Summary: Today we are going to look at the final words of Paul to the church in Corinth.
"FINAL WORDS - WARNINGS, EXHORTATIONS AND BLESSINGS"
TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 13:1-14
As the tired and weary warrior sat down to pen the final words of his letter to the Church in Corinth he thought about the first time in arrived in that city. Even after all he had seen in his life he was still overwhelmed by the magnitude of weakness that was overflowing from the city. Shortly after he arrived, he was in his room and he was afraid, he feared that he would be attacked and harmed - he felt that the job was too much for him, he felt all alone (a weary soldier on his last leg)... and then that night the Lord spoke to him in a vision, "DO NOT BE AFRAID KEEP ON SPEAKING, DO NOT BE SILENT. FOR I AM WITH YOU, AND NO ONE IS GOING TO HARM YOU, BECAUSE I HAVE MANY PEOPLE IN THE CITY."
Paul thought about the 18 months he spent establishing the Church -- the friendships, the victories, the fellowship and the struggles. And he still felt his heart rage as he remembered when he received word about the sin and division that had engulfed the church. He remembered the many letters he wrote to them, letters that were soaked with his tears. And the hurt and the anguish of heart he felt, when those who he had loved and had served, began to criticize him and challenge his authority, as they followed false prophets.
And Paul remembered the waves fear and anxiety that crashed against him, as he waited for Titus to return with word from Corinth -- had they received his letter? had they repented? Is Titus okay?
And he remembered the joy that rose within his heart as Titus returned safely and said that many had repented and that they loved and were deeply concerned about Paul.
Paul had spent many a night praying for the Corinthians -- he invested more than just his time in them, he had invested his entire life and being... And as he comes to the close of this, his 4th letter to them -- he gives them some final words -- words they need to hear... They had not as yet arrived, they had not finished the race and they had. They had many more struggles ahead of them and Paul wanted to give some final insight to help them. Yes he did plan to visit them again -- but he could not be certain if he ever would -- Paul more than anyone knew that he was subject to God’s will and that God may have other plans for him... So as he wrote these closing words he knew that they could very well be his last words to the Church at Corinthian -- final words to those Christians in that wicked city that he had deep concern and love for...
The final words of great leaders are important -- When we closed our study of Deuteronomy we studied the final words of Moses and we also studied the final words of Joshua to the Israelites.
Today we will study the final words of Paul to the Church at Corinth. And as we study these words written to that Church nearly 2,000 years ago -- a church struggling with doing the right things --it will be quit obvious that those words that applied to that Church, apply also to this church today, to ETCC and the Christians who serve here. Paul’s final words consist of: WARNINGS, EXHORTATIONS AND BLESSINGS.
I. WARNINGS TO HEED (13:1-10)
In these 10 verses there are basically 2 warnings given by the apostle Paul.
A. The first is, "BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT"
As we have said in our study many of the people in the Corinthian Church were living sinful lives and many had not repented and they felt that they had gotten away with their sin and they felt that Paul had no authority to challenge their sinful way of life.
Listen to what Paul says in verse 2, "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 OTHERS..."
Paul is telling them that they have not gotten away with it -- they have been warned several times to repent and if they don’t they will suffer the consequences for those sinful actions and attitudes.
Sometimes if punishment doesn’t come right away for the wrong things we do, we tend to think that we got away with it and just keep on doing it, we just keep our hand in the cookie jar.
Back in Numbers chapter 32 some of the Israelites were sinning against God by disobeying His command to take the promise land. And Moses told them, "BUT IF YOU FAIL TO DO THIS, YOU WILL BE SINNING AGAINST THE LORD; AND YOU MAY BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT."