Sunday, August 16, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 2 – THE SPIRIT OF WHAT IS BEST

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Part 2 – THE SPIRIT OF WHAT IS BEST
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


INTRODUCTION
This is the second recorded letter from Paul to the church in Corinth, written in 57 A.D., the same year as I Corinthians.

While the message of the first letter Paul sent to the church in Corinth focused on calling the church to repent from their adulterous behavior, suing one another in public secular courts, behaving in an unscriptural manner, believing themselves to be more spiritual than others because of certain practices they invented, and believing and teaching false doctrines brought into the church by either Coptic Gnosticism, or converted Jews who do not believe Jesus died on the cross, this second letter's message was that of comfort and ministry.

At this time, Paul learned his first letter accomplished what it was meant to, and the church as well as specific individuals addressed had thoroughly repented.

However, there were new perils in the church. Judaising teachers, armed with letters of introduction from the church in Jerusalem. They were trying to get believers to convert to Judaism.

They preached a gospel other than Christ, denounced the Apostleship of Paul, and caused much hostility towards him. This brought about the writing of this second epistle.

In this Epistle, Paul praises the Corinthian church for obeying his previous letter; he urges them to allow the restoration of the repentant transgressor, to warn a few who had not repented, to warn them against false teachers, to vindicate his apostleship, and to urge them to pay what they promised for the poor in Jerusalem.

This letter from Paul is unlike others, in the sense that it does not continuously flow. There are times where you can feel Paul become upset about certain issues, then return to his natural flow.

This letter is basically broke into three parts. Chapters 1-7 he explains his delay in visiting, giving an account of his sufferings, Chapters 8-9 he exhorts the church, encouraging them to keep their promises, and Chapters 10-13 Paul's tine changes there is sternness and irony as he vindicates his Apostleship, and proves his right to their love and respect.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE II Corinthians 1:12-24
12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?
18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[c] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

    I.      OUR BOASTS ARE IN THE LORD
a.      Integrity and godly sincerity
                                                                         i.      Our conduct in the world

                                                                      ii.      Our conduct in our relationship with you

                                                                   iii.      We are not different in the way we treat you


b.     Communications that are understandable
                                                                         i.      The letter that was sent was clear

                                                                      ii.      It was written in love

                                                                   iii.      It was easy to understand


c.      You understood in part
                                                                         i.      There are still some who refuse to repent

                                                                      ii.      There are some who still think they are "more" spiritual by means that are not scriptural

                                                                   iii.      There are some who still go "beyond the written Word of God"

                                                                     iv.      There is still some who refuse to repent of sexual immorality

                                                                        v.      There are some who still think Jesus did not die on the cross

                                                                     vi.      There are some who do not listen to all Paul says because they do not think he is an Apostle



II.      YES IS STILL YES, BUT THE SPIRIT OF GOD RULES
a.      I wanted to visit you twice
                                                                         i.      Once on the way to Macedonia

                                                                      ii.      Once on the way back


b.     It did not happen, but this was for your sake
                                                                         i.      Some thought Paul was "changing his mind"

                                                                      ii.      His yes was no, he was being fickle, unstable

                                                                   iii.      Some said he could not hear from the Holy Spirit

                                                                     iv.      However, Paul said he DID hear from the Spirit of God, and that was the letter he had sent to them, and the fact he did not visit was for their sake!


c.      Yes is still yes
                                                                         i.      God is unchanging, and so is His Spirit

                                                                      ii.      And the Spirit of God wants what is BEST for us

                                                                   iii.      What was best for the church in Corinth was a letter

                                                                     iv.      Paul dealing directly with them face to face was not what God wanted



III.      WE ARE NOT DOMINATING OVER YOU
a.      The letter took place of Paul's first visit
                                                                         i.      They should thank God for sparing them a face to face with Paul

                                                                      ii.      They were in a lot of trouble, but had faith

                                                                   iii.      God wanted them to work it out for themselves

                                                                     iv.      The letter Paul sent guided them to do that

                                                                        v.      Those who listened to Paul's letter repented, and got back on track with God


b.     We are working for you, not lording over you
                                                                         i.      Paul states a truth here

                                                                      ii.      No church is "over" another

                                                                   iii.      These denominations have it wrong, there is no hierarchy of churches

                                                                     iv.      All churches are autonomous

                                                                        v.      Follow the scriptures

                                                                     vi.      and work together for the Lord, not ruling over one another




c.      It is for your joy!
                                                                         i.      Because they stood firm in the faith

                                                                      ii.      They could boast as well of the Lord

                                                                   iii.      For they returned to the Word, and was once again in a right relationship with God

                                                                     iv.      Not because someone lorded over them, forced them, etc...but because Paul gave them the truth of the Word, they read it, understood it, and returned to it.

                                                                        v.      That was their joy and boast that the power of God was working in their lives!




CONCLUSION

If we are like Paul, we listen to the Holy Spirit, and when we help people return to their relationship with God, we need to listen to the Spirit of God, and do it His way, not ours.

God knew if Paul showed up face to face with the church in Corinth, his head would have exploded...it would not have been good, but God wants what is best for us.

God's first will is that all are saved and come to knowledge of Jesus Christ.

God's Second will is the Great Commission.

God's third will is our personal way that we fulfill His second will, which is unique to each of us as God created us, and is completed through the power of the Holy Spirit, by the use of the Spiritual Gifts.

If we are like the Corinthian church, we need to not be so prideful to think that anyone who is trying to help is "lording" over us, trying to have dominion or power over our faith or our relationship with God.

Like the Corinthian church, sometimes we need correction, which happens when we stray from the written word of God.

We cannot make up our own religion, ignoring scripture, saying things like;

·        Me and Jesus have our own thing
·        I know the scripture says this, but I believe...
·        I've always been told...

Nothing matters beyond the written Word of God.

You may have a personal relationship with the Lord, but you do not have your "own" thing.

If the scriptures say it that trumps anything you think or believe.

What you have "always been told" or "always thought" does not matter if it contradicts the written word of God.

If you stray, the Lord WILL send a believer to bring you back.

Like the Corinthian church members, you can listen to what the Spirit says, repent and be right with the Lord, or you can refuse to listen, and remain lost in your sin.



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