"Confidence in Ministry" Page 3 of 3 (series: Lessons on 2 Cor.)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Our troubles should not diminish our faith, or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits:

• They remind us of Christ’s suffering for us.
• They keep us from pride.
• They cause us to look beyond this brief life.
• They prove our faith to others.
• They give God the opportunity to demonstrate His power.
• They bring an eternal reward.

Our ultimate hope when we are experiencing terrible illness, persecution, or pain is the realization that this life is not all there is—there is life after death! Knowing that we can live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering can help us live above the pain we experience in this life.

My friend, I am looking for that city whose builder and maker is God. I love Laurens, and I love South Carolina, but I can truthfully say that I am now looking for another city. Of course, the unsaved world thinks we are odd—perhaps even crazy—because we insist on the reality of the unseen world of spiritual blessing. Yet Christians are content to govern their lives by eternal values, not temporary gratification.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE AND SPECIAL NOTES

{1] (ISA. 35:10) And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

{2] (2 Co. 3:16-18) Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

{3] (Isa. 40:31) But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

{4] (Col. 3:10) and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

{5] (Eph. 3:16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

{6] (Rom. 8:24) For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

{7] (Heb. 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

{8] (2 Co. 5:7) For we walk by faith, not by sight.

{9] (Luke 12:33) Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens

that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

{10] (Rom. 8:18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

{11](Luke 11:3) Give us day by day our daily bread.

{12] (Deut. 33:25) Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; As your days, so shall your strength be.

{13] (Heb. 4:16) Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

{14] (1 John 2:15-17) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

{15] (Heb. 11:10, 13-14, 27) for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

{16] (Heb. 11:10) for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

{17] (2 Co. 1:8) For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.

{18] (2 Co. 11:23-29) Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

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