By Sam Greer
Senior Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
After a laboring but rewarding week of sermon preparation, my wife Tonya and I celebrate with a Friday night date night. Friday is sermon manuscript day, that is, the day of the week when the writing of the sermon manuscript for Sunday is completed. Going to the “picture show” (the movie theater) is what we like to do on date night. My favorite part of going to the movies is watching the previews. If we are too late to watch the previews, then I would rather not go to the movies at all. Seeing what is “coming soon” comes with an anticipated excitement attached. In fact, sometimes the previews are much better than the movie itself.
In II Corinthians 4:5-18, Paul was arguing that as believers and followers of Jesus, we are to display the gospel of Jesus. We are not to “proclaim ourselves” but we are to proclaim “Jesus Christ as Lord.” As people take a seat in the movie theater of our lives and watch us follow Jesus, they are not to see us but Jesus. We are to be like the previews before a movie, using the movie of our life to show and proclaim who and what is to come.
Why must we show, proclaim, and make much of Jesus and not ourselves? In short, the reason is that the glory of God is worth it. Three times Paul points to the worth of the glory of God (II Corinthians 4:6,15 & 17).
First, the way to God’s glory Is worth it! The first aspect of God’s glory that Paul refers to is the way to God’s glory (II Corinthians 4:5-6). Under the Old Covenant, the way to God’s glory came by meeting with Moses face to face. Hence, God met with His people and expressed His glory through the face of Moses. Under the New Covenant, the way to God’s glory comes through faith in Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 4:6). When we come to faith in Christ, the light of the glory of God resides in us and shines through us. Jesus is the way and He is worth it!
Second, the wait for God’s glory Is worth it! Paul told the truth, even when it was hard to hear. In II Corinthians 4:7-10, he included himself in the afflictions that beleivers were facing for the gospel of Jesus. Paul could be honest about affliction because he was familiar with affliction. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-25, he offered his own resume of afflictions, persecutions, being struck down and perplexed. Even in the face of such hardship, Paul made clear that as believers we must know that God will bring us into His presence through Jesus.
Third, the weight of God’s glory Is worth it! In II Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul argued that the things that are unseen last forever, while the things that are seen will never last. As followers of Jesus, we place our faith in what is unseen. We have never seen the Incarnate Christ with our physical eyes; however, our faith in the unseen must be seen. Our faith on the inside shines on the outside.
How does our faith shine on the outside? We display the gospel of Jesus even when we are displaced by affliction. Why does our faith shine on the outside? The eternal weight of God’s glory far outweighs the temporal weight of our affliction (II Corinthians 4:17). You may think the movie of your life in Christ tends to be boring, but the preview of who and what is to come is never boring!