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LIVING VICTORIOUSLY: GLORY AMONG THE RUINS (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)

Resurrection Living (2024 April Theme)

April 7, 2024

Focus: to live victoriously because of the resurrection of Jesus is to show that even among the ruins the “glory” of the living Jesus shines brightly in us.

The reality of living in the light of the resurrection in practical terms is like being a very vulnerable (and therefore easily breakable) clay pot with something precious though indestructible inside. The “outside” (the visible person) has to face and go through all the “jarring” and “collisions” of life. And yet because of what is inside (that invisible yet very real living Jesus, the “treasure”) it makes all the difference to the person who is that vulnerable clay pot, as well as those he/she is among.

 

Paul wrote 1 Corinthians mainly to resolve issues that were fracturing the church there. Towards the end of the letter in chapter 15 he addresses issues to do with the resurrection, and in so doing wrote one of the best descriptions about it – both Jesus’ resurrection and the believer’s as a consequence. But how does that translate into normal day to day living? Paul shows that in his second letter to the Corinthians (which actually could have been his fourth to them) which was much more personal.

 

Jesus’ rising from the dead was a historical reality to Paul. Equally real was the way he experienced this risen Jesus in his everyday life through the Holy Spirit. It made all the difference to who he was, what he did, and how he did it. This was true especially in adversity, even when people and circumstances went against him. God’s glory, his “light” that represents who he really is, is seen in the Risen Christ. Paul had experienced this glory, this treasure. But strangely (to the world, that is) God chooses to exhibit this glory among ruins; incredibly that’s when “victorious resurrection living” happens!
 
l.The Living Jesus revealed in our body (2 Corinthians 4:10-11)
 
A. The gospel-treasure in clay pots, not impenetrable strong boxes. The reality of all the “stuff” we go through – being surrounded and battered by troubles, being unsure of what to do, being spiritually terrorized, being depressed – all of that makes us look brittle, weak, vulnerable…like clay pots. Yes, the Risen Jesus who inhabits the Christ-follower is awesome, mighty, precious, but God chooses not to “hide” him in an impenetrable strong box!
 
B. The living Jesus revealed through the “but…God.” Glory – God’s light when we can’t bear to see
him as he really is – is revealed in the way that the power to overcome “is from God and not from us”         (v.7). The “but God” statements of “surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized;           we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually           terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been depressed/thrown down, but we haven’t broken”         (vs.8-9 Message) show the reality of a Risen Jesus that is actively allowed to show through all that     
“stuff.”
 
ll. The Risen Jesus as the focus of our living (2 Corinthians 4:14,18)
 
A.Focusing on the “risenness” of Jesus (wanting to know the power of his Resurrection; Philippians 3:10). But the risen Lord Jesus is not always obvious in our lives because we allow our pride, indiscipline and adverse circumstances to “block” him from showing through. We try to be that impenetrable strong box! It takes discipline of (negatively), not losing heart (v.16), and (positively) “fix(ing) our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (v.18) – learning and growing in our relationship with this risen Jesus. We discipline ourselves to “see,” to “listen,” to “experience his Presence and touch.”
 
B.Reassured by resurrection hope. Victorious living comes from being continuously reassured by                how  the resurrection affects our total lives – past, present, future. The past – the historical validity of          the bodily resurrection of Jesus, as well as its spiritual implications. He rose from the dead and my              past (sins) are buried with him. The present – that I am no longer alone, it’s now Jesus + me vs. the              world. The future – the resurrection body being prepared for me beginning now (vs.17-17; Colossians            3:3-4; 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:42-49)
 
Paul says that the results of victorious living are more than you can imagine! You experience increasing “grace-treasure,” more and more people around you are (positively) affected because of that, gratitude overflows, and God’s light (glory) shines even more! Win – win – win
 
Questions:
  • Do you feel more like a disposable, breakable cup, or like an impenetrable strong box? How has either helped you experience the “risenness of Jesus”? Or not?
  • How do Paul’s struggles show God’s power and reflect Jesus risen life?
  • What truths keep you going in spite of hardships?