Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 31
2 CORINTHIANS 6:1 – 8:6
We finished Chapter 6 so we’ll begin with verse 1 of Chapter 7. Now the background for all these letters of Paul. This is the second letter to the Corinthians Church (the first one dealt with several problems the Church was having and Paul really dressed them down on a few of them). The second letter is kind of like an ointment to soothe their feelings and yet at the same time gives us the response from the apostle himself to the things he was hearing coming out of this congregation at Corinth.
II Corinthians 7:1,2
“Having therefore these promises, (now remember what he had just said in the last part of Chapter 6 that if we have the wherewithal, as the results of His saving Grace, to separate ourselves from the ungodly world around us, then God will be a father unto us, He will call us sons and daughters, and that’s our relationship with God as members of the Body of Christ. So having these promises) dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting (or growing in maturity) holiness in the fear of God. 2. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.”
Why does Paul say something like this? Because this is what he’s been accused of. He’s been accused of everything. He’s accused if he picks up an offering, that he’s embezzling it. He’s accused of bringing a false Gospel. (without the Law) Paul is accused of coming up with something that he alone dreamed up. And on and on the list could go. All of these things that he has given a response to he has been accused of, and he is simply stating that it’s not true.
II Corinthians 7:3
“I speak not this to condemn you; for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.” In other words, the man was so full of love for these Corinthians that in spite of all the bad things that they said about him, he still loved them. Now verse 4.
II Corinthians 7:4
“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.”
Isn’t that amazing? In spite of all the bad things they were saying about the man, he still loved them and even bragged about them to his other congregations. He would actually tell the people at Ephesus, “I’ve got a great bunch of people down there at Corinth. Oh, they’ve got some problems, but I love everyone of them.”
II Corinthians 7:5
“For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh (that is the physical body) had no rest, but we were troubled on every side, without were fightings, within were fears.” Earlier, Paul was talking about death.
II Corinthians 5:8
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
Well even though this was by inspiration there was also the physical element. Because evidently Paul had been close to death up at Philippi. Paul had been sick in bed, but he had survived, and on top of all of his trials and tribulation of attacks from the pagan world, from the Judaisers, he was supposed to have met Titus over at Troas, and after he got there, was supposed to leave and still no Titus. Now there wasn’t much communication in those days, and he had no way of knowing what had happened to Titus. So all of that also was just weighing down on the man And so this is what he means in verse 5, and let’s read it again:
II Corinthians 7:5,6a
“For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh (his body) had no rest, but we were troubled on every side, without were fightings, within were fears. 6. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down,…”
I have to wonder a lot of times, and I’m not saying this to be critical, but our society has gotten to the place that whenever there is a tragedy, especially for school kids, they have to bring in psychologists, and counselors to help these kids handle their grief. I’m sure there’s something good about that, but why have we come to the place in society that we have to have that kind of help for a tragedy. Listen, my Bible says that God is the Source of our comfort. I don’t need a psychologist to come in and straighten out my thinking because it’s right here in the Book. And this is exactly what Paul is showing us. In spite of all of his pressures, in spite of all of his grief and disappointments, yet Who carried him through? God did, and Paul never doubted it for a moment. Verse 6 again:
II Corinthians 7:6
“Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, (He knows when we need help, and He’s there) comforted us by the coming of Titus;”
So Titus finally finds Paul. Now Paul missed him at Troas, and we don’t know how much longer this was afterwards, but it must have been a fair amount of time because Paul had been up to Philippi, he had been sick in bed, and now he finally comes in contact with Titus. Now remember Titus is coming from Corinth, as he has been down there working with these Corinthian believers while Paul was at Ephesus. Now verse 7.
II Corinthians 7:7
“And not by his coming only, (oh it was great to see Titus) but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, (Corinthians) when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind (in other words their attitude of heart) toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.”
Do you get the picture? Titus has been down there at Corinth. Paul has been over here at Ephesus, and he’s written that letter to the Corinthians where he had to dress them down severely. Paul has heard all these things coming out of the Corinthian congregation that were against him, that were condemning him, but now here comes Titus with nothing but good things that the Corinthians were saying about the apostle Paul. What does that show you? How human Paul was. There isn’t a person anywhere that doesn’t like to be complimented. Isn’t that right? Everyone likes a word of compliment. A word of compliment can do more for you than anything you can imagine, and Paul was no different. He was tickled to death to see Titus, but he was thrilled to death to hear that the Corinthians still loved him, and held him in high esteem. Verse 8.
II Corinthians 7:8,9a
“For though I made you sorry with a letter, (the letter of I Corinthians when he had to address their problems) I do not repent, (or regret, because it had to be done) though I did repent: (or regret) for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance:…”
In other words, did the first letter work? You’d better believe it worked. Now let’s go back to I Corinthians Chapter 5 for a moment and look at one of the problems they had in that first letter. Remember along with all the other problems at Corinth where they had divisions. when some said they followed Christ and His earthly ministry teachings. Some were following Apollos, others said, “Peter was their man,” and still others said, “No, Paul brought us the Gospel by which we are saved so we’ll keep following Paul.” So they had those divisions. Also, they were taking one another to the pagan courts in lawsuits. They had other problems as well, but the most major problem that the Corinthian church had was this one right here in Chapter 5, and it was gross immorality.
I Corinthians 5:1,2
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, (those pagans that the Jews thought were as low as dogs. But you as believers are permitting an act of immorality that even the Gentiles wouldn’t think of doing.) that one should have his father’s wife. (a step-mother) 2. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.”
What were the Corinthians doing about this gross immorality? Absolutely nothing. If anything they were smiling about it. They were making snide remarks. Now verse 3.
I Corinthians 5:3-6
“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5. To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, (not the soul. In other words physical death if this guy won’t straighten up) that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6. (In verse 6 we find them just as guilty as he was because of their glorying or gloating over it.) Your glorying is not good, Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Paul goes on to say that they had to deal with that problem, and now when you come back to the second letter, did they? Yes they dealt with it, and evidently brought the man back into fellowship, and his sin was naturally forgiven, and cleansed and the letter had done it’s work. Now back to II Corinthians Chapter 7.
II Corinthians 7:10
“For godly sorrow (or a godly regret of something done that’s wrong) worketh repentance (or a change of mind) to salvation not to be repented of: (have you ever talked to a true believer who said he was sorry he had become a Christian? I never have. So here again in this instance to take care of this individual sin situation was the salvation not for the soul, but the salvation of the time, because this situation had to be corrected, and it was) but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (if there is no saving Grace involved)
II Corinthians 7:11
“For behold this selfsame thing, (referring back to this one individual in I Corinthians Chapter 5, verse 1) that ye sorrowed (or looked at this thing) after a godly sort, (in other words, they looked at that situation and it had to be dealt with as God would look at it, and they realized the sinfulness of the whole situation.) what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
In other words, the Corinthian Church took this gentlemen aside and laid out God’s view of his actions, and the witness that it was having in the pagan city of Corinth. News like that travels in any city. What did it do for the whole congregation? It enhanced everyone of them. When they could see that God could move into a situation even as vile as this one, clear the deck and make everyone once again in fellowship with a Holy God. Now verse 12.
II Corinthians 7:12
“Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, (I Corinthians) I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, (although certainly that man was involved) nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.”
Now think about these things. What’s Paul saying? If Paul would have treated this as the congregation was and just glossed over it, what would that have said to the congregation about him? Well he’s no better than the rest of us. He looks at like we do so it must not be all that bad. But when Paul dealt with it, and he dealt with it severely, when he told them. “You deal with this man, and turn him over to the power of Satan that Satan can touch the flesh unless he turns around in repentance and gets right with God.” I mean it’s just a perfect picture of how you and I, even today, deal with sin because God hates it. God will never wink at sin even though He has paid for it and forgiven it through His death on the Cross, yet God is never going to wink at sin. He can’t. So Paul tells us that all of us profited from this situation. Paul did, the congregation did, and certainly the guilty party did. Now verse 13.
II Corinthians 7:13
“Therefore (because of what had happened) we were comforted in your comfort: (Paul says, `as you feel, I feel.’) yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.” So even Titus had his whole spiritual life enhanced because of the reaction of the congregation in Corinth toward this adulteress individual. Now verse 14 and 15.
II Corinthians 7:14,15
“For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. 15. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all how with fear and trembling ye received him.”
Now do you see what’s going on here? This young man Titus, a new believer, a student of the apostle Paul, and yet when he came into the situation at Corinth, he realized their carnality, he realized how unspiritual many of the members were, and yet because of the letter of I Corinthians how it had changed that whole congregation. It was because Paul had taken the bull by the horns and he addressed the issue, and told the people to deal with it. And because of this it not only enhanced Paul’s ministry, but also the congregation and this young man Titus. Now verse 16.
II Corinthians 7:16
“I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.”
Now that’s quite a statement to make especially with a congregation of carnal people which was just recently brought out of paganism. Again this is what I have to stress over and over and over that these Corinthians believers had been pagan, idolaters, immoral, and everything that went along with it, and yet here they’re brought out by believing the Gospel. They have become new creations in Christ Jesus and they were a thrill, to the apostle Paul and his helper Titus.
Well again I think now you can see so much of this was in the same area that Christ dealt with in His earthly ministry. You all know the account of the woman caught in adultery in John’s Gospel Chapter 8. Let’s go back and look at it. This is not new, it’s in a little different setting of course. Now this is Jesus Himself dealing with a woman who was a known adulterer.
“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4. They say unto him, `Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou?’ 6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. (can you picture that?) 7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. (I often wondered what He wrote. I’m sure He was putting something in the sand, and those religious leaders of Israel saw what He was writing) 9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, `Woman where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11. She said, No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, `Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.'”
Now this does not give license to adultery by any stretch of the imagination. No more than the man back here in I Corinthians Chapter 5. But what does it show us? That God is willing and ready to forgive, but with forgiveness what does He expect? A growth in spirituality. Now I think you can pick that up so graphically after King David sinned in an adulteress situation with Bathsheba. I think one of the most heart rendering portions of Scripture is David’s confession of his sin in Psalms Chapter 32. There David just pours out his heart to God. It wasn’t that he had just sinned against himself and Bathsheba, but he had sinned against his God. But his confession is such that he was in a cold sweat because of his guilt. But once he confessed it, and got rid of it, and got right with God then David went on and continued his walk with his Holy God.