The Faith of Paul
2 Cor. 4:13-18
We can see Paul’s faith the way he serves the Lord, the way he lived, and the way he ministers to the needs of others whether they are believers or people who doesn’t know Christ yet. Faith is always a very interesting topic, so today we will be touching about the faith of the apostle Paul as we can see
here in the last few verses of this chapter.
Illustration 1: The Definition of Faith
It was a good answer that was once given by a poor woman to a minister who asked her, “What is faith?” She replied: “I am ignorant, and I cannot answer well, but I think it is taking God at His word.”
Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today
I. His Faith that Trusts (2 Cor. 4:13-14)
A. The important truth here is that the same faith that made a person right with God in the Old Testament is the faith that makes a person right with God in the New Testament. Paul had the same faith as all of those that had already died for the Lord. Whatever happens, he would not faint or lose heart in even in the face of all kinds of adversity including death.
B. Paul is using the term “spirit” in the sense of a person’s self. He often uses “spirit” as a way of referring to the inner qualities of a human person.
C. “according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken”. This passage is found in the Old Testament specifically in Ps. 116:10. When the psalmist wrote the words, he was greatly afflicted. His comfort in the midst of his afflictions was faith in God’s Word.
D. In the New Testament, Christ have spoken. The Apostles first heard, and they believed and spake, (Christ’s words were also written). Other faithful men heard, believed, and spake. Through this means the voice of God were heard by people upon the earth, and the Christians of this day have heard and do hear Christ’s voice.
E. To speak is not enough. Paul believed and therefore he spoke. He spoke with sincerity and conviction. In the midst of his troubles, the psalmist confidently asked God to deliver him out of his troubles. He could confidently do so because he believed God would answer his prayers. Paul, in the face of his sufferings as we have seen endured because of his trust and confidence in God’s Word
F. “Knowing that he… shall raise up us also by Jesus… (2 Cor. 4:14): The hope of the resurrection inspired Paul. The resurrection of Christ is the guarantee that all believers will be raised from the dead and presented to the Father. We are the body of Christ and we were literally raised with him. The resurrection of Christians is literally already accomplished. Paul did not fear dying or death because in his mind he was already raised up with Jesus. We do not have to fear crossing over into eternity, Jesus has paved the way.
G. Knowing these great truths, we can also be bold to proclaim the gospel of salvation even it will bring us persecution, hatred, rejection, even death.
Illustration 2: Landmark of Faith
A strong faith in God: this was another of our founding fathers’ landmarks. They trusted God. Like Abraham they believed God. We are not bound to believe all that our fathers believed. There are many things we cannot accept, but when we recollect the firmness with which the old men clung to the broad doctrines of Scripture, of the strength they gained, of the rest, peace and joy of soul they obtained, these memories should check that mania for fashionable doubting which is so much abroad today, and lead us to keep this landmark firmly in its place. Faith in God is our safeguard in temptation; it saves us from despair; it gives prevalence to prayer; it brings deliverance; it is the secret of all heroic enterprises; it ennobles the whole life, and without it no church can succeed. Heart-warming Bible Illustrations
Illustration 3: Polycarp
Polycarp (A.D. 70-155) was bishop of Smyrna and a godly man. He had known the apostle John personally. When he was urged by the Roman proconsul to renounce Christ, Polycarp said: “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King
and my Savior?” “I have respect for your age,” said the official. “Simply say, ‘Away with the atheists!’ and be set free.” The aged Polycarp pointed to the pagan crowd and said, “Away with the atheists!”
He was burned at the stake and gave joyful testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiebe, p. 214
II. His faith that testifies (2 Cor. 4:15)
A. Paul lived his life for others and all that he went through would benefit the believers of his day and every other Christian thereafter.
B. The grace of God, His unmerited goodness and kindness, was extended to more and more people through the gospel Paul preached. Those who heard and responded in belief received salvation and gave thanks to God (Eph. 1:6,12,14). As more came to the Savior, it caused thanksgiving to overflow (or increase). This verse underscores the selflessness of Paul’s ministry. It was for the benefit of others and to the glory of God (Mark 12:33), not for himself (2 Cor. 2:5).
C. The word “redound,” (perisseush,) here means abound, or be abundant; and the sense is, that the overflowing grace thus evinced in the salvation of many would so abound as to promote the glory of God.
Illustration 4: Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon preached to thousands in London each Lord’s Day, yet he started his ministry by passing out tracts and teaching a Sunday school class as a teenager. When he began to give short addresses to the Sunday school, God blessed his ministry of the Word. He was invited to preach in obscure places in the country side, and he used every opportunity to honor the Lord. He was faithful in the small things, and God trusted him with the greater things. “I am perfectly sure,” he said, “that, if I had not been willing to preach to those small gatherings of people in obscure country places, I should never have had the privilege of preaching to thousands of men and women in large buildings all over the land. Remember our Lord’s rule, “whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 221
III. His Faith that triumphs (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
A. These verses bring wonderful assurance to the believer in times of suffering. Though the outward man is perishing day by day, the inward man, the spiritual man, is being renewed day by day.
B. Paul is here weighing his sufferings on God’s scales. He discovers that his sufferings are light when compared to the weight of glory God has stored up for him. His days and years of trial are nothing compared to the eternity of bliss that awaits him. How important it is for us to live “with eternity’s values in view.” Life takes on new meaning when we see things through God’s eyes.
C. Verse 18 is a paradox to the unbeliever, but a precious truth to the Christian. We live by faith, not by sight. It is faith that enables the Christian to see things that cannot be seen (Heb. 11:1-3); this faith comes from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). The things that the world lives and dies for are temporal, passing; the things of the Lord last forever. The world thinks we are crazy because we dare to believe God’s Word and live according to His will. We pass up the things” that men covet because our hearts are set on higher values.
D. It is important that we have a sincere Christian life and ministry. Our motives must be pure. Our methods must be scriptural. We must be true to the Word of God. Paul had this kind of a ministry, and so should we.
Illustration 5: The Last Request
A wounded soldier said to his comrades who were carrying him, “Put me down. Don’t bother to carry me farther. I am dying.” They did as he requested and returned to the scene of battle. A few minutes later, an officer saw the man weltering in his blood and said to him, “Can I do anything for you?” “Nothing, thank you.” “Shall I get you a little water?” “No, thank you. I am dying.” “Isn’t there anything I can do for you?” persisted the kind-hearted officer. “Shall I write to your friends?” “I have no friends that you can write to. But there is one thing for which I would be much obliged.
In my pack you will find a Testament. Will you open it at the 14th chapter of John, and near the end of the chapter, you will find a verse that begins with ‘Peace’. Will you read it to me?” The officer did so and read the words, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
“Thank you, sir,” said the dying man. “I have that peace; I am going to that Savior—God is with me—I want no more,” and he was gone.
from: Illustrations of Bible Truths
As we believers die daily, by living righteously and boldly speaking the truth of the gospel, we live out the death and life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world will hate us, persecute us, even kill us, but it would blessings to those who will believe, and ultimately give glory to God.