Summary: Who is the ’god’ of this age? Who is it that blinds unbelievers, here. Who rules, then? What are the Devil’s weapons, and what are our weapons?
"The god of this age". 2 Cor 4:4 (v1-6) WBC 15/5/5am
It’s Halloween in New York. A man bound for a fancy dress party is waiting for a bus, dressed as the devil. It starts to rain, and so he takes shelter in a nearby porch. Coming from the door behind him he hears the sound of the singing of hymns. The wind veers and drives the rain straight into the porch so that he is forced back against the door. Suddenly there is a mighty CRASH of thunder,. He jumps with a start, throwing the door open and the congregation is greeted with a picture of the devil backlit by lightening. Panic ensues, and the whole congregation files out through the only available exit: the doorway in which he is standing. Contagious as it ism the panic takes over him as well, and he runs, too. Runs from the ’unknown’ slightly behind the congregation. Wanting to know the source of his fear, he gains on old Mrs Smith and her Zimmer frame with the intent of asking her what they are running from... grasps her by the shoulder... opens his mouth... and is immediately greeted by the plea ’Oh Mr devil, I may have attended that church for 75 years- but I was on your side all the time!’
It’s quite funny really- and we all laugh
- but evil IS a reality
o (not one we want to get obsessed about. This is one sermon in 50. Some cover it all the time)
- Consider: our news this week. (Rape & Murder in Reading)
o Isn’t it just awful?
o The computer world: viruses that waste person-hours.. spyware… horrific emails (porn)
Think about it for a moment- and I don’t think any of us would doubt the reality of evil. (Should have covered it in Alpha Thurs pm?)
But think about it a bit more. How prevalent… insidious… effective is this evil if it can permeate so much of our world… like the ocean of air around us that we breathe…. Yet
- hide its tracks
- have people believing…seeking (even)… horror films.. occult stuff… all kinds of spiritual revelation and trinkets…
- … YET believe it is impersonal! Not personal. Unfocussed. ’Neutral’, even.
o No strategy or strategiser behind it!
Jesus and the Bible are very clear about it, though. Bring it to light. Shine light on the reality of the subject
So- what’s happening, here
Paul is talking about the good news that there is in Jesus.. and about the ministry he has been given to spread it.
- he keeps going in spreading it. Perseveres & never loses heart v1
- he tries to do it with complete integrity. Always above board
o v3 doesn’t use deception. Lit ’cunning’ as in 2 Cor 11:3
o 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ
o doesn’t distort, exaggerate, ’help God out a bit by stretching the truth (’evangelastic’).. manipulate, deceive… tamper with God’s word
" either to make the story more ’palatable’ or ’more strict’
" (people can try either things. Adding or taking away from the demands/costs)
" Alpha, Thur pm- you realise that God tells you some pretty uncomfortable things
" Well- Paul didn’t ’cotton wool’ those- as he knew they were necessary for REAL conversion
It says he "commended himself to each person’s conscience in the sight of God", ie
- He only tried to please God but also
- Acted so transparently that each person’s conscience could not deny
o His sincerity…integrity…. Love
o That what he was saying was true
" God loves. Jesus saves. Man NEEDS
So- why didn’t everyone believe? Humanly there was no block. No problem with Paul, his presentation… or the gospel
- so why wasn’t everyone a Christian? Where is the block?
Have you ever asked this? "I just don’t know why EVERYONE doesn’t want this- it’s just so good!"
- "it is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"
well- Paul explains where the problem lies
- it has something to do with free will. The free will of each individual that God will not overrule or devalue. V4 "they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ"
o elsewhere this is clarified as THEIR choices. Jn 1:11 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him
But it has to do with something… someone… else as well
"The god of this age"
Now- it’s not always easy to understand this text, here.
- Me as young Christian. "who is blinding, here? It calls him God. Why would God blind people?"