Summary: The book of II Corinthians is about trouble, Paul’s physical weakness, and overcoming failure. Principles of this sermon are for those who are facing a new marriage, a new business, or a new venture.



Jerry Falwell

II Corinthians 4:8-18

(References are from the Old King James.)


The book of II Corinthians is about trouble, Paul’s physical weakness, and overcoming failure.

Principles of this sermon are for those who are facing a new marriage, a new business, or a new venture.


1. We are just clay - we are not perfect, never have been perfect, and never will be perfect.

"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (v. 7)

"Football is a game of mistakes; those who make the fewest mistakes, win." (Sam Rutigliano)

Clay pots: a. are never perfect, b. will break, c. will wear out, d. are usually put aside for new and better ones. Remember, we are clay. Therefore: Expect trouble in your next venture.

Set a goal: Aim at perfection.

Be realistic: Accept imperfection.

If you have failed in the past, don’t make excuses for your failure. If you make excuses, you re-establish the causes that made you fail in the first place.

Don’t blame others for your failure. If you blame others, you gloss over the weaknesses that made you fail.

Don’t blame circumstances for your failure. If you blame things, you blind yourself to: a. new paths to success, b. new friends who can help you succeed, and c. new ways to do things.

If you have failed, learn from Paul. "Forgetting those things which are behind. . .I press toward. . .the future." We have to always forget our failure and press towards perfection. But always realizing that we will never gain perfection.

If you are starting in a second marriage, realize that your mate will not be any more perfect than you are.

2. Life is a struggle - we must overcome our imperfections, overcome outward problems, and overcome circumstances.

"We are troubled on every side." (v. 9) The key to a successful life is to understand that troubles come to everyone - your parents, your teachers, your pastor, your friends, and to your spouse.

If you think there are no troubles in life - you’re setting yourself up for another fall, because one purpose of life is to overcome troubles.

Troubles don’t come from just one source. The Bible says they come from "every side." They come from church people, from your kids, from your boss, from the bank, from your spouse.

When you expect trouble, you have a correct view of life.

3. Make the choice that you will not go down.

The apostle Paul writes, "persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." (v. 9) Life is a choice. You choose to be happy, or you choose to be a loner. You choose to be irritable or mad at everyone, or you choose to be a workaholic. People who

are happy, optimistic, and positive, made a choice to be that way.

To begin again, you need to set a goal to be different. If you continue to live the way you were before failure, you will fail again. The attitudes that lead you to bankruptcy, will lead you to bankruptcy a second time. No amount of money will get you out of financial trouble, unless you change your attitude about life.

You have to choose to be happy, choose to be rich, choose to be successful, and choose to be a good employee. But most importantly, you have to choose to be a good husband, wife and parent.

4. Be ready to be tested again.

Paul said, "For we which live are always ready to be delivered unto death for Jesus sake." (v. 11) This means we are always ready to die or we always live on the edge of failure. Actually, successful people are just a step or two away from failure. In a race, there are usually just a few seconds between first and last place.

Don’t fear failure, that is if you have re-established new goals. If you don’t make any changes and fail again, that is sad. If you make changes and establish new goals, but you still fail, that is not the end of the world. It just means that what you have tried does not work.

5. Develop a hope in the future and a love for tomorrow.

Paul said, "We having the same spirit of faith, according to as it is written, I believe, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak." (v. 13)

To begin again, you must believe in tomorrow. Even if yesterday was a terrible day and it rained on your parade, you must believe that tomorrow you can achieve great accomplishments for God.

There are different kinds of faith in life: a. faith in God that leads to salvation and works miracles, b. faith in yourself so that you know what you can do and can’t do, and c. faith in tomorrow that gives you an optimistic point of view that God will help you through any difficulty that comes tomorrow.

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