Summary: Believers should understand the incredible treasure that has placed in their hands--the gospel and the thrill of sharing it in ministry,
We Have This Treasure
2 Cor 4:1-7
1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Illus.: Flea Market Treasure
A while back, there was a story in the news about a rock collector in Chattanooga, TN. He was at a flea market, browsing through the items on display, when he came across a big blue rock for sale as a paperweight. He thought it was attractive, so he bought it for a couple of dollars. Later he decided to have it checked out to see what kind of mineral it was. To his astonishment, he was told that this was, in fact, a massive sapphire worth tens of thousands of dollars. What had been valueless the day before was now understood to be of tremendous value.
In this passage (II Corinthians 4:1-7), Paul wants the believers at Corinth to understand the incredible treasure that had been placed in their hands. What was this treasure that he wrote of in verse 7?
In one sense it was the GOSPEL itself–the gospel truth received and experienced. The reason it is a treasure is obvious:
❏ Buying power (redemptive)
❏ Thieves cannot break through and steal it
❏ Abundant–enough for everyone
❏ Can be enjoyed now!
❏ Has a beauty beyond description
❏ We can take wherever we go–even beyond this life!
This gospel is to be SHARED and yet it REMAINS–like the loaves and fishes. In fact, it derives most of its value from the fact that it is shared–given away.
So then, we can also say that this treasure is the believers status as ministers of the Gospel. That’s what he meant when he said in verse 1 that “we have this ministry.”
If you have received Christ as your Savior, you have this treasure–this ministry in your life. What does it mean for us to be ministers of Christ? Four things
1. WE HAVE A DIVINE CALL
There are 3 things we need to understand about this call:
1) It is not optional
- a teacher teaches
- a soldier soldiers
- a doctor practices medicine
- a Christian ministers
2) It is not deserved. There is nothing in us that makes us worthy. God bestows this privilege on us. That’s why Paul says in verse one, “Since through God’s mercy we have this ministry...”
3) It is not temporary. We are called to persevere in Christ’s service. That’s why we “do not lose heart,” as it says it verse one. We keep at it
- When the going gets tough, we keep at it!
- When obstacles arise, we keep at it!
- When results seem few, we keep at it!
- When opposition batters us, we keep at it!
Why? Because this is our calling. This is our life!
Illus.: “If You Don’t Run, You Can’t Win!”
In the film, Chariots of Fire, young Harold Abrams, a champion sprinter, had just suffered his first-ever defeat. After the race he sat alone in the bleachers, pouting. When his girlfriend tried to encourage him, he bellowed, “If I can’t win, I won’t run!” She wisely replied, “If you don’t run, you can’t win!” He went on to win the 1924 Olympic Gold Medal in the 100 meter run.
In the call of God to be ministers, we can’t win if we don’t keep running.
Two frogs fell into a can of cream,
Or so I’ve heard it told.
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
The cream was deep and cold
“O, what’s the use? croaked number one,
“‘Tis fate, no help’s around
Goodbye my friend! Goodbye sad world!”
And weeping still he drowned.
But number two, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise
The while he wiped his creamy face,