Sunday May 24th 2020. We continue our sermon series ‘How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’. Preaching from Chris Hughes.
Discouragement is one of the arch enemies of an effective Christian life (1 Kings 19 v 4.) Yet despite all his troubles the apostle Paul was able to write, not once, but twice – “We do NOT lose heart.” He seemed to know how to defeat discouragement, and he shares his secret based on three principles: –
1 – Everyday Renewal (v 16.)
Even though his physical body (“jar of clay” – 2 Corinthians 4 v 7,) was now aging and deteriorating as a result of the demands of ministry; he knew that his body was a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3 v 16) and that God was renewing him on the inside on a daily basis, as he was “changed from glory into glory” (Charles Wesley.) So, by concentrating on this the apostle was able to defeat discouragement.
Take home truth – If you want to defeat discouragement then hunger and thirst after daily spiritual renewal as you allow the Spirit of God to apply Biblical truth to your life.
2 – Expected Resplendence (v 17.)
The apostle had plenty of troubles (hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down – 2 Corinthians 4 v 8 – 9) that could well have discouraged him. He described them as “light & momentary,” in other words as not too burdensome and short term. They did not cause him to lose heart, because they simply did not compare with the resplendent glory that was coming his way (Romans 8 v 18), which far outweighed them and would last for all eternity. So, by playing one against the other the apostle was able to defeat discouragement.
Take home truth – If you want to defeat discouragement, then look beyond your present troubles to the resplendent glory that is to come when you will see God and be like him.
3 – Eternal Reality (v 18.)
The apostle did not lose heart because he did not focus his attention on the things that could be “seen,” for these were fleeting and “temporary;” instead he fixed his gaze on the “unseen” and the “eternal,” as did the great spiritual giants of the faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 (v 1 & 13.) So, by looking to future eternal reality the apostle was able to defeat discouragement.
Take home truth – If you want to defeat discouragement, then fix your eyes not on the things of this world, but on the eternal realities as yet unseen that are certain to come to pass.
Questions for personal reflection.
1 – How did God deal with Elijah’s discouragement (1 Kings 19.)
2 – In the Gospel accounts, Jesus never predicted his death without referring to the resurrection. How come?
3 – Reflect on some of the things that discourage you and apply these three principles to them.
- Sovereign over all
- There is a day/we will meet him in the air
- Love divine
- Jesus you are changing me
- There’s a place where the streets shine – Because of you
Theme: Defeating discouragement
Reading: 2 Corinthians 4 v 7 – 18
Preacher: Chris Hughes