Summary: PENTECOST 3(B) - June 9, 2002 We believe and therefore speak that Christ is raised from the dead and therefore our burdens are lifted.
WE BELIEVE AND THEREFORE SPEAK
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 - June 9, 2002
13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Dear Christian Friends and Fellow-Redeemed:
What do you know for sure? Maybe we have asked someone that or someone has asked us that question. When we answer or when they answer, sometimes the answer is quite limited, isn?t it? What do we know for sure? We know what kind of weather there is--whether it is hot or cold or wet or dry or calm or windy. But that is not that important, is it? We do know the things for sure that we tell others about. We might know the price of wheat or cattle for the day, and we know those things for sure.
This morning, the Lord reminds us that we know even more than these earthly things. We also know about the divine things, the eternal things, because of our Christian faith. It is because of faith that we are sure of our salvation. So when someone might ask us "What do you know for sure," we can always tell him or her we know for sure we are going to be in heaven someday. We know for sure that Christ has died for our sins and the list goes on and on, all because of faith, all because we are able to hear what God wants us to hear by His grace. Paul describes faith in this way, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (ROMANS 10:17).
So we gather together today that we might be knowledgeable for sure about eternity. It is just like Paul said in our text: "We believe; therefore we speak." We want to use his words as inspired by the Holy Spirit as our theme for today--We believe and therefore we speak. We speak I. that Christ has been raised from the dead; and we speak II. realizing that our burdens are lifted.
To refresh our memory, the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Paul is defending the gospel ministry; because it was under attack by those who didn?t want to believe in God?s abundant grace. It was under attack by those who didn?t want to believe that Christ was the Messiah and that He had come back to life. Last week we heard how God had poured out His divine treasure into believers, into jars of clay.
Our text continues on: "It is written: ?I believed, therefore I have spoken.?" Paul is quoting the Psalms, and the Psalm writers of the Old Testament knew of their salvation. They believed so they could speak. They believed so they could write down the Word of God that God wanted them to write down. Paul is saying that same spirit of knowledge and understanding also extends to this New Testament church, over hundreds of years from the Old Testament to the New Testament. We are going to see this in the New Testament church today even after thousands of years. He says that with that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak. Paul reminded these believers of the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and the church grew by leaps and bounds because of God?s work. Paul says it is that same Spirit that united him, who was an enemy of the cross, to become a proclaimer of Christianity. Now it is in that same Spirit that united these believers with him and all the believers throughout the world, the Spirit of faith that they believe in the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He says, "Now we believe that and therefore we speak."
Paul talks about God?s benefit for believers in our text. In verse 15, he says, "All of this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." He says this so that they may grow in their faith. As they grew in their faith, this caused it to increase and flow to other people and thanksgiving overflowed to the glory of God. Why would there be any thanksgiving at all? There would be thanksgiving because of the simple fact that Christ did come back to life. He says, "because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence." He says that is what we know and therefore speak -- Christ came back to life. God raised Him to life. As God raised his Son to life, Jesus came out of the tomb, He lived for a while again with His disciples; and after forty days He was raised into heaven itself. In that same way God is going to raise believers from their tomb. Their soul will go to heaven, and they will be in the presence of God. That fills us with thanksgiving that overflows to the glory of God so much so that others are able to see the joyful life of these believers.