Sunday, December 13, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 19 – Paul’s Concern

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Part 19 – Paul’s Concern
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth began with letting the church know that Paul was happy to hear that the church had received and responded correctly to his first letter.

Remembering James 5:19, 20 " My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."  

Paul explained why he didn't visit them and that he was pleased they had responded well to his first letter, even though not all had repented.

Last week we looked at Paul encouraging the church to allow the offender of incest return to the congregation, because he had truly repented and turned away from his sin, therefore he had been forgiven. Paul said that his punishment by the church forcing him to leave the congregation was enough, and that since he had repented and was forgiven, they must allow him back.

Paul reminded them that it was not that long ago, they too were not living as God wanted them, and they repented, and were forgiven by Paul.

Paul reminds the church in Corinth, and us as well, that forgiveness to those who have repented is essential, not only because we are commanded to do so by Christ, but because when we forgive, we keep Satan from having a way to outwit us.

Satan will use our unforgiveness as a weapon against us in his schemes.

As long as we have unforgiveness against someone who has repented, we are being disobedient to the Lord, which in turn allows a foothold for Satan to work against us.

Satan is always looking for an area of our lives where we are being disobedient, which allows him room to work his schemes against us.

Last week Paul spoke about his struggles, this week about the torn in his side

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE II Corinthians 12:11-21
I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles. 13 How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! 17 Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you?18 I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

a. I have made a fool of myself
                                                     i. Having to vindicate his Apostleship and brag of his accomplishments in the Lord

                                                  ii. However, because of their actions, and lack of defending Paul against accusations, he had to do this

b. I should have been commended by you!
                                                     i. When false apostles spoke against Paul to the Corinthian church, they should have defended him, and been commended for his work among them.

                                                  ii. He should never have had to prove himself to the church, or anyone

                                               iii. His ministry was all the evidence anyone needed

c. I persevered in demonstrating my Apostleship among you
                                                     i. Signs, wonders, miracles
                                                  ii. All the marks of a true Apostle

d. How are you inferior because of me?
                                                     i. Paul’s detractors claimed the Corinthian church fell, and was inferior because of Paul’s inability
1. They were actually false apostles looking for a way in

2. Most of the influence which caused the church to fall into sin came from outside influences, such as these false apostles, unconverted Jews posing as Christians, Pagans and Gnostic influence

                                                  ii. The only way you were inferior to other churches was in the fact I was not a burden to you!
1. Paul reminds them that unlike these false apostles, he did not take any financial support from them.

                                               iii. Paul responds to this decision to not take financial aid from them sarcastically, “forgive me this wrong!”

a. And I will still not be a burden to you
                                                     i. Because I do not want your possessions (as the false apostles claim)
                                                  ii. I want you

b. Children shouldn’t save for their parents
                                                     i. Paul sees himself as their parent in many ways
                                                  ii. He loves them as they are his children

                                               iii. So to keep the accusations of the detractors out of the picture, in order to focus on the real needs of the church, Paul says he will gladly pay his own way to come see them, and even pour out himself (spiritually, emotionally) for them

                                                iv. It wasn’t that they could not afford to pay for his trip, but he didn’t want the accusations of the false apostles to overshadow the real work which needed to be done.

c. If I love you more, will you love me less?
                                                     i. “be that as it may”
1. This is a possibility

2. Sometimes we continue to love, and our children do not respond appropriately

3. Paul realizes this, and states as much

4. He fears everything he does may not be enough to save “all” his children in the Corinthian church

d. Crafty fellow that I am, I caught you with my trickery
                                                     i. Paul again sarcastically mocking his detractors

                                                  ii. As if everything Paul did and claimed was the “long con”

                                               iii. “Did I exploit you through those I sent?”

                                                iv. Did Titus exploit you when he came?

                                                   v. Did he and I not walk in the same Spirit?

a. Everything we speak in sight of God is for strengthening you!
                                                     i. Paul knows who he is in the Lord, and does not need to prove anything to himself

                                                  ii. Everything Paul was saying in his letters, and doing for the Corinthian church was for them, their growth!

b. I fear when I come I won’t find you as I want you to be
                                                     i. Paul feared there would still be un-repented sinners living among them

                                                  ii. This posed a problem, because it was the un-repented sinners who came into the church from the outside world who brought the fall of the church.

c. And you may not find me as you want me to be either
                                                     i. A warning that, if there are still un-repented trouble makers, Paul will not be the kind, quiet, meek, soft-spoken man he was known for being in person.

                                                  ii. Because he would be filled with “righteous-anger” and correction for those who would attack his children, the Corinthian church.

d. I fear there may still be un-repented among you
                                                     i. Jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance (pride) and disorder.

CONCLUSION - “I fear when I come God will humble me before you.”

“and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.”

Paul’s focus, now that he has established once again his Apostleship, drawn most of the church into repentance and a returned “right” relationship with the Father, he looked at those who remained un-repentant.

Were they slow to repent because of misunderstanding, or because they just did not want to give up their sin, or perhaps, worst case scenario, they were tares (weeds) among the wheat, those who were actually the cause of the problems within the Corinthian Church.

For this reason Paul gives his cryptic warning in verse 20, “ may not find me as you want me to be.”

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