Sermon outline: This is an abbreviated outline with the complete sermon downloadable at the bottom of the post.
Text: 2 Corinthians 4:6–11
Title: Honoring God in Hard Times
Introduction: The word glory in verse six is the Greek word doxa. It is also translated in Scripture as honor. So, the honor that we desire to give to God is seen in the person of Jesus Christ.
Background: At the time of this writing, Paul was being severely attacked. His enemies had attacked his credibility as an apostle. They attacked his ability to communicate with any amount of oratory excellence. They even attacked his personal appearance. So, how did Paul respond? Our response is typically to defend ourselves. Not Paul. He embraced what they said as legitimate. And further, he claimed that it was these very weaknesses that magnified the power of Christ! No longer was the vessel impressive, it was what filled the vessel that became important.
Remember, God has not required us to be sinless to be used. If He did, He would be without any vessels but Christ. Even the noblest saints were far from perfect.
- Abraham, the father of the faithful, twice pretended his wife was his sister (Genesis 12:13; 20:2).
- Moses, the human deliverer of Israel from Egypt, had a fiery temper (Exodus 2:11–12) and was, by his own admission, a completely inadequate speaker (Exodus 4:10).
- David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) and the sweet psalmist of Israel (2 Samuel 23:1), was guilty of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11).
- Elijah boldly confronted hundreds of false prophets in the name of the God of Israel, and then, in doubt and fear, ran for his life from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1–3).
- Isaiah, the noble prophet, confessed to being a man of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5).
- Peter, the leader of the twelve apostles, openly confessed that he was “a sinful man” (Luke 5:8) and proved it by vehemently and repeatedly denying the Lord (Matthew 26:69–74).
- The Apostle John, the apostle of love, was also a “son of thunder,” who jealously sought to curtail the ministry of someone who was not part of his group (Mark 3:17; Luke 9:49). Later, he indignantly wanted to call down fire from Heaven to incinerate a Samaritan village that had rejected Jesus (Luke 9:54).
I. Affliction Does Not Bring Destruction
II. Affliction Is for the Purpose of Purification
III. Affliction Brings about Transformation
Conclusion: Oswald Chambers said, “To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God’s will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.”
I would submit to you that there are few ways in which you can honor God more than by choosing to trust Him, even in the furnace of affliction.
The question that remains is will you submit yourself to His will, even if that includes the hammer and chisel?