“Down – But Not Out”

Another great sermon from Reverend Michael Peppin!  This morning’s sermon at the PCO was based on 2 Corinthians 1:1-11.

The world offers us a pill to cure all ailments, pain and suffering but never delivers.  Divorce, disease, death…maybe experiences in life can be humiliating and painful.  Where is God in all this?

We come back to God’s Word for answers.  God is involved in our suffering.  How?  Sometimes we can’t figure it out.  There are mysteries in the workings of God.  We simply can’t understand many things on this side of eternity.

Like today, the focus in Corinth was on individualism.  We think the church must be impressive/attractive to the world.  Today’s “megachurches” seem to think, “Belief that is bigger is better”.

God calls us to a ministry of weakness.  This sounds ridiculous to the world but like Paul, we can say, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”  This is the very stuff that Christianity is made of.

Paul starts verse 3 with praise.  Praise (to God) is an important factor in overcoming discouragement.  Prayer changes things.  Praise also changes things.

(Christian) pain is always productive.  Troubles are those things which tie knots in our stomaches and haunts us with sleepless nights.  When we think of the word “comfort“, we may imagine “sympathy” or a kind of seditive, but the biblical meaning is closer connected to “strength“.  The greek root of this word (parakleet) is connected to the Holy Spirit who is known as our Comforter.

But what is the purpose of all our suffering?!

Comfort binds us more than prosperity ever could.

God’s comfort is not self-serving.

God has to work in us before He can work through us.  Like Joseph’s suffering in Egypt, God always prepares us for what He is preparing for us.

As we suffer, we are partaking in the suffering of Christ.  This is something Old Testament saints never understood.  Today, like Paul, we can see our sufferings in the light of the cross.

God has ample grace for all our needs but He never gives it in advance…only when we need it.

Those who are the furthest from God are the so-called self-reliant.

The opposite of faith is not “doubt” (as many would guess), but rather an earthly, proud confidence in the flesh.

Yes, those who are furthest from the grace of God are self-sufficient, confident people.  God wants us to break the sin of self-sufficiency.  How on earth can we minister to another if we have confidence in the flesh?!  If anyone could boast about things in the flesh, it would have been Paul, but he considered all those things as dung.  The same man stated, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”  If we come to the end of ourselves, God will rescue us.  Then, he will give us His strength and confidence.

Are we willing to be transparent or do we want to try and kid people (and God?! good luck with that!) as if we are knights in shining armour and that nothing ever hurts us?!  Are we willing to share our needs with those who pray and pray for others in need?

Well, that was quite long but I got many things from today’s sermon and thought that someone out there might be blessed as well!

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2 responses to ““Down – But Not Out”

  1. Thank you for this, Andy. I just read your post, at a time when I am feeling “down”. Hopefully not out. :-)

  2. Anne,
    Sorry to hear that you’re feeling down. :-( (It’s happens to us all at times!) Glad to know you’re not out! :-) Thanks for taking the time to write and let me know you got something from the message as well. God bless!

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