2 COR 4:7-11
INTRO: I was reading in 2 Corinthians recently and came across a passage which I am sure I have read before. However, on this occasion there sprang from the page these words: "...that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." I have often referred to 2 Cor 3:3 and the fact that Christians are open letters about Christ. It seems to me, however, that the passage I was reading gives greater depth to that idea. Most of us just live our lives in a sort of normal way ... going about our affairs pretty much as the world around us does. And, yes, we are very much influenced by the way the world does things ... to the extent that we may really look a great deal like other people look. This passage, however, is dramatic in its challenge to us. For Jesus to be manifested in our mortal flesh...
I. THERE MUST FIRST BE A DEATH
A. Think about Rom 6:3-3-11
1. our emphasis is usually a person dead in sin is buried - raised anew
2. and that emphasis most assuredly needs to be given in our preaching
3. but from v. 6 through v. 11 is something I'm afraid is too little noted
4. "our old man is crucified with him" - there is a death at this point
5. the "body of sin" is destroyed!
6. thus, "henceforth we should not serve sin"
7. we did not die to sin in order to continue sinning - v. 2
8. so, v. 11 plainly tells us we must now think of ourselves as dead to sin!
B. Then, Col 3:3 - "For ye are dead..."
1. once again we find emphasis on this "death" idea
2. but the apostle now gives some definition
3. he specifies some of the things which must be part of that "death"
4. read and consider them carefully ... they are things to which you are dead
5. yet, in reality, some are too common among Christian people
6. one cannot manifest the life of Jesus if he is sexually impure, greedy, angry, lewd and impure in his speech, lying, etc.
7. "...seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds" - the old man is dead!
8. notice v. 10 - "...renewed...after the image of him that created him"
II. QUESTION - HOW DO OTHERS SEE JESUS IN US?
A. 2 Cor 4:11 indicates that He is manifested "in our mortal flesh"
1. in other words, they should see Him in our daily life, daily activities
2. this is not some mystical, magical thing - it is every day life in which there are dramatic differences between worldly, carnal people and those who are dead to sin
3. 1 Pet 4:1,2 - ceased from sin because armed with Jesus' "mind"
4. in the flesh this person lives "to the will of God"
B. So, people should see us as holy, pure
1. in speech, in morality, in integrity
2. it is not something of which one makes a dramatic issue (as Pharisees)
3. it is simply choices one is making because he is a Christian
4. 1 Pet 2:11 - it is a choice to abstain from impurity
C. People should see us as loving, caring
1. there is so much counterfeit love and concern - play acting
2. Rom 12:9 - even then there was this "play acting" love, concern
3. as Jesus loved, so must we - without discrimination ... openly ... honestly
4. Jno 15:12,13 - our love must be without a shred of self interest! - v. 13 is the "commentary" on v. 12 (are we consistent in this manner of love?)
D. People should see us as forgiving
1. I wonder if there is anything more like Jesus than being forgiving?
2. Col 3:13 - "...as Christ forgave you, so also do ye"
3.how many of us even right now are bearing ill feelings toward another? don't we know that this will show up in behavior that is not like Christ?
4. the world may see forgiving as weakness - but it is out of the greatest strength that one can be truly forgiving
E. People should see us as devoted to God
1. Jno 2:17 - this devotion was seen throughout Jesus' ministry
2. it was uncompromising; it was not negotiable; it was consistent
3. this devotion is not something one wears as a sign - it is simply a way of life which is not artificial or superficial
4. 2 Cor 4:13 - this devotion is "who we are"
CLOSE: Are you living in such a way that Jesus is not obscured in your life? It's a question needing a personal answer! Have you died to yourself?
Cecil A. Hutson
04 February 2007
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)