Summary: Message looks at five reasons why the Apostle Paul did not use heart and applies them to our lives
2 Corinthians 4:1-7 (NIV)
Why we should not lost heart?
The Apostle Paul had established the Corinthian church on his second missionary journey in AD 49. This church was very important to him. But the church struggled in their faith.
Corinth was a sprawling seaport and stopover between Asia and Europe. The area, like Red Lake was very wealthy. But like Red Lake, immorality was rampant. They did not have the Internet and bad movies like we do but the temple of Aphrodite once boasted a thousand prostitutes. As a result of these temple slaves the city was crowded and grew rich.
It was at Corinth that Paul established one of his church plants.
So this was a difficult place for Paul to plant a church. There are times when Paul was ready to lose heart. There are times when he felt he made two steps forward and then things went backwards. This was a place where Paul felt like he was losing heart.
INTRO. - ILL. - The New York City Transit Company was missing a bus and a driver some years ago. For over a week, authorities searched for the man but couldn’t find him. Finally, ten days later after the man had disappeared, he was found, bus included. IN MIAMI, FLORIDA!
The driver said, "I’d had it with the cold weather, the passengers, and my family! One day after I got off work, I thought, ‘I WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I JUST TOOK OFF FROM DRIVING!’"
So, that’s what he did! He took off for Florida where he enjoyed the sun and surf for over a week, ALL BY HIMSELF!
HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE THAT? Haven’t we all felt like that bus driver at times? We get so frustrated and/or aggravated about life that we either want to pull our hair out or run away!
Maybe your marriage hasn’t gone the way you thought it would. It’s not like you dreamed it would be. The truth is you have no joy at all.
You’d tried many things to spark your marriage, but nothing seems to work. So you may have thought, "I wonder what would happen if I just took off for a few days and told no one where I was going?"
I am sure the Apostle Paul felt that way. But God met him at Corinth. He sent Aquila and Priscilla, two Christian preachers who were forced to go there after the Emperor Claudius issued a decree that all Jews had to leave their capital city. They would preach the gospel alongside Paul and eventually risk their lives for the gospel.
And although they were an encouragement to Paul it was still a tough place. Are you in a tough spot?
God wants to tell you this morning not to lose heart.
We need to learn God’s secret. I want to give you five reasons why Paul said the Corinthians should not lose heart. Let’s apply them directly to our lives:
1. God is merciful
The Apostle has not forgotten where he came from. Have you forgotten? By his own admission he said (1 Timothy 1:13-14 NIV).
The Apostle recognized the mercy and grace of God in his life. He called himself the chief of sinners. He said he was the lowest of the Apostles.
He did not grow up believing. I wonder how a church board would receive his resume today.
Paul, applying for the Lead Pastor at XYZ church, a church of 20,000. Life experiences include:
o An Israelite, a Benjamite
o A Pharisee
o A Roman citizen
o Grew up in Tarsus
o A tentmaker
o Studied under Gamaliel
o Approved of Stephen’s murder
o Arrested Christians and sentenced them
o Persecuted Christians to the death
o Through a miracle met Jesus
o Arrested in Jerusalem and accused of inciting a mob
o Refused to work with John Mark – who later wrote the gospel of Mark
But his roadblocks, which were many, mattered little to Paul. He met the risen Christ and he was never the same. He told his story everywhere he went. And he gave God all the credit. God was merciful in his life. God forgave his sins (Acts 26:15-17)
The Apostle had a difficult life. He had told the Corinthians he despaired even to the point of death. He had been shipwrecked, beaten and flogged. He was at the end of his ropes. Have you ever felt that way? What sustained him during these brutal times in his life?
One husband, at the end of his ropes said, "Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight dinner, soft music and a slow walk home. SHE GOES TUESDAYS AND I GO FRIDAYS."