Preached at Riverview Park in Cascade, IA on July 19, 2015.
Open your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. This week the kids have been learning about the Gospel. In light of that, I will be preaching about the Gospel. To do this, I will be using 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. So let us read our text, I will pray that God would give us understanding, and then we will get to work.
I have titled my message, “The Open Statement of the Truth.” I get this title from verse 2. Paul is speaking about his ministry of sharing the Gospel to unbelievers and he says in verse 2, “We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”
For those who don’t know who Paul is, he was the chosen instrument of God to take the message of Jesus Christ to the world. He was the first person to take the Gospel to the continent of Europe. Paul was a Church planter, and Paul’s church growth strategy was to simply proclaim the truth of the Gospel. He goes from place to place and openly declares Jesus Christ as Lord.
As he says in verse 1, he does not participate in disgraceful or underhanded ways, he does not use cunning to trick people into believing, and he does NOT mess around with the Word of God. He simply preaches the Gospel.
Why would Paul be so willing to simply proclaim the Gospel? Why would he place so much faith in a simple open statement of truth? The reason is because this truth is like no other truth in the Universe, for it has the ability to penetrate into the heart of man. You can see Paul’s understanding of the Gospel in Romans 1:16.
Now here is the problem. Some of you, if not many of you in this park, do not know what the Gospel is. No one has ever shared with you the Gospel, nor have never read the Bible to see the Gospel for yourself. Which is a major issue if the GOSPEL is the power for salvation. For if you don’t’ know the Gospel, then you will not be saved.
And because of that if I were to ask you today, “Are you going to Heaven or Hell?” Most likely, all of you would say Heaven. If I were to ask you, “Why do you believe this?” Some of you would say, “Because I go to Church.” Folks, going to Church is not the Gospel. A building has no ability to save your soul from Hell. Never once does Jesus say go to the Church and you will be saved. Not once. Brick and mortar has no special power over you soul.
Others of you may say, “I am going to go to Heaven because I am good person.” Unfortunately, the Bible says the complete opposite about you. Romans 3:12 says, ”No one does god, not even one.” Jesus himself reinforces this truth in Luke 18:19 when he says, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except god alone.” No one is good enough to get to Heaven. Every single one of us on this planet has sinned, and our sin is enough to send us to Hell.
So do not for once think you are going to Heaven because you go to a building, and participate in a certain liturgy. Nor should you think that you are going to Heaven because you are “good.” Neither one of those things are the Gospel. However, Satan would love for you to believe this, for if you do, you will spend eternity with him.
So today, I am going to proclaim the open statement o f the truth, and my prayer is that you would have ears to hear, and would accept the Good News and place your faith in Christ Jesus as your Lord and as your Savior, if you haven't already.
God is the Creator
Let us start with verse 6. It says, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness.” Where does this verse come from? It comes from the beginning, Genesis 1. In the very beginning, before there was creation, there was God. He existed before space/time.
Scientists love to talk about a “Big Bang,” which is the scientific explanation of where the Universe came from. Scientist believe at the moment of the big bang there is what is called singularity. Singularity is the existence of infinite density and infinite temperature, and in that moment of singularity there is no existence of the laws of physics, and it was from that moment of singularity that all the Universe came from. What science can’t tell you is what is behind the Big Bang? What caused the Big Bang? What is infinite in density and infinite in temperature? What can exist outside all of the laws of physics?
However, the Bible does. God has told us explicitly how it all began. The Infinite, Eternal, Sovereign God is the force behind all of Creation. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.” Paul in 2 Corinthians 4 is reminding us of that reality in verse 6. He is reminding us that God is the Creator. God is the Potter. God is Sovereign, and the evidence of this reality is all around us. Look at the sky. Look at the grass. Look at your hand. Look at your children. Look at a bumble bee. Creation screams that it has a creator, and logic screams this as well.
Just think about it. Everything that has a beginning has a cause. We call this cause and effect. For example, at one time this amphitheater did not exist, but now it does. How did it get hear? This amphitheater was built by builders. How do I know this? Did I see them build it? No. The reason I know that builders built the amphitheater is because it exists. The builders were the cause of this existing. Likewise, as we look around, how do we know that this world was built? Because all things that exist have a cause.
Humanity Is Blind
However, here is the problem, we fail to thank God. We fail to give him the praise that is due his name. Instead of giving God glory, we instead give other things glory, like ourselves.
I think verse 4 tells us why, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” Because of the deception of Satan and the subsequent fall, humanity is blind. This is the reality for who have ever lived. Because of Sin we fail to see God as God and therefore give Him the glory he deserves. Therefore instead of living for Him, we blindly live for other things.
And because of this blindness we have made a mess out of the world. From day to day we leave a wake of disaster behind us: Murder, abortion, sexual immorality, drugs, drunkenness, coveting, divorces, lying, the list can go on and on. The world is an absolute mess. However the worst is found in verse 3, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing”
The biggest issue in our life is sin. But why? What is so bad about living in sin? Why can’t we live our life our way? The reason is because God is a just God and he will not ignore our rebellion against him.
Imagine being in Wal-Mart and seeing a father with his 5 year old son The child is whining and complaining because he wants a gun. The father tells him “No, you cannot have a gun, you will hurt yourself.” Then imagine the 5 year old turning to the father and flipping him off and grabbing the gun and run out of the store as he attempts to load it with bullets. Then imagine the father shrugging it off, or laughing about it. Would you think he is a good Dad? Of course you wouldn’t, so why do we assume God shrugs off our sin.
God is our Father in Heaven and he is a Just God. Each one of us will stand in judgment before Him. The coming judgment of God was one of Jesus’ most common messages during his three year ministry. He was constantly warning people about the coming judgment.
For those who do not believe in the Gospel, your destiny is found in verse 3, you will perish. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” And this perishing is not just physical death, but it is eternal death, Hell. Every single person who does not accept the good news of Christ is guaranteed to live all eternity in a place that Jesus described as “eternal torment.”
Once again, why do I say these things? Because it is an open statement of the truth. It is what Jesus proclaimed, it is what John the Baptist proclaimed, it is what Peter proclaimed, it is what Paul proclaimed, it is what the early Church proclaimed, it is what the entire Bible proclaims, and it is what all Christians today should proclaim. People must hear the bad news before they will accept the good news.
Christ is the Glory of God
So what is the good news? The good news is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the good news. This is why the Angles proclaimed to the Shepherd's in Luke 2:10 regarding the birth of Jesus, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The good news is found in the person of Jesus Christ. The answer to your biggest problem, sin and death, is not found in a building, it is not found in a ritual, it is not found in yourself. It is found in Christ alone.
This is the whole point as to why Jesus came into the world, to save sinners like you and like me. Jesus said of himself in John 14:6, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
God sent Jesus into the World to fix the world's problem, sin. He was a rescue party of one, sent behind enemy lines to rescue his bride. And the way He rescued her was to live a perfectly sinless life and then lay down his life for her. Jesus was the only person to walk this planet without sin. He was perfectly righteous. He then died on the cross, and God the father, poured out all of his wrath against sin upon His Son.
As John the Baptist rightly said in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! “ Jesus took away our sin. All of it. He paid every last cent for the sins of the world, past, present and future. For those who trust in Jesus, there is nothing left for you to do to pay for your sin. No penance. No purgatory. Nothing. Christ has done it all. This is why Jesus cries out on the cross “It is finished.” This is why the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. This is why the author of Hebrews says that Jesus, our great High priest, sat down after ascending to Heaven. Because all the work was completed. This is why Jesus says in Mathew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This is why Jesus says in John 8:32, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” This is why in Hebrews 10:14, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” One sacrifice. Perfect. Forever. This is why it is called grace, for it is entirely a gift.
And this is what the world, and perhaps some of you are blind to. Look again at verse 4, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” According to this verse, what does Satan desperately not want you to see? The “gospel of the glory of Christ.” What is the gospel of the glory of Christ? It is that Christ did all the work, and paid for all of our sin, therefore he gets all the glory.
The only thing left for us to do is it believe. That's it. This is how we receive the gift of Jesus' payment for our sins, and his righteousness.
The question I have for you today, in the sight of God, is do you believe in Jesus? Do you place your trust in his life, death, and resurrection? Do you have faith in the sufficiency of his sacrifice, and that on the third day he rose from the grave?
It is my prayer that today, just like it says in verse 6, shines in your hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Let's pray.