Sunday, December 20, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 20 – Paul’s Final Warning

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Part 20 – Paul’s Final Warning
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 and the torn in his side, now his final warning to the Corinthian church.

This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

a. Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three
                                                     i. This is reference to the Truth in scripture

                                                  ii. Paul is saying one person may be wrong about scripture, but two or three can establish (determine) the truth of it because scripture states;

1. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

                                               iii. This instruction would help the Corinthians from falling for false doctrine, because where two or three are together in the name of Jesus to understand scripture, the Lord is there with them speaking through the Holy Spirit, giving understanding.

                                                iv. Paul says, “I warned you about this on my second visit.”

                                                   v. “I repeat it now in my absence.”

b. On my return I will not spare those still sinning when I arrive
                                                     i. Since you demand proof of Christ speaking through me (Paul’s apostleship was in question.)

                                                  ii. The real proof, Paul already proved, was the fact that the Corinthians received Salvation, changed, and when caught up in sin, repented and were restored to the Grace of God.

                                               iii. If they still demanded proof, Paul would show it upon his arrival on those who still refused to repent.

c. He is not weak dealing with you
                                                     i. but is powerful (shown by converting them, then their return to Him)

                                                  ii. Jesus was crucified in weakness, but now lives in God’s power

                                               iii. We, followers of Christ, are the same, weak in Him we live in God’s Power

a. Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith!
                                                     i. Luke 12:54-5754 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”

                                                  ii. Test yourselves

                                               iii. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you? Unless that is, you fail the test.

b. We pray to God that you will not do anything wrong
                                                     i. Paul is referring to all the sin they found themselves in earlier because of their straying from the Truth of God’s Word.

                                                  ii. We pray you do nothing wrong, not to make us look good as teachers, but so you will do what is right, even when it looks like we were wrong.

c. We cannot do anything against the truth

                                                     i. Even when it looks wrong

                                                  ii. all we do is FOR the truth

                                               iii. and our prayer is that you are fully restored
1. meaning all restored in Corinth in all ways.

This is why I write these things in my absence, so when I come I won’t have to be harsh with you in my use of my authority, The authority the Lord gave me, to build you up, not tear you down.

a. Finally, brothers and sisters rejoice!
                                                     i. Brothers and sisters are those who repented and are once again in covenant relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ.

                                                  ii. They can rejoice!

                                               iii. Paul tells them to “strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind and live in peace.”

1. Strive for full restoration (repentance is just the beginning of growth in the Lord)

2. Encourage one another (lifting others in the church up instead of tearing them down, that is what we are called to do.)

3. Be of one mind (there is only 1 gospel truth, all in the congregation must agree upon that one Truth, the one that was built upon the Words of Jesus Christ, and built upon the teachings of the prophets and apostles.

4. and live in peace. (remember the church members were fighting amongst themselves, about teachings, teachers, scripture, beliefs, suing one another, back-biting, gossip, adultery, etc...)

                                                iv. Do this (strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind and live in peace) and the God of love and peace will be with you.

b. Greet one another with a holy kiss
                                                     i. This was the custom of that time and area, here our custom is to Shake hands.

c. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

                                                     i. This is what being baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit mean.

                                                  ii. The love of God the Father (shown through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross)

                                               iii. The grace of Jesus Christ (Grace is the time allowed you to move from sin, into a confession/repentance relationship with Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior.)

                                                iv. and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (Being united with the Holy Spirit, who will act as your mediator, councilor, giving you the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Whole Armor of God, as well as a fellowship, allowing you to be a true worshipper of God.

CONCLUSION - “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” - John 4:23

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