After Easter: Thanking Jesus with our Lives

Matt. 28:16-20; 2 Cor. 4:1-18

Easter is over, but celebrating His sacrifice and resurrection is never over!  How do we thank Jesus with our lives?

Three days after the events of Good Friday the tomb was empty and Jesus was alive again!  Over the next 40 days, Jesus appeared to many people prior to his Ascension.  Paul himself had a post-resurrection encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  It was on that road that SAUL went from Christian killer (Acts 7,8) to PAUL, Christian apostle (Acts 9), missionary, and eventual Christian martyr.

Paul’s example and teaching are powerful.  Notice 3 ways Paul encourages us to thank Jesus with our lives.

1: PERSIST IN SERVICE

  • Key verse: 2 Cor. 4:1-6
    • Notice in particular verse 1, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart,” and verse 5, “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
  • Serving Jesus is not always easy – but it is always an honor!
  • How can we serve?
    • Time – give of our time.
    • Talent – offer our gifts, talents, and abilities.
    • Treasure – give of our finances
    • Temple – keep our bodies pure, healthy
    • Testimony – witness to other people.

2: PERSEVERE THROUGH SUFFERING

  • Key verse: 2 Cor. 4:7-15
    • Vs. 7 is crucial. Treasure = Gospel.  Jars of clay were commonly used to conceal treasure because they had little to no value, and as a result, drew little attention to themselves and their contents.  Here they represent human frailty and unworthiness.  God’s strength is seen in our weakness.  God’s power is seen in our frailty.  God’s unlimited abilities are seen in our limitedness.
    • Vs. 8-11 are key on suffering and sacrifice.  Suffering and sacrifice are natural parts of living for Christ in this life.  It is in times of suffering and sacrifice where Jesus is revealed and where He is glorified, both in us and through us.
  • It’s not always easy, but we live to glorify His name.
  • We must know what this suffering and sacrifice produces:
    • Vs. 14 – We will be raised up with Him.
    • Vs. 15 – Grace, as others will see Jesus through our persevering faith.

3: PREVAIL WITH HOPE

  • Key verse: 2 Cor. 4:16-18
    • This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. We must prevail and triumph over the trials of life with HOPE.
  • Notice 3 pairs of opposite ideas:
    • The outward vs. the inward
    • The momentary vs. the eternal
    • The seen vs. the unseen
  • How do we prevail with hope?
    • Focus on the inward (the spirit).
    • Focus on the eternal (what will last).
    • Focus on the unseen (heaven).

In order to thank Jesus with our lives, we need to persist and prevail, with hope, the trials, suffering, and sacrifice that life with Christ brings. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “There are no crown wearers in heaven who were not cross bearers here below.”