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Celebrating Weakness 2 Corinthians 4 1,2, 7-12 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4  to individuals he knows, to encourage them.

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Presentation on theme: "Celebrating Weakness 2 Corinthians 4 1,2, 7-12 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4  to individuals he knows, to encourage them."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Celebrating Weakness 2 Corinthians 4 1,2, 7-12

3 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4  to individuals he knows, to encourage them (e.g. Timothy)  to a church he doesn’t know, to explain carefully the Good News (Rome)  general letters to encourage churches (e.g. “Ephesians”, also circulated to others)  to particular churches he knows, dealing with their specific situations (e.g. Galatians) Paul writes with different purposes:

4 /68 33 Jesus dies 35 Paul’s conversion Paul’s 1st ‘missionary journey’ Paul’s 2nd ‘missionary journey’, inc. visit to Corinth 55 1 & 2 Cor. Written Paul’s trial & death 67/68 Timeline: Paul and Corinth CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4

5 Paul’s third “missionary journey” 53 – 57 AD from Macedonia … to Corinth

6 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4  … to a church he loves and planted,  which has been infiltrated by false teachers …  … who have taught that Paul shouldn’t be trusted;  he seeks to defend both his conduct and his apostolic ministry In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes …

7 2 Corinthians 4 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. 7 … but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing

8 power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

9 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. The New International Version - Anglicised, (London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.) 1984.

10 Report of the Appointment Committee

11 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 “The moment we say no to the world and yes to God, all our problems are solved, all our questions answered, all our troubles over. Nothing can disturb the tranquillity of the soul at peace with God. Nothing can interfere with the blessed assurance that all is well … … Is that what you believe? If it is, I have some incredibly good news for you. You are wrong.”

12 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Visible weakness Visible weakness “treasure in jars of clay”  Paul is aware of the apparent credentials of those claiming apostolic status …  … “letters of recommendation” (3 1 )  … “trained speakers” (11 6 )  … “super-apostles” (11 5 )  … but describes his own ministry as “treasures in jars of clay”

13 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Visible weakness Visible weakness “treasure in jars of clay” Our lives lived for Jesus need not appear sophisticated, untroubled and unfailingly successful Our lives lived for Jesus need not appear sophisticated, untroubled and unfailingly successful! … and to pretend to be what we are not is to be a hypocrite, like the Pharisees!

14 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Painful weakness Painful weakness ”hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down”  Paul’s experience of weakness is not theoretical, but practical  … being a believer does not remove him from possible harm – rather, it makes it more likely! (see his list in chapter 11!)

15 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Painful weakness Painful weakness ”hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down” The Northumbria Community: “… called to an intentional vulnerability”

16 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Painful weakness Painful weakness ”hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down” Our lives lived for Jesus will almost certainly involve suffering – which those around us will see all too clearly!

17 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Deliberate weakness Deliberate weakness “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God”  Paul sees a divine purpose in God’s power presented in vulnerable human packaging  “not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (3 5 )

18 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Deliberate weakness Deliberate weakness “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God” It is a far better thing for others to see the power and grace of God in us, than for them to think that we “have it all together” and are powerful!

19 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Limited weakness Limited weakness ”not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed”  Paul is emphatic that God remains in control, and the suffering that we meet is limited  “ … he will not let you be tested beyond that which you can bear” (1 Corinthians )

20 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Limited weakness Limited weakness ”not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed” Because of God’s grace, our weakness will not lead to our destruction

21 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Christ’s weakness Christ’s weakness “we carry around in our body the death of Jesus”  Paul speaks of our experience as continuous with Jesus’ suffering  “the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives” (1 5 )  we follow Jesus, who chose the path of vulnerability in place of the appearance of power ( c.f. Isaiah 53 2,3 )

22 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Christ’s weakness Christ’s weakness “we carry around in our body the death of Jesus” Like Jesus, we are content to appear weak in the world’s eyes and yet be inhabited by the nature and power of God

23 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Much more than weakness Much more than weakness ”the life of Jesus … revealed in our body”  When it is clear that we ourselves are weak (and not just those fortunate to be born with ability and strength), God’s life is clearly seen in us  … and others are drawn to Him (and not us!)

24 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Much more than weakness Much more than weakness ”the life of Jesus … revealed in our body” If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness … I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me 2 Corinthians 11 30, 12 9

25 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Much more than weakness Visible weakness Deliberate weakness Painful weakness Limited weakness Christ’s weakness

26 CelebratingWeakness 2 Cor.4 Celebrating Weakness 2 Cor.4 Do you sometimes feel that you must always appear “together” with your friends who don’t yet know Jesus? Why? How easy do you think you would find it to follow a “wounded leader”? What attracts you to such a person? What troubles you? How do you feel about a life of “intentional vulnerability”? Share your own experiences of seeing “treasure” in vulnerable Christians

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