Manage episode 309720734 series 3038820
By Mosaic Boston | Brookline. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Audio Transcript: This media has been made available by Mosaic Boston Church. If you'd like to check out more resources, learn about Mosaic Boston and our neighborhood Churches, or donate to this ministry, please visit mosaicboston.com. Good morning. Welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan. I'm one of the Pastors here, along with Pastor Shane and Pastor Andy. We're so glad you're here and we'd love, especially if it's your first time, we'd love to connect. We do that through the connection card. That's how we officially do it. You can also unofficially just introduce yourself after the service, we can chat. But officially, if you fill out the connection card and then redeem it at the welcome center, we'll give you a gift and then if your mailing address is on there legibly, we'll send you another gift in the mail just to say, thanks for coming out. One announcement I will emphasize, is our 10th birthday is coming up and birthday parties are fun, if you make them fun and we're going to make this fun. It's Saturday, October 9th, 4:00 PM. You do have to RSVP, so we know how much barbecue to order. There's also vegan option. So everyone's invited. One caveat, you have to love the Church because we're investing barbecue in you. And I also need to know how many people are coming, because we like to feed people well. You know it's a good party when everyone had their fill and you're sending people home with food. And I'm not promising, we're going to send everyone home with food. I just want to make sure that I go home with food, that's because I've got four daughters that eat like adults, so that's ... Yeah. Let's pray, over the preaching of God's Holy Word. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the reminder that you are God and we are not. You are God and we are not our own, yet we lived like it and many was still of like it. Therefore, we've sinned against you, but you sent your son, Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God. Father, you sent the Son. He is your perfect image. And Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you reminded us, you showed us what it means to truly be human. How to live a true life, a life of love toward God and people, a life of service toward God and people. And then you showed what love is. Love is sacrifice, and you showed that on the cross by dying for us to redeem us, to bring us back into this relationship with the Father, by the power of the Spirit, to show us that who we are. We are yours. You put your name Jesus on us. We are Christians. And I pray that you remind us of that identity today, because we live in a city where everyone wants to define us with labels about what we do, what we look like, how we speak, where we're from, what we have. That's not who we are. The essence of who we are is who you say that we are, and in Christ we are yours. I pray that you remind us of that and that you fill our hearts with joy to live that out and fulfill the mission that you have for us. We pray all this in Christ's beautiful name. Amen. We're going through our sermon series through 2 Corinthians, that we're calling Prodigal Church Season Two. Season one is online. And what we're doing is we're just going verse by verse through this incredible Book of the Bible. The title of the sermon today is, Seven Rules For Life, and I'm not just talking about for success in life or happiness in life. I'm talking about fullness of life, of finding life, the meaning of life, the purpose of life and eternal life. But to do that, you got to know who you are. I think the culture of our relationships, the culture of our marriages, the culture of our families, the culture of our community groups, of our Church would change radically, if instead of stopping at the question of how are you, we continued and asked the question, who are you? Who are you? What's your essence? Not the facade, not who you pretend to be. Who are you? Because how can I love you if I don't know who you are. A Pastor at Church here and bless the Pastors of this Church, it's a Church full of people trying to find themselves. We live in a city of people trying to find themselves. You don't know who you are and the more you look for yourself, the more lost you get, the more you lose yourself. And I get up here every single week and basically say the same thing, "Stop looking for yourself, because you won't find yourself by looking for yourself. You only find yourself by looking for God, finding God." And you're like, "Oh great. I need to go find God. I'm going on a year long trip backpacking Europe." No, that's not how you find God. You find God by looking for God. God said, "Whoever seeks me shall find me." That's how you find God, and as you find him, you'll realize that he's been looking for you the whole time. Jesus said, "I came to seek and save that which is lost." By finding God you'll find yourself. John Calvin wrote one of the most important works, not just in Church history, but in all of history, The Institutes Of The Christian Faith, and this is chapter one, "The knowledge of God and of ourselves mutually connected nature of this connection." So he's saying, basically here's what you need to know about God and knowledge of God and he has two points in chapter one. Read the whole thing. I was tempted to read the whole chapter today. I was tempted to do that. That's how I used to preach. When we started the Church, I was like, "I'm 26 years old. I don't know a thing. I'm just going to read chapters out of tremendous books." And I would get up, I remember I've read a whole thing from Knowing God and people like that's ... If you want to succeed in life, I'm going to give you rules before I give you rules. You got to read the whole Bible. You have to. If you have never read the whole Bible, I don't know if you're saved. Not that that saves you, you're saved by grace through faith, but you got to read the whole Bible. That's number one. Then you got to read, Mere Christianity, you have to read that. Then you have to read, Knowing God by J.I. Packer and you have to read The Institutes Of The Christian Faith by John Calvin, to really understand Christianity. So in this chapter, he says knowledge of God and he's got two points. The first is without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God. If you don't know yourself, you will never know God. He starts with the self. He says, "Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it's not easy to determine which of the two proceeds and gives birth to the other." And the second point is, without knowledge of God, there is no knowledge of self. Just meditate on that. I challenge you, just meditate on that today. You won't know yourself till you know God. You won't know God until you know yourself. That's true knowledge, and this is what St. Paul has been doing in this letter. And he began this argument in chapter two, verse 14, in which he says, "Hey, you can only know God, if God reveals himself to you. And he reveals himself to you through the piercing truth of the gospel into your heart." So yeah, we preach the gospel because that's the only way that people are going to get saved, that's God's method, that's God's means. We do God's work God's way. But as we preach the gospel, you just need to know. Some people hear it's the aroma of life, from life to life. It's a fragrance. You hear it, you're like, "Oh yes, Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Yes, I'm going to heaven. It just makes sense." Other people hear it and it's the aroma of death. Not because it's uninteresting, irrelevant, distasteful, offensive, but because by refusing to believe the gospel, people seal their fate of being separated from God for all eternity. And if you today are here and you're not sure, the gospel just doesn't make sense, you don't know if you're a believer and you're here for a reason and you're listening to this message for a reason. And I believe you are here because God put you here and you're listening to this message because God foreordained, preordained this to happen. I believe you're elect. I'm preaching to you like you're elect. So if you're not a yet a Christian, I dare you. God, if you're there, please remove the veil. I want to see you. I dare you. During this sermon, just do it. Just do it. I dare you. And then, come up to me after if you did it and we'll baptize you. We'll schedule a baptism service. That's how we do ministry at Mosaic. So today we're looking at 2 Corinthians 4. Would you look at the text with me. "Therefore having this ministry, by the mercy of God, we did not lose heart, but we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. 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. And even if our gospel is veiled, it's veiled only to those who are perishing. 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. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." "For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. Always carrying in the body, the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you." "Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what has been written, I believed and so I spoke, we also believe and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people and may increase Thanksgiving to the glory of God." "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day for this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. As we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." This is the reading of God's Holy, inherent, infallible, authoritative word. May he write these eternal truths about our hearts. The reason I was smiling as I'm reading that is, does your mind hurt after listening to that? Some of you have such incredible minds that your minds have never really been challenged. If you want your mind to be challenged, read this book and understand what's going on. When you do, you will come to know God and if you come to know God, you come to know yourself. You'll find your voice. You'll learn how to communicate. You'll learn how to speak the Word of God, because you finally found your voice and you speak for God and you speak for good. And to do that, you need Seven Rules For Life. I don't do the Seven Rules For Life usually, because I've seen other Preachers do this and they build mega Churches, like Rick Warren would come up and he's like, Five Keys To Happiness," and everyone's writing them down. And he gives them a little piece of paper where you got to fill in the key. It's like number one blank, and you got to fill it in. The reason why they do that is to keep everyone engaged during the sermon. I'm like, if you got to use a trick like that, then you're not engaging enough, but I am going to do a trick like that, to understand this text. Okay, Seven Rules For Life and it's to find real life ... Live with heart. Live with integrity. Live with spiritual perception. Live to exalt Jesus Christ. Live with creation and confidence. Live with paradoxical power. And live with daily renewal. First, live with heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1, he says, "Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart." Why does he say, we do not lose heart, if he wasn't driven to the brink of losing heart? You know what it means to lose heart? It means you quit. You lose the fighting spirit. Your heart's not in it anymore. You know what Ministry is? Ministry is just loving people. So I'm not just talking about ministry, vocationally speaking. Ministry is loving people. Have you ever had a relationship where you got to a point with a person that you loved and you say, "I just can't do this anymore. I quit. I'm out." That's what it means to lose heart. You lose heart for this person and it's tempting, because ministry is hard because loving people is hard. Charles Spurgeon's classic, Lectures To My Students, writes a chapter to new Pastors, Preachers, Ministers and he entitles this chapter, The Minister's Fainting Fits, in which he describes the pressures put on any minister to lose heart. He says, "Our work when earnestly undertaken lays us open to attacks and the direction of depression. Who can bear the weight of souls without sometimes sinking to the dust? Passionate longings after men's conversion, if not fully satisfied and when are they, consume the soul with anxiety and disappointment, to see the hopeful turn aside, waxing more bold in sin. Are not these sight enough to crush us to the earth?" "The Kingdom comes not as we would. The Reverend name is not hollowed as we desire, and for this, we must weep. How can we be otherwise than sorrowful while men believe not our report and the divine arm is not revealed? All mental work tends to be weary and to depress for much study as a wariness of the flesh, but ours is more the mental work. It is heart work. The labor of our inmost soul. Such soul travail is at the heart of the faithful minister and will bring an occasional season of exhaustion, when heart and flesh will fail." Anyone who is loved knows the cost of loving and no one experienced more of what Spurgeon describes than the Apostle Paul, specifically the personal attacks in Corinth, the Church that he started. These people came to faith through his ministry, that's why they were especially galling because he loved them. The attacks come from people that he loved. Namely, they were attacking him, accusing him that his ministry's weak, it was fading. That he was dishonest in some way, that he had effectually corrupted God's word in some way, that he hindered the preaching of the gospel. And in light of Paul's sincerity and integrity, these accusations were hurtful and they were wicked and unfounded and what's fascinating is he doesn't shrink away. They're attacking him and he could have gotten to the point where like, "Fine. I'm out. I'm going to different city." But he doesn't. He remains and he engages. "Let's duke it out. You want facts? I'm bringing facts and I got receipts," because his heart's still in it. He's duking it out. So the question is, how's your heart? How's your heart for ministry? How's your heart for loving people? If you lose heart, you lose everything. Michael Jordan, when he won three championships, after winning three championships, he retired and he went to play baseball. And everyone's like, "You went to play baseball. You stink at baseball." And he stunk at baseball. He was terrible. And they asked him, "Why aren't you playing basketball anymore?" He said, "My heart's not in it anymore." Because his dad had passed the way and he was driven to play it for his dad. And it took him to take some time away to find his heart again. No heart, no energy. You lose heart, you lose everything. You know what heart is? It's courage. It's courage. So when you get discouraged, you lose courage for the fight. So when you're encouraged, you're infused with courage for the fight. And he says, "My heart is in the ... I haven't lost my heart." A lot of you, you haven't loved enough to get to the point where you know what that line is. A lot of you don't know what it means to love so much that it hurts and it shows, because a lot of you, it's been easy to be loved, because you're so talented. You're like, "It's easy to be loved and it's easy to love because people don't really push you." But it's really, when you love hard people that you understand the toll it takes to love and that's when you want to quit. And a lot of you haven't loved that much, so you don't know what it means to feel the pain. The reason why many of you don't win is because you don't know how to lose. Let me explain. A lot of you have just won in life and because you've won so often in life, when the L comes, you don't know how to deal with it and then you quit. That doesn't work in relationships, I'll just give one example. I remember freshman year in high school. I started wrestling in eighth grade because Keith McGinley was sitting next to me and Keith McGinley turns around. He's like, "Jan, you're Russian. Russians aren't good at soccer. You should wrestle." And that's all it took because I wasn't good at soccer. So I signed up for the wrestling. I only had one year of experience, eighth grade. And then ninth grade, I show up and my coach is like, "Jan, how much do you weigh?" He weighed me. I weighed 140 pounds. I was 6'1" and 140 pounds, freshman year of high school, crazy. My left leg is 140 pounds right now. So 140 pounds and he's like, "Great, we don't have anyone at 140 pounds. You're varsity. Welcome to the team." Well, I stunk, I was terrible. And I had a history teacher that really liked wrestling and he was proud of the fact that I was on varsity. And then my first match, I got pinned in 10 seconds. And then the next morning, so that was published in the Cranston Herald. I'm from Cranston, Rhode Island. It was published in the Cranston Herald, all the stats. And then next day, I'm sitting in history class. My history teacher comes up to the table and smacked it. Pinned. And that was funny. I'm like, "All right, he did that." I'm like, "Okay, I can handle it." Except he did that the following week. And he did that for 15 weeks straight, because I went O and 15. And I'm thinking back now, I'm like, I think he would be fired for doing that. That's inflicting some kind of trauma on ... I look back now, I still have PTSD. I still hear that thing. And you know what I'll tell you? That was a gift. That was a gift, because the off season, I trained like an animal and then I became the Crushing Russian. But I thank him, I thank him for that and I say that because we live in Brookline and in Brookline people don't know how ... They've won so much, they don't know how to lose and that's why they quit. They lose heart. I remember my second daughter started playing soccer and I think she was like five or six. She started playing soccer and her team was just so much better than any other team, because the girls on the team were more robust. They were a little bigger, a little stronger. They was more robust and they didn't just win, they trounced other teams, just obliterated scores like 15 to nothing. And I loved it, of course. I'm like, "Yeah." Parents from the other teams would take their kids out of the game and take them home, because they say, "You're not winning this game anyway." That's a disservice. In order to learn how to win and not quit, you got to know how to lose. And the way you know how to lose is by realizing, it's just a game. It doesn't matter. It's just a game. So if you win, don't let it go to your head. And if you lose, don't let it get to your heart. And when you know that none of this matters, none of what we do really, really matters in the great scheme of things for the perspective of eternity, the only thing that matters is what we do for God, for his glory. The only thing that matters is what we do for eternal souls. That's the only thing that matters. Well that gives you the spiritual fortitude, when you are pushed to the brink to not quit and to not lose heart. And St. Paul says, "We've been given this ministry. It's hard work and it's a surpassingly glorious ministry of the new covenant, that when we proclaim the gospel, people get saved by grace through faith. The Holy Spirit removes the veil of unbelief, brings liberation of the Holy Spirit, brings transformation to the image of the Lord's glorious work." Matthew Simpson talks about the ministry like this. "He, the person bringing the gospel message, he stands in Christ stead. His message is the word of God. Around him are immortal souls. The Savior unseen is beside him. The Holy Spirit broods over the congregation. Angels gaze upon the scene and heaven and hell await the issue." It's hard work, but it's worth it. It's hard work, but it's worth it so he doesn't lose heart. Having a ministry of such splendor, leaves Paul with no place for faint hardness, but only for boldness. You know what I say to myself right before I have to do something really hard? If I'm lifting, it's like say, "Oh. Squats, deadlift." Or like having a hard conversation with someone. You know what I say? I say, "DBAB. Don't Be A Baby, bro. Don't be a baby, bro." I preach it to myself. What I do here, I do to myself all week, "Don't be a baby. Suck it up." This life is full of pain. There's no pain, no gain. No life without sacrifice. Every person, every woman that has ... Oh man, I was going to say, every person that gives birth. No, only women give birth. Every woman that gives birth knows this. To bring life into the world, you go through pain. That's what St. Paul is talking about and then what gives power to do it? He never forgot God's mercy on him. He never forgot that God saved him. Every time he shared his ministry, his testimony, he never could get over the fact that Jesus saved him, that God chose him, chose him for work, chose him for suffering. And he focused on God's mercy and that energized his ministry. It heartened him, encouraged him. He continues, 2 Corinthians 4:16, these are the two parallels. The two book ends of the text, "So we do not lose heart." Verse 16, "Though, our out outer self is wasting away. Our inner self is being renewed day by day." Point two, is live with integrity. St. Paul lived with integrity. In addition to being heart and energized by God's gift of salvation, he also embraced integrity in how he did the ministry. God gave him a word. He kept the word. He focused on the word. He didn't edit the word. He didn't change the word. He didn't tamper with the word to make his life easier. 2 Corinthians 4:2, "But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. 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." He said, I reject all deceit, I reject all subterfuge. I reject cutting any corners to make things easier. I reject any kind of thing that's only done when no one's looking, shameful things. He says, because I do everything in the sight of God. I live for an audience of one. Yes, your opinion, it kind of matters. You know whose opinion matters more than anyone else's opinion? What does God think about my life? What does God think about how I live? You want to live a life that truly matters, a meaningful life and purposeful, live as if God is always watching you. That's what he's saying in the sight of God and he rejects. He's like, so why would I change the gospel? Even if the end is altruistic and that's what the false teachers were doing. False teachers would come in. They're like, "Hey, Let's not preach about sin, hell, damnation, all that stuff because that scares people away. Let's talk about God loves you. God wants to bless you. God has big plans. Let's talk about that stuff. And then once we got them in, then we'll be like, "Hey, there's other stuff too, like if you didn't believe this, you're going to go to hell." And I know Churches that do that. I literally know a Church where the guy said, "We don't preach the gospel on Sundays." He said that. He said, "We teach life principles on Sundays, because we want to help people's lives. And then once they're in the Church, then we're like, all right, then we'll open the Bible." He uses the word cunning. We don't use cunning. Does that make sense? It kind of makes sense. He uses the word cunning. It's the same word that he used to describe Satan's schemes. 2 Corinthians 11:3, "But I'm afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion of Christ." The Church down the street, St. Paul's Church in St. Paul's Street, they're blessing bicycles this week. So if you ride your bicycle in Boston, you should go there. What I will tell you is the hard truth, that you should not ride your bicycle in Boston, because you'll die. I know because I got hit by a car on my moped one time. The week we started the Church, I got hit by a car, I almost died. Good thing, I was wearing a motorcycle helmet and then that's why I didn't die. And then that week, the first Sunday on our inauguration service, I got up with a cast and I'm like, "You know? Satan almost killed me this week. Here's proof." That really happened. I know a Church in Texas that on Easter, they gave away Ferraris. They had a raffle. If you show up to the Church, you might win a Ferrari. And you know what my first thought was, and this is the fall of human nature? "I should go there, just in case. Just in case I get to drive out of the Church parking lot with a car, almost as nice as that Pastor's. Just in case." And St. Paul says, "No, we don't tamper with God's word. We don't do that." A lot of people do that today. Ways that people do that to today, first is they approach Scripture with fallen presuppositions that they take from somewhere else. Presuppositions that your professors give you. They literally have New Testament classes in universities all around us and the presupposition, day one, is none of this is true. There is no God. Jesus wasn't God. So now you're reading a text with a presupposition of disbelief. So obviously you're never going to understand the meaning of that text. The only presuppositions that we can read Scripture with are presuppositions that we take out of Scripture. Some people do this today by removing texts from context. Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." That's not talking about, because of Jesus I'm always going to win. It's talking about because of Jesus, I can win and lose. I can be brought high or low, by moralizing the text, reducing the Bible just to ethics. Christianity is just about being a good person? No, it's not. Christianity is literally about one good person and everybody else needs him. No, one's a good person. Jesus is a good person. That's what the Bible's about. Using the text to promote hobby horses or dogmatic insistence that the text says something that it doesn't, and this is a desire to be clever or popular, relevant or intellectually respectable. But the most often way that God's Word is tampered with is, it's watered down because of preacher's laziness. Preaching the gospel is hard work. You know why? To understand this, is hard work. Just to wrap your mind around this and then figure out how to present it in a way where people actually listen, because this is the most important message in the universe. So how can I present in a way that you are paying attention the whole time? But before I even get there, I have to live it. I have to read it. I have to understand it and I have to do it. And I live with five females, who think that they have been commissioned by God to make sure that I'm living this out. My wife thinks it's her calling in life to make sure that I do it perfectly. And then I have four daughters that sit in the back seat as I'm driving and they, once in a while, throw in, "Hey, you can't say that Pastor Jan." This is the hardest job in the universe. I know your job's hard. Come do my job. I dare you. Let's plant Churches. So that's what he's saying. Where are we? Okay, yeah. Oh, 2 Corinthians 2:15, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." Rightly handling in the Greek is ortho straight. Paul's charging Timothy, "Hey, I want you to get the text straight and to give it straight. The undiluted word of God, with boldness and simplicity and clarity." Three, live with spiritual perception. St. Paul preached a simple gospel to physical people, but he understood that there was spiritual realm above everything. So when he preaches the gospel, he's aware that this is spiritual warfare. He's aware that he's preaching to eternal souls. So he looks through people, through bodies, through flesh, and he speaks to their soul, speaks to their heart. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, "Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 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." For some people, the gospel is veiled to them because there's a veil in them, a veil over their hearts and minds, a covering where the gospel, it doesn't make any sense. And St. Paul here is responding to the question. If the gospel's so powerful and glorious, how come so many people don't believe? How come more people, the majority of people aren't saved? And St. Paul says, "There's a veil over their hearts and minds. They can't see the glory of Jesus Christ, because the God of this world ..." Who's he talking about? Who's the God of this world? Satan. Satan. For God was the God of this world. God relegates authority to Satan. You will never understand the world. You will never understand geopolitics. You won't understand economics. You won't understand anything in the world unless you understand that Satan has authority over people and Jesus Christ breaks through that authority, one person at a time through the preaching of the gospel. Paul knew this first hand. He knew how blind he was to the gospel. He knew how blind he was to the dazzling glory of Christ and it wasn't until Jesus Christ revealed himself to Paul, that Paul finally saw spiritual perception. You have to live a spiritual perception. You need to understand that there's spiritual realities above us that we do not see, and the only way to understand that is Scripture. And then once you see that it changes the way you live. It changes the way you relate to people, where you start learning how speak to people's souls, but you have to look through the body. Do it right now. Do it right now. Look at me. Look past my hair. What's he doing with his hair? I don't know, can't figure it out. I think he's getting curly with the humidity. Look past my beard. Is that a beard? What's he doing? He needs to trim that. Look past my crooked glasses. Look past the fact that my name is Jan, Yan. That's weird, this is so much weird. But I'm telling you, look. Is he wearing a Carhartt shirt? Is hee trying to be a lumberjack. Look past this. I'm telling you, this changes the way you live. Look at people in the eyes. Look at people in the eyes. I dare you for a week, look only in their eyes. It'll solve so many of your problems. Don't let your eyes gravitate where they should not. It changes the way you live, if you view every single human being as eternal soul, it changes things. That's what he's saying. He's saying, "If you really want to find life, you got to live a spiritual perception." Four is lift and exalt Jesus Christ. The antidote to the veil blindness is lifting Christ up, so focus on that. In verse five, "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ is Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." He's not building my ministry. I'm not proclaiming myself. I proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord, and that's the gospel. That's the fullness of the gospel right there, in a nutshell. Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus' name means salvation. Salvation. Luke 2:29-32. This is Simeon as he takes baby Jesus in his hands. He says, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation." Takes Jesus, he's salvation. Jesus is salvation. Christ means anointed. When he's the Messiah, God has chosen him for this ministry and Jesus Christ is Lord. He's Lord of Lords, King of Kings. He's King of the cosmos, that's what we believe. Jesus is salvation. I need to be saved. Jesus is the Messiah, that was prophesied centuries, millennia before he came. And Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords and all you have to do to be saved is to confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. So everybody repeat after me. Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus Christ is Lord. Let's do it again. I hate when people do that, but I love ... Let's do it again. Jesus Christ is Lord. See, now all of you are saved. If you also believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he was raised from the dead, that's all it takes to be a Christian. That's all it takes to be a child of God. That's all it takes to find eternal life. That's the gospel. Five is, live with creation and confidence. Verse six, "For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." He's saying Satan may have blinded people, but Jesus Christ gives sight to people. Divine grace is more powerful, pierces the heart with light and understanding. So obviously in our ministries, there's no place for self glorification. We don't do it. We don't save people. Jesus Christ saves people with the same power that God created everything. How did God create everything? He spoke everything into existence. That's what he is doing in this verse, "Let light shine out of darkness." God spoke it. God created everything through the Word. God created everything through Jesus Christ. And then God recreates everything through the Word through Jesus Christ, but it's the same creative power. So when we proclaim the gospel, proclaim God's word, we have access to this divine creative power and God creates and recreates through each one of us, creation of power. St. Paul knew this. He knew firsthand what it means to hear the message. He was a contemporary of Jesus, did you know that? They may have crossed paths. If not, then he definitely crossed paths with his disciples or people that met Jesus, eyewitnesses of his miracles and Paul didn't believe. He actually persecuted believers in Christ and then everything changed when Jesus Christ revealed himself to Paul. We live in a world where people even, especially smart people, believe almost anything except God's word, except the gospel. People believe anything and it's just crazy to me, how they don't see the lies. There's still people in the world that believe the government loves them and wants to do the best thing for them. There's still people in the world that believe politics is the solution and they vote. Crazy. There's still people that believe that the media tells the truth, the full truth, nothing but the truth. They just believe crazy, crazy things. But you mention Scripture and you mention a gospel and they think you're wearing a tin hat. You know it used to be a virtue to go to Church. It used to be a good thing. You would tell people you're a good person, if you go to Church with your family. It's not a virtue, not here. So I told my daughter, she's 13. I told her, I said, "Sophia, you are a missionary. None of your friends know another Christian. None of your friends in school know another Christian. You're the only Christian that they have ever met." And she said, "Well, I tried to invite my friend to Church." I said, "Okay, you got to tell your friend that if you are educated, if you are an intelligent person, how can you understand the world if you have never read the most influential book in world history?" This book has impacted world history like no other book and that's why they don't want you to read it. And that's why you should, I dare you. Point six, live with paradoxical power. 2 Corinthians 4:7, "But we have this treasure." Treasure, this gospel, this treasure, "In jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." This verse was ruined for so many of us by a band named Jars Of clay. And you know, I made fun of them in the first service and I feel kind of bad, because then I talked to a guy who's like, "Hey, they slept over my friend's house, because they were at a show and then after the show, they didn't have a place to sleep. And the guy's like, "Aren't you going to a hotel?" And they were like, "Yeah, no, it's too much money." So the guy invited them to sleep in his place. You know what he said? He's like, "They're just regular dudes." I was like, "Oh, so they are Jars Of Clay." So that's what he is talking about, Jars Of Clay. On the outside, you just look normal. You look inexpensive, easily broken. It's a throw-away container. It's Earthenware pots. It's when you go to the restaurant, this is what they give you leftovers in that container. You don't put anything valuable in them. And God says, "This is how the ministry works." God chooses to reveal his treasure by putting it in jars of clay and then the jar of clay goes and tells everyone, "Hey, there is treasure inside my heart. I have the spirit of God. I know God. I know the God of the universe. I have salvation. I have the Holy Spirit." And people are like, "You're a kook." And then they get saved. And then they're like, "But you're a jar of clay. How did I get saved?" And then you're like, "Yeah, it's a surpassing power that belongs not to me but to God." So that no one mistakes about the source of the power, God chooses this method so that no one gets glory other than God. Who gets any of the glory? And St. Paul says, "It's all God." And when St. Paul says he's weak, he's a jar of clay, he's not posing. He was a great writer, but in person, he was just awkward. He was just an awkward guy. Have you ever worked with someone like this? They say hello and you say hello, and that's it. It's like, you're playing basketball with someone that never passes. St. Paul was just an awkward dude and he had a uni-brow. So in person, no one understood and he couldn't speak. It wasn't a good order and he was Jewish in a time where the Corinthians were anti-Semitic, the whole empire was. And what St. Paul is saying is, my weakness is actually why God chose me. I am weak. He is strong. I'm a jar of clay. He is the treasure. And this is where a lot of Christians get this strong. They think, if I demean myself or deprecate myself, that's how I increase my power. No. It's not about your power. It's never about your power. It's not about how you get more powerful. It's about how you get out of the way and let God be more powerful. So it's my weakness that releases the power of God, as long as I don't get in the way. Someone asked St. Francis, how he was able to accomplish so much in his life. And he said this, "The Lord looked down from heaven and said, "Where can I find the weakest littlest man on earth?" Then he saw me said, "I found him and he won't be proud of it. He'll see that I am only using him because of his insignificance." I love that. It's so ironical. That's the ironic way of saying ironic. It's so ironical and so you never lose the humor of it. I can't believe that God saved me and God called me to do this. And then you have just ... There's an air of joyful playfulness, "Yeah, okay. I'm doing the most important work in the world, but I didn't sign up for this. So let's see what God can do." And it's entertaining too and your life becomes like a movie. It's tremendous. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost. The Apostles got up, filled with the Holy Spirit. These guys were fishermen and tax collectors, regular dudes and they start proclaiming the gospel and 3000 people got saved. And they got saved because they realized there was just this discrepancy between the guys speaking and the power with which they're speaking. And people were like, "Oh, this is borrowed power. It's not their power. God is really with them." The other challenge here about jars of clay ministry is you get ... What do they say? Familiarity breeds contempt. You know what that mean? It's like when you get to know someone ... That's why they say, never meet your heroes. Like when you think this person's so great and then you meet them in person and you're like, "Oh, you're just a normal person." Yeah." "Oh, you too have to use deodorant and brush your teeth?" "Yeah, just a regular dude." "Oh, you get hangry?" "Yeah, I do. It's almost lunchtime." The challenge is you never see the treasure. The longer you're with a person, the hardest to see the treasure through the clay pot. This is what Jesus said, "There's no prophet in his hometown." Because if you grow up with a Jesus and you're playing baseball with him and you strike out Jesus, it's kind of hard to believe this guy when he says, he's the Son of God. "You're the Son of God and I struck you out." And he's like, "I let you strike me out, to boost yourself confidence." Something like that happened with Paul. Paul was with them. They got saved. After a while, they get to know him and they're like, "Oh, you're not that great." Then Apollos comes in. They're like, "Apollos is a polished speaker. We like that guy better. And we like these false teachers better." And then after a while, they're like, "Paul, maybe you're not that great." And Paul's like, "Yeah, now you see why God used me because it's the same thing John The Baptist did with Jesus. He must increase, I must decrease." So I'm saying in your relationships with people, never lose sight of the fact that if they're a Christian, they got to treasure inside of them and you got to look for that treasure. You got to look past the jar. This is why some of you are still single. I mean, when you're trying to get married, sorry ... You can't it see past the clay pot. You're looking for the treasure. You're looking for the 11. Jesus is the only 11. So the clay pot, get to know it. Get to know the pot. Get to know the cracks in the pot and you see what the ... The pot is still here and then fall in love with that pot and then I'll do your wedding, if you're a member of Mosaic. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, and this is what he says, "We're afflicted in every way, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not driven to despair. Prosecuted, but not forsaken. Struck down, but down destroyed. Always carrying the body, the death of Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." He's like, "You clearly see that we've been getting knocked down, knocked down, knocked down, but we're not getting knocked out because the Spirit of God is with us." 2 Corinthians 4:11-12, "For we who live are always being given over death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also maybe manifested our moral flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you." For two reasons, the same hostility of the demonic realm that was brought down on Jesus, the same hostility we feel when we proclaim the truth, because this is spiritual warfare. It's not informational warfare. It's spiritual warfare, so that's why you experience the persecution, the suffering, et cetera but then also, he says, it's because it's the way of the cross. Christ's life for us. Jesus to give us life, he had to die. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. True love always takes death. Sacrifice to self, death to self. Every married person knows this. You die the self. You die to owning your calendar. When you have kids, you die to owning anything. They own everything. This is what he's talking about. George Muller was a great pastor and he set up orphanages for tens of thousands of children. He was asked at the end of his life about his secret, he hung his head and he said, "There was a day when I died." And then he hung his head lower and he said, "I died to George Muller. I died to myself." And this is what Jesus said, if you want to find true life, die the self. "Take up your cross and follow me." 2 Corinthians 4:13-14, "Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what has been written, I believe and so I spoke, we also believe. And so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence." And here you don't really understand what's going on, unless you understand that he's quoting from Psalm 116:10, in which David was on the brink of death. He almost died and God gave him a word and he said, "You're not going to die." And David said, "I believed and so I spoke. I believe the word of God." And he didn't die. And then St. Paul says, "Well, we also know that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us from the dead." So even if I die, even if I die, I'm still in God's presence. So I'm going to live every single day as if this is my last day, doing the most important thing that I can, which is preaching the word of God. And then verse 15 forward, "It's all for your sake. So that as grace extends to more and more people, it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God." He's saying I'm willing to take the hits. I'm willing to take the suffering, and I'm willing to get knocked down so that more people can actually hear the gospel and not to build up my own ministry, but so there's more people worshiping God. So more people are giving God the glory that he is due. So more people are thanking him and loving him and worshiping him because he deserves it. Then points seven is, you live with daily renewal and that's verse 16, "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary infliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. As we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." I don't focus on this moment, because when you focus, when you're going through pain and you focus on the moment, the moment feels like an eternity. But when you focus on eternity, I'm going to spend eternity with God and God has a house and his house is so big that the rooms in it feel like mansions. Jesus said, "I'm going to go my father's house and prepare room for you." In King James' version, mansions. I'm going to spend eternity in bliss. There is no pain. There is no suffering. There is no sin. There is no evil. There is no warfare. It's just life. And this momentary affliction from the perspective of eternity, it just feels like a moment. So I'll get through it. That's how he does it and that's what gives him energy to not lose heart, not lose heart. My family does this thing where ... We have a big family. So I have four siblings and I have four kids. My sister has four kids and Alyssa has two kids. So there's a lot of us. So my dad and my mom, they invite us over and we're celebrating five people's birthdays. We have five people in our family that have birthday in September. It was tremendous. And we got a bouncy house, it was epic. It was epic. We're getting better at parties. And we had steak and pizza and Olivye, which is my favorite Russian salad. It was tremendous. My dad calls me ahead of time. He's like, "Hey, you got to prepare a word. Before we pray, you got to prepare a word." I was like, "Fine, I'll prepare a word." And I was like, "What am I preaching on?" So I prepared this word and I read this, verse 16, "Though our outer self is wasting away." Happy Birthday everyone. You're wasting away, but it's true. You are. No offense, none taken." Pastor Shane, if you met Pastor Shane. Pastor Shane ages like Tom Brady. I age like Bill Belichick, wasting away, but you know what? I'm having a good time, because every day I get renewed on the inside. Every day, I get renewed by the Spirit of God who reminds me that God is Father. I'm just a kid. I'm just a child of God, and this responsibility that God's given me that aren't mine completely to shoulder, so I don't need to get bogged down with depression and anxiety. God's got it. I just got to do my job, have fun while I'm doing it and God fills my heart joy. And the more joy I have in my heart, the stronger I am. So what's the point of losing heart? In conclusion, you don't find yourself by looking for yourself. You find yourself by losing yourself, in the moment. Eminem was close, he was so close. It's not just about losing yourself in the moment. You got to lose yourself in God, and when you lose yourself in God, that's when you find yourself because you find yourself in God. J.I. Packer, Knowing God, "Once you become that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life's problems fall into place of their own accord." So do you know God? If so, rejoice, and if not get to know him in prayer right now. I dare you. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we thank you for an incredible word, a dense word, a rich word, a substantive word. We thank you Holy spirit that you were with us. We thank you for the treasure that you have deposited in our hearts. And I pray that we, as jars of clay, bring this treasure to world. I pray Lord powerfully work through us, so the world sees that it's not our power, it's your surpassing power. Your glorious power to reveal Jesus Christ, to unveil hearts and to reveal your glorious face. I pray, you do that to many in and through this Church, build this Church and expand your Kingdom from it. And we pray this all in Jesus' name. Amen.