There’s Only One Message
- September 08, 2017
- Chris Lawson
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
2 Corinthians 4:1, 5
This is the best of Paul. Strong. Confidence. Bold. Resilient.
I have always wondered where did Paul find such confidence?
After all, if anyone had an excuse to give up on the church in Corinth, it was Paul.
Accused of being an inadequate apostle – fourteenth in line! He certainly wasn’t qualified to be a teacher of the good news.
When this effort failed, the false apostles who had come to Corinth attacked Paul’s friendship with Peter and tried to leave him alone and isolated in ministry.
But they weren’t done. His accusers attacked his character. Slandered him. Noted that he was an inarticulate speaker and poor dresser.
Yet, Paul pressed on. In the natural he should have given up – but there was no give up in this boy!
Paul spent chapter 3 illustrating the superiority of the New Covenant to the Old Covenant. Paul was the ultimate Old Covenant insider. After all, “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless (Philippians 3:4-6).”
He even gave that kind of testimony to King Aggripa in Acts 26, speaking about his past legalism and commitment to Old Covenant. He said, “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.”
Paul was able to be so confident because Paul was sure of the victory of the New Covenant. Paul knew that the New Covenant gives life and that Old Covenant, which he had previously committed his life to, gave death. The New Covenant gives life through the Spirit. The law passed the death sentence on everyone. Paul knew someone else took the death sentence.
We should, like Paul, draw deep confidence in what he calls “this ministry by the mercy of God.” We live bold, radical, loud lives for Jesus because we draw our confidence for a New Covenant sealed with the promises of Jesus.
Our lives communicate Jesus. He is the message. We care about social justice, but social justice is not the message. We care about healing, but healing is not the message. We care about morality, but morality is not the message. Jesus is the message. We have confidence for today because the risen Son of the Father is the message the world needs.