Paul’s Message

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” [2 Corinthians 4:5-6 NLT].

In these two verses we feel the heart of Paul, his passion and his message.

Firstly, we see Paul’s attitude. He doesn’t preach about himself, even though he may testify of what God has done in him, for him, and through Him. In fact he often speaks about his struggles and his sufferings, and especially in this particular letter, but it is always to point to Jesus. He regards himself as a servant! The word that Paul uses for servant is the Greek word doulos, and it means one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, and whose will is consumed in the will of another. This is a slave who is sold to his owner and has no say in his life whatsoever. He totally belongs to and lives to fulfil the wishes and desires of his master. This is such a difficult message to grasp in a modern society that puts its greatest emphasis on ‘my needs being met.’ Elsewhere Paul says, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ who lives in me” [Galatians 2:20]

Secondly, we see Paul’s message. He preached that Jesus Christ is Lord, and just as God commanded the light to shine [Genesis 1:3], so now He has shone into our hearts that were darkened by sin! Instead of blindness we now have the light of the knowledge of the glory of God – and it is all because of Jesus!

Writing to the Colossians Paul says, “He [God] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” [Colossians 1:13]. Writing to the Ephesians Paul again uses this picture of light, and says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” [Ephesians 5:8]. Light in the Bible is always the emblem of knowledge, purity and truth, just as darkness is the emblem of ignorance, error, wretchedness and sin. When someone repents of sin, believes on Jesus, and receives Him, God removes this ignorance and pours a flood of light and truth into the new believer. This image of light meant so much to Paul. When Jesus met with him on the Damascus Road a light from heaven shone around him, and he immediately recognised Jesus as Lord [Acts 9:3-6]. People might want him to dilute this message, but it is the only message that Paul has, and he is passionate about it!

Questions:

Paul says that the light shone into the darkness, and he had the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. What does this mean to you in your own personal experience?

What is the meaning of being a “bond-servant of Jesus Christ?” How does this affect your daily living?

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