Summary: In times like these, when our Christian faith has been tested and we pass the test by renewing our faith in God and rejoicing in His redemption, mature Christians think positive: "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!"
TRIUMPH OVER TRIALS: “IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL WHEN WE SEE JESUS”
Please place your left hand on the Bible, raise your right hand, and answer this question: Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Now that you have been duly sworn in, it is your task to bear witness to the truth of what you know factually, and have experienced personally, relative to the case before us.
From the birth of Jesus, to his dedication in the temple, to his baptism, to his years of ministry in Galilee and beyond, to his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to his crucifixion, to his resurrection, to his ascension, to the telling of his story, to the founding of his church, to the proclamation of his gospel story through the centuries, to the day in which we live, Christianity has been on trial in the court of public opinion.
The task of mature Christians is the same today as it was in the first century: to tell the truth about God’s love for a world lost in sin . . . about the Good News of Jesus Christ by which repentant sinners can be saved and spend eternity with Christ in the visible presence of God in the place which our Lord promised to prepare for his family – the family of God.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, the apostle found himself under scrutiny with regard to his apostleship as well as the genuineness of his profession of faith – even though Christians in Gentile Corinth had not been subjected to persecution as they had been in provinces dominated by Jewish tradition.
Apparently the first impression some Corinthians had had of Paul was unfavorable due to his infirmities!
Think about it: Suppose you were on a pastor search committee, and wanted to secure the best possible person to fill that position --- and you asked a candidate, “How has God been at work in your ministry”?
And suppose the response you heard went something like this: “At this very moment I suffer from hunger and thirst, I have nothing but rags to wear, I have been brutally treated in every community I have served, I was run off from my last church, and I am currently homeless for the sake of Jesus” (I Corinthians 4:11). Now tell the truth: Would you not do a double take?
To complicate matters, there were impostors who had joined the Church at Corinth to try to sabotage Paul’s insistence on strict adherence to the doctrine of one God, one way, one Lord and one high standard of moral and ethical behavior in order to accommodate those who advocated twisting or tweaking God’s Word to suit worldly morals and lifestyles.
Thus, Paul found himself between the proverbial rock and hard place - but he handled it in such a way that, when they who adhere to the teachings of God’s Word are put to the test, they would do well to model their response after Paul’s:
Regardless of what scoffers thought of Paul, he considered his God-given task to be: Speak the truth . . . Share the treasure . . . Endure the trials. To do so would be to share in the Lord’s triumph over trials!
Paul made it clear to his skeptics that their dislike of him and their disdain for the truth did not cause him to lose heart – 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 . . . for two reasons:
(1) His task was assigned to him by the LORD! By God’s mercy he was saved and by the commission God’s Son gave him, he was set apart to speak the truth - an approach that differentiated him from impostors who stooped to “shameful methods” to find favor with the crowd. “We do not adulterate the Word - try to get folks to believe that the Bible teaches what it does not teach”. And by the way:
Folks who refuse to believe in Christ . . . to accept truths of the Gospel . . . to live according to Godly standards -- have given themselves over to the evils of this world to such an extent that they no longer “hear” unadulterated “truth” as set forth in God’s Word . . . Furthermore:
God’s invitation to them to turn from their misguided ways falls on deaf ears – and it’s not that God has shut them out or abandoned them, but that they, by their behavior, have shut themselves off from God and cut ties with basic teachings of the Christian Church.
(2) “It is not ourselves that we proclaim, but rather Christ Jesus as Lord”! Therefore, this is a task we must get done because the God who said “Let there be light in the darkness” has turned on the light in us, so that we now see Jesus as a reflection of God Himself! Indeed! “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”!