Recently a lady asked me, “What do you think about what is happening in Israel today?” Well, there is a lot of turmoil going on between the Palestinians and Israelis. The terrorist problem is a major concern there. She said, “Well, you know that what happens in Israel determines what happens to us.” Actually, I’m more concerned with spiritual Israel and what God is doing in it. I have never been one to put much emphasis on the nation Israel. Israel as a nation is not as holy as what some people seem to think. You may have a different opinion, but I don’t think the nation itself is of prime importance. Right now what God is doing in the Body of Christ is most important. God is creating a new Israel, and whether you’re an Israelite, a Greek, or an American is of no value. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:28-29.
Jesus told Pilate, “My Kingdom, is not of this world” (John 18:36). Things haven’t changed. It’s still not a part of this world. Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation” (Luke 17:20). It can’t be observed, because it doesn’t come forth, at least initially, on the natural realm. It’s not of this world. You might ask, “Well, won’t the Kingdom be established on earth?” The disciples asked Jesus a similar question after His resurrection, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” And He answered, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.” There is a reason why the Lord doesn’t want our focus to be on the natural realm of the earth. We need to keep our attention on the thing at hand, what God wants to do right now. After Jesus told His disciples that it was not for them to know about an earthly kingdom, He added, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me….” What God was going to work in them was more important, and so it is now. His Kingdom must first be established in us. The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20-21. Our focus must always be on the present, what God is doing now. If Satan can get your focus on the future, he can keep you separated from what God wants to do in your life now.
II Corinthians 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry…
We need to go back to the previous chapter to see what this ministry is.
II Corinthians 3:17 – 4:1
Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with open face (unveiled face, exposing ourselves to the presence of the Lord) beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry…
Not only are we being changed from glory to glory into the image of the Lord, but also we have this ministry of changing others into the image of the Lord.
II Corinthians 4:1-4
seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 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.
3 But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 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.
Christ is the image of God. We are being changed into the same image from glory to glory. That is the Gospel that is hid to many, and it is the Gospel we are to minister to others.
II Corinthians 4:5-6
preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants
for Jesus’ sake.
6a For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness…
The darkness is our human nature. So out of the darkness of what we are will shine forth the light that will enable others to come forth into the image of Christ.
II Corinthians 6b-7 …hath shined
in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
God puts the light of the Gospel in our hearts and then shines it forth out from us. It is a work of the Lord; it is a work that glorifies Him. He comes to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all of them that believe (II Thessalonians 1:10). This ministry is to glorify the Lord, not man.
II Corinthians 4:8-10
troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
There is a dying of Jesus that must take place in us so that the life of Jesus might come forth in us. We cannot enter into a relationship with Jesus the Lord of glory as long as we maintain a relationship with Jesus the man. That would sound like heresy to many Fundamentalists, but as long as we only relate to Jesus the Nazarene we are relating to the Jesus of the past. He is now the Lord of glory. Jesus the Nazarene cannot come forth in our lives; Jesus the Lord of glory can.
II Corinthians 4:11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
This verse of Scripture is so plain, so simply put, yet so few churches teach it and so few Christians believe it. It is God’s will for the divine life of Jesus the Lord of glory to come forth in us, that His life be manifested in us and through us!
II Corinthians 4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
Look back to the beginning of this message: we have this ministry of bringing others into the image of the Lord. Paul tells us how this ministry is created. Death worketh in us, but life in you. The ministry of the Gospel of Christ doesn’t happen any other way. The work of the cross takes place within us, His life comes forth within us, and then through us. Death worketh in us, but life in you.
II Corinthians 4:13-15a
the same Spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore
have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14 Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15a For all things are for your sakes…
Why is God bringing us to this ministry? It is because those people He wants to minister to through us. Why did God deal with Joseph for those thirteen years from the pit to the throne? It was for the sake of his brethren. It is the same principle now. The Lord works death in us so life can flow through us to others.
II Corinthians 4:15b-16
abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
The last clause in the Greek reads: the inward of us is being renewed day by day. What does “day by day” mean? A day in time bespeaks relationship in the spirit. “Day by day” speaks mystically of moving from one relationship with the Lord to a higher relationship with the Lord. It relates back to II Corinthians 3:18 where it speaks of “being changed into His image from glory to glory.” The relationship we have with Him right now is our day. When we move into a higher relationship with Him, we are in a new day. There is no time in the realm of Spirit, for that is where eternity is found. A day in the natural is a specific period of time on a horizontal plane. A day in the Spirit realm is relationship and is progressive vertically. Your inward man is your spirit, and when your spirit is being renewed day by day you are progressing in your relationship with the Lord, and spiritual progression is seen as vertical movement in the Scriptures. He is raising us up together and making us sit together in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6).
II Corinthians 4:17-18 For our
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Paul says, “We are not looking at things that can be seen for they are temporal.” In other words, we are not looking at things in the natural; we are not moved by those things, for they are a passing scene. We are looking at the things that are not seen. That is where our reality is found. We are rising up with Christ day by day and are seeking those things that are above. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on the things on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2. Day by day, from one relationship to another, we are rising up in Christ.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose