2 Corinthians 4:7-18 – How the Gospel Informs Suffering

This is so key to understanding suffering in the Christian’s life. How has God most clearly shown His love for this world? Through the suffering and death of His Son. He has shown the world His love by a Suffering Servant, Jesus. So then, how are you and I going to show Jesus, a Suffering Servant, most clearly to this world? Through a luxurious life filled with health, wealth, and prosperity? No. That will not show the world a clear picture of Christ, and it will not impress those who are without Christ. The world is not impressed when they see a bunch of Christians living it up with all the pleasures and possessions this world has to offer and then going to worship God on Sundays. If that’s all the world sees in the church, then the world will say, “I’ll have none of that. I can have the same pleasures and possessions in this world, and I don’t have to go anywhere on Sundays. I’ll just play more golf or be at the lake or whatever.” The world is not impressed, Christian, by healthy, wealthy people who choose to tack on Jesus to it all once a week.

Let me tell you what gets the attention of the world. What gets the attention of the world is when people give away the possessions of this world, when people forsake the pleasures of this world, when people lose their health and lose their wealth, when pain comes, when cancer strikes, when a spouse dies, when people lose that which is most valuable in this world. And in the middle of it all, they say with joy in their hearts, “God is good. And God is sufficient. And God is sovereign. And God is merciful. And Christ is enough for me.” That gets the attention of the world.

Do you know what gets their attention even more? When you and I give our lives to spreading this gospel, knowing that it may mean damage to our reputation, it may mean getting passed over for a promotion, it may mean going to a difficult area of our city or a dangerous part of the world. When we go willingly, knowing that it’s not going to be easy, knowing that suffering is going to come, but we go anyway. Why? Because we know that though we will be afflicted, we will not be crushed. And though we will be perplexed, we will not despair. Though we will be persecuted, we will not be forsaken. And though we will be struck down, we will not be destroyed.

We will carry in our body the suffering, the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus might be clear in us. We embrace suffering, knowing that we will receive comfort, and our comfort will not just be for our sake. It will be for others’ sake that we might spread the love of Christ, the suffering Savior, to the world around us.

David Platt

Heart Preparation
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. Notice the earthenware vessels in verse 7. Suffering is meant to crack the jar so that the treasure inside, Christ, can shine. Do you find yourself often more concerned about protecting your things of this life then in seeing how Christ can shine through the suffering of those things being broken or lost? How can this Scripture encourage you in this area?

Posted on: November 20, 2014 - 10:00PM

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