Resurrection Confidence



Take out your Bibles and turn to 2 Corinthians 4. And find your place at verse 13.
The title of today's message is Resurrection Confidence. Every single
Sunday, churches gather to worship through song, prayer, hearing of the
Word, and the receiving of the Lord's Supper. And we do so because it was on the first day of the week that the
Lord Jesus rose from the dead. So that's why we gather on Sunday, every
Sunday. Yet there is still a time annually where we take a moment to step back from whatever else we may be doing and focus specifically on the subject of Christ's resurrection.
This is the culmination of the week that changed the world.
If you consider the beginning of this week with the triumphal entry of Jesus, continuing with the cleansing of the temple, the confronting of the
Pharisees and the scribes, prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem, holding
Passover, instituting the Lord's Supper, weeping in the garden, being drug before six different audiences,
Annas, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, Herod, and then again Pilate, forced to carry
His cross, unable to bear the weight. Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it the rest of the way and he was nailed, lifted, and he died for sins suspended between heaven and earth.
And Paul says that the
Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
Now why is it that we don't simply say that the death of Christ is the
Gospel? Because it is on that cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
Every sin on Him was laid. Here in the death of Christ I live. We sing that. We believe it.
And yet it was in the burial and resurrection that the promise of God was completed.
You see, in death there was substitution, but in burial there was verification, and in resurrection there was vindication.
He conquered death, hell, and the grave. And Paul tells us plainly, if you do not have a
Gospel that includes the resurrection of Christ, you do not have the
Gospel at all. And so, we come today to our continued study in 2
Corinthians, and by God's grace, because in this church we preach verse by verse, line by line, and by God's grace, we have come to 2
Corinthians 4, and we find ourselves again at a place where Paul exalts the resurrection.
And so let us stand and read this text. Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what was written,
I believed, and so I spoke. We also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He who raised the
Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and bring us with You into His presence.
For it is all for Your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people, it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God.
Father in Heaven, may You now be glorified by the preaching of Your Word. May You keep me from error.
May You strengthen my voice. May You, by Your mercy, give us ears to hear.
And Lord, for the believers, I pray for edification, correction, training in righteousness.
As Your Word says, that is what it is able to do. And for any unbelievers,
Lord, that may be here, who maybe have been compelled to be here, maybe don't even want to be here. Lord, may it be that the
Word of God pierce, even through their ears, their mind, and down to their very soul, that they hear these not as the words of men, but as the
Word of God. In Jesus' name, Amen. One of the most difficult things about preaching verse by verse is when we do have visitors, because when we study line by line, verse by verse, through books of the
Bible, we kind of carry the context week to week, so it doesn't always have to be re -explained and re -understood, but I understand many of you have not been with us, and so I just want to sort of bring you up to speed on where we are.
Paul is writing this letter, and this is a letter. It's what we call an epistle.
It's the epistle to the Corinthians. It's the second one that we have in our Bible. So it's called 2
Corinthians. Paul writes this letter to the Corinthians, a church which was filled with foolishness and sin.
We have his first letter to them, which was filled with all manner of correction and rebuke.
And Paul's rebukes were not well received. The people at Corinth rebuffed his rebukes.
They did not want to be corrected. And there were leaders that had risen up in Corinth who had sought to have the
Apostle Paul renounced. They had claimed that in his suffering, he had proven himself to not be the man of God that he claimed to be.
And that's the argument really that Paul is rebuffing in 2 Corinthians. That's the argument he's responding to.
Because if you begin back at chapter 1 and take it through to where we are now, you'll see this is an autobiographical defense of his ministry.
He's defending his ministry against the attack that you are suffering and therefore you are not
God's man. And Paul has over and over said, no, my suffering is in fact the very proof that I am
God's man. The suffering that I have endured does not disqualify me from being a minister, but rather it shows that the only power
I have in ministry is Christ. My power is not my own.
My strength is not my own. My sustenance is not my own. It's Christ and Christ alone. And so today, as we follow up Paul's expression, and we've done two weeks on it,
I'm not going to re -read it, but if you read from verse 7 to verse 12, he expresses how he's like a clay pot that's easily broken.
He says we have this treasure in jars of clay and we're pressed but not crushed, persecuted, not abandoned.
We read that. We talked about it for two weeks. But now we're going to come to the part where he actually explains where his power comes from.
Because he said in verse 7, we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the power is from God and not ourselves.
And now he's going to show us how that power manifests in him.
I have the outline here for you. In verses 13 and 14, we see
Paul's power. He's going to show that he has a Holy Spirit -empowered faith.
That's verse 13. Verse 14, he's going to show that he is certain of the resurrection.
And then we're going to see his purpose. He's going to say the purpose in all of this, the purpose in my suffering, the purpose for which
God has empowered me, is so that grace and thanksgiving will increase. So this is the outline for today.
This is the outline of our text. Let us delay no longer and move right into our understanding.
Let's look at verse 13. Paul says this. He says we have a
Holy Spirit. He has a Holy Spirit -empowered faith. He says since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written,
I believed and so I spoke. We also believe and so we also speak.
Notice what he says. He says we have the same spirit of faith. As who?
What's the context? And to whom and of whom is Paul speaking? He says we have the same spirit of faith.
The same spirit of faith as who? Well, if you read, he immediately quotes the
Old Testament Psalm 116. He quotes the 116th
Psalm, verse 10, which says I believe and so I spoke. So what
Paul is saying is the same Holy Spirit that empowered the psalmist is the same
Holy Spirit that empowers him. The same power that was given to the prophets of old is the same power that continues to abide within him.
He says we have the same spirit of faith. Understand this.
The psalmist who wrote Psalm 116 trusted the Lord. And therefore he could say what he said was the result of deep -seated faith.
He says I believe and so I spoke. Paul is here saying that that same thing is true of himself.
He has the same spirit of faith which the psalmist had when he says I believe and therefore
I speak. But what does all this have to do with anything? Well, understand
Paul is trying to help us understand where faith itself comes from. Where does faith come from?
That's an important question. Faith is not something that is conjured up in the heart and mind of the lost person.
Faith is not something that comes from a dead spirit person.
And is that not what we all are before we're born again? Does not the
Bible say that because you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, does the
Bible not tell us that we have to be raised? And that's what
Paul is saying here. This same spirit of faith comes in fact from the
Spirit. Faith is not a product of your will, but rather faith is a gift from God which comes by the work of the
Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit tells us that the flesh profits nothing.
Doesn't it say that? Doesn't the Word of God say the flesh profits nothing? You cannot conjure up faith on your own.
You cannot express faith without a work of the Holy Spirit. Recently there was a debate. And in that debate, the question arose
Is conversion a supernatural act?
That was the question that arose during the debate. Is conversion a supernatural act?
Those on the reformed side, the man on the reformed side, of course it is a supernatural act. It has to be God who does it.
And the other man hemmed and hawed and well, it's supernatural because of the Word. No, no.
Is it something that God does or is it something that you do? Is it something that comes from your heart and mind or is it something that comes from the supernatural work of the
Spirit of God? Beloved, that's where I plant my flag. I plant my flag on this.
Your faith is not something that you came up with on your own. In fact,
I'll show you a place where you might go if you want to turn in your Bibles just for a moment to John 1.
Go to verse 11.
This is about Jesus coming to the Jewish people. It says in verse 11,
He came to His own and His own received Him not. One of the saddest verses in the Bible. Jesus came to His own.
That's the Jewish people. That's Israel. He came to His own and His own received
Him not. But, to as many as did receive
Him, He gave the right to become children of God. Now the important verse for our consideration.
Verse 13. Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Notice what that says. Four statements. It says that our being born, and that is not referring to our born physical, but rather that is a looking forward to what
Jesus says in John chapter 3, that a man must be born, what? Again.
And when He says those who received Him were those who had been born again, He says they were born three nots.
One, they were not born of blood. What does that mean? That means your natural birth does not produce faith in you.
Beloved, your children, your children cannot base their trust on your faith.
It must be their faith. It is faith that does not come by blood, meaning by birth.
No one is a Christian by birth. You are a Christian by new birth. You understand?
So it's not of blood, number one. Number two, not of the will of the flesh, meaning your regeneration, your rebirth did not come by your will.
I mean, it's right in the text. Not by the will of the flesh. You didn't choose it and will it to happen.
The work of the Spirit of God is not something that you can command by your will.
But it is not of blood. It is not of the will of the flesh and not by the will of man.
I can't do it for you. That's the third one. Not only can you not will it to happen,
I can't will it on your behalf. I cannot make you be born again.
The only one who can do it is God. Not of the blood.
Not of the will of the flesh. Not of the will of man, but of God. Faith is a
Holy Spirit inspired work in your heart. Regeneration is a work of God in your heart.
And Paul knew, going back to 2 Corinthians 4, he knew that the faith that he possessed, the faith that was in him was a faith that was wrought by the
Spirit of God. He knew that his faith was not a faith that merely came from himself.
I want to quote from John Gill. Now if you know John Gill, you know this is a long quote.
He don't know how to write short. But I'll make it as short as I can. But John Gill, he's a lengthy writer.
And he doesn't know how to use periods either. He only uses semicolons and commas. And all of you who have ever read him, you just pray for a period so you can take a breath.
But I want you to hear this. This is John Gill's commentary on 2 Corinthians 4. This is his commentary on verse 13, what we've just read.
He says this, By faith here is meant not the doctrine, but the grace of faith.
A believing in the doctrines of the Gospel and in the Person of Christ, an exercise of the grace upon the death and resurrection of Christ, and particularly a looking by faith in full expectation of the saints' resurrection from the dead and eternal glory, together with a reliance on the power, faithfulness, and promise of God to support under the afflictions of this life.
Now of this faith, the Spirit of God is the author. Here what he said.
The Spirit of God is the author. This is not of ourselves, of our own power.
It is the free gift of God and a valuable gift it is. It is the operation of God and the produce of His almighty power.
And of this, the Spirit of God in conversion is the powerful operator. Hence, He is called the
Spirit of Faith. Beloved, why am I stressing this point so much?
I'm going to tell you something. Paul has been talking about the suffering that he has endured.
Paul has been expressing that he has been pressed and crushed and persecuted and all these things.
And now he comes to this point. He says, you want to know where my power comes from? It ain't from me.
It's from the Spirit of God who gave me the faith. That's key.
We cannot for a second boast in anything, even in our own faith, for our very faith itself is a gift from God.
And so Paul says that his power, his confidence comes from a
Holy Spirit -empowered faith. But not only that.
It's faith in something. Because let me say this, and some of you are new here.
Some of you haven't ever been. And some of you may have been in places before where you have been encouraged to have faith, and yet your faith does not have an object.
You've simply been encouraged to believe in belief or have faith in faith. And let me tell you where that'll get you.
Nowhere. Because the idea of having faith in faith is nonsense.
You've got to have faith in something. Moreover, you've got to have faith in someone.
Your faith has to have an object. And the object of faith is the risen
Christ. Look at verse 14. It says, Knowing...
Notice that it doesn't say thinking. It doesn't say wondering.
It doesn't say even believing. It says, Knowing... Knowing...
that He who raised Jesus... No, He didn't say that.
What did He say? Knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus...
Paul puts that little title in there for us. Knowing that He who raised the
Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.
King James says by Jesus. And bring us with You into His presence.
You see, the faith that Paul is saying that the Spirit gives us is not blind faith.
Some people say, oh, you Christians, you just have blind faith. That's hogwash. It's not blind faith.
We believe in the fact of the resurrection. And if it is not true, we of all men are most to be pitied.
That's what Paul said. He said we base everything on the fact of the resurrection.
And if it ain't so, then everything we have preached is a lie and it is all in vain.
We have staked our life on one immutable truth. Christ is risen.
That's it. That has to be it. Everything else unfolds from that.
It's like dropping a pebble in a glass of water and you see the water go out to the edges of the cup.
That pebble falling in is the resurrection. Everything else ripples out from that. Everything else flows from that.
If that isn't true, this is all a lie. Just go to Quiznos and enjoy lunch because eat, drink, for tomorrow you die.
Is there even Quiznos anymore? I don't know where that came from. Sorry, I was getting a little emotional.
I'll bring it down. But the key to this I'm saying is Christianity is not based on feelings.
It's not based on the imagination of men. It is not based on the ideas of a single individual who claims to have a vision like Muhammad who claims to have seen a vision or Joseph Smith who claims to have seen an angel.
Both who believe they saw their vision so that no one else could verify it. No, Jesus Christ rose was verified not only by the apostles but also by those who didn't know and over 500 people by the time
He ascended into heaven He had been seen by over 500 people many of which were willing to go to their deaths not because of what they thought they believed but because of the one whom they had seen.
Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus Christ died and rose again.
Paul says that the power for his ministry comes from knowing that. He says knowing that he who raised the
Lord Jesus that's number one. Number two will raise us also.
See it's a it's a building. You build from the bottom up. Says he who raised
Jesus who oh by the way and I don't want to go too much into this because this is a theological side. Now I normally don't have a problem with theological side no it's just listening to me and Mike talk sometimes but I will keep this at bay because I'd want to chase it for 20 minutes but when it says he who raised
Jesus this is a Trinitarian question. Really it is because you have to step back and say wait a minute
Jesus said if I lay my life down I can raise it up again. Jesus said the Father raised me Spirit will raise me.
Who's doing the raising here? Well God is doing the raising so we don't want to get confused and create some kind of Trinitarian dilemma but in this reference
Paul is referring to the power of God that raised Christ. That's the referent here when he says he who raised and he said he who raised
Jesus will also raise us. Who's the us?
Everyone who believes. Now the us in the context Paul is referring to himself and his companions but he has promised he has said everyone who believes on the
Lord Jesus Christ will be raised up. John 6 .44 No man can come to me unless the
Father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up on the last day.
Just that one verse just John 6 .44 you didn't come because you necessarily wanted to you came because Christ drew you and when he drew you in by his power he gave you the promise that in drawing you into him he will raise you up on that last day and you will be raised up.
How? According to this text you will be raised up with Jesus. You will be raised up with him and brought into his presence.
Consider that. Consider the fact that if you are in Christ you will be raised up and brought into his presence.
If you are in Christ you have the promise that though you will die in this life you will rise again.
And the same confidence of the risen Christ belongs to everyone who believes in him.
Jude says this in the last part of his little short epistle. He says, Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.
The only God who is our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. What is he saying? He's saying that he is going to present us.
He's going to raise us up and we're going to be presented before him on that final day.
1 John 3 .2 says, Beloved, we are God's children now and what we will be has not yet appeared but we know that when he appears we shall be like him.
That doesn't mean that we're going to be gods but what it does mean is that we are going to be glorified.
We're going to be raised. We are going to be like him in his resurrected body. We too will have resurrected bodies.
Paul says this is what gives him confidence. Paul says this is what gives him strength. This is what allows him to endure it all.
Because he knows that the one who raised Christ will also raise him.
Because he knows that this life is not all that there is but rather he will be raised incorruptible.
I'm going to tell you this. This morning you either believe in the resurrection or you don't.
And either way it's going to affect your life. If you believe in the resurrection of Christ truly believe in it there's no way it will not change your life.
If you truly know that Jesus Christ is alive today is enthroned today is seated upon his throne today there's no way that that will not change your life.
Paul says it's what gives him the confidence to endure his life.
And Paul had a hard life. Finally, we see
Paul's purpose. Paul's purpose is in verse 15. Notice what it says in verse 15.
For it is all for your sake. What is he talking about?
In King James it says all things. In the NIV it says all this. And in the
ESV it says all. It is all for your sake.
What is he talking about? He's talking about his own suffering.
If you follow the antecedent of the all going back up and you follow the argument down and I'm going to be teaching on this in fact
Mike and I are preparing for our hermeneutics class and this is part of my he's teaching part and I'm teaching part and this is what you call discourse analysis and you see where the argument begins and where the argument ends and you start to follow how the argument builds on itself and how you begin to line things out and what you see is
Paul has begun earlier by saying we have this treasure in jars of clay we are doing this to show that the surpassing power belongs to God we have all these things persecuted but not abandoned all these things and it is all for your sake for this purpose so that the grace extends to more and more people and it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God see
Paul understood the broader focus of his ministry Paul understood this he understood that the very reason why he endured what he endured the very reason why he was forced to endure what he endured was because in his endurance and in his preaching in his proclamation of the gospel in all of this two things would result grace would extend and thanksgiving would increase grace would extend and thanksgiving would increase you say what are you talking about well let me try to explain it a little better as the gospel goes forth grace goes with it and as grace goes out into the world and extends to more and more people and more and more people hear the gospel and the gospel goes into their hearts into their minds and by the spirit of God it is applied and regeneration occurs and people begin to believe what is the result of that thanksgiving to God it can't not let me ask you a question are you saved today?
if you are, are you thankful? that's
Paul's point all of the things that he has suffered is for the spreading of the gospel and as the gospel has gone out grace has gone with it and as grace has gone with it thanksgiving has increased do you understand this you didn't get saved just so you'd go to heaven in fact do you understand that your heavenly home is but a byproduct of your salvation but actually your salvation was so that you would glorify
God in thanking Him John Piper said something years ago and I think this is very insightful he said this in his book let the nations be glad he said this listen closely to this he said missions and that means gospel missions sending out missionaries he says missions exist because worship doesn't worship is the ultimate not missions because God is ultimate not man when this age is over and the countless millions of redeemed fall on their face before the throne of God missions will be no more it is a temporary necessity but worship abides forever you understand what he's saying we go and share the gospel because there's men and women who should be worshiping
God and they're not you ever thought of evangelism that way? that evangelism isn't really about seeing how many people you can get into heaven but rather it is going and saying to a lost world you are denying the very
God who created you and He deserves your worship we live in a world that spits in the face of God our very president spits in the face of God our government spits in the face of God and what should we proclaim to them?
but you need to repent because the God who created you deserves your worship and you will glorify
Him either in your condemnation or in your repentance and thanksgiving and may it be to God that it be in your repentance and thanksgiving because that is the only way to be saved and I say that to you this morning you will glorify
God in one of two ways and you may have come in here today very haughty you may have come in here today very haughty very proud
I don't need this this guy is yelling at me I don't need to hear that listen
I'm passionate because it's true I told this story before I went to an atheist's bedside one time and he had been in terrible sickness terrible disease had surgery and we got to talking and he said
I came to your church once and I didn't like it because you talked about hell
I said well thank you for being honest now let me be honest with you I said
I talked about hell because it's real and if I didn't warn you about it what kind of man would
I be? if I didn't tell you the truth
I'm not your friend and I don't love you beloved we have the apostle
Paul's words here that says the gospel goes out so that grace can increase in thanksgiving with it beloved are you thankful this morning that you have
Christ? are you? are you thankful that on this day when
I say He is risen you can say He is risen He is risen and we can say it and we can say it with thanks because the grace of God extended from Macedonia to America that God's grace extended from Paul to his disciples to their disciples to their disciples all down to the ages and the gospel still is proclaimed today and even today the gates of hell will not prevail against it beloved if you're here and you know
Christ you have every reason to give thanks understanding that even in these difficult times
God is still worthy of our thanks and if you're here and you don't know
Christ the grace of God has been preached to you today here is the grace of God to you if you turn from your unbelief and trust in the
Lord Jesus Christ He will receive you and He will forgive you of your sins and He will give you a new life to as many as did receive
Him to them He gave the power to become the children of God I pray that God would do that work in your heart today if He never has and give you the gift of faith let us pray
Father I thank You I thank You that Your Word is true and it will always be true and I thank
You that You've given us the opportunity to hear Your Word proclaimed I pray now for the believer that You would embolden them empower them, strengthen them and encourage them and for those who are not believers that You would change them convert them do that supernatural work that only
You can do give them the gift of faith that they might trust in Christ we pray this in Jesus name