Hope of the Resurrection Part 1 of 2

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

Jesus is alive!

Jesus is alive!

May 20, 2014

Tom Lowe

Title: Hope of the Resurrection. (2 Co. 4:13-15)

2nd Corinthians 4:13-15 (NKJV)
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,
14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Introduction

Paul had just finished mentioning the hardships and sufferings that he had faced in the service of God (2 Co. 4:8-12{20]). It takes great faith to stay steady under such continual sufferings and still boldly preach the Christian gospel. He has such a steady faith, and in verses 13-15 he mentions four factors that sustain him in his hard and perilous work. First, he is reassured when he recalls the psalmist’s courageous declaration in a time of trouble: "I believed and therefore I spoke.” The second support which Paul had was the conviction that no matter what men do to him that “God (He) will raise him” and give him full salvation. The third support for his work was his concern for the salvation of others and seeing them mature in their faith. The final and greatest support which the apostle had was the knowledge that it all works out to the glory of God.

Message

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,

In this passage, Paul identified himself with the writer of Psalm 116{1]. Paul, like the psalmist, had experienced the “terrors of the grave,” and God’s deliverance. “Death had its hands around Paul’s throat” (Ps. 116:3), and He knew that he could die through one of these experiences (2 Co. 1:9{19]). In the midst of troubles, and in the face of death, Paul, like the psalmist, had cried out to God (Ps. 116:4). The psalmist believed that God would answer his prayers (compare 1:11 to Psalm 116:1).

You also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. (2 Co. 1:11)

I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. (Ps. 116:1).

In fact, his prayers were his only defense. For this reason, the psalmist had vowed to pray as long as he has breath (Ps. 116:2). His prayers were not the only expression of his faith in God; he also promised to thank and praise God, telling others of what God had done for him (Ps. 116:14, 17-18).

The phrase “Spirit of faith” means “attitude or outlook of faith,” not the Holy Spirit. Paul was not referring to a special gift of faith (1 Co. 12:9{14]), but rather to that attitude of faith that ought to belong to every believer. He saw himself identified with the believer who wrote Psalm 116:10, “I believed, and therefore have I spoken.” True witness for God is based on faith in God, and this faith comes from God’s Word (Rom. 10:17{15]). Nothing closes a believer’s mouth like unbelief (Luke 1:20{16]).

Of what was Paul so confident? That he had nothing to fear from life or death! He had just listed some of the trials that were part of his life and ministry (2 Co. 4:8-12), and now he was affirming that his faith gave him victory over all of them. Note the assurances he had because of his faith:
• He was sure of ultimate victory (v. 14).
• He was sure God would be glorified (v. 15).

The afflictions and persecutions of Paul’s life did not seal his lips. Wherever there is true faith, there must be the expression of it. It cannot be silent.

If on Jesus Christ you trust,
Speak for Him you surely must;
Though you humble to the dust,
If you love Him, say so.
If on Jesus you believe
And the Savior you receive
Lest you should the Spirit grieve,
Don’t delay, say so.

14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

Although Paul was experiencing the sufferings and death of Christ on this earth (2 Co. 4:10-12{1]), he placed his hope in the God who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. The fact that God had “raised . . . Jesus” is taken as the solid ground for confidence that He will likewise raise those who believe in the Lord Jesus. “With you” does not mean “at the same time,” for Jesus has already been raised; it means that as a result of the resurrection of Jesus and by reason of the union of the believer with the risen Christ. Although Paul was facing suffering, he wasn’t discouraged, because he knew that Jesus would return. At that time, Paul and the Corinthian believers would celebrate their Savior in His presence because God would also raise them with Jesus. Paul had already told the Corinthians that he was looking forward to taking pride in the maturity of their faith, and he hoped that they, in turn, would take pride in him (2 Co. 1:13-14{2]).

Because of his faith in Christ, Paul had access to the same great power that raised Jesus from the dead (Phil. 3:10{3]). This truth motivated Paul to endure hardship and persist in preaching the gospel. He was able to speak with such courage and such disregard for personal safety because he believed that if death overtook him, that God could and would also raise him up. He was certain that he could draw on a power which was sufficient for life and greater than death. This was the foundation on which his faith rested: the fact that Christ was raised from the dead by an act of God’s power. He had explained this in his first letter to the Corinthians. The believers in Corinth had been struggling with the doctrine of Resurrection, so Paul had written much to explain why the Resurrection was the central doctrine of the Christian faith. It was important that Christ had been raised from the dead, because without that truth, their faith would be utterly useless. Jesus would not be interceding before God for them, Jesus would only be a human being who had modeled a good life. If that were the case, there would be no reason for evangelists, much less believers to endure hardships for the cause of Christ.

Friend, May I ask you this? When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Resurrection? I have to admit that I don’t remember the last time. It is not a sermon topic in our day, and that is a shame. It was Paul’s favorite topic. Souls were saved when he preached about Jesus’ Resurrection. It’s important that it is taught to God’s people for our hope of resurrection rests in His.

With his sights always set on the glories of God’s kingdom, Paul didn’t have any reason to be ashamed (Rom. 1:16{4]; Heb. 2:12{5]). Instead, he boldly and confidently could preach the gospel and tell others what Christ had done for them (2 Co. 4:1{6]). If Jesus Christ has conquered death, the last enemy, then why fear anything else? Men do everything they can to penetrate the meaning of death. Until a person is prepared to die, he is not really prepared to live. The joyful message of the early church was the victory of Christ over death, and we need to return to that victorious emphasis. Note too that Paul saw a future reunion of God’s people when he wrote, “And will present us with you.” Death is the great divider, but in Jesus Christ, there is the assurance that His people shall be reunited in His presence (See 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

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