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2Co 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

The difference between a person who believes in salvation by works and salvation by faith is that the former works to receive Gods grace while the latter works to show gratitude for Gods grace. A. Paul always remembers that he is in the ministry only because of Gods mercy.
He doubtless had his eye on the fact that he had been a persecutor and blasphemer; and that it was by the mere favor of God that he had been converted and entrusted with the ministry, 1Ti_1:13. Nothing will more effectually humble a minister, and prevent his assuming any arrogant and selfconfident airs, than to look over his past life; especially if his life was one of blasphemy, vice, or infidelity; and to remember that it is by the mere mercy of God that he is entrusted with the high office of an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Paul never forgot to trace his hope, his appointment to the ministerial office, and his success, to the mere grace of God.

B. Paul used this also to motivate the Christians to serve God appropriately (Romans 12:1) He discussed first what Gods mercy is 1. That God gave us what we do not deserve, salvation. 2. That God withheld what we deserve, condemnation. 3. That while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. 4. That simply because of Christ, there is no more condemnation for us. We may have sinned in various quantity but we have been saved from the same hell of eternity. II. AFFIRMATION OF GODS CALLING
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

1. He did not think of it as due to his abilities that will only lead him to boasting, 2. He did not think of it as due to his credentials that will only make him think he is worthy. 3. He thought of it as only by Gods mercy and had been motivated to do more for God.

A. It assures Gods direction. 1. Paul knew exactly what he should do. 2. Paul knew where he should focus to. B. It assures Gods provision. 1. Action done in Gods direction will never lack Gods provision. 2. Paul always looks on God as his sufficiency. C. It assures Gods protection. 1. God is able to keep our commitment. 2. God will sustain you. III. APPROPRIATION OF GODS POWER
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.

That the excellency of the power - An elegant expression, denoting the exceeding great power. The great power referred to here was that which was manifested in connection with the labors of the apostles - the power of healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out devils; the power of bearing persecution and trial, and the power of carrying the gospel over sea and land, in the midst of danger, and in spite of all the opposition which people could make, whether as individuals or as combined; and especially the power of converting the hearts of sinners, of humbling the proud, and leading the guilty to the knowledge of God, and the hope of heaven. The idea is, that all this was manifestly beyond human strength; and that God had of design chosen weak and feeble instruments in order that it might be everywhere seen that it was done not by human power but by his own. The instrumentality employed was altogether disproportionate in its nature to the effect produced.

A. Appropriation is recognizing our limitations and letting God to be our IV. ANTICIPATION OF GODS GLORY
2Co 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. 2Co 4:17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, For our light affliction. Great as his afflictions were, he calls them light in view of the glorious reward they will bring; continual as they were, he speaks of them as but for a moment in view of eternity. They were the more easily borne for they work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Bearing the cross weaves an eternal crown. Sorrows endured for Christ's sake prepare for eternal joys.