The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.
I. The Explanation of his actions. 1:3-2:13
A. Rejoicing in the blessings of God. 1:3-7
B. Rescued from danger by God. 1:8-11 (the prayers of the saints)
C. Rebutting the accusations. 2 Corinthians 1:12-24
1. His conscience. 2 Corinthians 1:12-14
2. His confidence. 2 Corinthians 1:15,16
3. His convictions. 2 Corinthians 1:17-24
We have seen that Paul had written to the church explaining his concern that if he visited them before the divisive issues had been settled, the rift would only increase. His desire was that each member would submit to God and walk in the truth! Unity in the church would be manifested by their unity in the Lord! In this second chapter, Paul continues to deal with them about unity.
D. Reasoning with the church to be united. 2 Corinthians 2:1-11
The church is to be founded on the Lord Jesus Christ and built up in His Word. Each church is the body of Christ and should be able to be recognized as such by both believers and by the world. The church in Corinth had become a confusing mass of activity which was not recognized by believers and confusing to the world.
Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
1. Resolve their issues with him. 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 Refer to 2:4 –
Paul sets forth his feelings for them in the strongest terms –
a. “…anguish…” Root of ‘angina’ a pain in his heart
b. “…tears…” His emotional outpouring of his –
c. “…love…” His love for them seeks unity in the Lord.
2. Resolve their issues with one another. 2 Corinthians 2:1-11
One of the issues that revealed deep divisions in the church was that of the hesitation of some to discipline the member that had sinned. He had sinned in such a way that even unbelievers in the community were shocked. Some members of the church were defending the man because of their ties to him. He was of their group and they would rather ignore his sin instead of confronting him. Paul instructed them that they, the entire church, needed to be right in their actions by following God’s Word and confront him with the desire for him to repent, and if he refused to repent, remove him from the church. The instructions had been followed and the man had been removed from the church, but the divisions had remained. Now it seems that those who agreed with Paul were holding a hard line, hesitating to forgive the offender! Paul instructed them to forgive and restore the man which is in accord with the will of God revealed through the Word of God.
These issues are with us today and trace back all the way to Cain and Able who disagreed about God’s will in worship. This disagreement escalated into division among brethren and ended in a murderous rage. It is a dangerous situation in the church and the way is opened for Satan to scatter the church or keep the church from its purpose. It simply becomes a religious meeting.
E. Related his desire to visit them. 2 Corinthians 2:12-13
Paul’s desire to hear a report about them from Titus prompted him to travel toward them and intercept Titus along the way.
F. Reminded them of the results of the preaching. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
1. Paul used the triumphal entry of Roman legions as they led their captives into the city.
Incense would be lighted to give an aroma as they entered the city. 2:14-16
a. The victors would smell the incense burning and prepare for their victory celebration.
b. The captives would smell the incense burning and prepare for their execution.
Throughout history, the gospel is sweet to those who believe but it is bitter to those who reject it. It is, as Jesus is to unbelievers, an offense.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Peter 2:7-8 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
And to the pretenders –
Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
2. Paul shared another well known illustration declaring his honesty in preaching the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 2:17
a. The ‘many’. ‘They’ as those dishonest salesmen in the market who put good products over the bad, deceiving their customers.
b. Paul and the missionaries were honest in their preaching of the Word of God.
The Word of God had been preached in power and truth and the evidence was seen in their own lives. They needed to come together in truth and commit themselves wholly to the work that God had prepared them for –
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.