Summary: God would have us boast about our church and encourage each other. He would not have us criticize & shame one another. Churches that encourage one another bring refreshment to all who enter their fellowship.
2 CORINTHIANS 7:12-16 [GAINING PERSPECTIVE Series]
BOASTING ABOUT OUR CHURCH
The Corinthians church's awakening by Paul's harsh letter cause them to repent, to wake up and realize what was really going on in the church and their responsibility to correct it. Their awakening to their church responsibilities and renewed willingness to work in the church and make the church work allowed God to reveal to them that Paul was correct. They corrected the problem and because of their renewed vigor and earnestness the church changed and began to go forward once again.
The Apostle Paul was more than a pastor but he was also a pastor. He knew that churches that are not moving forward are moving backwards for neither Satan nor God allow a stalemate. God rejects lukewarm Christianity. One of the great obstacles to the church is its membership. Every local church has those who tear down and not build up the body. But God would have us boast about our church and encourage each other (CIT). He would not have us criticize and shame one another. Churches that encourage one another bring refreshment to all who enter their fellowship (CIM).
I. AWAKENING CONFRONTATION, 12.
II. REFRESHING OF SPIRIT, 13.
III. BOASTING ABOUT THE BRETHREN, 14-16.
Verse 12 relays that the principle aim of Paul’s severe rebuke was to help the Church repent and follow God’s leadership again. “So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender, nor for the sake of the offended but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God.”
God demands of His ministers, of His pastors a probing into sinful situations that negatively effect the church. It is not so much to point out “the offender” or “the offended” but to clear up the problem, the sinful situation, so that the church might go forward once again. Satan works to get into a local fellowship and cause people to offend and be offended that he might break up the unity and stifle the church's growth, both numerically and spiritually.
The deceiver tries to get someone to say something or do something thoughtless, neutral or even positive and then goes to someone else and tells them that is offensive and they need to be offended. The Accuser of the Brethren does this so he can break down the unity, the harmony, the health of the church body. So that he can cause strife and hurt, so that he can get us off doing God's agenda and get us forming divisive groups or causing further harm not simply to individuals but to the church. Though Paul was concerned about the individuals, those that sinned and those sinned against his basic concern was for the welfare of the church. He prayed and confronted so that they might repent and again follow God's leadership and God's leading through Paul.
II. REFRESHING OF SPIRIT, 13.
From verse 13 we learn that their zeal for God and joy in the Lord had been restored because of their repentance. “For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
Paul was comforted by God because the Corinthians had repented of neglect and of allowing their church to stifle and stall. He had feared that the individuals in the church or the church leadership would bow their backs or harden their hearts to his addressing the situation, the people who caused the situation, and the people who were suppose to help solve the situation. When repentance came and the church adjusted itself to God's Word and begin to minister in love again (1 Cor. 13) he was greatly comforted.
But not only was Paul comforted or called alongside the Lord, but he also was caused to rejoice because of the blessing of God that now rested upon the church again. The proof that the blessing of God was once more upon was seen in the joy of Titus, Paul and the Corinthians.
Churches that are so sensitive to the Spirit of God that they regularly repent in order to follow His leadership are able to refresh spirits. As people worship, fellowship and work for God in love and unity, God's Spirit moves through the church's consecrated and devoted members to bring refreshing to all those that worship and work with the body.
Thus the proof to Paul that the church had repented was not simply that things were morally right or doctrinally sound but that the church could refresh spirits. Is you spirit refreshed from worshiping, fellowshiping, and working within our church? If not, repentance, certainly individually and possibly corporately or church wide, is needed.
III. BOASTING ABOUT THE BRETHREN (14-16).