REFLECTIONS FOR LIFE
Seeing the Big Picture
2 Corinthians Series: PERFECTION IN WEAKNESS
2 Corinthians 13:1-14
Pastor Lou Gallo
January 24, 2020
How do you know Christ is in you? What keeps you from realizing it?
Where do you need to see a bigger picture in your life?
What obstacles are there to you seeing the bigger picture?
Do you accept your weakness or do you try to deny or hide your weakness?
If you boast in your weakness what can you expect God to do?
I think the whole letter of 2 Corinthians can be summarized by threemain topics.
First, Paul is defending his apostleship, and therefore his role in connecting the Corinthians to Christ, the true gospel, and the larger Body of Christ throughout the known world.
Second, Paul’s encouragement of the church in their repentance. Mainly due to Titus’ encouraging report.
Third, Paul reestablishing his authority over them. Paul makes sure that they understand that he has authority over them, which, is for their good. The last part of this letter is very blunt and direct. Paul is, what we call, pulling out all the stops. Meaning, he is not holding back anything from getting their attention and to exercise his God-given, grace-filled influence over them.
2 Corinthians 13:4 says, “For He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.”
That means: The Corinthians wrongly, understood power as something that was assertive, domineering, forceful personalities who in a loud and showy way exercise their authority.
But Paul sees, he sees that divine power perfected in weakness.
The Corinthians need to see the whole picture, the big picture and look at things the way Paul does:
Remember back in chapter 4 and verse 18, Paul exhorted the church to see what is unseen.
2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
This is really the key to living the Christian life!!!
It echoes what Paul said to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 1:18-19:
“having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…”
The eyes of your heart enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you….hope is faith operating in the future.
Listen carefully; If we can’t see what is not seen then we will fix our eyes on what is seen.
That is a terrible mistake. Paul’s key to life is seeing. And not just a glance once in a while but it’s fixing our eyes on what is unseen.
If we fix our eyes on what is unseen we will see the whole picture. We’ll see the Big Picture.
It takes humility and it takes faith!
We will live our lives empowered by the resurrection power of Christ.
As Paul finishes his letter to the Corinthian church, he urges them to see the whole picture to see the big picture. In other words, don’t just be near-sighted. See the big picture!
Seeing the big picture is seeing what is unseen! It’s seeing what can not be seen.
Seeing the big picture is seeing with the humble eyes of faith and hope.
It’s judging not by what is seen but by what is unseen. How often to we evaluate a person by their education? How often do we evaluate a person by their position? By their appearance?
Whenever we do that, we are judging or evaluating by what is seen. That is not the way of the Kingdom of God. The measure of a person is not what is seen! It’s what’s not seen!
What would have happened if we were standing at the foot of the cross. What would we have been thinking if we saw Jesus, bloody, in pain, crying out, then dying!
What would we have thought about this Savior who was supposed to deliver God’s people from the bondage of outside forces – like the Roman Empire?
He’s dead! The one who was supposed to save the world is dead!
How would we think about such a thing? Maybe like the apostles who were in hiding and so disappointed.
What they couldn’t see was that Sunday was coming!
What we wouldn’t see is that Jesus, from the time of His birth until the time of His death – perfectly obeyed the Father in every single way.
He obeyed perfectly right up to the point when His head slumped over onto His chest and He died.
What we can’t see is that weakness and power are two sides of the same coin.
Jesus dying on the cross looked like helplessness.
2 Corinthians 4:18 is the key to not only understanding the book of 2 Corinthians, but it is the key to understanding the Christian life!
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:18
I’ve said this before. When we look around the world, of course we see all the bad things that are going on. I don’t even have to tell you about the virus, earthquakes, political upheaval.
On top of that, the world says, what is evil is good. And what is good is evil.
If God is a God of love why don’t I see that in the world?
If we fix our eyes on what is not seen then we will see that this world is a broken mess and desperately needs a Savior. God didn’t break the world – we did!
Instead of asking: Why don’t I see God’s love in the world?
Here’s a better question to ask.
Where do I see God’s love in the world?
That’s a better question.
But it takes faith to see what is not seen.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
Do you realize this? That Christ is in you and you’re in Christ?
And if Christ is in you, then you have the Holy Spirit and you can see what is not seen.
You can see God working when others can not.
For example: During this Coronavirus I have seen God working in so many ways. Even in the most difficult times. I have seen God draw people to Himself through this shaking. I’ve seen people grow closer to the Lord!
I’ve also seen the opposite too. People giving themselves to things that are temporary and draw their heart’s away from the Lord.
During this series we learned that we are not to judge based on what we can see. We learned that outward appearance is not what’s important.
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.