Sermons

Summary: Serving the Lord is a privilege as we bring light to a dark world, but demoralizing as we are beaten down. Despite the challenges of being light in a dark world, we should not lose heart.

A Broken or Flexing Spirit?

(2 Corinthians 4:1-6)

1. When Marylu and I lived in the Chicago area, we had the privilege of going to the top floor of both the Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) and the Hancock Building.

2. As one rides up the high speed elevator to the hundred and something floor, you can feel your ears pop.

3. You can look out and see quite a distance. It is a breathtaking view.

4. And sometimes you can feel the building sway. These skyscrapers are meant to move as heavy winds blow; their ability to move, to flex, keeps them from snapping.

5. If you are going to serve God well, you, too, have to flex. God calls us to exercise faith, and faith runs contrary to the human propensity to control.

6. Many people abandon a useful Christian life because they must have it there way, and when things do not go their way, they become bitter, demoralized, demanding, and – eventually – despondent.

7. If you want to attempt to do great things for God, you will be attacked by Satan, harassed by the world, and have to fight your own self to trust God in the dark.

Main Idea: Serving the Lord is a privilege as we bring light to a dark world, but demoralizing as we are beaten down. Despite the challenges of being light in a dark world, we should not lose heart.

I. Because We Are Aligned with the TRUTH (1-2)

A. It is MERCIFUL of God to give us opportunity to minister

• When we minister – however we do – it is a privilege; we should not let it become a mere duty or responsibility

B. LOSING heart is a constant danger

• One of the devil’s greatest weapons is discouragement

• During the first half of WW2, the allies were losing

C. The truth must be presented ETHICALLY

1. As messengers for God, we must resign from evil

2. Then we must present the message purely

3. We need to love people, not view them as mere prospects

4. We must not “tamper” with the message (diluting wine)

5. It is popular to tamper with the Gospel; new persp., emerging

D. Being MANIPULATIVE runs contrary to godliness

• Direct, honest communication is our method

• An honest presentation appeals to the conscience

• People are attracted to the mysterious or veiled, but that is not the nature of our above-board faith

E. Are you doctrinally grounded so you recognize ERROR?

Serving the Lord is a privilege as we bring light to a dark world, but demoralizing as we are beaten down. Despite the challenges of being light in a dark world, we should not lose heart.

II. Because We Expect Battling SATAN to Be Demanding (3-4)

A. Our Gospel is VEILED to the lost

• Lost people are in a fog, veiled, can’t get it

• We recognize the mentally handicapped, but we are all born spiritually handicapped…

B. Satan BLINDS the minds of the unsaved

• He is the “god of this world” or age

• Illustration: Article this week, “Art restorers have discovered the figure of a devil hidden in the clouds of one of the most famous frescos by Giotto in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, church officials said on Saturday.

The devil was hidden in the details of clouds at the top of fresco number 20…”

• It is as though he mesmerizes, hypnotizes, drugs us & HS sobers us

• Sin is a cooperative effort; Satan, the world, & flesh get along nicely

• Tribune editorial: people who believe in nice God have less mental ill

C. They can neither see CHRIST in his glory nor the GOSPEL

D. Is the reality of Satan and his demons simply a TECHNICAL truth to you?

Serving the Lord is a privilege as we bring light to a dark world, but demoralizing as we are beaten down. Despite the challenges of being light in a dark world, we should not lose heart.

III. Because Our Message is Not About Us, but MESSIAH (5-6)

A. We are CONDUITS of the good news

• Balaam tried to curse Israel, God forced him to bless Israel, he was a conduit

• He was an involuntary conduit; we are to freely choose to serve

• If people reject Jesus, they are not rejecting us… If people accept, not us

B. We must have the LIGHT to share the light

1. In I Cor. 3, our faces glow with light as we spend time with Jesus

2. Sharing this light with a dark world

3. An allusion to the creation vs. the new creation

4. That light shines via fruit of the Spirit, our good works, faithfulness

C. Christ’s light has shined in our HEARTS

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