Never Give Up

board-2470557_640Third Sunday after Pentecost

1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15 and Psalm 138  •  2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1  •  Mark 3:20-35

13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

I think we have all been there at one time or another.  As a preacher of the Gospel, I know that I have been there several times during our time in the ministry.  What am I talking about?  Those times when it doesn’t seem worth it anymore.  They tell us as pastors that it takes seven years to build a relationship with a church.  Years 1 and 2 usually aren’t too difficult – but as you approach year 5 through year 7 – those are the tough ones.

Paul’s writing helps us all. He was talking about the things they – the early church – had to endure for the sake of the gospel – pressed on every side, perplexed – hunted down, knocked down, living under constant danger. For the most part, we don’t know these trials – especially here in America.

Still, Paul and his colleagues continued to preach the gospel.  Why? Because they were serving Jesus.  They believed in God. The same God that raised Jesus from the dead.  This same God will also raise us with Jesus.  As Paul wrote – and we looked at last week – we are jars of clay…but we continue in God’s grace and we are transmitters of God’s grace to others – and then God gets the glory!

For this reason, Paul tells us – we never give up.  These trials and sufferings that we go through on the planet are nothing compared to the surpassing glory that awaits and we are reminded that glory lasts forever.

So what do we do – we fix our eyes on Jesus.  Fix our eyes on the things that cannot be seen.  While we can see this earth – it will soon pass away, but the things that cannot be seen will last forever – so never give up!

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