We HAVE This Ministry

The Glory and Power of a Servant’s Life

2 Corinthians 4


Oct 5, 2014 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.       Introduction (1Timothy 4:10)


A.    Listen to our memory verse again


1.      “For this cause we both labour and suffer reproach…”

2.      What a way to talk!


B.     The Christian Life is a life of Serving – doing things for others – doing things for Jesus’ sake


1.      Labouring long, and unappreciated, unrewarded

2.      Suffering, being mocked and shamed – rejected

3.      All for someone we haven’t seen yet!


C.     Why? Why DO we labour and suffer reproach as Christians? Why do we labour, toil, struggle, endeavour, strain, strive, and put up with all the added stress?


1.      Some work hard for their pay packet at the end of a week

2.      Some strive for a goal, and the roar of a crowd in a game

3.      Some strain against all odds for a medal


D.    Two Reasons:


1.      Because we follow the life of the Man from Galilee – and that is how HE lived

2.      Because we trust in the living God – our faith motivates us!


a.       We trust His word, over man’s word

b.      We trust His ways, over our own ways

c.       His timing

d.      His power especially


E.     But we don’t just trust Him in how we TALK – but in all of our lives – how we LIVE


1.      The Bible is filled with one great word: not the word “Christian” (only 2 times), or leader, king, ruler, rich man, prosperous, blessing

2.      But with the word Servant, and serving, Minister, and ministering

3.      THAT is how we are supposed to live now that we are sons of God – born again!


II.    Message


A.    We ALL have a Ministry (2Cor 4:1) – something to do, that’s different than our jobs, our families, our hobbies – it is A MINISTRY!


1.      2Co 4:1  “we” have this ministry – includes ALL believers


a.       Most people only want a church building, or “a” church minister

b.      But Christ saved us ALL to DO something


2.      We were saved for ministry (2Tim 1:9,8)


a.       2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

b.      2Ti 1:8  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;


3.      We all were gifted, enabled, equipped to serve somewhere, in some way!

4.      We ALL, if born again, have a job to do, as Christians!

5.      What KIND of a Ministry?


a.       It is a Gospel Ministry (2Cor 3:6)


1)      We minister, give away the life changing power of the NEW Testament!

2)      Gospel – good news!

3)      As well as the bad news – that all are lost without God and without hope unless Christ died! No good works will work!


b.      It is a Spiritual Ministry – focused on spiritual problems, and the inner man

c.       A Preaching ministry (2Cor 4:5; 1Cor 1:17-19) – foolishness of preaching

d.      A Teaching ministry (Mt 28:19,20; 2Tim 2:24-26) – taking time!


B.     We Don’t FaintWe CAN’T Faint (2Cor 4:1)


1.      Christians can’t quit!


a.       They do, but they shouldn’t!

b.      I’m not talking about taking breaks, doing different things in church, but we don’t quit

c.       Like a fireman can’t quit when lives are at stake

d.      Like a doctor can’t just quit, when people are coming in the A&E

e.       Neither can Christians just up and quit – we CAN’T faint (even though we feel like dropping)!


2.      People’s souls depend on our faithfulness to preaching, teaching, soul-winning, giving

3.      Just remember, We take our queue, our lead, from our Saviour, who, when everyone forsook Him, He kept going. When he lost everything, He kept serving, and loving, and giving! Jesus will not quit on US

4.      Christians throughout history have stood taller, and beamed brighter as the pressures increased (Acts 5:40-42; 20:24)


a.       Understand, it is a hard ministry that you and I will usually have to do – not usually something you will find easy – for if it is easy, you won’t need God’s help – you won’t NEED to beg God for power and health and clarity of mind, and humility!


5.      So, We need to stay the course, no matter how low, or how hard – and believe me, it will get hard


C.     We Have an Authentic Ministry (2Cor 4:2)


1.      We gladly quit/renounce some things – this is vital to do the ministry! (2Co 4:2)


a.       To renounce is to divorce, turn our back on, bid farewell to, repent of, wash our hands of

b.      But we have Renounced the hidden things of dishonesty – NEVER lying, never doing ANYTHING that is not what people expect of a servant!

c.       Not walking in craftiness – never being crafty, sneaky, taking advantage of others


1)      Modern religions, AND HISTORICAL religions have used deception to gain power over people – and abused it

2)      We don’t “craft” fancy speeches to manipulate our audiences

3)      We use Great plainness of speech (2Cor 3:12; 1Cor 2:4): Hell, sin, drunkenness, adultery, pride, stubbornness, sodomy, repent, etc!


d.      Nor handling the word of God deceitfully – the worst of all - never twisting Scripture to our own advantage to keep some sin


1)      2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.


2.      We are an open book, on purpose!


a.       But by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

b.      For all to see - An open spectacle.  1Co 4:9  For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

c.       2Co 3:2  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:


D.    The Gospel Will NEVER Make Sense to the world (2Cor 4:3-6)


1.      It is hidden in Jesus! You need HIM (not church, not prayers, not baptism, not seminary training), but JESUS IN YOU, to get saved!

2.      The world can’t see the good news, because SOMEONE is blinding everyone to its simplicity (2Cor 12:3,4)


a.       Preaching OTHER Jesus’

b.      Promoting OTHER spirits beside THE Holy Spirit

c.       OTHER Gospels, as if there ARE other ways of getting saved!


3.      The devil and HIS ministers certainly are busy (2Cor 11:13-15)!


a.       Hindering

b.      Blinding

c.       Confusing

d.      Accusing – knit-picking at everything that is not “perfect”


4.      In spite of all the mockery and confusion by the culture, we Minister Anyway (2Cor 4:5)


a.       Knowing that what we say AND what we DO will always be out of step with every culture

b.      So, we don’t do what we do because people like it, or appreciate it

c.       But because it is our life – it is the new way we live now!

d.      As servants, not lords, VIP’s

e.       2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

f.       YOUR Servants!


5.      We GLADLY, almost PROUDLY, are SERVANTS… YOUR servants (4:5)


E.     WHY We Minister (2Cor 4:6,7; 13-18)


There are three powerful reasons why we labour and suffer reproach as believers…

1.      Because of what Jesus has done for US


a.       In OUR hearts

b.      We have known and experienced the glory of God – MERCY!

c.       He did it as a SERVANT of US – giving His life, for ours!

d.      2Co 8:9  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

e.       Look at the effect that Jesus has had on our lives!


1)      2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2)      Saved us from the wrath to come

3)      Cleansed us

4)      Changed us

5)      Dwells with us

6)      Keeps us

7)      Gave us the knowledge of God


a)      If you have seen ME you have seen the Father

b)      I and my Father are one


2.      Because of the excellency of God’s power now IN us


a.       2Co 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

b.      Our ministry is SUCH a treasure – something to own, and hold onto!


3.      Because we actually believe God (2Cor 4:13-18)


a.       2Co 4:13  I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

b.      If you really believe THIS BOOK, you will not be able to just SIT THERE!

c.       We actually believe:


1)      God raised up Jesus from the DEAD!

2)      That God will raise US up too if we die serving God!

3)      That even though our outer body gives out and wears out, our INNER man will get stronger (2 Cor 12:7-10)

4)      That God’s rewards will make everything we suffer worth it all 100 fold!!!

5)      That God’s rewards are ETERNAL!


F.      The Ministry of a Clay Vessel (2Cor 4:7)


1.      We Christians, are compared to a clay pot, or vase


a.       We are Not compared to Superman, or Ironman

b.      But, Frail, brittle, breakable containers


2.      We have been given a great purpose – a ministry

3.      Meant to be filled, and then emptied out into someone else’s life!

4.      We are meant to SERVE

5.      Again, not as Teflon people, but as weak ones


a.       Like the great John the Baptist (John 3:30)

b.      And like the great Apostle Paul (2Cor 12:10)


6.      All this so that people can see the power of Christ, and not our own


a.       The power of CREATION!

b.      The power of SALVATION – He is able to save sinful men


7.      We have THAT POWER as a treasure IN our weak, frail bodies!


a.       Breakable vessels

b.      Clay pots

c.       Easily broken when dropped, when put under pressure…


G.    Examples of the Real Power of God in the Life of a Christian (2Cor 4:7-10; 6:10)


1.      The Reality of the Excellency of God's Power – it excels our own power


a.       Troubled on EVERY side           Yet Not distressed

b.      Perplexed - confused                   Yet Not in despair

c.       Persecuted                                   But not forsaken

d.      Cast down                                   But not destroyed

e.       Always dying                              Yet always experiencing the life of Jesus in our bodies!

f.       Outward man (body) perishing)  Inner man is renewed daily

g.      Delivered unto death                   That the life of Christ would be exposed

h.      Sorrowful                                    Yet always rejoicing

i.        Poor                                             Yet making many rich

j.        Having nothing                            Yet possessing all things

k.      All our struggles                          Seen only as “a light affliction”

l.        Things that are seen…                 Aren’t seen like eternal things are now!


2.      The world needs to see Christians who once again live this way!

3.      This power, this treasure is only appreciated when we serve, not when we LEAD! It is ONLY seen in us AS we serve!!!


a.       In other words, God did not save us from troubles, but saved us to serve, even in the face of such troubles, hardships, and sorrows!

b.      God’s power, strength is designed to meet our troubles HEAD ON as we attempt to do His will.


H.    We Live All for Others (2Cor 4:11-12,15)


1.      Notice that all of that was because of a life lived for others! Serving, ministering, giving of ourselves!

2.      Look at Paul’s comparisons:


a.       We are always delivered unto death… Death is at work in US

b.      But LIFE is at work in others

c.       Other people, end up better off, at our expense!

d.      All things happening in paul’s life, and in Apollos’ life, and in Timothy’s life, and in Luke’s life… were for the sake of the Christians in Corinth


3.      And all the glory and praise is broadcast back to heaven! Not because we did it, but because the power of Christ rested upon US!


I.       All Because We Believe THIS Bible (2Cor 4:13,14) We actually believe


1.      That God raised up Jesus from the DEAD!

2.      That God will raise US up too if we die serving God!

3.      That even though our outer body gives out and wears out, our INNER man will get stronger (2 Cor 12:7-10)

4.      That God’s rewards will make everything we suffer worth it all 100 fold!!! The Christian life – the life lived as Christ lived – is WORTH everything!

5.      That God’s rewards are ETERNAL!

6.      So, It MATTERS what you believe!


a.       What you believe OUGHT to motivate you!

b.      What you believe will be proven by what you put up with!!!


III. Concluding Thoughts


A.    We ALL have a Ministry

B.     We Don’t FaintWe CAN’T Faint

C.     We Have an Authentic Ministry

D.    The Gospel Will NEVER Make Sense to the world

E.     There are some incredible reasons WHY We Minister


1.      Because of what Jesus has done for US

2.      Because of the excellency of God’s power now IN us

3.      Because we actually believe God (2Cor 4:13-18)


F.     Proven by the Supernatural Strength in the Life of a Christian AS they Serve

G.    Others – we minister to OTHERS, not ourselves

H.    Some questions


1.      How much are you willing to labour and suffer reproach for Jesus?

2.      How quick are you to rejoice when you have hard times?

3.      How much persecution, and mockery do you welcome?

4.      What are you willing to lose, that others might gain Christ?