Sermon Title : The Gospel
2 Corinthians 4 v1-18.
Text-- 2 Corinthians 4 v 3, "But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
In the Corinthian Church there had been those who had risen up against the apostle Paul.
Such had wrongly charged him of being a deceitful servant of God. Now in seeking to counteract this false charge Paul outlines his credentials as Gods servant to the Corinthians in this chapter.
In v1 he tells how his ministry was one of steadfastness, "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;"
In v2 he tells how his ministry was one of truthfulness, "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
Also in v7 he relates that his ministry was one which knew the power of God. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
And then he tells how his ministry was one of proclaiming the gospel in v5, "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
It is this gospel message that he is talking about in V's 3 &4, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
In all of this Paul sets himself forth as a great example for every minister and every church to follow.
That example is one of making mush of the gospel message. The proclamation of the gospel is vital for any church to grow & prosper. That is why it is important for every church to have a weekly gospel service and conduct gospel missions for time to time.
And it's for this reason that I want you to look at 2 Corinthians 4 v3&4, before us and notice 3 important truths regarding the gospel.
1. The description of the Gospel.
From verse 3 we see that the gospel is a message of good news for this is the meaning of the word gospel as we find it in this verse. The gospel is a message that is better that any other message on this earth. It is a message of glad tidings because it tells of Gods mercy to the guilty sinner, Also it tells of God providing a way for man the sinner to go to Heaven.
It is tidings that tells of a perfect atonement or covering for mans sin. Itís news that tells the sinners that there is a saviour from all sin. This is all summarised for us in 1 Tim 1 v15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Child of God it is this same message that you are to proclaim to all the world.
Mark 16 v15, says "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Then in v3 Paul describes the gospel as "our gospel. " The reason why he does so is because he was one who had personally accepted the gospel for himself. On the road to Damascus Paul repented of his sin and he came to the Lord Jesus Christ and trusted in him for salvation. As you ponder this message can you say the same with Paul that the Gospel is our gospel or my gospel. In other words, are you saved, & born again,? Can you say with hymn writer, "I came to Jesus and I drank of that life giving stream.
If your are to say that this gospel is my gospel then you must heed its message & be saved.
The only way for you to be saved is for you to repent of your sin and trust Christ to be your personal saviour. Acts 16 v31 says," Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, ." Friend it is only when your are saved that you too can rightly exhort others to receive the gospel. If you are still not saved today then my prayer for you is that you would come to Christ today and accept him as your saviour.
Then in v4 you see how Paul calls the gospel a glorious gospel." In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Paul gloried in the gospel because of its power. In Romans 1 v16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek".
Its power can be seen in the fact that it can lift the penitent sinner out of the pit & mire of sin and also it can lead him into the experience of the joy of sins forgiven. Hezekiah testified of this in his own life in
Isaiah 38 v17, "but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back." Child of God never underestimate the power of the gospel. Through its proclamation & reception lives are changed and set free from the bondage & tyranny of sin. Yes by the gospel people are brought to that wonderful experience of sins forgiven.
In 1833 Charles Darwin visited the South Sea Islands were cannibalism was widespread.
34 years later he visited those islands again., this time he found their society had been totally transformed.
On his 2nd visit he discovered, schools, churches and homes were people were now living in harmony & decency. What had happened in those intervening years was that a missionary by the name of John Paton had went there with the gospel message. God blessed that message to the saving of souls & the transforming of lives.
Believer in Christ, God has not changed what he has done in the past he is able to do again through this same glorious gospel message. This is why you should do all we can to support the spread of the gospel message.
Then we see in v3 how Paul further describes the gospel as the glorious gospel of Christ. Here Paul is saying that the gospel is all about Christ & his finished work upon the cross. Child of God in all your service & witness for God make much of Christ and his finished work upon the cross.
For it is only through Christ and his precious blood that sinners can be saved & made right with God.
It was C. H. Spurgeon who said " Christless sermons make merriment for hell
Christian as you pray for the furtherance of the gospel pray that always much would be made of Christ & his finished work upon the cross. Christ has said, in John 12 v32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
2. The veiling of the gospel
Paul speaks of this veiling of the gospel in v3 "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
This veiling of the gospel is a tragic reality that can befall the hearts of man and Satan is the culprit. For in v4 Paul says, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Now in causing this veiling of the gospel Satan has many devices. He causes the gospel to be hidden by making men believe that they are not lost sinners. There are many like this is the world today. They do not see themselves as sinners in the sight of God. Therefore they see no need for Christ & the gospel.
Isaiah warns us of such in Isaiah 53 v2, here he is speaking of Christ and he says, "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
Here he tells of those who would see no beauty in Christ, they would see no purpose in him dying upon the cross for our sins. The reason why this is so is that they do not see themselves as lost sinners in the sight of a holy God.
Then we can say that Satan causes the he gospel to be hidden from others by making them think that they can save themselves. Their boast is living a good life, doing the best I can. They are like the publican in Luke 18 v11 who said," God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."
Then Satan hides the gospel by making people think that they do not need to repent of their sin. Such are not willing to part with their sin & the ungodly pleasures of this world. They are not willing to have Christ as Lord of their life. They are of the spirit of Pharaoh who said, "who is the Lord that I should obey his voice. Many like this want the blessings of salvation but they donít want to part with their sin.
As we think of these reasons why the gospel is hid I wonder do they describe you who are still not saved.? Is it the case that you have not received the gospel because you do not see yourself as a sinner lost & undone before God. If that is so then your thinking is wrong. Romans 3v 10 says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Or is it the case that you still have not received the gospel because you think that you can save yourself by your own good works. Well again I must tell you that such thinking is wrong. Ephesians 2 v8 & 9 says, " and that not of yourselves:: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Or is it the case that you still have noted received the gospel because you are not willing to give up your sin and repent of it. Well again such resistance against the gospel message is wrong for over in Acts 17v30 it says, "God now commandeth all men every where to repent:" My friend please understand if your are to be saved through the message of the gospel, then you must repent of your sin and acknowledge that you are lost hopeless sinner who can do nothing to save yourself.
With that acknowledgement you must trust in Christ in order to be saved. In Isaiah 45 v22 the Lord says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
3. The sad outcome of those who do not receive the gospel.
This outcome is summed up by the word "lost." Verse 3 says, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:" This word lost means to die, to perish, to destroy & to be marred. This means that the sinner who rejects the gospel remains separated from God in this life.
Isaiah speaks of such in Isaiah 59 v1&2, "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
Being separated from God the sinner who rejects the gospel is unable to life for the glory of God.
He is unable to fulfil the purpose for which he was created. Paul brings this out in Romans 3 v23 when he says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;." Then the final outcome for the sinner who rejects the gospel after this life is to perish in hell, the lake of fire forever. Revelation 20 v15 says, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Unsaved friend this is how the Word of God describes you in your rejection of the Gospel. The Bible says your lost, separated from God, unable to live for his glory and bound for hell. Please understand if you are to have fellowship with God, if you are to live for his glory & be sure of heaven then you must heed the gospel message, which tells you to trust in Christ for salvation. John 3 v16. Says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The Bible says, "behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation. "Now is the time for you to be saved, for if you were to die in your sin, it shall then be to late for you to be saved. Thus you shall be forever lost.
Then in closing Child of God may you also see that the tragic end for all who receive not the gospel, it is that they shall be lost for time & eternity. As you think of this awful reality may you do all that you can to spread the Gospel message. "For if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:" Amen.