Summary: The message of the gospel defeats Satan. We don’t preach ‘your best life now.’ We preach Christ crucified – the only way to salvation. The Power of the gospel exposes, veils and reveals Christ crucified.
Opening illustration: Some things just don’t seem to fit in our modern 21st century. A tribe of headhunters is one of them.
Yet there is one such group of people whose story is worth telling. A tribe living high in the Philippine mountains, a 3-day’s walk from the nearest city, has only within the past 10 years given up their tradition of displaying heads of captured enemies.
The leader of this tribe, a man who got that position because of his head-hunting success, was instrumental in the change. It came about because two women risked everything to travel to the village to live among the people and tell them about Jesus’ love. In 1999, 5 years after the women first visited the village, at least 50 people, including the chief, had trusted Christ to save them. As a result, the people’s lives were transformed, and they gave up their killing ways.
Headhunting may seem primitive, but its source is no different from the most modern sin. The same inborn evil that led Cain to murder Abel thousands of years ago (Genesis 4:8) still exists in human hearts today. All sin, new and old, has just one solution - Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-6). Even in a modern world, He alone is the answer to the ancient problem of the sinful heart. Has He changed yours? (Our Daily Bread, Dave Branon)
Let us turn to 2 Corinthians 4 and check out the power and the purpose of the gospel.
Introduction: Today, when it comes to the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ, many are blind. They do not see his beauty and majesty, and therefore do not ascribe to him the honor and worth he deserves. As Christians, we want to do all we can to spread Christ's glory in the world. In 2 Corinthians 4:1–6 the Apostle Paul addressed how difficult this can be. We may become discouraged and desire to quit (v.1), but we have good reasons to press on. Paul faced more discouragements than anybody we will ever meet, yet he just kept on preaching, teaching and demonstrating Christ with his life until the Lord took him home. He begins this chapter and addresses his readers as to why he does not “loose heart.” Let’s look at this chapter and see what the Apostle thought about and how he looked at things, and learns to do the same so that we too can keep on going in the face of our discouragements.
These first six verses of 2 Corinthians 4, will answer a lot of questions as to why so many people do not believe the gospel when they first hear it, or even after they have heard it over a long period of time. They will answer questions about why many who do believe the gospel quit after they have been walking in the Christian way for some time; and also questions about why some people whom you think will never believe it, suddenly do so.
What is the power and purpose of the gospel?
1. Gospel Exposed (vs. 1-2)
God has called each one of us to some form of ministry or the other. Ministry and sharing the Gospel seasons everything! We don’t worry about “success” because obedience to God IS success. What we do for God is by HIS MERCY. HE calls … HE makes us competent (3:6) … HE makes things happen. Thus “We don’t lose heart.” To not lose heart, understand events in light of God and His Word … don’t understand God or His Word in light of events! God says “He causes all things to work together for my good …” So I believe Him and rest in HIS Truth rather than my feelings. So no matter what … I am able not to lose heart or feel helpless!
“We refuse to … tamper with God’s Word” is important because doing it dishonors God and leads to losing heart. I give you my word that as long as God gives me strength, I WILL deliver to you “The Whole Counsel of God” (Acts 20:26). I will be faithful to the Text as God gives me strength … Thus the most important thing about Scripture is NOT what others say about it. The most important thing IS GOD’S WORD! Read books about Scripture warily. Notes in your Bible are NOT inspired. Not only that … keep 1 John 4:1 in your mind (You Test the spirits and try them … whether or not from God). Scripture is sometimes hard to understand. It’ll trouble you. God will convict you and contradict false beliefs. He’ll challenge things NOT from Him! We’re to study and believe GOD and everything He put in HIS Word. Especially when He contradicts us!
We are not called to read our own ideas into God’s Word. We are called to expose it exactly the same way as it is given to us … the simple truth whether we like it or not. We are not to meddle with it by downsizing, diluting or exaggerating it. Literally proclaim it simply the way it is given to us. Revelation tells us that cursed is the man who adds or takes away anything from scripture. This way the gospel will expose itself through the power of the Holy Spirit not by our concocted words. Preachers must not forget that they stand in the God’s presence – He hears their every word. Therefore when we tell people about the good news, be careful NOT to distort the message to please your audience. Proclaim the truth of God’s Word.