The Value of Affliction

2 Corinthians 4:7-15 | Sermon Resources | 9 July 2023


Have you ever been tempted to despair? Have you ever felt abandoned by God? Have you ever wondered whether there was any value in the affliction you have faced? If so, you are not alone. In what I consider one of Paul’s most vulnerable letters, he struggles with his beloved Corinthian church believers as he is facing affliction from both outside and within the church. And the result is one of the most profound passages on the meaning and value of enduring affliction, perplexity, persecution, and spiritual attack.

Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean to be a jar of clay?
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-10. How does the surpassing power of God change Paul and Timothy’s perspective?
  3. When have you personally seen the surpassing power of God during a time of affliction, perplexity, persecution, or spiritual attack?
  4. As you suffer for Christ, as you suffer with Christ, as you join Christ in his humiliating death, the life of Jesus may also be revealed in you. If you have experienced this paradox, share your experience.
  5. What feelings are stirred within you as you read Calvin’s commentary on v. 10: “The sufferings of Christ, however shameful they may be in the eyes of men, have, nevertheless, more of honor in the sight of God, than all the triumphs of emperors, and all the pomp of kings.”
  6. In a covenant relationship, the good of the relationship takes precedence over the immediate needs of the individual. How did Paul and Timothy illustrate this to the believers in Corinth?
  7. How are you challenged to demonstrate a covenantal relationship at Cornerstone?

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