Paul said he believed in the power from the “treasure” of the Holy Spirit within, against all that came to him: including suffering, hurt, trials, and peril…
Often we are so involved with “fixing the earthen vessel”…..and we miss the blessing of the treasure within. The earthen vessel is necessary….and it must be cleansed from the debris of the world….but the treasure is the beauty and practical value of our true life….as Paul experienced….
….and so can we.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed:
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.”
I want first to speak of the things which came against Paul….
…and as he tells Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Troubles….everyone has them.
But Paul was “troubled on every side”. There was no place he could turn to get away from them….it was a case of “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord”….for no where was there any relief….
…yet he was not distressed….he was not in anguish or cramped in spirit….he relied on the Lord’s life within him…and Christ’s Will outwardly.
Perplexed….it is hard to think of Paul this way….but it means to be at a loss mentally, doubt. How often do we doubt when circumstances are other than we think they should be?
But he was not in despair….he was not giving up….on God, or God’s Will. He just kept stepping forward.
Persecuted….in how many ways was Paul sought after for his hurt…to slander, imprison, beat, mob him, or stone him! For Christ and the gospel’s sake.
Yet….not forsaken in any of those things.
He was also delivered, rescued, looked after by some which had been his enemies, and given opportunity to preach of Christ.
Cast down…discouraged by the attitudes and actions of those he preached to…
…but not destroyed.
How many sought to “destroy” him….yet before his countrymen, before Felix, Festus, King Agrippa, centurions, and Caesar….he stood for Christ.
(One of my favorite set of verses along this line, is when Paul is before king Agrippa and Festus.
Festus and his courtiers….and king Agrippa and Queen Bernice with all their attendants…. “with great pomp” (Acts 25:23) come in……they sit on thrones with all the others around them.
In comes Paul, no regal robes, in chains…..standing in this great hall. They are all looking at this man, waiting for him to speak….
…but when he does….wow!
Acts 26:6 “And now I stand and am judged of that hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:”
Then he honestly tells of his persecution of the Christians…..of the Lord Jesus knocking him down and speaking to him…..of his calling to “open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light,”…
How many there, were in that darkness?
….”that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me (Jesus)”
(Picture this). Festus cries that Paul is mad with too much learning! (Perhaps convicted himself?)
Paul calmly says. “I am not mad….for I speak the words of truth….the king knows of these things, for they have not been hidden”.
The kings says, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
And then…and to me this is the amazing part.
Paul says, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day,….(Perhaps his eyes look over all the people there)
……were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.”
Here a man, no royal robes and in chains….declares that life in Christ is something to be greatly desired….so that he wants everyone there…..no matter what station in life….be be saved as he is…..
….except for the chains. That to know Christ Jesus is better than anything else!
This is power.)
And now let us speak of the “treasure” within him….the Holy Spirit.
This treasure was the “excellency of power”. It is an interesting phrase.
Paul is saying that this power…..by the Holy Spirit…..was so amazing….so wonderful…so full….that it was “excellent”…or above every other power in his life….for it was the same power that was in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 1:19-20).
Think of it. In the world….power is seen by the amounts of things, the strength of body, the influence over others.
But Paul is saying that power belongs to God….and God, by the Holy Spirit is in him (and all who are born again)….and it transforms our life into the greatness, goodness, and peace of Christ Jesus.
For Paul…that was the goal of everything…..
2 Corinthians 4:10 “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.”
Christ Jesus was willing to suffer and die, that we might live….
….and we are to manifest that willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake…
….that the life of Christ….
….the power to change and save from sin and self….might be shown in me…and by my life.
What excellency of power is the Holy Spirit within us….giving us what we need,….as we need it….when we need it!
Paul writes that:
2 Corinthians 11: 25-28 “Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
Paul was busy….and “troubled on every side”…..yet, there was always within him the treasure he could use…..the One who would stay with him and strengthen and empower him with peace and joy.
That treasure is within each of us, as well. Let us cleanse our vessel….and let the excellency of power by the Holy Spirit within us…..empower us to manifest His light and life…in all the troubles, and situations of our lives.