Despite the fact that the Apostle Paul endured “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, and hunger,” (2 Corinthians 6:4-5) he still “did not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The phrase “do not lose heart” renders the idea “I do not quit.” Paul is a model of one who endured on Mission with Christ. Over the past 8 weeks at Wildwood, we have seen a variety of perspectives shared by Paul from 2 Corinthians 4-7 that help us know how we might endure on mission as well. In order to endure we are helped by remembering:
- What our point of reference is (4:16-18) … compared to the glory that is to come, our trials are light and momentary – so we endure on mission even when things are hard.
- To focus on the inner man that is being renewed and built up, rather than the outer man which is withering away. (4:16-18) – so we endure on mission even when time takes its toll on our bodies.
- That Jesus dealt death a fatal blow and offers us life after death (5:1-8) – so we endure on mission, even in the face of death.
- That there are relational implications of life after death … we will see Jesus again one day, so we live our lives awaiting that meeting (5:6-10) – so we endure on mission, even when we wonder if we are making a difference.
- That the fear of God and the love of God motivate us (5:11-15) – so we endure because these are constant.
- That God is making all who trust in Christ into new creations, so we should consider people according to the flesh no longer (5:16-17) – so we endure on mission in order to observe the ongoing creation work of God in the transformation of human lives.
- That God (in Christ) is reconciling the world to Himself, and knowing He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation (5:18-21) – so we endure on mission remembering the importance of our role as ambassadors for Christ.
- That we partner with the Lord and allow Him to work through us in ministry to others (6:1-10) – so we endure on mission even when we feel inadequate for the job.
- That we can appreciate those God uses in our lives (6:11-13) – so we can open our hearts to those God has used to bless us to encourage THEM to endure on mission.
- That we would not allow others to co-opt the mission of the church by trying to yoke leadership in the church to non-Christian people who are headed in different directions (6:14-16) – so we can endure on mission by staying tied to leaders and churches who share our same spiritual DNA.
- That we would patch the holes in our holiness and cleanse ourselves of all unrighteousness (6:16-7:1) – so that we might endure on mission and not be distracted away by lesser things.
- That we would feel God’s familiar “hand” through the ministry of presence provided by our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (7:2-6) – so we might endure on mission knowing God will comfort us when we are downcast through His presence through the agency of His people.
- That we would respond to God by repenting of sin when we see it our lives (7:7-13) – so that we might endure by turning back on mission when we are wandering astray.
- That we would realize the interconnected nature of Christian joy (7:13-16) – so that we might endure on mission by rejoicing in others success, and being encouraged by others growth.
LOTS of encouragement to keep going in the midst of difficulty! Thankful to the Lord for this great section of His Word! We will be back in 2 Corinthians beginning July 9 at Wildwood Community Church. Any takeaways you had from this series? I’d love to hear it!