Summary: How do we not lose heart in this world with very real troubles? Paul tells us how: three things that will keep our heart.
"Keeping your heart." WBC 22/05/05am. 2 Cor 4:16-18
Here Paul says ’ therefore we do not lose heart’ (v16)
- so how does he do it?
- how does he do it in spite of all he describes earlier
o hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down
o yet he keeps his heart, zeal, ’joy’ even
- how can we do it? Oh tell me- how can I not lose my heart… my soul and my spiritual life in this world/work?
Well- the answer is in here. Firstly he says ’inwardly we are being renewed day by day’….
- though outwardly we are falling to bits
A key to keeping your heart… getting a heart… is inner renewal
- something.. a work of God.. going on inside you that means you are refreshed, renewed and strengthened- no matter what
Okay. Nice idea and theory… and I believe in it- but how on earth do I do it? Practically?
Well- how is Paul renewed? 3 S’s
Significance of his work
- He sees what he does and what he is going through (light and momentary troubles) as significant. It counts for all eternity
o V17- it’s storing up treasures for him in heaven
o 3:7ff, 4:1ff God has given him an incredible ministry an (4:1) "therefore since we have this ministry we don’t lose heart"
- God has given me the most important and thrilling job in the world, he says:
o Ministering a new covenant: telling people that they can have a personal relationship with the One True God that will change their lives and eternity. A ministry of glory
o An "I get to see new babies and changed lives all the time" ministry
" That was ’food for his soul’
" The "food you know nothing about" ministry that Jesus spoke of
- "great"- you say. "But that was Paul. I’m not an apostle like him. I lead an everyday life."
o But this is JUST what he is saying! He IS talking about you…US. "therefore since WE have this ministry"
" And if you can see it you will not "lose heart!" 4:1
o YOU have the words of eternal life- because you know about Jesus
" You have the seed that can be sown in people’s lives that can generate fruit for all eternity
" Only time & eternity will tell your significance
- And you can be more significant… innerly renewed… yet
- Get your eyes off yourself and onto what you were made for! Get out there with others worse off than yourselves and go and DO something with your life.
o Now. Short term. Mid. Long.
o For Jesus
- "but I’m too broken!".
o Well- he addresses this, too. The fact that this treasure is in human vessels, jars of clay (4:7) can make it all the more beautiful, effective, glorifying to Jesus
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and
half pots full of water to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. " I am ashamed of
myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to the house." The bearer said to the pot," Did you notice that there were flowers on your side of the
path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known
about your flaw, and I planted seeds on your side of the path, and every
day while we walk back you have watered them. For two years I have been able to
pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just
the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."
I am not being ’sentimental’, here
- there is power in human…broken… lives handed over to Him
Sheer faith (4:13)
The other thing that renews Paul, inwardly, is his sheer faith!
- perspective… attitude.. is everything
- "I believed therefore I have spoken… and I believe that Him who raised Jesus will raise you… and that all this is for your benefit"