2 Corinthians 4
1. God, with His mercy, gave us this work to do. So we do not give up.
The work of the ministry is to bring people into a right relationship with God. Becoming a Christian is the first step, getting to know the Lord as a friend gets better every day. After you have helped people find this path, you never want to stop doing it.
2. But we have turned away from secret and shameful ways. We use no tricks, and we do not change the teaching of God. We teach the truth plainly. This is how we show everyone who we are. And this is how they can know in their hearts what kind of people we are before God.
The devil loves secrets. He tells us he has secret things to share that nobody else knows. He tells us he knows secret things about us and that he will tell everybody about the things we have done. At the same time he hides the truth of God.
Our sins are covered and we have nothing to hide. It is easy for people to see what kind of people we are.
3. The Gospel that we preach may be hidden. But it is hidden only to those who are lost.
Paul is saying, “If you think that the Gospel is hard to understand. It is because you do not want to see it.”
4. The devil who rules this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. They cannot see the light of the Gospel about the glory of Christ, who is the exact image of God.
They do not want heaven or hell. God gave man free will so we cannot pray for God to save them against their will. The best prayer is to ask God to open their eyes and give them a moment of freedom so that they can think clearly and escape.
Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. 2 Timothy 2:26
5. We do not bring a message about ourselves. But we preach that Jesus Christ is Lord; and our message is that we are your servants for Jesus.
Be careful that your message is not about yourself.
6. God once said, “Let the light shine out of the darkness!” And this is the same God who made His light shine in our hearts. He gave us light by letting us know the glory of God that is in the face of Christ.
Another good prayer is to ask God to shine His light on the ones who do not know Him. We know what it was like when we were in darkness and so we ask God to let some light shine on their path.
7. We have this treasure from God. But we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that this great power is from God, not from us.
The ministry is nothing about us, if there is something about us as part of the ministry then it is not clean. God does not want His truth to be mixed with anything else. We are like a jar that is poured out. God uses us and then He can put us back on the shelf.
8. We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, so when we do not know what to do we run to Him because He knows what to do. We do not need to know all the answers because He knows what He is doing. A little child is happy when his father is leading the way. The child does not spend time thinking about it because his father knows where he is going.
9. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.
Sometimes God lets us go through a thing so that we can get a warning. We did not see the trouble coming but now we are on guard.
10. We carry the death of Jesus in our own bodies, so that the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies.
When people see us dying to what we want then they see what the life of Jesus looks like. If we have a bad temper we cannot pretend that we have conquered it by smiling. People can tell when we are showing the life of Jesus and when we are not.
11. We are alive, but for Jesus we are always in danger of death. This is so that the life of Jesus can be seen in our bodies that die.
People can see the life of Jesus as they watch what we are going through. Even if we do not know what is happening, people can be changed by watching us.
12. So death is working in us, but life is working in you.
At first, people say, “I could never live through that.” But when people see us survive they think, “If they can live through such a thing, then maybe I can do it also through Christ.”
13 – 14
David said, “I believed, so I spoke.” Our faith is like this, too. We believe, and so we speak.
God raised the Lord Jesus from death. And we know that God will also raise us with Jesus. God will bring us together with you, and we will stand before Him.
Psalm 116:10 shows that David thought he was going to die. Paul may be telling the Corinthians that they have come very close to destroying their church, but that God has raised them up from a certain death in their fellowship in the ministry.
15. All these things are for you. And so the grace of God is being given to more and more people. This will bring more and more thanks to God for his glory.
The people that we learn the most from are people who have had a lot of suffering in their lives. They have some kind of power inside of them that we need.
16. So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.
As we grow older we see that we have done many things using our mind or our personality. As our body wears out we begin to rely more on the Spirit. We see now that we could have learned this many years ago. The Lord can teach you something in one day or you can wait twenty years to get it.
17. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory. That glory is much greater than the troubles.
Do not let your troubles get you off of the path God has for you. The devil has a plan and he says, “You can do God’s things later. You have too much trouble right now ”
18. So we set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time. But what we cannot see will last forever.
Test yourself to see if you are looking at things that you can see with your eyes or some things of God which cannot be seen.