II Corinthians 4:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Light of Christ’s Gospel
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
What wonderful words leading up to "the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ." The face of Jesus!
--What did Jesus look like? His face? Ever wonder?
--Psalm 45:2 says of Messiah, "You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever."
No likeness of our Lord is available in true portrait.
--Yet, we can see Him in the pages of our Bible.
--We see Jesus in action! Helping, healing, caring.
--Artists paint what they imagine Jesus looks like.
--Christians strive to be like Jesus, in our hearts.
--Jesus, "the image of God .. in the face of Jesus."
I'm looking for the face of Jesus .. in people today.
--In a little child. Godly mother or dad. Anyone.
--I see it in some of you. Your heart, your acts.
--The lovely, loveable face of Jesus .. in people!
Our text takes us to Genesis 1, when ".. God commanded the light to shine out of darkness" to "shine in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Cor. 4:6).
People want to see Jesus .. in us. Not so much us.
--I've stood behind pulpits with the words on it,"Sir, we would see Jesus." He's the focus of our faith.
--As Paul says, "we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord" (v 5). That is our message.
--The more we look to Jesus, the more we're like Him. What facial features of Jesus may you and I emulate?
I. WE SEE THE SWEET FACE OF JESUS - KIND AND CARING.
--His loving face appealed to people, of all ages.
--Little children loved Him. All ages drawn to Him.
--The "common people heard His gladly" (Mark 12:37).
--Tax collectors and business men followed Him.
--Rugged fishermen left their nets to "fish for men."
--Housewives were willing to sit at His feet; listen, and learn, like Mary and Martha, and all the rest.
--A woman at the well, who had five husbands and more, recognized Jesus as Messiah, "ran, told all" of Him.
--You see, His sweet face changes lives, my friend.
--His gentle way of dealing with sinners to be holy.
--Christ-like love makes a sweet face. Like in a child.
--Love for God. For one another. Let us show His love.
--The more we love, the more we are like Jesus .. pure and peaceful .. for Jesus loved all .. even sinners.
--Not their sin - but them. Enough to take our place.
--Become our substitute, on a rugged cross, and die.
--Then, rise again the third day, victor over the devil and death! No other, or religion, like Jesus!
In my Mother's sweet face, I saw Jesus. Maybe yours.
--She taught us, and by her life showed us, Jesus.
--The lines and gray that came made her even sweeter.
--You see, we children helped put them there.
--Years .. tears .. and toils .. can bring these to us.
--But Jesus sanctifies, and beautifies! Be like Him!
--We don't have to be beauty queens or movie idols but just be yourself - I mean, just be like Jesus.
II. THE FACE OF JESUS WAS A SMILING FACE.
--A sweet face is a smiling face; even as a "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," He kept smiling.
--Like most of us, He had disappointments, trials.
--But Jesus knew how to face them and smile, awhile.
--No grumbling, complaining, fault-finding for Him.
--He knew how to smile. Be happy. Have faith. Enjoy.
--He had a sense of humor - we see it in the Gospels.
--Jesus had a winsome personality of Joy!
--Wants us to smile and be happy, in Him.
I saw a sign, "Some have a little religion, but not enough to make them happy!" The "new birth" brings joy.
--You'd not know it, for they don't show it.
--I know sad times come. But let's overcome them.
--Have happy, smiling faces - brighten our world!
A bushel of wheat isn't much; but sown in soil gives a a great harvest of grain, to feed a multitude.
--A sermon or song or smile isn't much; but given to others in love, can be a blessing to remember.
Jesus brought sunshine most everywhere - at a wedding, or raising Peter's sick mother-in-law, or Lazarus.
--Jesus usually brought joy. Life. Smiles to many.
III. AT TIMES, THE FACE OF JESUS WAS A SAD FACE.
--Life is not all smiles and sunshine; some rain falls.
--Maybe for some today there are more clouds than sun.
--You may wear a sad face, for good reason.
--Life has not been easy. Sorrows, burdens, come.
--May we erase some sorrows? Bring back some joys?
--We may need to "weep with them that weep ..." Jesus did! He often wept. Not for Himself, but others.
--You remember - when Lazarus died, "Jesus wept."
--Over our waywardness and unbelief; over Jerusalem.
--My friend, sad times and tears can have a purpose.
Some parents wear sad faces because of a wayward son or daughter, living afar from God.
--You see, sin is a cause of Jesus' sad face. Not His!
--He is sinless! But for ours. For unbelievers.
--He wept, over Jerusalem, coming over the Mount of Olives, and in tears, prayed for them (Mt. 23:37).
--He wept in the Garden of Gethsemane.
So let's weep, pray, and speak so sadness may give way to everlasting gladness. Of new life, in the Spirit!
IV. OUR LORD ALSO HAD A SYMPATHETIC FACE.
--He knew how to sympathize with us.
--He was full of compassion and grace.
--Look how He cared for countless folk in need.
--He understands what we go through; "He dwelt among us" facing the kind of trials you and I face.
--Endured struggles, sufferings, temptations, we face.
--"He's touched with our feelings" in true sympathy.
Don't you appreciate those who show sympathy?
--Who come along side, know some of what we're facing?
--Who show the compassion and kindness of our Lord?
Yes, God sees our sorrows and cares as He cared for Israel in the wilderness, and His saints, ever since.
--He's not some tyrant, but a loving Father-God.
--He made us. Keeps, guides, saves, heals, forgives.
--As a parent - not a child - knows what's best, so does God for His own children. Let Him have His way!
--If we stumble or fall, He's there to pick us up.
--Our weary, wayward, hurting world needs sympathy too.
May I say, the world needs more than sympathy.
--It needs the "new birth" in Jesus; the Holy Spirit!
--God's Gospel, Jesus speaks of in John 3.
--Our old human nature is weak, wobbly, and worn.
--The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from a tomb, can empower us with new life in His resurrection!
Our Savior is the same today, as back then. He cares.
--He sees the hungry, homeless, blind, lame, troubled.
--He is aware of all we face. Even our thoughts!
--He waits our calling on Him. Surrendering to Him.
--Why do we delay?
You know why? "The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see .. "
--The devil can do that. He's a "deceiver, a liar."
--We need to keep our eyes upon Jesus, not the world.
V. FINALLY, WE SEE JESUS WITH A SHINING FACE.
--It shines bright. It reflects "the glory of God."
--There was a radiance. An inner purity and glory.
--You ask, How do we know that?
--Look at Matthew 17:2, Jesus "was transfigured, His face did shine as the sun, His raiment as white as the light." Look, "His face shone like the sun!"
--He had taken Peter, James and John to the mountain.
--They saw His brilliant, unforgettable shining face.
--A shining face we shall have, with Him, one day.
--Friend, it can commence now, when Jesus reigns!
Moses' face shone with that glory on Sinai, and folks saw it when Moses came down the mount after 40 days.
--The more time we spend with God, the more we shine!
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota has carving of presidents Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Roosevelt.
--Their likenesses, carved in stone for all to see.
--You and I may never have ours in stone - but we may all have Christ's likeness in our flesh and heart.
A photographer said, "I photograph a likeness of Jesus - in people - every week." He looked for it.
--Maybe yours is among them, if we know the Savior.
--People want to see - not us - but Jesus, in us.
--Let's show them.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 91