Presentation on theme: "AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE HELPS US PERSEVERE IN LIFE’S AFFLICTIONS 2 Corinthians 4:16-18."— Presentation transcript:
AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE HELPS US PERSEVERE IN LIFE’S AFFLICTIONS 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
INTRODUCTION: How many of us are trying to cope up or endure the pains and the intense difficulties of life? How many of us are at the point of losing hope and giving up in our Christian walk? Are we seeing and assessing our present difficulties in the light of God’s whole plan and purposes?
We know as believers that the way to victorious Christian living is dependent on our daily commitment to Christ, being obedient to His word and our submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 9:23, 1 Cor. 15:31) Paul gave us a WARNING in 1 Cor. 15:19 "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."
If we see our situations and the implications of sufferings and difficulties ONLY FOR TODAY and THIS PRESENT LIFE and if our hope in Christ is only for today's protection and blessings then: a.our daily commitment, denial, and "self-death" will become painful burdens
b.our walk will be characterized by self- pity and our trials viewed as heavy crosses which we must bear for Jesus c.we have grossly underestimated the power of the Gospel This limited view of a Christian life will always fall short of our expectations. We then can miss true joy and peace - that Jesus desires for our lives.
If we view what is seen without looking at God’s character and promises, His second coming, His justice and the glory that will be revealed then we will be easily overwhelmed or lose heart and not be different from unbelievers.
As believers, focusing in the present weakness of our bodies, our sicknesses, our sins, the different degrees of trials, sufferings and difficulties without looking at God’s Word concerning His promises of rest, resurrection, our new bodies, the new heaven and new earth WILL BE DEVELOPING A SERIOUS PROBLEM IN US: SPIRITUAL MYOPIA OR SPIRITUAL NEARSIGHTEDNESS.
Through faith in Jesus, we have been given eternal life. This means that the life we now live must be viewed on an eternal time scale. “The burdens that were once so heavy must now be weighed against the magnificent glory of Heaven. And our "never-ending" trials must now be timed on the clock of eternity.” (Thomas Adams, 1612-1653)
Why do we need to maintain an Eternal Perspective? How can an eternal perspective deal with our spiritual nearsightedness? How can this eternal perspective be used by God to build and strengthen us individually and even as a Church?
All these can be answered as we will be seeing from our text THREE BENEFITS OF HAVING AND MAINTAINING AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE. Having an eternal perspective will give us: I.THE RIGHT MOTIVATION THAT LEADS TO INWARD STRENGTH AND RENEWAL(V. 16) Here Paul acknowledged that not losing heart and being renewed day by day is possible in the midst of suffering.
Like Paul, we have weaknesses, sicknesses, injuries, hardships, pressures frustrations and disappointments. Each of these cost us a piece of our life and this is the reality. What was the source of his daily inward renewal? What was his motivation that led to his inward renewal and strength?
The word "therefore" in verse 16 means that Paul has been saying some things that led him to this experience and supported it from verses 7-12 and verses 13-15; "therefore we do not lose heart.. A.Paul’s First Motivation : DAILY DEMONSTRATION OF THE POWER OF GOD IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING AND DIFFICULTIES (PRESENT IMPACT) -Vv. 7-12
THAT IN HIS WEAKNESS AND HIS DAILY DYING FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS AND THE GOSPEL, GOD'S POWER AND THE LIFE OF JESUS ARE BEING MANIFESTED AND GLORIFIED. DAILY DEMONSTRATION AND MANIFESTATION OF THE POWER OF GOD.
Application: Times of our weakness, sufferings, difficulties, sickness, loss, death of family members, persecution because of our faith ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR US TO ALLOW GOD’S POWER TO BE DEMONSTRATED IN & THROUGH US. OUR RESPONSES WILL ALLOW PEOPLE AROUND US TO OBSERVE THE POWER OF GOD BEING MANIFESTED AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST GLORIFIED.
A.Paul’s Second Motivation:- THE HOPE OF THE RESURRECTION (FUTURE IMPACT)- Vv. 13-15 Paul did not only acknowledge the daily manifestation of the power of God in all his weaknesses but he also connected it with a future impact that looked on the resurrection and beyond the resurrection.
In v. 14, hope of the resurrection kept them from sinking. They knew that Christ was raised, and that His resurrection was an earnest and assurance of theirs. Implications: a.The hope of the resurrection should encourage us in a suffering day, and set us above the fear of death. A Christian has no reason to fear death, for we are assured in hope of a joyful resurrection.
b.As if Paul is saying “THEREFORE we do not lose heart... because it's going to be all right. Not even death can make the story have a bad ending. We are going to live again, and we are going to live with the people we love, and we are going to live with Jesus sharing in His glory for ever and ever.” (2 Cor. 4:14)
Having an Eternal Perspective will also give us a: II.PROPER UNDERSTANDING ON TRIALS AND DIFFICULTIES ( V. 17) 1.OUR AFFLICTIONS ARE MOMENTARY Verse 17: "For momentary light affliction..." This does not mean it lasts one minute only for it may last a lifetime.
When Paul said, “This present afflictions", he referred to the afflictions that will not outlive this present life. Implications: a.Our afflictions will end. They will not have the last say in our lives. b.Afflictions are transitory in nature.
c.Even if our afflictions continue throughout a whole lifetime, yet they are momentary compared to the eternity before us. God will enable us to examine our trials in their true perspective. 2.OUR AFFLICTIONS ARE LIGHT. "For momentary light affliction..” v17 The Gr. word for “light” means “a weightless trifle” and “affliction” refers to intense pressure.
Afflictions in reality are not light in themselves for oftentimes they are heavy and severe; but they are light compared to the glory we have in eternity. From a human perspective, Paul’s own testimony lists a seemingly unbearable litany of sufferings and persecutions which he endured throughout his life: 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.
Yet he viewed them as weightless and lasting for only a brief moment. Romans 11:18 When Paul said that his afflictions are light, he did not mean easy or painless. He meant that compared to what is coming, they are as nothing. Compared to the weight of glory coming, they are like feathers in the scale.
"Afflictions are light when compared with what we really deserve. They are light when compared with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps their real lightness is best seen by comparing them with the weight of glory which is awaiting us." (Arthur Pink, "Affliction and Glory")
3.OUR AFFLICTIONS ARE PRODUCING AN ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY(v. 17) In our text, the point is not that the afflictions merely precede the glory, they help produce the glory. Paul is emphasizing here that there is a real causal connection between how we endure hardship now and how much we will be able to enjoy the glory of God in the ages to come.
What is coming to Paul is not momentary, but eternal. It is not light, but weighty. It's not affliction but glory. This is beyond comparison and beyond all comprehension. 1 Corinthians 2:9 The effect of these afflictions is to produce eternal glory. This they do: 1.By their tendency to wean us from the world 2.By purifying our hearts enabling us to break off from the sins on account of which God afflicts us
3.By disposing us to look to God for comfort and support in our trials. 4.By inducing us to contemplate (reflect) the glories of the heavenly world and thus winning us to seek heaven as our home. God has graciously promised to reward His people in heaven as the result of their bearing trials in this life. Everything we are to do in this life for the sake of Christ, whether personal or our service to God will have an eternal impact.
“The early Christians were so much in that other world that nothing which happened to them in this one seemed very important.” (Hannah Hurnard 1905-1990) Having an Eternal Perspective will also give us the: III.CONTINUOUS ADMONITION NOT TO SET OUR MINDS ON THE TEMPORAL (Seen) BUT ON THE ETERNAL (Not Seen)- v. 18.
A.TEMPORAL THINGS [THE THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN] – things we should not set our minds and hearts on. The things here below; the things of this life-poverty, want, care, trial, persecution, wealth, pleasures, etc. What we can see now are all temporary. This refers particularly to the things which Paul suffered in this context.
What satisfies and gratifies us now is not necessarily in our best interest in light of eternity. B.ETERNAL THINGS [THE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT SEEN]- the things we should set our minds and hearts on God is eternal; the Savior is eternal The Word of God is Eternal Heaven and all its joys are eternal where there shall be no interruption, no night, no cessation, no end.
But how can we see the things which are unseen? It is looking on the unseen things through the eyes of faith. Heb. 11:1. Implication: We must be aware of how the world pulls us to focus on the here and now - on immediate gratification from what we can see and feel, on sensual pleasures and tangible possessions.
“I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joys and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.” Martin Luther Applications: 1.In Christ, we have been given new eyes! Let us then view our life in the context of eternity gaining the greater hope and power which this view can provide today.
2.We choose to carry our cross with greater joy, live with peace and contentment. We can experience new victories in life's many battles as we begin to evaluate all areas of our lives from an eternal perspective. 3.We choose to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We need to trust God even when we cannot see or understand what He is doing.
“A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” (C. S. Lewis, 1898-1963)
CONCLUSION: “All the world’s ends, arrangements, changes, disappointments, hopes and fears are without meaning if not seen and estimated by eternity.” (Tryon Edwards) Do we have an eternal perspective?
Will our present walk and what we are doing with our lives now amount to anything in the light of God & eternity? Are we aligning our decisions, our use of time, our perspective on material possessions, our relationships, our service to God in relation to eternity? What areas of our lives do we need to trust God to develop an eternal perspective?
Having an eternal perspective enables us to live in light of God's truth rather than on what we perceive to be true through our limited knowledge. At the same time, having an eternal perspective enables us to discern and apply God’s eternal truths in life now while we anticipate the glory to come.