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December 13, 2015

"THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST"

TEXT: 2 Corinthians 4: 1-6
READING:
 Isaiah 61: 1-11

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SUBJ: The substance of the Gospel which is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and the manner in which it is revealed and the reason it is rejected.

AIM: That we, as believers, might ever reflect on the glorious revelation within and that we might ever be pressing the necessity of the Gospel on all who will hear.

INTR: So much of precious Gospel truth in this epistle is elicited as a defense of the Apostolic ministry of the Paul. It is here that he forcefully declares again the miraculous message of the Gospel and the miraculous manner in which it is revealed.
1. There was in Corinth as there has been in all ages those who object to the Gospel and the Christ of the Gospel simply because they do not do not understand it in human terms.
2. Of course the lingering effects of paganism remained and along with that the mystical thinking of some who thought Paul was hiding things or manipulating the scriptures in order to deceive.
3. Paul is a most excellent example of boldness in the Gospel and there was no hint of deceit in what he had and was preaching to them. Deception about the Gospel is satanic!

THESIS: The receiving of the Gospel is not a mere acquisition of facts about God and His Son. The Gospel is a glorious revelation in those who know it. It is eternal light and life in the person of Christ whereby we are able to see God and to know of His infinite person and His engagement to save His people from their sins.

I. The Gospel is hidden to the perishing (vv. 3-4)
1. The word here is more than the idea of being a non-Christian – it speaks of perishing.
2. While there is understanding of words and phrases and the message may be articulated it simply does not register as a claim upon the unsaved.
1) The implication is that they are hearing in a human frame of reference and is not for them.
2) The sad fact is that they both will not and cannot move to their own salvation.
3. The god of this world, who he is, what he does, and why he does it.
1) Satan opposes every truly Spiritual act in that all such points to Christ whom he hates
2) He will engage the mind of men in any way possible to distract attention from the Gospel
3) In Christ the very image of God is seen and such a view kills all hope in self and subjects one to His mercy.
4) It is “of the glorious Gospel,” it is “of Christ” and the image is “of God” and the god of this world cannot combat such a revelation.
4. Pride and the delusion of free will conspire to prevent that glorious light!

II. The Gospel focus is Christ (v. 5)
1. All true Gospel ministers align with Paul in that there is no self-promotion as the manner of some was then and we know that it is so now.
1) They are about promoting their ministries and programs often to great profit.
2) They tend to create the circumstance that will appeal to a human sense of worth and satisfaction.
2. Paul’s message was all about Christ and declared Him and the salvation that is Him alone.
1) He preached the Word which was Christ
2) He preached the message of inspired witnesses to the resurrection of Christ
3) And He preached that which he had personally witnessed!
4) All were in agreement as to what was needed and what was done that men might be saved: 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
3. His estimation of himself was that of a servant for Jesus’ sake.

III. The Gospel is a glorious manifestation of Christ (v. 6)
1. God is the Gospel and that is evident from the beginning!
2. It seems there is a distinct reference here to initial work of creation: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:3
1) The thought elsewhere is referenced thusly: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: Colossians 1:13
2) And, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1 Peter 2:9.
3. It is God who creates and re-creates! It is He who shines in our hearts
1) Thus enabling the sight of who Jesus is and what He has done
2) To provide a proper comparison that we might know or our infinite need of Him.
3) To be completely consumed by the sight of Him in whose face is seen the glory of God.
4) Thus making salvation completely centered in Christ our Lord.
4. A further thought is that we are enabled by this to give the light of the knowledge of the Gory of God as we preach Christ to others – “ye are the light of the world!”