Summary: As preachers we are privileged to handle the truth in our grasp. Sometimes it hurts, but it always helps, and God makes the truth to triumph gloriously! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
You CAN Handle the Truth!
As preachers we are privileged to handle the truth in our grasp. Sometimes it hurts, but it always helps, and God makes the truth to triumph gloriously!
This epistle is teaching us wonderful truths about God’s comfort. In the first chapter we saw God’s comfort for life’s plans. Now we see God’s comfort when plans don’t work out...and a saint needs restoration.
Before the apostle gets into this subject, he continues with the subject of chapter 1. He is explaining his motives for not coming for an earlier visit. Then he discusses the sinning saint in the congregation in Corinth. Finally, he shows that God causes us to triumph in Christ.
Paul’s Explanation Continues (2:1-4)
But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness [2Cor. 2:1].
Paul admits that he was discouraged with them. If he had come to visit them, it would have been in sorrow.
For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? [2Cor. 2:2].
Paul didn’t want to come in his sorrow, with tears in his eyes. He would have had them weeping, too. Then who would make Paul glad? They would all have been boo-hooing into their handkerchiefs.
And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all [2Cor. 2:3].
Paul wanted to come to them in joy. He had been hoping to get word from them telling him that they had corrected those things about which he had written them.
Now Paul opens his heart to them.
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you [2Cor. 2:4].
A great many people today fall out with the preacher when he preaches a message that cuts to the bone. Sometimes correction from the Word of God will really bear down on some. Some people think that a pastor should not do that. May I say to you that a faithful pastor must do that. The command is: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2Tim. 4:1-2).
Any man who stands in the pulpit today has a tremendous responsibility to rebuke what is wrong. Many of the saints don’t like this. Paul tells them here that his rebuke was not because he was opposed to them, but because he loved them. A faithful pastor shows his love by preaching the Word of God as it is rather than "buttering up" the congregation.
Restoring a Sinning Saint (2:5-13)
Let me remind you that in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, he rebuked them because they were permitting gross immorality in the congregation. In fact, they had a case of incest in their congregation, and they were shutting their eyes to it. (Yet they were acting as if they were very spiritual for overlooking it!) This kind of gross immorality was something that was even shocking to the heathen; yet the congregation was ignoring it. Paul had written them to get this matter straightened out. He told them, ". . . put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (1Cor. 5:13).
The congregation did listen to Paul. They excommunicated the man.
But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many [2Cor. 2:5-6].
They had obeyed Paul. They had excommunicated the man, which was the right thing for them to do.
Then the man acknowledged his sin and came under great conviction. Now what ought they to do? They should forgive him.
So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him [2Cor. 2:7-8].
Paul is saying, "He will be overwhelmed, not only because of his sin, but because you won’t receive him. So now put your arm about him, and restore him to your fellowship."
To the Galatian believers Paul wrote: "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).