Christ is the Theme of Ministry
Verse 1 – Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
Verse 2 – But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
When we tell others about Christ be sure not to distort the message to please your audience.
Verse 3 – But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
This does not mean that the gospel message is intentionally hidden from some. It means there are those who hear the gospel and don’t see the beauty in the message and count it as foolishness. If they don’t unhardened their hearts they will perish.
Verse 4 – whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Verse 5 – For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake.
Verse 6 – For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Light given by God, results in human response to gospel knowledge, which in turn results in glory of Christ – God’s glory.
Verse 7 – But we have the treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
The valuable message of salvation in Christ has been entrusted by God to frail and fallible human beings. Though we are weak, God uses us to spread His Good News, and He gives us power to do His work.
Trials Abound in the Ministry
Verse 8 – We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Verse 9 – persecuted, but not forsaken’ struck down, but not destroyed –
Verse 10 – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Paul reminds the Corinthians of the trials and persecutions they went through in order to bring the gospel to them. However, after each description he says they were not crushed, were not in despair, not forsaken, and not destroyed. Because Jesus was persecuted, crucified, died, and rose again, so would they!
Verse 11 – For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Verse 12 – So then death is working in us, but life in you.
Paul and many of the other apostles would end up giving their lives for the gospel, and they knew it.
Verse 13 – But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believed and therefore spoke,
Verse 14 – knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
Psalm 116:10 is quoted here. David believed and therefore spoke confidence in God when he prayed. Do you? The confidence comes when we have faith because we believe. We believe in Christ who is willing and able to do all we could ever hope for. When you declare something, you speak it “out loud.” We let all the words loose in the atmosphere and watch things change. You let the enemy of God know that you know God is able!
Verse 15 – For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
All the things the apostles went through was designed to promote their salvation, and ours too. Grace will abound because of the great sacrifices these apostles made. If we are thankful and grateful for the mercy and grace that God has given, then we need to act like it, by treating others like Christ treats us!
Verse 16 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
The apostle Paul’s life is a great example why we Christians never, ever, should give up hope.
Verse 17 – For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
Verse 18 – while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The trials and hardships that we go through are only temporary. They may seem like they last longer than we think they should, but nothing compares to an eternity with Christ! It will all be worth it in the end.