Family Discipleship: Graduating From Life to Death?
As we looked into treasures in jars of clay this past Sunday in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 we realized that God has placed a task of immeasurable value within us a Christians. The gospel message of hope to all of the world is not simply a message that we proclaim, but a treasure. And when this treasure is within you, you inherit a strength within you that causes clay jars to be, “Afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken.” This restructuring of our humanity is something that causes us to realize our worth and be able to make it through each day knowing that, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1Jhn 4:4, note the capital "H" verses the lowercase "h.")
We are jars of clay that are filled with the task of representing God’s surpassing power to the world.
That is the truth from 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 we learned Sunday. So how can we know if we are we are living this out in our lives? Paul writes in verse 12 that, “Death is at work in us, but life in you.” Both Paul and his ministry companions (“us”) and the Christians at the Corinthian church (“you”) are both recipients of the gospel and share in its work yet here there is a difference in how it is lived out. In one case a certain group of Christians have death working in their life while the others are receiving the life from the death that is being worked out in Paul and his ministry partners.
For many Christians there will never be a graduation from those who are life receivers to Christians who die to self for others to receive life.
For many Christians there will never be a graduation from those who live as receivers to Christians who decide to live in the death of their self for the sake of others experiencing life. It is clear that throughout chapters 3 and 4 that there is a difference between Paul and his ministry partners and the Corinthian church. Do not be decieved: you can not help others receive life unless you are willing to embrace death. Life transformation is a difficult spiritual process. Paul and those who were reaching out to the various cities throughout Asia Minor were those who lived in “death.” Those like the Corinthian church were those who lived in “life” because of the “death” that Paul and those who reached out to others with him.
Paul was not upset that the Corinthians had received life because of their ministry. He was excited, thankful, and worshiped God for their new life found in the gospel. He also wanted to understand that there is a difference between those who receive life and those who died for others to receive life.
So what about you? Have you received life? If so praise God! What a joy to experience His grace!
Next question. Have you died so that others can now receive life? For many it is time to graduate from those who receive to those who die for others to receive life. Will you take that step today?
Talk About It:
1. How does it affect you to know that God has filled you with something of such value (the gospel) that restructures how you make it through life?
2. Re-read verses 8-10. How does the gospel message (the treasure) help you become someone who can overcome so much that comes at you in life?
3. Re-read verse 12. How can we graduate from being those who receive life to those who die to help others receive life?