Summary: Some people at Corinth did not like Paul. They were infuriated at him because of his insistence on Christian morality and because he dared to correct those who said they were Christians, but lived like everyone else.
Title: When You Have Been Wronged
Text: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Scripture Reading: (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Some people at Corinth did not like Paul.
They were infuriated at him because of his insistence on Christian morality and because he dared to correct those who said they were Christians, but lived like everyone else.
These worldly church members and the Judaizers joined forces against him.
The man who seemed to be the ringleader of the group was the same man that Paul scolded in 1 Corinthians for having an affair with his stepmother.
He said, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (5:1-5).
Apparently, this man was influential.
And evidentially, the man didn’t heed Paul’s words, because he continued to live in sin, and he led an open revolt against Paul and he took some of the church leaders with him.
Nevertheless, Paul wrote a second letter to the Corinthian church, and because of that letter they came back into line.
When they did, they recognized the evil that this man had done and they disciplined him.
But in the process, Paul was badly wronged by this man and by others in the church.
They said that Paul didn’t have the authority to criticize them.
And they also said that he didn’t have any letters of commendation from the church leaders in Jerusalem.
They bragged that they had letters of approval from Jerusalem and then they insulted Paul by saying that he had a weak and unimpressive appearance.
They also accused him of going back on his word, since he didn’t visit Corinth when he said he would.
If ever a man was wronged, Paul was.
But Paul had a strong Christian witness, even under fire, and he is the example that we are going to use today as we learn from God’s Word what to do “When You Have Been Wronged.”
Paul has provided us with three basic truths that we can apply to our own lives when we have been wronged.
The first of these truths is this, “ANY TIME WE ARE WRONGED WE CAN LEARN A LESSON FROM THE EXPERIENCE AND WE CAN EMERGE FROM THE EXPERIENCE, STRONGER AND WISER.”
When Paul was wronged, he learned three lessons from his experience.
For one thing, he learned how to triumph over wrong.
When I say you can triumph over wrong, I don’t mean that you can overcome it or defeat it.
But rather, you can refuse to be overcome or defeated by the wrong that has been done to you.
We may not be able to control what others do, but we can control how we respond to the wrong that they do to us.
Friends, there is both a human side and a divine side to this victory over the bad things that others do to us.
And if we will do our part, God will do his part.
You may ask, “What is our Part?” Or “What can we do?”
Well, there is such a thing as human endurance.
Paul had this to say in 2 Corinthians, “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer” (1:6).
Here, Paul is saying, “If we are afflicted, it is for your good, or if we are comforted, it is for your good.”
Everything else is secondary to these two main ideas.
Paul does not glory in suffering, as such.
But, he knows that suffering identifies us with Christ and with His church.
He also knows that, if you are suffering, there will be comfort for your suffering.