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February 23, 2020 11:00 am
I don't think anybody enjoys being rebuked. Generally when we are our first response is to bristle against the one who has confronted us about our behavior, but we need godly rebukes for our spiritual health. They serve a valuable God intended purpose and we see that other passage today in second Corinthians chapter 7. Recall that the apostle Paul had rebuked the Corinthian church with his first epistle and he waited anxiously for report of their response to that strong confrontational letter that showed them their sin called them to repentance and to carry out the proper response when they reject Paul's epistle that had been given to them and if they did that that would be to their detriment or would they receive this epistle with humility into their benefit in our passage today tells us the final conclusion I think to this whole story began in first Corinthians chapter 5 and continues on into second Corinthians chapter 7 Saturday were looking at verses 12 through 16 and what godly rebuke accomplishes and reasons for and results of godly rebuke of sin and we see number one.
The reasons for Paul's rebuke in verse 12 and number two the results of Paul's rebuke in verses 13 through 16 in verse 12, Paul tells us why he sent that rebuking letter to the Corinthian church, he tells us in the first part of the verse. What the reasons were not in the last part what the reasons were. Therefore, he says in verse 12. Although I wrote to you I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you. First of all, he gives us what the reasons were not.
I did not send that epistle for the benefit of the offender. That is the man who was living in immorality with his stepmother, nor did I send that epistle for the benefit of the one who had been offended, namely his father, but I have another purpose in mind. Now we understand what Paul says it was not for the benefit of the offender, nor for the one who was offended. He does not mean that it was not for their benefit in any way, but this is his way of saying that that was not the primary reason that was a secondary purpose, but it pales in the light of the primary purpose which is the one that he wants to focus upon.
We find that kind of language throughout the Bible where there is a strong contrast drawn between two things and to get the point across. We hear words that sound like God is not interested in one thing at all, only in the other, when in fact it turns out that what he simply doing is showing us the relative importance of two different things. Most of us are familiar with the words of Hosea in Hosea chapter 6 verse six were God said, for I desire mercy and not sacrifice in the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. I desire mercy and not sacrifice God here by saying that he no longer desires his people to bring their animal sacrifices in worship. No, that's not what he saying the day for that ceasing of the burnt offerings had not yet come and would not until Jesus came. What he saying is I'm not nearly as much interested in the outward ceremony of the sacrifices though they are commanded and to be obedient. You must continue to do them but I am far far far far more interested in the attitude of your heart. That's what's really important we find something similar in verse we looked at this last Wednesday night and Luke chapter 14 verse 26, where Jesus says, if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children, brothers and sisters, and his law own life also, he cannot be my disciple get a Jesus saying what I want you to do is to hate your parents picture brothers and sisters hate your sons and daughters will not in the absolute sense, but in the comparative sense what he's saying is your love for me must be in again so so so so so much greater that in comparison your affection for your family on earth might even seem like hatred. He's not commanding hatred for relatives any more than Hosea God through Hosea was commanding an end to the animal sacrifices, but he was saying that pales in comparison with what is most important. That's exactly what Paul is doing here in second Corinthians 712 20 says his epistle was not for the benefit of the offender. Of course we understand that there was benefit for the offender.
He was designed to chasten him and to bring him to repentance and it achieved that God intended purpose. As we realize by the second Corinthian epistle, but that was not the primary reason for Paul's letter of rebuke in regard to the one who was offended the sitting man's father, presumably was scarcely mentioned in this whole episode, but now he is mentioned, we realize by this mentioned that he is evidently's alive and he has been greatly wronged by the sin that was committed by his own son, terribly wrong in the church needs to take a clear stand against the sending church member and on the side of the one who was offended and we don't know if he was a Christian or not, it really doesn't make any difference for the purposes of this statement, but again that wasn't the most important issue. It is an issue does have significance, but that's not the most important issue. So the question is what he is therefore the most important issue. Why did got Paul write this letter primarily and it was in this is so important for us to understand for the spiritual benefit of the church that purpose is so so so so so much more important than the other things that the others pale in comparison. So again verse 12.
Therefore, although I wrote to you I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong but here's the reason that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.
There's a reason but it doesn't seem real, real clear called and said quite the way I did Bolden say the reason was for the benefit of the church. He says something else that we need to examine a little more carefully and actually he is giving three reasons here but they all relate to the church. What was the reason for this rebuking letter number one to restore the church's broken relationship with Paul number two to reveal the church's true spiritual condition number three to bring the church back under divine authority. First of all to restore the church's broken relationship with Paul, but that our care for you might appear to you their indifference toward this sin, which was being conducted in their very midst by a member of their church undisciplined still in good standing. Living in immorality in their indifference to that put them at odds with the apostle Paul was very concerned about and they seem to be unconcerned about it. This was already driving a wedge between them and the apostle Paul and that was not good. And so Paul's review by sending that first epistle were talking now specifically about chapter 5 of first Corinthians. Paul's rebuke brought this issue to a head before stem two no longer treated with indifference. They were now going to have to do something in response to his epistle either the right thing of the wrong thing either obey Paul who was speaking on behalf of God or disobey. Paul, which means they would therefore be in disobedience to God, but they could no longer be in different they had to make a choice about what they were going to do regarding this matter. Paul's rebuke brought this issue to a head and paved the way for a restored relationship between him and them if they responded properly, then this wedge that was driven between Paul and the church would now be removed and there relationship would be restored and the implication is clear. How can the church be right with God and be wrong with an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. How can the church be a good spiritual health and be openly flaunting the word of an inspired author of Scripture who represents God and speaks for God, the answer is clear. They could not and so this is the primary reason for the writing of the letter we got to endeavor to pull this church back into a right relationship with Paul so that they could be in a right relationship with God. Their growing estrangement from Paul is a barometer that is measuring their spiritual decline in the relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. So, reason number one is to restore the church's broken relationship with Paul. Reason number two is to reveal their true spiritual condition for the sake not of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you. This letter was written so that Paul's spiritual care and concern and proper ministry of the word to them might become clear to them. Remember, there were false teachers in the city of Corinth to work trying to undermine the authority appalling to pull this church away from the truth which had been taught to them by the apostle Paul to pull them away from the spiritual care and concern of an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who had been used by God to bring this church into existence and to try to shepherded to good spiritual health and now the question is, what is your true spiritual condition and it will be revealed by your response to this letter. The letter was sent so that there's true spiritual condition might be known. First of all to them and then beyond that, to pull himself there spiritual response. Or maybe I should say their response is going to be evidence of their true spiritual condition. If they respond humbly, obediently repentant lady that means that there relationship with Paul will be restored in their good fellowship, good relationship with God Almighty and that will be evidence of true spiritual life within them. But if they respond in the opposite way.
Quit bugging me get out of my life, get off my case, not your business that's going to evidence that their profession of faith in Jesus Christ is a counterfeit profession, and there is no evidence of true spiritual life within this is telling us the regeneration is not manifested in a perfect life but in godly responses to error and to sin and to failure our new birth is not manifested by a perfect walk with God.
If so we would question the claim of everyone who claims to have been born again because nobody has a perfect walk with God.
We all stumble and fall and will continue to do that until we are with the Lord in heaven entirely sanctified and all sinful desires and sinful attitudes are going to be removed and sanctification will be completed that day. But until that day comes, there's going to be some stumbling and falling along the way. But the evidence of true spiritual life is how we respond to those we stumbled what we do repent. We return to the path of truth. We failed what we do we run to Christ to the throne of grace, we seek his mercy.
We go to the word of God. We find new instructions from his word and we returned to the path of righteousness again and we do that over and over and over and over and over again throughout our Christian soldier and that is the evidence of the new birth impulses the way you respond to this letter is going to reveal what's inside. Have you been truly born again or did you make a profession of faith which will now prove to be short-lived to be the kind of response of the seed that the sellers sewed among thorns were sold among Iraqi soil.
Instead of seeing the proves to be sewn in ground that has been prepared by the Holy Spirit of God. So the reason for the letter number one to restore the church's broken relationship with Paul number two to reveal their true spiritual condition number three to bring them back under divine authority they have for the moment strayed from their submissive authority to the truth of God.
That's why Paul had to write the letter you have a responsibility to discipline this man in your church and you are ignoring it. But this is what God requires. Now are you going to acknowledge or failure and come back under divine authority or are you going to continue to walk your own way and to craft your own version of Christianity that suits you better than the one that has been given to you by God himself, which is a going to be to bring the back under divine authority that I care for you in the sight of God under the eye of God under the authority of Almighty God, that you will be looking to God and bring yourself back under divine authority. Once again, and so to bring them to view everything from a God word perspective and to place themselves under divine authority. Paul wrote this epistle. That was the reasons for Paul's rebuke. Secondly, what are some of the results of Paul's rebuke and I don't know that all of them are listed here, but five are five are mentioned in verses 13 through 16 verse 13. Therefore, we have been comforted in your comfort and we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus because his spirit has been refreshed by you all for if anything I have boasted to him about you.
I am not ashamed. But as we spoke, all things to you in truth even so are boasting to Titus, was found true and his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all how with fear and trembling you received him therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you and everything. Five.
Results mentioned as a result of this letter number one. I'll give them all to you. They will look at them again. Number one, Paul's encouragement number two. Titus is encouragement. Number three.
Paul's vindication number four Titus is affection and number five Paul's assurance look at them one by one. Paul's encouragement verse 13. Therefore, we have been comforted in your comfort Paul's encouragement there godly response to this rebuking epistle brought comfort to the apostle Paul brought comfort to them. First of all, even before word reached Paul of their response so that he could be comforted. They were brought back into obedience to God and to his word. They repented in the manifestations of repentance that we looked at last Lord's day, they were now restored in their relationship with God, and they now are enjoying the comfort that comes when one responds in that way but now that the word of their proper responses reached the apostle Paul. He is greatly comforted as well. It has relieved his anxiety tremendously.
Remember he was so anxious that he couldn't even settle down and pursue a ministry in the city of Truax as he described that he come to Truax as part of that's in chapter 2 the rest of that's in chapter 7, but he come to Truax acid in a wide door of effective ministry open to him, but his mind was so so much in turmoil because he hadn't heard the result of their response to his letter that he couldn't settle down and pursue ministry there and finally he said it's no use of, gotta get this thing resolved of. Gotta find out what's going on. Titus hasn't arrived yet they cross the sea over to Macedonia, anticipating either intercepting Titus on his way back to Truax as as had been pre-arranged, or else going all the way to court load out to find out for himself and there Titus met him and explained to him the obedient humble repented response of the church at Corinth and Paul's anxiety was removed and he was comforted. That's what he tells us here. Therefore, we have been comforted in your comfort there difficult obedience and it wasn't an easy thing to do but there difficult obedience resulted in great comfort and joy for them and for Paul Paul's encouragement number two.
Titus is encouragement. The last part of verse, verse 13, and we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus because his spirit has been refreshed by you all know, in all likelihood Titus when to Corinth as we might say on pins and needles. This was not an easy assignment policy Titus get down there to Corinth about several things I want you to accomplish their but as much as anything find out how they responded to my rebuking letter Titus is thinking what if their response has been negative.
What if they are true. What if they are ready to spit nails. They are not going to be happy to see me come knowing that I'm an emissary of the apostle Paul, so he was tiptoeing pretty lightly when he came into Corinth. Maybe he didn't even announce his arrival. I'm sure he was very nervous about what might transpire, but he found out that they were humbled. They were repentant.
They were eager to be restored to the apostle Paul and therefore Titus was greatly relieved and he was refreshed by their obedient response and he knew about it months before Paul did, because Paul had to wait for Titus to come back with the report. But Titus was filled with joy and now that Paul knows what happened and how greatly it lifted the spirits of Titus from what apparently had been great fear and trembling to jubilant joy that even increased Paul's joy when he saw his his companion in ministry being so greatly encouraged and filled with such great joy because of the response of the Corinthians, and Paul himself was even more exceedingly comforted and so result number one of the rebuking letter. Paul's encouragement result number two.
Titus is encouragement result number three. Paul's vindication of this one is even a little more difficult to see but I think you can see it if will pick it apart in verse 14, Paul says, for if in anything I have boasted to him about you.
I am not ashamed. But as we spoke, all things to you in truth, even so are boasting to Titus, was found true. Paul is already previously mentioned that he had boasted about the Corinthians to Titus. He had given Titus a good report about the Corinthians about 20 what Heath considered to be the true spiritual condition of the Corinthians. In other words, he said something like this. I'm confident that they have truly been saved. I'm confident that they are regenerated children of God.
They been born again.
Therefore, I'm confident that they will respond properly to this rebuking letter. You don't need to be so anxious you don't need to go on pins and needles.
You don't need to be fearful. I'm confident that you will find that they have responded to this properly. Okay Paul, I hear what you say but I got to see it for myself. So he went with fear and trepidation, but he did see it for himself. Paul had boasted about the Corinthians to Titus, Paul had assured Titus that they will do the right thing just now that they had time to think about it.
I'm sure when they first received the letter they did the same thing that most of us do when were first confronted by someone with improper behavior, we tend to bristle first reaction they had some time to think about it, to rate realize they are wrong.
It's brought them to repentance. It's brought them to obedience they have carried out the required discipline upon the church member who up until that time was still unrepentant, though the discipline brought him to repentance and time, they have repented of their indifference and they have done the right thing and now things are in good shape for them in Corinth and their relationship with God. And so Paul's boasting that's the word he uses his assurance to Titus that they would do the right thing and everything would be fine proves to be correct always vindicated.
This is what he said he was quite sure was going to happen and lo and behold, this is exactly what happened. Paul was right. If they had not obeyed Paul's first epistle than Paul would have been ashamed in the sense that is prediction about them would have been 180° false but is not ashamed is not ashamed, for if in anything I have boasted verse 14 again to him about you.
I am not ashamed I have not been put to shame.
I have not been demonstrated wrong. Just the opposite. I have been vindicated that what I said was true it it demonstrates that I have good spiritual insight and understanding and I had a good a good deed on the condition of the hearts of the people in Corinth and this is one of the interesting things when we consider all of the problems of Paul dealt with about the Corinthian church in first Corinthians we look at the church we say that must've been one of the sorriest one of the one of the lousiest one of the one of the most problematic churches in the whole New Testament arena. And yet when Paul talks about the church. He talks about them with great confidence great affection, even more so than most of the other churches. Paul's heart was greatly drawn to these people. Paul saw in them a real love for God and the love for truth. Yes, he saw some disobedience along the way but he was encouraged because they responded to review correctly and thereby demonstrated that they have hearts for God and truth, and therefore Paul's prediction that this would happen was not wrong. It was correct and therefore he was not trained, but he was instead strengthened their spiritual obedience proved. Paul spoke the truth, which strengthened his reputation as a man of truth again by what we have already seen in these first. These two Corinthian epistles.
There were false teachers. There were critics in the date the city of Corinth and some have made some inroads into the church and they were accusing Paul of being a man, not of truth but of error.
A man who was not a true apostle of Jesus Christ, but an imposter man who was not preaching the truth of God, but was in fact preaching error. Don't listen to him listen to us as what they were saying. And Paul took this episode of the rebuking epistle in the response to it as a way of pointing out, it's kind of a little side jab gentle jab to say see their I am a man of truth, I do know the truth, I do understand truth I can't be trusted. Don't listen to the critics, have confidence in me, and that rebuking letter vindicated Paul.
What Paul is saying was my words about you proved to be as true as my words to you.
My words about you. When I boasted the Titus that you are God's true people and will respond accordingly. They proved to be true. They were as true as the words I preached to you when I was among you. You can have confidence in what I say because, and what Paul is really saying here is, God has vindicated me in your presence. God has shown you through this. This is another evidence that I am a true apostle of Jesus Christ, and I can be trusted and you need to listen to what I say because what I say is the words of God being communicated to you. So results of Paul's rebuke number one Paul's encouragement number two. Titus is encouragement. Number three.
Paul's vindication number four Titus is affection is affection was greatly enlarged toward the Corinthian church through all of this, verse 15 and his affections. Speaking of Titus, even so I boasting to Titus was found true and his affections are great for you than they were before are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all how with fear and trembling you received him. He came into town. Titus came to town with fear and trembling when he found out was that they received him with fear and trembling. He was there with fear and trembling that they might respond to him in angry, maybe even who knows, maybe even a threatening violent way.
He had no way of knowing exactly what the response would be, but instead as he came into town. He found they were all in fear and trembling because they regarded him as a representative of Paul who was an apostle of Jesus Christ, and they understood the authority with which he came and they trembled at that authority in their midst a complete turnaround. It's interesting in first Corinthians. Paul said that when he came to Corinth, he came with fear and trembling. He was the man who was filled with natural confidence spilling over confidence in his own abilities and personality to everywhere he went he went striding him with great confidence. Not all he came to them with fear and trembling. They probably didn't see that. But he knew what was inside until the word of God was owned by the spirit of God and had its powerful effect and they under his fear and trembling was dissipated as he enjoyed a fruitful ministry among them.
Titus comes with fear and trembling, wondering how they're going to receive him in the light of this rebuking letter that could have made them angry as as nails angry as as it's possible to be and they found that instead he found that instead of them being angry.
They were humbled. They were reverential they were respectful they receive him with fear and trembling, and that showed Titus that these were people who loved truth and to honor God and who submitted to divine authority, and that just drew Titus is hard to them with greater love and affection that he ever could have had otherwise.
Titus is affections. The Greek word there literally is bowels, you know, that's often the word for inward feelings, heart, heart, feelings in the New Testament and here it is again. His inward feelings. It's talking about the way he felt. This is not agape love which really is not directly dependent upon the way we feel though it isn't totally disassociated from it either, but this is not agape love. This is the way Titus felt his feelings, his inward affections toward them were enlarged greatly because of their response. There obedience increase Titus's love for them there respectful reception of him and beyond him of Paul and beyond. Paul of the word of God beyond the word of God of the God of the word there respectful reception knit their hearts together. Titus in this church the way they received Titus demonstrated how they viewed Paul.
They were not estranged from him. As a result of this rebuking letter just the opposite. They work drawn to him with great appreciation love and affection.
Because of this rebuking letter in all of this revealed how they received God and his word. Philip use a commentary that I found very helpful in second Corinthians said this church is obedience to their godly leaders as essential to their well-being. Underline the word godly Scott to be godly leaders. Leaders who are following truth but to churches obedience to their godly leaders is essential to their well-being. That's what Paul is saying here about the church at Corinth one more one more resort result number one. Paul's encouragement number two. Titus is encouragement. Number three. Paul's vindication number four Titus is affection. Number five Paul's assurance verse 16.
Therefore, I rejoice that I have confidence in you and everything. It's as simple as this, there obedience there, humble, repentant, obedient response to the rebuking epistle assured Paul of their genuine conversion. They gave him a renewed confidence in them because he saw this as the strong evidence of God's work within them.
Paul's confidence in the Corinthians was not in them as as human beings. Paul's confidence in the Corinthians was in the evidence that they were indeed the work of God, that the spirit of God who was in them was at work and Paul was confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work and you will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ and therefore he had enlarged confidence in them that they were going to continue to be obedient continued to grow in grace continue to be helpful to the community in which they lived, and beyond continue to be a godly church of the Lord Jesus Christ is confidence in all that rested upon his evidence that he saw the work of the spirit of God in their hearts and bringing them to repentance and obedience. Which brings me therefore to consider a couple of lessons by way of questions number one dear friend, be honest before God. How do you receive godly rebuke. Generally, what has been your pattern. When you receive godly rebuke from pastors or from parents or from teachers or from fellow believers, what is your response. How has your what has been your response. In times past due, receive such rebuke with humility or with anger and definitional anger do you replace that with repentance and humility and submission. Or do you continue to be mad at the person who dared dared dare to say that to you. How do you receive godly rebuke because don't you understand from this passage.
This is more about you than about the person who rebuked you we tend when somebody rebukes us.
We don't like it, we immediately stepped start finding fault with the messenger. Well, he will shape today and that's the way goes, isn't it.
That's the Adamic response we can find plenty of fault with the messenger so that we don't have to pay attention to the message but if you reject godly rebuke that is based on truth, it's true, according to the Bible and you reject that it says more about the problems in your own heart that it says about the person who was God's messenger to confront you question number two in this one actually is even more difficult than the first. Do you ever humbly confront others about their sin.
That's tough and stuff. And if you don't the answer to that is you don't then my follow-up question for this one is also what does that reveal about you, are you more of a man pleaser than a God pleaser. Are you lacking in faith. You don't believe the word of God that if you do these things in obedience to God, the God will use them for the benefit of others and for his glory. You have a lack of true love. You have a false love that takes the idea that love doesn't ever do anything that somebody doesn't like or do you have a more biblical view of love. The love is more concerned about the welfare the condition of the one that you love so that you're even willing to hurt them, not because you enjoy it, but I willing to do it if that's what's needed to benefit them at a particular time and place in their life because as I wrote that letter to you.
I don't regret it now, but I did regret it.
Remember that I did regret it at the time I really hated to have to write it because I know is going to hurt you but it had to be done. It was difficult, but it had to be done.
That's true love in the concluding thought of this whole passage is that our response to truth reveals our inward condition. David was a man after God's own heart.
Some people are troubled by that considering the gravity of his sin. Why does the Bible called David a man after God's own heart will certainly not because he didn't sin, he sent big time and why was it called a man after God's own heart because of how he responded to truth with Nathan the prophet came confronted, shook his bony finger in David's face showed him his sin and said, thou art the man how to David respond, he could have said you said that's what most kids would've done. David recognize the truth in the rightness of the rebuke and he humbly repented and responded and eroded number penitential Psalms, including that great Psalm 51 against the, the only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight, wash me with hyssop, and I shall be clean, cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
He was a man after God's own heart because of the way he responded to truth, especially the way he responded to truth.
After his sin. When God's word corrects you how do you respond do you submit to its correction. I hope you do a God enable us to accurately examine our own hearts before God and the God help us to respond eagerly to God's word, because that is our life's soft sustenance, shall we pray father, help us to receive with meekness.
This portion of the engrafted word, which is able to save our souls. We pray in Jesus name