On Sunday we looked at 2 Corinthians 2:5-11. In these verses Paul writes how he has forgiven an individual in the church who sinned against him (and the Corinthians). The Corinthian church disciplined this man, but now Paul wants them to forgive him, comfort him, and show him love. Paul both models forgiveness and encourages the Corinthians to follow his lead.
As we studied these verses, we saw that Paul pointed out two dangers of failing to forgive others who sin against us:
1. The Danger of Despair.
In verses 5-10 Paul pleads with the Corinthians to forgive this man so that he is not overwhelmed by his sorrow. Paul is concerned that this man could be driven to despair over his sin if the Corinthians do not forgive him. He could be driven away from God’s grace if the Corinthians do not encourage him. When we forgive others we help to guard their hearts from falling into despair over their sin.
2. The Danger of the Devil.
In verse 11 Paul tells the Corinthians that failing to forgive is a way of being ignorant of the schemes of Satan. Our enemy will use our unwillingness to forgive to stir up disunity in the church, and to undermine the forgiveness that we preach in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we forgive others, we fight against Satan and his scheming ways for God’s glory!
Here are some discussion questions from Sunday’s sermon: 2 Cor. 2.5-11 Notes.
-Pastor Nathan Hogan
*Please note: as you may have noticed the discussion questions in the bulletin on Sunday were outdated. The link at the end of this post includes the correct discussion questions for Sunday’s text. I apologize for the mistake.
On Sunday we learned about Paul’s travel plans in 2 Cor. 1:12-2:4. Paul had changed his plans regarding his travel to Corinth, and the Corinthian church seemed to believe that Paul was fickle and unreliable. Paul defends his motives as he navigates a very testy relationship with the Corinthians. We too have to navigate difficult and sometimes tense relationships. Paul gives us at least 3 principles to bear in mind as we seek to be godly in the midst of difficult and tense relationships.
1. Pursue a clear conscience.
Paul has confidence in the fact that his conscience is clear regarding his motivations with his travel plans to and from Corinth. Paul is not, however, saying that because he doesn’t feel guilty they cannot question his feelings. Paul has an informed conscience. His conscience is informed by the faithfulness and character of God. In order to have a clear conscience we need to hear people’s criticisms of us, and evaluate them honestly in light of God’s Word and character. In the midst of tense relationships we should always strive to pursue a clear conscience.
2. Beware assuming the worst.
The Corinthians attributed sinful motives to Paul without knowing the whole story. They simply assumed the worst. When relationships are tense we struggle with assuming terrible things about people. We assume all kinds of negative things about people with virtually no evidence. This is an especially strong temptation when relationships are tense. We need to be on guard against this as we seek to believe all things about people (1 Cor. 13).
3. Have the goal of joy together.
Paul did not relish having to correct and discipline the Corinthians. In fact, he cancelled a visit to Corinth so that he wouldn’t have to do this again. Paul only corrected the Corinthians with tears and sorrow. Paul’s ultimate goal was not correction, but to rejoice in the Lord with the Corinthians. Paul only corrected people in order to rejoice in the Lord together. When relationships are tense many sinful motives will compete for our attention. Paul calls us to be guided by the goal of mutual joy in the Lord. May this guide us as we minister to one another in the Christ!
Here are the discussion questions and order of service from Sunday: 2 Cor. 1.12-2.4 Notes.
-Pastor Nathan Hogan
Trials are about trust. That is a key point in 2 Corinthians 1.8-11 which we looked at as a church on Sunday. In this text Paul speaks about his own trials and deliverance in Asia, and teaches us 2 key truths about tribulation in our lives:
1. Tribulation reveals our neediness.
In verses 8-9 Paul does not give us many details about the nature of his tribulation in Asia, or his deliverance. However, Paul does not shy away from telling the Corinthians that these trials were beyond his strength. In fact, Paul says that part of God’s purpose for trials in our life is to show us that we are not strong enough without Him. Sometimes we like to pretend that we are strong, and ignore the obvious weaknesses that trials reveal, but God wants us to see our limitations and our need for Him.
2. Tribulation redirects our trust.
God does not just show us our neediness through trials, but redirects our trust to His vast resources as the God who raised Jesus from the dead! God wants to use trials to show us our weakness, but also to show us His immeasurable strength. When trials come our way, we don’t need to be scared if we feel incapable of handling them. God wants us to feel this way so that we then grow in our faith. May God comfort us in the midst of trials by building our trust in His resurrection power so that even if God does not deliver us from our immediate trials, we can be confident that God will one day raise us up into His kingdom in final deliverance!
Here are some discussion questions and the order of service form our worship together: 2 Cor. 1.8-11 Notes.
-Pastor Nathan Hogan
On Sunday we began a series on Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians as we looked at 2 Cor. 1:1-7. If you would like an overview of Paul’s history/relationship with the Corinthians, here is a good summary video:
In Sunday’s text Paul almost immediately begins to speak to the Corinthians about affliction and God’s comfort. Paul is convinced that God comforts His people, and Paul gives us two reasons for this fact:
1. God comforts us because of His nature.
Paul says in verse 3 that our Lord is the God of all comfort. God comforts because He is a comforter by His very nature. He loves to comfort His people. Sometimes we don’t feel like God comforts us because we either misunderstand the nature of God, or we misunderstand the nature of comfort. God does not always comfort us by taking away our affliction. Often He will comfort us by sustaining us in the midst of our affliction. God brings us into affliction, but God also comforts us in the midst of affliction, and in this we can rejoice!
2. God comforts us for the sake of others.
In verse 4 we are told that God allows affliction in our lives, then comforts us in affliction so that we can then comfort others. God brings us through trials and comforts us in order that we might become better comforters to others. As you are afflicted in this world, don’t forget that our sovereign Lord is at work preparing you to comfort His people with the same comfort you receive from Him!
Here is the order of worship from Sunday as well as some discussion/application questions based on the sermon: 2 Cor. 1.1-7 Insert PDF.
I am very much looking forward to studying this book together as a church. May God glorify Himself through the preaching of His Word!
-Pastor Nathan Hogan