Thursday, 18 June 2009

There Is A Need To Plead

2Corinthians 4:1 ¶ Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

At a time when Paul the apostle was greatly discouraged, he wrote to encourage the Corinthians. Perhaps discouraged that not enough people were turning to Christ through his ministry, Paul reminded himself by reminding the Corinthians, that we do not lose heart. The Gospel truly is good news! It was, according to Paul, ministering the mercy of God.

When you are a pastor and are discouraged (which is the most frequent job hazzard of this job) it is too easy to revert to human cleverness and present another Gospel that is more appealing to natural (carnal, that is- sin orientated) people rather than presenting a supernatural Gospel to develop supernatural people.

2Corinthians 4:2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

Paul seems to have understood the temptation to "tamper" with God's Word and present a watered-down Gospel. But he said that he refused to do this. So should we.

2Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.

Perhaps you have shared the Gospel with your friends and have them dismiss your appeal to them. Paul understands this. But rather than remain discouraged about this, he unveils to his readers that the reason some people do not accept the Gospel is because they are spiritually veiled and blind.

2Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Paul's answer to this spiritual blindness is not some novel and fantastic (from the word: fantasy) notion about what some paperback preachers promote as "spiritual warfare", no, rather Paul sees the antedote to this spiritual malady as: the preaching of the Gospel.

2Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Preachers are essential to the plan of God. At Legana we have around 140 preachers on our preaching team. Some preach from a pulpit. Some preach from a desk in an office. Some of us preach in schools. And others preach in homes. But while the role of the preacher is indispensible to the saving of spiritually blind sinners, it is an impossible task. No preacher can save a sinner. Only God can. This is why does not dwell in his discouragement. He came to understand that as he preached, he was in actuallity an instrument of God's Spirit. Therefore, he could rest in the knowledge that as he preached it was the means by which the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of the spiritually blind.

2Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Just as God spoke the world into existence with a word, and then created light in the midst of darkness with a word, so this same God can speak life and light into the death and darkeness of a hardened sinner. As we share the message of the Bible (the Gospel) with unbelievers we are partnering with the Spirit of God to minister mercy, grace, light and life. For Paul's original audience, they understood this salvation in different ways. To the Jews this salvation was light. To the Greeks this salvation was knowledge. And to the Romans this desired salvation was Glory. All of these hopes of salvation were to be found in Christ and invested into sin-darkened sinners by God the Spirit- "For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2Cor. 4:6).

This Gospel of mercy, grace, light, knowledge and glory will eventually conquer more and more souls with the love of Christ.

2Corinthians 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

This is what we too want to see- more and more people accepting the grace of God and coming to know Christ as Saviour and Lord.

2Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore [plead with] you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Thus we plead too. It's not a matter of life and death - it's far far far more important than that because it determines our eternal state. This is our witness when we meet to worship and proclaim the Word. We plead with people (to be receive the mercy and grace and forgiveness and blessing of God) and we plead with God (in prayer to open the eyes of the spiritually blind when they hear the Gospel). Our ministry is a pleading ministry - I plead with you.

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