United Church of God

Epistles of Paul: 32 - 2 Corinthians 1:11–2:11

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Epistles of Paul

32 - 2 Corinthians 1:11–2:11

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Epistles of Paul: 32 - 2 Corinthians 1:11–2:11

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.79 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (1.08 GB)
MP3 Audio (33.75 MB)

In this class we will discuss 2 Corinthians 1:11 thru 2 Corinthians 2:11 and examine the following: Paul expresses gratitude for the Corinthians' prayers and God's deliverance from imminent death. He asserts his integrity in ministry, highlighting sincerity and reliance on God's grace. Addressing a specific situation, he advises forgiveness and reaffirms love for a repentant offender, urging restoration to prevent Satan's influence. Paul describes his emotional journey in coming to Corinth and emphasizes the need for unity. He encourages forgiveness to avoid being outsmarted by Satan's schemes. Through reconciliation and steadfast faith, believers thwart division and honor God's grace.


[Steve Myers] Good to see everyone once again. We're going to continue our studies in 2 Corinthians with Epistles of Paul. In 2 Corinthians 1, we had been going through the fact that Paul is pointing out to the Corinthians that God is the God of all comfort and the Father of mercies. Talking about the amazing relationship that we have with God and how Paul experienced those things. He experienced the fact that God is merciful, and God certainly comforted him in all these amazing situations that Paul had to face as he traveled and preached and taught, and God called people out of the Roman Empire. A phenomenal experience that he had. He described that, probably, that Ephesus's experience, where he was sentenced of death, which seems that it was almost an unmanageable, overwhelming situation that God stepped in and rescued him, which, in a sense, is a little bit of all of our lives. We're all under the sentence of death. We all deserve death. Our sins deserve death and there is nothing we can do about it. Without a savior, we have no hope. We have no hope.

And so it tells the story of humanity in many ways, is that we need a savior, and God is there for us. We need to change, and we need to repent, and we need to believe, and we have to have faith in God. Paul demonstrated all those things in that experience that he describes here in 2 Corinthians 1, that kind of tells the story of life itself. And so it's good for us to be reminded of that. Yes, specifically when we're under pressures and trials and difficulties we look to the comfort of God, but then we extend that comfort that God gives us to others. And Paul does that very thing. If you remember that he told the Corinthians that God would comfort them, and then they were to pass it on. Verse 4 reminds us of that, that you're supposed to comfort others with godly comfort like God comforts you. Notice what he does then. He talks about the fact that he went through these difficulties, God comforts him, and then he also thanks the Corinthians for exhibiting that very thing. Take a look at this. He says in verse 10.

2 Corinthians 1:10-11 That "God delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we trust that He will still deliver us." Fortunately, God doesn't just deliver us once, that's an ongoing process throughout our lives. Then he says, "You also helping together in prayer for us." So the Corinthians were also seeking to comfort Paul by worshiping and praising God, calling on God to comfort the apostle Paul. And so he thanks them for that. He says, "That thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many."

So Paul is thanking them for praying for him, that God poured out a gift upon him, the gift of consolation, gift of encouragement, the gift of God's blessing on Paul and probably his entire party in that regard. And this gift is also an interesting word, that's the word charisma, charisma, the grace word that may not necessarily mean a gift in that sense. He says, "For the gift granted to us through many," really it was God's favor, God's gift of His blessing, His favor that God poured out on them by answering the prayers of the many. Did Paul deserve this gift? Well, do any of us deserve the... Well, no, that's the idea of what this word really entails. This is undeserved favor, undeserved favor, that God favors us even though we don't deserve it. And so Paul ties all of this together with the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, that God will deliver us and that we can pray for others and we can comfort and encourage others as well. And so what a wonderful blessing this is. And so Paul thanks them for praying on his behalf.

2 Corinthians 1:12 He goes on and says, "For our boasting is this, that the testimony of our conscience, that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God and more abundantly toward you." So here Paul reminds them of this very fact. There was a testimony which is kind of like a court case. This is the experience. This is what happened. He says, "We conducted ourselves in simplicity and godly sincerity."

Interesting that he ties in our conscience in this. You remember we spent quite a bit of time talking about our conscience when we went through 1 Corinthians. It's kind of our mind's warning system, our warning system in that sense that we can contemplate our motives and our actions, and we certainly recognize that very fact. And so, "Our conscience," he says, "we conducted ourselves in a godly way, simplicity and sincerity." Simplicity and sincerity. Interesting that he uses that kind of a description here to talk about the kind of way they behaved. How did they act? And he says here, "It wasn't with human wisdom, but by the grace of God and more abundantly toward you." So he shows them that he extended this free favor that he received from God, undeserved favor, toward them. And so interesting that some were against Paul and yet he was trying to practice this godly perspective toward them.

2 Corinthians 1:13 He says, "We're not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now, I trust you will understand even to the end."

In other words, he's saying here, "I've been consistent with you. I've been genuine with you. I've written in understandable ways to you. Don't think like maybe some of these false teachers are saying that 'I've got some kind of secret agenda.' That's not the fact at all." He says, "I've given you the things that God has given to me, and I've been the real deal." Don't think anything else. I don't have any ulterior motives. That's what he's getting at in verse 13.

2 Corinthians 1:14 And so he says, "As also you have understood us in part, that we are your boast as you also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus."

And so he's saying, "This is a good reason to be proud in a right way. We can be proud of the fact we are God's workmanship, you and us, we and you." He says, "Yeah, that's a good thing."

2 Corinthians 1:15 And he says, "In this confidence, I intended to come to you before that you might have a second benefit."

And so here as Paul describes these things, he talks about this was my intent. This is my motivation. It's to serve and to help, and it's by God's will, by His grace. And so we see the evidence of these things in each other. That's what he's pointing out to them, that their growth by the grace of God was partly because of the apostle Paul. And Paul even talks about the benefits that he received as well.

Now, of course, we did mention some of the reasons for his writing. He's intimating, you know, the criticisms that these false teachers brought against him as he kind of gets into this, talking about his godly sincerity and the grace of God. He also then begins to point out why he hadn't come back. That was one of the faults that they had kind of brought against the apostle Paul.

2 Corinthians 1:16 And so he says in verse 15, "I intended to come to you before. That was my intent." In a sense, he's saying, "My travel plans changed. I was going to go from Ephesus to Macedonia to Corinth." And then where was he going to go? Do you remember from 1 Corinthians? He was going to pick up the collection and take it to Jerusalem. That was plan A. That was plan A, but, yep, that didn't work. That didn't work. "If that didn't work," he said, "I was going to go from Ephesus to Corinth to Macedonia to Jerusalem." That didn't work either. So you had a plan A, you had a plan B, and that just didn't work out. You know, he was planning to go there twice, he says, "That they could receive a second benefit." Verse 15, a double benefit is really kind of what he's getting at that, "To pass by you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you and be helped by you on my way to Judea." So there's plan A and plan B kind of spelled out pretty clearly.

2 Corinthians 1:17 But verse 17, he says, "Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be be yes, yes, and no, no?"

All right. What's he getting at here? Well these false teachers were definitely seizing on the opportunity to point out that somehow Paul didn't show up the way he said he was going to. And that's evidence of the fact he's a false teacher. "Don't believe what Paul has to say." They're using that to discredit Paul. But Paul is answering by saying, "No, I fully intended to come to Corinth. I wasn't fickle. It wasn't that I was, you know, unstable. You can trust me. Don't forget I lived with you for a year and a half. Just the way that life works sometimes, plans have to change." Paul wasn't yes, yes, and no, no. What is he saying there? Well it's kind of a duplicity, right? He's saying one thing and meaning another. No, that's not what he's saying. That's what he means by this yes, yes, and no, no kind of thing. Notice verse 18.

2 Corinthians 1:18 He says, "But as God is faithful, our word to you was not yes and no."

Yeah, come if I can, maybe not, could be, might make it happen. No, I said I was going to come. That was my intent. That was absolutely my intent. It wasn't, well, whatever. No, that wasn't it at all. That wasn't it at all. And so notice the connection he makes with that.

2 Corinthians 1:19-20 He says, "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus and Timothy, was not yes and no, but in Him was yes." Maybe it doesn't come across in English very clearly here, but this is a powerful statement. He's drawing a powerful conclusion here. He says, "For in all the promises of God are in Him, and they are yes, and in Him, amen, to the glory of God through us." God doesn't give you a maybe. He doesn't give you a yes and no. No, God doesn't work that way. He says, "All the promises of God are yes." "All the things that I had proposed were yes. I was planning to do this. There was no doubt about this." In fact, he uses God's promises as emphasis to what his intent was. He says, "Every promise of God is yes." God will fulfill every single one of the promises that he's made to us. They are yes in God. You can depend on what God has to say.

Human beings, well, things could change, but with God, it's absolutely sure. In fact, it's so sure you can say, "Amen. In Him, amen." And sometimes we get that a little confused that we just think, "Well, at the close of a prayer, we say, 'Amen, and that means yes, I affirm.'" That's what I think too. All right, that's okay. But as the words used here, I mean, it's just basically brought over from the Hebrew here. He's saying, "This is absolute. This is absolute. There is no doubt." In the gospel sometimes talking from Christ Himself, He said, "Verily, verily, I say to you." That sounds kind of strange to our English-speaking ears today, verily... No, what He's saying there is most assuredly, there is no doubt. When Christ used that phrase, He's saying, "What I'm saying next, you can absolutely count on without a doubt." And so that's what Paul is saying here. This is absolutely trustworthy. This is undoubtable, undoubtable that in all God's promises are yes. You can count on those promises and there is no doubt. There are no gray areas in God's promises. They are absolute. And so when we read something that God promises, it is undoubtable. It is amen. That's what we can count on from God. So there is no lack in God's promises. We can fully count on them. They are without a doubt going to come to pass.

And so Paul makes this amazing connection with Him. "What I intended," Paul says, "was what God's intent was. When I say I'm coming, that was my full intent. You can believe it. You can believe it." And like the promises of God, there's no doubt. And so he says, verse 20...let's just rehearse that again.

2 Corinthians 1:20 He says, "All the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him, amen," fully, completely, trustworthy, reliable, without any doubt, "to the glory of God through us."

Paul conveyed those promises to them. And so he says, "Now, He who establishes us with you in Christ has anointed us in God." And so kind of interesting here where he goes, he begins to point out that God works in us in a number of ways. God works in us in powerful ways.

2 Corinthians 1:21 He says, "First, He establishes us." That's an important point. There's four things that he mentions here in these next couple of verses, beginning in verse 21. God establishes us. That word can be used like a foundation, that we have a foundation in God, that it is a rock-solid firm foundation that is sure, that it's not unreliable. God establishes us. God gives us that rock-solid foundation. And that's where it begins. It's not by our own means, but it's in God. He establishes us in Christ. Remember he just got done saying, "I can do nothing of my own means. It's all by the power of God." And that happens through Jesus Christ. And so He establishes us.

Now he also says, "He has anointed us." He's anointed us. And that is that word to anoint. We are anointed when we're sick. They take oil, and they put it on our forehead, and they pray for us. We're anointed in that regard. We're set apart for healing. In this way, it says, "We're anointed by God." We're anointed. And when you think about that word anointing, it was oftentimes used throughout Scripture. How did they use anointing in the Old Testament? Oftentimes, it was used to anoint a king. A king was anointed. They were set apart for leadership. And so they were commissioned to serve the people. There were kings and there were prophets that were anointed, special servants anointed of God. We are anointed. We are set apart for service. God has anointed us. Well, how? How has God anointed us? By the power of His Spirit. By the power of His Spirit. At baptism in a sense, we're anointed by God. We have hands laid on us. We receive the power of God's Holy Spirit. God lives in us and through us. And so we're established on a firm foundation and anointed and set apart to serve by the power of God's Spirit. And then He also says a third thing. Notice verse 22.

2 Corinthians 1:22 Not only establishing and anointing us, it says, "Who also has sealed us."

We are sealed by God. In a sense, he's pointing out things that show that we're authentic, show that we're the real deal, shows the fact that we are real Christians, converted individuals, that we are established, we're anointed, and now, he says, "We are sealed." We are sealed by God. We are sealed by God through the power of His Holy Spirit. And that would certainly bring certain things to mind to the Corinthians as they read these words that Paul wrote. Being sealed by God. What was the seal? Well, that would have been that wax that was put on a document or that shut a letter. A first-century letter oftentimes was sealed, which meant that there was wax that was dripped on that letter, and then it was touched with a seal to show that this document was imprinted with wax indicating it was unopened in that sense. But also that seal would show who it came from, who was the owner. It would show that it hadn't been tampered with. In other words, it was authentic. So it verified the authenticity of the letter itself or the document, whatever it was. It would show that it had been protected and that it was genuine from the author. So that stamp that sealed this letter with the soft wax indicated all those things. And that would have come to the Corinthians' mind, that God has stamped us, and we're sealed. We're like that wax on an official document that shows we're authentic, that God is our owner and He is the author of our faith. It would indicate all of those things. And so we also come under the protection of God in that regard.

And so Paul points that out, that God's working in us. He establishes us. He anoints us and sets us apart, and He's sealed us, given us the authenticity that comes from God. And then what else does He say? "He's given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." So we have a guarantee. God's Spirit is that guarantee. That word guarantee is an interesting Greek word that's used there. It means a pledge or a promise or a down payment. We're given God's Spirit as a guarantee, as a down payment. Or you could think of it as earnest. Some translations even say that "He's given us the Spirit as an earnest." Why use that word? Well, it kind of connects to the practice of giving earnest to follow through with the promise.

So let's say you're going to rent an apartment. Has that ever happened to you? You're going to rent an apartment. So you fill out your application. Oftentimes, they'll require earnest money in order to take that application, which means what? I've filled out all this application, and I am fully intended to rent this apartment. So here's $100 as the guarantee, as the earnest, as the pledge that I will rent this apartment. So the Holy Spirit is given to us as God's pledge. It's God's promise. It's God's earnest, not earnest money, but the earnest of His Spirit that says "God's going to follow through on His promise." And so ultimately we have the earnest of God's Spirit. We have the guarantee that God started a good work in us. We stay close to God. We stay repentant before Him. What will ultimately be the payment? Eternal life. So we've been given God's Spirit as a guarantee, as the down payment to eternal life.

Hold your place here. There's a wonderful passage over in Ephesians 1. So if you follow me over to the book of Ephesians, here it's described here as well. Ephesians 1, let's begin in verse 11. Verse 11 begins to describe a similar thing. Hear Paul writing to those in Ephesus, and notice what he says here about this idea of a down payment or this guarantee, similar thought that he reflects upon here to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:11-13 "In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will." So he talks about God's purposes. Verse 12, "That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."

So there's that same idea of being stamped by God and given promises. First of all, the big promise of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:14 "Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory."

Well, what's the purchased possession? Eternal life. So in the meantime, while we're waiting for the return of Christ, while we're waiting for the kingdom, he says, "We've been given the guarantee. We've been given the down payment of eternal life until our redemption, until Christ returns." Until that time, we have the promise, we have the pledge of God. And so we've been given the Spirit. We've been given the Spirit as that promise. In fact, Paul talks about this quite a bit. If we turn over to Colossians...well, let's skip that one for the moment. Let's head back to 2 Corinthians. We'll head back to 2 Corinthians because there's one other place that kind of just came to mind that definitely reiterates this particular thought. If you go to 2 Corinthians, before getting all the way back to chapter 1, let's stop on our way back in chapter 5. 2 Corinthians 5, notice he says this again.

2 Corinthians 5:5 He says, "Now, He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee."

So there he says it very precisely, very succinctly here in Chapter 5:5. So He's given us the Spirit as that down payment, that pledge. The pledge of what? The pledge that God is going to follow through on His promise. What has He promised us? Ultimately eternal life. He's promised us to never leave us or forsake us. He's promised us to help and guide and comfort. He's the God of all comfort. He's the Father of mercies. Those are promises we can take to the bank. They are earnest money, spiritual earnest money, we could say, in our pocket, that that's what God has promised us. And so what an amazing blessing that He's doing these very things in all of our lives. That He's established us, He's anointed us, He's sealed us, and He's given us the guarantee. God is with us without a doubt. And so Paul emphasizes that point to the Corinthians.

So head back to Chapter 1 now. No wonder he could say all the promises of God are yes. They are yes. Here's evidence of that absolute promise. No doubt we can trust it. Amen. It is undoubtable. He's established us. He's anointed us. He's sealed us. He's given us the guarantee. So we have an absolute rock-solid promise from God ultimately leading to His kingdom. And then he says, "Moreover," this is in verse 23 now of chapter 1 of 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 1:23 "Moreover, I call God as witness against me, my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth."

Oh yeah, remember this is all wrapped around why Paul didn't make it back to Corinth. It's kind of a long way around the explanation. Basically saying, "God's promises are solid, my promise to you is solid too." That's kind of what he said. "I meant to come back, it just didn't work out for reasons that were beyond my control." So he says, "Just like the promises of God, I had plans interrupted." But he also says, "I didn't come and that was going to spare you." Why would it spare the Corinthians? Well, imagine if Paul had come and 1 Corinthians would in a sense have been the result. That would have all taken place face to face. That would have been pretty rough. You know, in other words, he wanted to give them time to repent. He wanted to give them time to change, deal with your issues. He didn't want to have to be harsh with them and correct their sinful behavior in person. He didn't want to come in this kind of rebuking attitude. That's not what he wanted to do. And so ultimately, he's saying, "I came no more to Corinth to spare you, to give you time to repent, give you time to change."

2 Corinthians 1:24 "Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers of your joy, for by faith you stand."

Pretty interesting passage here, thinking of those who serve God in the ministry. This is kind of a definition of what we should be about as ministers of Jesus Christ. We don't have dominion over anybody's faith. Dominion meaning rulership. Others don't rule over our faith, right? They're not ruling over us. They're not lording it over us. A pastor doesn't lord their authority over us as members. We can't force anybody to be a Christian. We can't force their choices upon them. We don't have power in that way, right? So he says, "We don't have dominion over your faith." But as pastors, teachers, apostles, he says, "You have your own choices to make. You have to do these things on your own. I'm not dictating every single little thing to you. I'm a fellow worker. We're in this together. I'm a helper of your joy. We're fellow workers for joyous things, not just to put you down or rebuke you or correct you. No, it's by your own faith that you stand." And so that becomes critically important, that that should be the perspective of the ministry. We're fellow workers for joy, for encouragement.

In fact, if you hold your place here, there's some instructions that Peter gives the ministry that kind of connect with what Paul said here. If you go over to 1 Peter 5, we'll see Peter mentioned these same words, the same perspective here in 1 Peter 5, right at the very beginning of the chapter. 1 Peter 5, Peter's talking to the elders, but what about the ministry of Jesus Christ? Well, notice what he tells them.

1 Peter 5:1-3 "The elders who are among you I exhort." So Peter's talking to the ministry here. Verse 2, "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you." And literally, that word does mean to shepherd like a literal shepherd of the sheep. You take care of your sheep. You watch over them. You tend them. You feed them. You help them. He says, "Serving as overseers, you have oversight of the congregations." That's what ministers do. They feed. They tend. They oversee them. He says, "Not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly." You serve God, you serve His people for the right reasons. And he says then, verse 3, "Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you," right? You're not the dictator. You're not the one that's going to force people to live God's way, no. "Not as lords over those entrusted to you but being examples to the flock."

And so this kind of mirrors that idea of fellow workers, helpers of their joy. He says, "That's how you do it." And he says, "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." And so pretty powerful example that he uses here, that you are entrusted as shepherds and overseers. In other words, you're in this together. It's not that you're above the people of God. You know, a shepherd wasn't above the flock. The shepherd was right there in the midst of the flock leading them and guiding them and protecting them and watching over them. And so I find it interesting that he uses those words. In fact, he uses all of those words that could point to the ministry, that as elders, as the spiritually mature leadership, they watch over the people. As shepherds, they're tending and feeding. As overseers, they have oversight, they have responsibility in this. And notice that responsibility then exhibits itself in service, in love, in care. That's what it's about. It's not in dictatorship. That's not the way the ministry works. So if you head back to 2 Corinthians, we certainly see that expression of helpers of their joy. Some translations say that literally there, helpers of their joy, in verse 24 instead of fellow workers for your joy. That's the New King translation.

2 Corinthians 1:24 Old King James says, "We are helpers of their joy," fellow servants in that regard.

And so what a blessing that God has inspired His leadership to that kind of leadership rather than just a dictatorship. And so that closes out chapter 1 of 2 Corinthians. Now, Paul's not done dealing with that particular issue that he began with here in Chapter 1. He kind of continues that as we go into Chapter 2. Remember he said, "I was going to spare you by not showing up." Chapter 2 kind of begins with that thought.

2 Corinthians 2:1-2 He says, "I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow." Not meaning sorrowful, but not in a rebuking way. He says, "For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?"

Sounds kind of confusing, doesn't it? What is he getting at here? Well, this severe letter, 1 Corinthians that he wrote, this very corrective letter could certainly make them sorrowful. I mean, it should bring repentance. That's what it should be. And so he says, "If I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful?" Well, if you get it, you get the godly correction, that's a good thing. If we need to be corrective, if we're sorrowed by that so that we repent and change, is that a bad thing? He says, "No, no, that's a good thing." They were given time to repent and change their attitude, change their behavior. And so he says, verse 3.

2 Corinthians 2:3 "I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all."

Kind of getting at that idea. Why did he write 1 Corinthians? His motives were love. His motives were ultimately to help them and point out godly love. God's love and in God's love, sometimes He has to correct us. Sometimes He wants us to change, and He corrects us, why? Because He loves us and He wants us a part of His family. So Paul is expressing that very fact here. That's why I did this. He says, verse 4.

2 Corinthians 2:4 "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved," that wasn't the point of his writing, "but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you."

You might not think that I care about you because I had to correct you in many ways, but I'm telling you, this was my motivation. It was in much affliction, much affliction. He says, "I was suffering as I wrote these words to you. It was out of anguish. I feel for you. I want you to change. I want the best for you." And so like a loving parent, he says, "I didn't want you grieving. I want you to change. I want you to recognize how much I care for you, how much I love you, how much I want you to be a part of the family of God forever. That's why I wrote. That's what it was all about."

2 Corinthians 2:5 He says, "If anyone's caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent, not to be too severe."

And so Paul says there was balance in all of this. Don't be too severe. Now, what does that bring to mind? Well, one of the corrections, of course, was the fact that he told them "to get rid of the fornicator, cast them out of the Church." And so what seems to be too severe.

2 Corinthians 2:6 "This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man."

All right, he was put out of the fellowship. He was turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Remember reading that in 1 Corinthians? In other words, so they'd repent and change. So ultimately, they'd come to repentance. That's destruction of the flesh, getting out of that fleshly frame of mind to a spiritual frame of mind. He says, "That suffering was sufficient for such a man." It was sufficient.

2 Corinthians 2:7 "That, on the contrary, you ought to rather forgive and comfort him, lest, perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow."

So evidently what's happened? This incestuous person had repented. And Paul tells them, "Forgive him, bring him back. The punishment brought about the repentance and bring him back into the fellowship of the Church. Don't leave him out there forever. He repented. He's changed." Yeah, it's going to be difficult to reintegrate someone. Yeah, he probably recognized his sin and the difficulty in forgiving because damage was done and probably even more difficult for human beings to forget what had been done. Yeah, sometimes humanly speaking, you hurt someone, you've caused pain and difficulty, forgiveness is tough, but to forgive even takes it a step further. And he's saying, "Yeah, you can judge somebody." But he says, "That sincerity that they're exhibiting," he's saying, "you've got to go beyond that now, and they need comfort. They need reassurance. They need to be reintegrated into the congregation, and you've got to demonstrate your concern and care and your love for this individual."

And so he's saying, "This punishment..." Verse 6, he talks about punishment. Yeah, that was the penalty. He was disfellowshipped out of the fellowship. They had followed the biblical process, and he's saying that was sufficient. That was enough. The intended reason that they were put out of the fellowship was out of love and concern so it would bring them to repentance, and it did happen that way. He did repent and change. And so bring him back before more damage is done spiritually speaking. He says, "That such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow." In other words, they couldn't get over it if you don't accept them back into the fellowship. That God's forgiven them. They've repented. They've been forgiven. They've changed their behavior. God has blessed them in that way. Now, you've got to do your part and bring them back into the fellowship. And so they have to restore this man. So verse 8.

2 Corinthians 2:8-9 "Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love to him." Reaffirm your love. "For to this end, I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things."

Whoa, wait a second. That guy was the disobedient one. We kicked him out of the Church. That's what he deserved. Yeah, that's true. But now that he's repented, you're on the line. You're on the line. He says, "I'm putting you to the... Are you going to do what's...? He did what's right. He did what's right. He repented and he changed. Now are you going to do what's right? Are you going to be obedient? You need to bring him back. You need to reaffirm your love to him." Oh yeah, but he did terrible things. You could imagine what was probably going through some of their minds. So Paul emphasizes that point. You need to be obedient now as well.

2 Corinthians 2:10 "Now, whom you forgive anything, I also forgive." That extends to Paul. "For if indeed, I've forgiven anything, I've forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ."

Yeah, this even impacted Paul that Paul had forgiveness for this individual. They needed to forgive as well. All of them needed to forgive as well. Why? Well, notice verse 11.

2 Corinthians 2:11 "Lest, Satan should take advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices."

Yeah, Satan took advantage of that individual, and it led to his sinful behavior, and he needed to be removed from the fellowship so he would repent and change. Yes, turn him over to Satan, cast him out so ultimately he would change. But, now, he's also saying, "Satan's devices could work against us as well. You've got to restore this individual unless Satan take advantage of this situation with all of us." Well, how could that be? How could that be? Well, in a number of ways. If you want to hold your place here, we could turn over to Revelation. I think this is, probably, certainly one of the ways that Satan works.

Notice in Revelation 12, we'll jump in the middle of a thought here verse 10, Revelation 12:10, certainly, reminds us of the kind of being that Satan the devil is all about. Here in verse 10, Revelation 12.

Revelation 12:10 "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, 'Now, salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ have come.'" So here Christ is returning and notice what else it reminds us of. "'For the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.'"

So here Satan is described as the accuser of our brethren, accusing day and night before God. Yeah, that's what Satan's all about. Certainly, as we go back to 2 Corinthians, we're reminded of that. We're reminded Satan is not merciful. Satan doesn't comfort us for good reasons. He wants us to lose our faith. He wants us anything but in the kingdom of God.

And so he says, "We are not ignorant of his devices." Yeah, he wanted to take advantage of us. Literally, this devices word means his schemes, his thoughts, his plans, his devices. The devices word is such a good reminder that Satan doesn't just do things haphazardly. He's got a plan. He's got a purpose to undermine our faith. He's got a scheme in mind. He wants to undermine us. So don't let him take advantage. If you put yourself up as holier than thou, yeah, here's this guy we disfellowshipped and we're so spiritual, we're not going to allow him to come back. No, he says, "Satan could use that against us." And so he reminds us, "Don't let that happen. Don't let Satan take advantage of us. We know he's got plans and purposes to undermine God. Don't let him. Don't let him do that. Don't let him undermine your faith. Don't let him undermine us from doing what is right." All right, we'll conclude right there today, and we'll pick it up with that thought next time in 2 Corinthians 2:12.

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