Looking Up in Down Times – JRC – John Lindell

  • Again – 2nd Cor. – Paul’s most personal letter.
  • Paul is writing about a time of personal stuggles, both internal and external.
  • There are a lot of issues the Church in Corinth are dealing with.

2 Cor 7:6 – But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭7‬:‭6‬ NLT)

  • Paul is fighting off depression, due to his frustration with people and issues in the church.

2 Cor 2:12-13 – When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭12-13‬ NLT)

  • Paul is unable to engage, even though growth is occuring, due to worry and troubling internal issues.
  • Paul is so troubled he walks away from an open opportunity for ministry.
  • Paul wasn’t directed by God to leave. He was simply so upset that he took off.
  • Have you ever been distracted to the point that what God is doing just doesn’t through to you?

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression
The main art of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’–what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’–instead of muttering in this depressed unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. The essence of this matter is to understand that this self of ours, this other man within us, has got to be handled. Do not listen to him; turn on him; speak to him, upbraid him, exhort him, encourage him, remind him of what you know, instead of listening placidly to him and allowing him to drag you down and depress you.

  • Don’t let the “inner-chatterbox” distract and thus destroy you.

How Does Paul Recover?

1. He thanks God for being in control.

  • But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬ NLT)
  • The picture is that of a triumpant Roman procession with cheering, enthusiasm, and an attitude victory (ticker-tape parade). 
  • Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28‬ NLT)

2. He thanks God for the promise of victory

  • But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬ NLT)
  • We are being led victoriously!!! We are a part of God’s victory!!
  • Romans 8:37 – No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭37‬ NLT)

3. He was thankful that he could influence others for Christ

  • But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭14-16‬ NLT)
  • Be the presence of God to those around you. You already are in truth, but become of aware of your role as an “always-on” spiritual ambassador of Christ.
  • We are an ambassador of Christ to both the saved, and unsaved
  • We want people to come to Christ, but our witness will have one of two effects:
    • It will draw people to Christ – or
    • It will cause people to pull away. – (which is not in our control)
  • God is pleased with either because the truth has been presented and a choice has been made.
  • We are not responsible for the choice that is made, but rather the presentation.
  • It is not right to cause people to delay in their decision.

4. He thanks God for empowering his life and ministry

  • 2 Cor 2:16-17 – to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭16-17‬ ESV)
  • The Outcome of people’s decision is Life & Death. This is Huge. Paul say’s “who is sufficient for this” Who can handle the burden of this task: We are not able to with the grace and sufficiency given to us by Christ.
  • Paul comes to a place of Joy that lifts him out of depression and despair, because he remembers (again) where his source of strength comes from and who he is in Christ.
  • Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3‬:‭5‬ ESV)
  • 1 Cor 2:2-5 – For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭2-5‬ ESV)
  • 1 Cor 15:57 – But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭57‬ ESV)
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s