids at large church in Manila

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