TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 4: 1-7 (Esp vv 4-7)
READING: PSALM 23 & 24
SUBJ: A proper estimation of the knowledge of Christ and the Gospel
AIM: That we might seek after and promote such knowledge.
INTR: The problems Paul faced with the Corinthians are not unlike those we face today both with ourselves and others.
1. There is a general failure to recognize that power and authority is entirely in God and not in man.
2. There is apathy with regard to the power of God and so we have an acceptance of knowledge unaccompanied by the power of God.
3. There is a willingness to accept things on the basis of outward appearance rather than inward experience.
THESIS: The true Gospel presence of our Lord is most evident in the way it is known (the face of Jesus Christ) and the contrast shown with the vessel that contains it.
I. The nature of true Revelation goes beyond mere knowledge
1. See the use of â€œgloryâ€ in verse 4 and 6.
2. The â€œveilingâ€ work of the devil is compared to: 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
1) Of shining unto them as from without to within to enlighten and reveal of those things both positive and negative that all might be focused on Him.
2) Consider further that (v. 6) the sovereignty of God comes into play in the command for the light to shine â€“ compare â€œlet there be lightâ€ in Genesis 1.
3. What is brought into view?
2) Gospel and the wonder of it
3) God Himself is seen in Christ.
II. The Glorious substance is nothing less than the knowledge of God in His person and work.
1. In Jesus we see the sum of human and divine excellence
1) The perfection of man
2) The person of God in a man.
3) Compare to the thoughts of men on a visible glory.
2. The Glory of God is seen in mercy: Exodus 33:17-20 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
3. Compare: 1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
4. The thoughts of men with regard to glory begin and end in themselves so that even their concession of glory to God is patterned in themselves. (Consider the example of those who are said to have â€œstar power.â€
5. Such Gospel light is salvation: Psalms 36:10 O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.
III. The placement of the treasure does not meet with the ideas of men.
1. The value of this treasure shows us as more than mere incidental knowledge.
1) Consider the truths revealed â€“ eternal in existence, in abundance and are gospel indeed.
2) Blessings â€“ Spiritual and of a New Covenant nature â€“ Christ in you
3) Promises â€“ Absolute and unconditional â€“ the promise to Abraham contained no conditions only declarations.
2. The issue of vessels
1) The Pharisees made much of the vessel but without content â€“ cups washed on the outside
2) Cf. 1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
3. The vessel compared to the content is a valuable contrast
1) Paulâ€™s allusion to himself â€“ as rude in appearance.
2) Consider the condition of the persecuted and the glory of God triumphant in them.
4. Beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus â€“ as of obedience, of service, determination, bloodied, risen, glorified, from which men flee, and in which men rejoice when the light is shined within to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.