Spiritual Stamina, Part 2 – 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

I’d like to before we get started mention
a couple of things the first of which is there was some sad news that we just learned of
this morning that Pastor Eldean Kukahiko of Hope Chapel at Key Project died yesterday
in a drowning accident and we need to pray for the church Ohana and of course his Ohana as well who are just really grieving and really stunned I also would like to take some time to pray for Patrick Matthews who’s not likely going to make it I’m afraid I don’t
really have good news this morning according to Valerie’s doctors feel that there’s really
nothing more they can do for him his body is shutting down and his heart and lungs cannot
take much more we’re so thankful to those of you who’ve been praying we thought had many
praying for him and not just here locally but also our online church globally apparently
he still has the infection and it’s just being managed but they feel that further antibiotics
will not help he cannot eat or drink and any surgery would be a risk so what they’re doing
now is just comfort care and pain management they’re giving him a few days at the most
but it’s likely he’ll go home to be with the Lord so few would join with me and we’ll pray Loving Heavenly Father it’s times like this that we are reminded of how blessed we are that
we can come to you and ask of You during such a difficult time for so many to minister
comfort and strength or for pastoral Eldean and his congregation and his family I pray
Lord for them today that You would minister comfort to them Lord I just pray that in a world that
makes no sense at all in this fallen and evil world that You would show Yourself faithful as You always do for Patrick Lord we know that You can and it’s our will that You would heal him but not our will but Your will be done if it is that he is to go home to be with You
then Lord would You minister to him in these remaining moments that he has and would You strengthen
and comfort Valerie and the girls as well Lord thank You that You are the God of all comfort and that you are our ever present help in times of trial but we just commit this to You in
Jesus name amen alright let’s get started on Sunday mornings we’re going through Second
Corinthians having completed First Corinthians we’re going chapter by chapter verse by verse
today our text will be chapter 5 verses 14 through 21 and Lord willing we’ll actually finish the chapter today the apostle Paul is writing to the Corinthian church and continues explaining
some things to them and communicating some truth to them I’ll have you stand you can follow along if you are able and I’ll read the text beginning in verse 14 Paul by the Spirit writes for
Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died
and he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him
who died for them and was raised again so verse 16 from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view though we once regarded Christ in this way we do so longer therefore
if anyone is in Christ the new creation has come the old has gone the new is here all
this is from God verse 18 who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the
ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ not counting
people’s sins against them and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation we are
therefore verse 20 Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us we implore you on Christ’s behalf be reconciled to God God made him who had no sin to be sin
for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God if you would join with
me we’ll pray and ask God’s blessing on our understanding Loving Heavenly Father we are gathered here today because we want to hear You speak in and through Your word into our lives and Lord as You do we don’t want anything to become for us a distraction that would
keep us from that which you have for us today so Lord will you speak your servants are listening
we ask this in Jesus’ name Amen you can be seated thank you today’s teaching is part two of a
new series we began last week titled Spiritual Stamina the reason I chose this title because
woven into the fabric of this chapter the apostle Paul in a way reveals to us his secret
specifically his secret to his spiritual stamina and in so doing he shows us both how it is
and perhaps more importantly why it is that in spite of all the trials he experienced he
never burned out he never tossed in the towel so to speak he never gave up and he certainly never gave in to despair the first reason that he never burned out is because and this
is huge in fact I would suggest it’s foundational in the sense that he was a God pleaser and not a man pleaser in verse nine he tells the Corinthians that he made it his goal this was his aim
this is where if you please the goalposts were in his life the goalposts were only that
his life would be pleasing to God and at the expense in many cases of pleasing man this
sort of ties into the second reason Paul never gave up which is that as a God pleaser not
a man pleaser he kept his eyes on the prize in verse 10 he talks about how we’re all one
day on that great and final day going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ now this
is not the great white throne judgment that’s for the unbelievers this is the bema seat
of Christ and it’s where each of us Paul says will receive what is due’s for the things
done the rewards for that which we did for Jesus Christ this judgment seat that Paul
speaks of is like the Olympics where you have the judges seated there judging the contestants
and at the end they reward the winner with the gold medal in that day it was a wreath over their head and it was a perishable wreath and Paul talks at length actually about this not
being a perishable but an eternal crown the third reason that Paul never experienced burnout
is because he knew what it is to fear the Lord and this is not necessarily what we understand
as fearing God yes we have a reverent fear for God the Proverbs talk about how that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
but when Paul says and notice interesting he doesn’t say I fear the Lord no what he does say is I know what it is to fear the Lord now why does he say it that way because what he’s saying here is that he lived his life with the fear that he would grieve the Lord that
was a fear that he had that somehow his life would be displeasing in the sight of the Lord
that his sin would grieve the heart of God and that’s what he feared and he lived his
life in that way well the next reason the fourth reason Paul never gave up is because
he didn’t take unjust criticisms or false accusations to heart and by the way there
were many unjust criticisms of Paul there were numerous false accusations against Paul
but Paul never took them to heart he had a thick skin as it were in verses 12 and 13 he tells
the Corinthians that he wants them to take pride in him and he wants for them to be
able to answer the critics who accusing them of being out of their mind and I love how he says
because he says if we’re out of our mind it’s it’s for God if we’re not out of our mind well then
it’s for you I love that because sometimes I think I’m out of my mind for the Lord and
that’s a good thing I suppose well this brings us to our text today and the fifth reason that Paul had this spiritual stamina this unflinching fearlessness this steadfastness and it’s simply put that he knew Jesus loved him now I know it first that might seem like a firm grasp
of the obvious maybe even elementary in some way but I love what he says in verse 14 he
says that Christ’s love compels him I’ll add propels him the love that Jesus had for him
is what drove him it’s what motivated him and he tells us why because they’re convinced
but one died speaking of Jesus for all and therefore all have died we’ll take that up here in a moment what Paul is saying here isn’t so much that he loved the Lord certainly he did but
what he’s saying here is he really knew that the Lord loved him so much so that the love that Jesus had for him compelled him to press on so as to not give in to despair
and discouragement the one who’s been forgiven of much loves much I want you think about that for a moment we know that in the context of the woman at the well we know that in the context of the former prostitute Mary Magdalene forgiven of much and as such she loved
much did you ever stop to think about how much Paul is forgiven of when he was Saul
of Tarsus he actually thought that he was doing God a favor by murdering these Christians
as you’ll forgive the comparison but this is what Muslims today believe that they’re actually doing allah’s work they’re doing Allah a favor by beheading and murdering Christians now think about that Paul had been forgiven of that and because he had been forgiven of so much Paul loved so much I’ve often said I suppose it bears repeating that I’m of the belief that Paul
really love these Corinthians I personally am of the belief that he led many of them
to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the year and a half that he was there in Corinth
he actually planted this church he discipled them he loved them he spent much time with
them and it’s because of his love for them that he does what he does and says what he
says in both of his epistles both the first and second epistle to the Corinthians but
where did that come from what was the source of that love it was that he knew that
Jesus loved him I know as kids we always would sing Jesus loves me this I know for
the Bible tells me so little ones to him belong we are weak but he is strong I think that the Paul could’ve written that he would boast in his strength he was weak and when he was weak he was strong and he would boast in that strength because that strength was from the Lord that love was from the Lord and that’s what drove him that’s what propelled him that’s what motivated him I liked how one commentator said it Paul’s motivation was the love of Christ not his love for Christ but
Christ for him if a few years ago a ministry magazine reported that over 80% of those involved in
full-time ministry experience ministerial burnout which is causing pastors to leave
the ministry at a higher rate than those who are entering the ministry and which results in
the average pastors staying in the pulpit for less than three years the Lord loves me
Paul said He died for me and He rose again that I might live for Him thus it was the
love of Christ that Paul from burning out and giving up this last week my wife was sharing with me about a pastor here on the island that just gave up tossed in the towel big
church big church and he left the island’s local boy and moved to the mainland that’s it he’d had it he’d had it I want to say this to somebody like that Jesus loves you man Jesus loves you pastor Jesus loves you Christian Jesus loves you the this I know for the Bible tells me so Charles Spurgeon had
this to say the love of Christ had pressed Paul’s energies into one force turned them into one channel and then driven them forward with a wonderful force till he and his fellows
had becoming mighty power for good ever active an energized well this brings us to our sixth
reason that Paul never burned out and it’s because he lived for the Lord Paul did not live for
himself he didn’t do what he did because of what was in it for him in verse 15 he says
Christ died for all so those who live should no longer live for themselves did you catch
that no longer live for themselves as it would appear heretofore they were doing living
for themselves he says but for Christ who died for all and all died to self because of
it if you were to ask me what I thought was one of the best ways to avoid burnout it would have
to be that of dying to self picking up your cross and following the Lord and here’s why
when you die to self you can’t live for self because self is dead you’ve died to self and when you don’t live for self you’ll live for the Lord when you live for the Lord you’ll live a Spirit
filled life and the Spirit filled life comes packaged with the Holy Spirit’s empowering and there’s no other way and that was Paul’s secret he had died to self he was living for the Lord everything he did was for the Lord in Luke’s Gospel chapter 24 verse 49 Jesus said behold I send the promise of My Father upon you by tarry in the city of Jerusalem until
you are endued with power from on high this is what I like to call the hurry up and wait passage Jesus is saying you’ve got a world to reach Jerusalem Judea Samaria the outermost parts of the earth but you have to wait don’t even think about doing that until you are endued with
power from on high Jesus reiterates the promise that is ultimately fulfilled on the day of
Pentecost and it’s recorded in Acts chapter 1 verse eight but you shall receive power in the original
language of the Greek New Testament it’s the Greek word dunamis where we get our word for dynamite what was that sitcom you’ll forgive me for quoting an old sitcom but what was that sitcom that one where you get dynomite okay never mind I just wanted to know that you’re awake I know it’s early dynomite that’s the dunamis the dynamite the dynamic
the power of the Holy Spirit it’s the antithesis of operating in the energy and the strength
of the flesh if we’re operating and living our Christian lives in the energy of our own flesh it’s just a matter of time before we hit the wall you can count on it but conversely when you’re operating
and living your life in the power of the Holy Spirit it’s limitless it’s limitless the picture
is fabulous in Zechariah 4:6 to olive trees with a continual supply of olive oil that’s
the source and that’s why Zachariah 4:6 says it’s not by might it’s not like my power my willpower my own strength but it’s by His Spirit says the Lord I think oftentimes we are guilty sometimes
unknowingly of being more like Ishmael a type of the flesh than we are like Isaac a
type of the Spirit why is Ishmael a type of the flesh because that’s when and that was
the result of Abraham and Sarah trying to help God out you ever try to do that I can promise
you don’t try to help God out you can’t help God out okay one of the things that I’m realizing
in my walk with the Lord is to just stay out of his way my favorite hymn I should say one of my favorite hymns because all of the hymns are my favorite hymns but one particular hymn in fact my mom paid me to learn to play it on the piano and it was Have Thine Own Way, Lord
you know to hymn it was hymn number 272 in my hymnal I remember it very well Have Thine own way Lord have thine own way Thou art the Potter I am the clay
that’s Isaiah Lord do with me as you will and stop fighting Him stop fighting the Lord and the work that He’s doing in you and through you and make no mistake about it He
has to do the work in you before He can do the work through you the He has to mold you and shape you like the potter with the clay and sometimes it’s very painful have you seen potters how they do clay how they take clay which is basically mud and they take it and they and then they shape it and they stick it on on that wheel and spin around at a hundred jillion miles an hour until you’re so dizzy you have no idea God what are You doing
and then when the wheel start to slow down and you’re catching your breath He picks you up after taking all the gook out of you and shaping you and putting his hand in you He picks you up and puts you in the kiln appropriately named kiln You’re killing me God what are You doing it’s the fiery furnace of affliction Isaiah says I’m refining you I’m conforming you I’m making you into the image of Jesus Christ and then I’m going to fill you with the Holy Spirit and I’m going to empower you
and that was the apostle Paul and that’s why Jesus said to the disciples don’t even think
about starting and going out until the Holy Spirit has come upon you and then you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Jedaiah and Samaria and to the end of the
earth and to the disciples credit they didn’t burn out either today did they you know how they died they finished well they finished well and they died horrific deaths because of their commitment to the Savior and their loyalty to the Savior you know sometimes we ask yourself what would I do if I was in the position like many of the Arabs in the Middle East where either I renounce
Jesus Christ or I’m beheaded would I be able to stand up and do that forgive me if that’s
morbid but that’s reality by the way that’s the reality in the Middle East today you know why they are able to keep the faith so to speak it’s because of the Holy Spirit it’s because
of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit the seventh reason that Paul never
gave up is because he had a Christlike worldview or if you prefer as we would say today a
biblical worldview in verse 16 he says that he regards no one from a worldly point of view
as he once regarded Christ but that he doesn’t do so any longer what’s he saying here well what he’s saying here is that before he was saved on the road to Damascus he only saw Christ through a fleshly or worldly viewpoint I find it interesting not so much that Paul was saying on the road to Damascus but how Paul was saved on the road to Damascus God allowed him to
be blind for three days why well I believe it’s because Jesus rose again from the dead
after three days and he was in the darkness of the grave for three days like Jonah was
three days in the belly of the great fish in the darkness of the belly of the great
fish so to was the Son of Man what was Jesus doing Jesus was allowing Paul in his physical
blindness to spiritually see and specifically see Jesus anew remember now he was killing people
that had given their lives to Jesus Christ that were saved by grace through faith in
Jesus Christ G. Campbell Morgan has an interesting insight into this he writes when Paul knew
Christ after the flesh he considered Him as the leader of a new sect the leader of a new
party a menace to holy religion he says we do not see Him like that anymore we know Him
now in the Spirit by the Spirit Jesus was giving Paul’s spiritual eyes to see the eighth
reason Paul never gave up is because he lived his life as a new creation in verse 17 he
says that if anyone is in Christ they are at the new creation i know some your translations
render a creature personally I just don’t like that it just kind of just has you know weird connotations I’m a creature no I like creation better a new creation the old has passed away and behold
all things become new what Paul says here is important on many levels chiefly because
he’s speaking of the truth of our regeneration in Christ regeneration is the work of the
Holy Spirit and it’s a work that only God the Holy Spirit can do in the life of a believer
and it’s important to understand that regeneration is not the same thing as turning over a new
leaf or getting my act together I never forget many years ago it was shortly after we moved here and I called a friend of mine not a believer been witnessing to him praying for him for many
years and I called him and he made this comment to me he said I’ve turned over a new leaf okay what do you mean and he went on to explain that he had made a decision to really get his act together
well I knew that he wasn’t born again so it was shortly after that that I actually went back to the mainland and met with him and was really interesting because I speaking at my sending church Calvary Spokane and I noticed this young man out in the you know crowd and he came up to me and it was my friend’s son and he said his dad sent him to the church that day not
knowing I was there because the Lord got a hold of him and he was born again and I just started of course weeping and got together with him and truly he had given his life to Christ
it was the regeneration of the Holy Spirit in his life Adam Clarke of this said the man
is not only mended but he is new made there is a new creation which God himself
owns as his workmanship it’s in the original language the word poema where we get poem we’re his workmanship and you know how artists will put their names on their work their paintings well so
does the Lord put his name on us God himself owns as His workmanship and which He can look on and pronounce very good very good Paul writing to the church in Ephesus explains
this further Ephesians 4:22 through 24 he says put off concerning your former conduct the
old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the
spirit of your mind and that you put on the new man which was created according to God in
true righteousness and holiness even though we are a new creation we still drag out the
old man along with us don’t we and we do so to our own peril the ninth last reason Paul never
gave up is because he saw himself as Christ’s ambassador in verses 18 and 19 he says that God
through Christ gave him the ministry of reconciliation such that God was reconciling the world to
himself through Christ in verse 20 he says it’s for this reason this is why he sees himself
as Christ’s ambassador and this is hugely important he says as though God were pleading
through him to implore them to be reconciled to God in verse 21 he then says that he made
Him speaking of Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become
the righteousness of God you’ll forgive the abrupt close but one of the things the Lord has ministered
to me personally over the years is that I would only do what I do for him there would
don’t take this personally but I would not do what I do for you is that okay that’s not I can tell by your so all of our heads bowed and our eyes closed you can leave if you want totally offended you listen I don’t do what I do for you I serve you as a bond slave of Jesus Christ but you
know what gets me up in the morning and gets me through the day and allows me to sleep
when I put my head on the pillow at night it’s knowing that I’m doing this for Him for
Him this last week it’s still surreal for me this beautiful church I still walk
around and find myself Lord I believe but help my unbelief this is unbelievable isn’t it I’m just like Lord You must really love us You didn’t have to do this You didn’t have to listen if the only thing the Lord ever did for you and
me was to save us that’s enough this is all bonus this is all extra this is all exceedingly above and beyond anything we could’ve ever
thought or imagined in our lives let alone asked for look at what God has wrought listen if it were not for God’s calling of my life there’s no way in the world that I would ever do this
for any one or any thing else listen when I got saved I had no idea that I would one day
become a pastor and I can assure you my wife never signed up to be a pastor’s wife either because you know what God did and I’m so thankful He did he ruined me for him I had plans man they were pretty impressive too by the way I’ll just have you know I was pretty impressed with the plans that I had for my life you know I was going to do this and this go into to such and such a city into business there and make a profit Lord willing of course I had it all laid out printed out double spaced 12 font Arial narrow very impressive and I just pictured the Lord in heaven just looking down just going oh look at you how cute I see that you have all your ducks in a row as we say okay there go my ducks in a row He ruined me for Him
and you know my only regret is is that I didn’t let Him do it sooner I didn’t let Him do it sooner
let’s pray Loving Heavenly Father thank You so much thank You so much for Your word thank
You for the example of the apostle Paul thank You for this letter to the Corinthian church
Lord there’s so much here for us to take with us today and begin that process by the Holy Spirit of applying the truths to our lives so Lord thank You in Jesus’ name Amen

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