Summary: Difficulties, Hope, Eternity, Jesus
FAITH OVER FEAR - Under Pressure
2 Corinthians 4:7-18 (p. 804) November 19, 2017
When I was growing up we only had 3 channels on our TV except for on really clear days when you could pick up channel 3 from Cincinnati…and Saturday mornings were reserved for cartoons.
One of my favorites was Superman…faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leaf tall building in a single bound, It’s a bird, It’s a plane, It’s Superman!
I remember when I was about 6 or 7 watching Superman do something absolutely astounding with a piece of coal…I couldn’t find my original version…but it went something like this more modern take:
SHOW VIDEO OF SUPERMAN CRUSHING A PIECE OF COAL
INTO A DIAMOND - 19 SECONDS
I remember going to get a charcoal briquet off our porch and putting it into my dad’s vice in the workshop…only to discover vices don’t make coal into diamonds…they turn coal into dust which has to be cleaned up before your stupidity is discovered.
It takes tremendous pressure to form a diamond from rough coal…more than I can produce.
Here’s the question for this morning’s Faith Over Fear message: Anyone here this morning feel pressure on a regular basis? LOL…Silly question, huh? We all do…at work, with our families, from friends and enemies alike…lots of pressure!
But the Apostle Paul starts out “But we have this treasure in jars of clay.”
If you ask Kari she’ll tell you I’ve dropped enough dishes in my life to know that fragile jars don’t survive very well when gravity and floor collide. Jars of clay don’t do very well when they’re put under a lot of pressure…unless these jars are filled with some kind of supernatural protection, they’re going to get broken.
Maybe that’s exactly what Paul meant when he writes…we hold God’s treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Only God can truly make a diamond out of coal and only God’s Spirit can protect and use fragile human beings to shine for Him…Let’s look at something really important in our text:
I. THE POWER OF US, WE, AND OUR FOR YOU
The pronouns we, us, and our are used 9 times in 5 verses…the pronoun “I” isn’t ever used through this discussion of persecution and mistreatment.
“We” are hard pressed…perplexed…persecuted…struck down… “We” carry around in “our” body the death of Jesus. “We” are always being given over to death…
And the answer is “We” are not crushed…or in despair…or destroyed…the life of Jesus is revealed in “our” body. “We” are ALIVE!!!
Paul doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties that God, he and his companions are going through…He even lists some of them at one time…In 2 Corinthians chapter 6 he tells the Corinthians…We’ve shown our faithfulness through great endurance in troubles, hardships and distresses, in beating, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger. (v. 4-5)
If your view of the Christian life is one that is trouble free, devoid of suffering, and without physical distress, pressure and discomfort…you’ve been sold a bill of goods by the Evil One…And if you are pursuing comfort over the cross you are not pursuing Christ.