We ended last week looking at the fact hat we are being changed more and more into the glorious image of Christ.

  1. Veil removed from our hearts
  2. We turn to Christ
  3. The Spirit brings freedom into our lives.
  4. Notice freedom comes from reflecting the image of Christ
    1. We reflect what we are looking at
    2. We cannot focus on the past and expect to reflect Christ.
  1. Reflecting the true light Vs 1 – 6
  1. This reflects the call of 1 Thessalonians 2: 12 “Live your life in such a way that God would consider worthy.  For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
  2. We minister in the mercy God has given us.
    1. When we are able to grasp what this glory of God is all about, we do not lose heart and give up
    2. “Lose Heart” = faint hearted coward which lacks courage and is occupied with bad behavior and conduct.  When we forget that we are living under mercy, it is easy to wander and be judgmental toward others.
  3. The motive behind the ministry we do Vs 3
    1. These are things that will result in shame when exposed.
    2. Tested for the motives behind the things that we do.
      1. EXAMPLE: 1 Corinthians 3: 10 – 15 We will be judged according to our works
      2. Ephesians 5: 8 – 14 We are to live as children of light exposing what  is evil and accepting the light that shines on our hearts.  PROBLEM We fall asleep.
    3. Trick = craftiness = major characteristic of satan and a major characteristic of false prophets.
    4. This would be people who are distort the Bible and pulpit out of context to prove their own pet doctrines.
      1. Context here is Paul talking about people who are holding onto Old Covenant at the cost of excluding Jesus from their lives and in turn putting a veil over their hearts.
    5. Truth will always win out over falsehood.
  4. When a person perishes, they are to blame. Vs 3
  5. The God of this age has blinded them Vs 4
    1. By rejecting the gospel message, a veil comes over our lives and it is harder for that person to repent.
    2. Satan works on the emotions and heart of the people, but the mind is the main battle ground
    3. QUESTION: is he a god?
      1. Only place where this term is used but implied in John 12: 31, 14: 30, Ephesians 2: 2, 6: 12, and 1 John 5: 19.
      2. Satan rules this world by popular vote as the earth is the Lords and all its fulness… Psalm 24: 1 Yet Jesus did not contest his right as the popular elected ruler of this age.
        1. God and satan are not equal in battle
        2. satan is a created being by God Almighty
      3. Jesus can set us free from being blinded to His glory and the devises of satan’s workings
  6. We do not preach ourselves Vs 5, 6
    1. Our gifts are not about self recognition.
    2. We are just being used by God to minister to others.
    3. We reflect the light that Jesus is shining.
    4. The more we are like Jesus, then His character shines through.
      1. More than WWJD but characteristics that shine through us.
      2. Shining is a one time event that changes the whole character of a person.
        1. Just as Lazarus did nothing to be raised from the dead, we need Christ to shine in our hearts.
        2. The more he is able to shine in our heart, the more we can reflect Jesus.

2. Breaking of self Vs 7 – 15

  1. The treasure of this light is contained in earthen vessels. Vs 7
    1. Earthen Vessels are human weaknesses (Gold stored in a clay jar)
    2. We do not minister in strength, but reliance on God.
  2. Portrays a soldier which at every moment faces possible defeat. Vs 8, 9
    1. Troubled like pressed grapes but not crushed
    2. perplexed without sources to rely on but not in despair so we don’t lose hope in what really matters.
      1. We are never at a point where we don’t know which way to move
      2. Never at a place of hopeless despair
      3. At the end of our resources, but not God’s
    3. Persecuted or hunted down, but not abandoned
    4. Knocked down which means seemingly forsaken but not destroyed. Even death is not defeat
    5. These are all in the present tense so they are constantly happening in our lives.
  3. There is a union with Christ during these times. Vs 10, 11
    1. There is always a link between what Jesus went through in his fleshly body to his resurrection in power and victory.
  4. There is an eternal victory in the sufferings we are going through Vs 12
  5. Paul adapts the words of Psalm 116: 10 Vs 13
    1. Faith in the ultimate victory must have a vocal expression
  6. We will also be raised up with Christ Vs 14
    1. There is no resurrection outside of Christ.  No “They are in a better place”
    2. We will be presented together with others in Christ.
  7. The whole purpose is more and more people coming to the knowledge of Christ Vs 15
    1. This is the purpose of our thanksgiving.  The Kingdom is coming, the will of God is being done.

3. Hope sustains us Vs 16 – 18

  1. The believers true self is renewed by God’s divine grace Vs 16
    1. Paul’s saw his physical body as an earthen vessel Vs 7
    2. He saw himself bearing the death of Christ Vs 10
    3. Physical decay compared to growth in grace.
    4. Inward man who will have eternal reward.
  2. the present burden of our affliction achieves more and more. Vs 17
    1. Contrasts
      1. moment compared with eternal
      2. light with weight
      3. affliction with glory
    2. Paul comes back to real suffering in chapter 11
    3. Paul states that this is a present reality, but will be revealed fully in eternal glory Vs 18
    4. This is why we can come together to worship even in the midst of trials because we have an eternal glory in front of us.