|As promised, Pastor Don’s Friday May 26 Bible study.He covered 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
2 Cor. 4:7-10 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed–always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body.
God put this treasure in the human body. What is the treasure, the Great Treasure in us is the simplicity of the Gospel. Everything outside of that is fluff.
Pastor Don asked us, how many of us in the room today made ourselves? Answer – no one. It is the sovereignty of God that created the World. God permits us freedom, we have freedom to move where we want to move, to doubt, to not believe in Him. The trend today, in the new age, and in many people’s lives is how can we get around God. How can we make ourselves gods in our lives.
Why did God make us with these kinds of freedoms? It is because He wanted worshippers, people who chose to love Him, obey Him, honor Him. It is not freedom if God made us incapable of making another choice. God wants to be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. He does not want to be worshipped in a lie or in flesh.
We want to preach a gospel that appeals to the flesh, that makes things nice for as many as possible, but God wants to give us the Word of Truth. He doesn’t give us what we want, but what we NEED. God wants us to worship Him no matter our circumstances. To realize that life is temporary.
That is why those who are religious (legalistic – dealing only with the rules of religion) is such an enemy of God. Why Jesus came down so hard on the scribes and the Pharisees. It is not that God’s laws are not to be obeyed, but rather that God is looking at the heart of the believer. To obey from fear, or just because it is a rule is a far, far cry from obeying because we love God so much and want to please Him. God is looking for the heart of worship.
Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. or they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
Pastor Don talked about how so many things that we think are Biblical aren’t in the Bible. Growing up as the son of a Baptist pastor, he thought that the prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Was in the Bible – he searched long and hard for that prayer to find out it was not in the Bible.
Also statements like God helps those who help themselves is not in the Bible.
As are many of the rules and regulations that have become traditions in our church. If you look hard you will not find them spelled out. The Levites took the 600 or so laws that God gave them and expanded them to thousands and many volumes of rules and regulations that took the heart out of God’s laws.
Back to 2 Corinthians 4:7 – the treasure in clay pots, lets us know that we are human and frail and faulty vessels. That means that we know that what is good in us comes from God, that God reconciled us to Himself, the excellency is from God, not us. God will enable us to accomplish things that we in our own flesh cannot do. David was not strong enough to kill a giant without God, Peter couldn’t raise the dead without God, miracles in our lives cannot occur without God.
2 Corinthians 4:10-11 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
True worship comes through Jesus, and to face extreme persecution, to have revelation, to die to self, we need the supernatural gift from God. Satan has a plan to try to kill you: Physically through persecution, sickness, sin; Emotionally through worry and stress; in the flesh through the lusts of the flesh.
All these things keep us from knowing the fullness of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:12 “So then death is working in us, but life in you.”
Unfortunately, most often when things in our life are going good, thoughts of God are pretty far from our minds. Often it is when we are hard pressed that we turn our attention over to God. Pastor Don laments that when someone in the church makes a choice that is not godly, when they choose not to listen to the teachings and apply them to their lives, often their lives start to suffer. Sometimes conscience starts eating at them, and instead of coming to the pastor or an elder and honestly stating that they are having a problem in a certain area, the person will leave the church, either going elsewhere or not attending at all. And only when things really begin falling apart they come to Pastor Don. So much grief could have been avoided if the person had come earlier.
2 Corinthians 4:13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke” we also believe and therefore speak.
How does salvation come? Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you , in your mouth and in your heart” (That is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For salvation there is no mention of behavior, it is we believe and confess with our mouths. So everyone who confesses is saved, but not everyone who is saved is born again.
What does it take to be born again?
Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.
1 Peter 1:22-23 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love for the brethren, love one another with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
It is not enough to just hear and speak the word, we must let the Word of God wash us and begin to work in us.
Nobody changes until they hear something (the truth of the Word), but that truth has to travel the 18 inches from head to heart before the change becomes manifest.
2 Corinthians 4:13-14 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” wa also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
That we will change because of the Word of Truth, becoming new creations in Christ is what is meant by being born again, our old fleshly ways are replaced by Christ. We die to self.
2 Corinthians 4: 15-16 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many , may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Oh what a good promise to hold onto. Our outward circumstances do not reflect what God is doing inwardly in us. Even when we do not see immediate results of our prayers, that does not mean that God is not changing us from within outward. We must keep holding onto the truth of God, no matter what we see in our senses, for one day the truth of God and our outward man will line up and we will be born again. We also can be born again in one area of our lives, but still have problems in others. God is forever changing us to become more like Him. It is a process.
2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceedingly and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We have accepted Christ in our earthen vessels made of clay. No one can change on their own, we need Christ and His Spirit to make true and lasting changes within us. We must get down to the heart, to realize that it is God and God alone who can change us. We have to be like the Good Samaritan, and reach out to others who are hurting – regardless of their circumstances. For we are all earthen vessels. We cannot hold onto anything that is not of Christ, for Christ will lovingly rip it out of our hands and replace it with His truth.
We are seeking to become like 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away,and behold,all things have become new.
Yesterday was Edward’s 16th birthday. Here is a picture of him and his cake,
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