The following notes were taken during the message.
What can ensure an enduring ministry?
Throughout the book of 2 Corinthians we see that Paul was a sufferer—overwhelmingly—both from outside and inside troubles. Yet at the end of his ministry he said that he had fought the fight, finished the course, and kept the faith.
How did Paul endure?
1) He embraced with all his heart the superiority of the new covenant. 2 Corinthians 3. Paul never lost his sense of the glory of God's grace to forgive, sanctify and save his people.
2) He embraced the reality that ministry is a mercy. 2 Corinthians 4:1. Paul acknowledged that he was the chief of sinners. His own salvation was an undeserved gift, as well as the grace given him to proclaim the gospel. Burnout in ministry is a misnomer. The real issue is that ministers have unrealistic (and unmet) expectations of deserving better treatment. It is a mercy that pastors don't stumble, that their wives and children don't desert them, and that their congregations don't abandon them.
3) He embraced the essential necessity of a pure heart. 2 Corinthians 4:2a. Paul had no secret sinful life. A hidden life of sin will be made known. Those who don't battle against sin on the inside will ultimately disappoint all whom they hope to minister to. You must study the Scriptures so that when sin is near, your conscience will not let you down.
4) He was certain of his responsibility to accurately handle the Scriptures. 2 Corinthians 4:2b. He determined to never handle Scripture in an adulterated way. He had a relentless commitment to biblical fidelity. Those who manipulate the Scriptures and, therefore, the people of God, will not endure in effective ministry.