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2 Corinthians 7 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2024 6:00 am

2 Corinthians 7 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 29, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shares a message all about being an encourager.

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The gift of exhortation does not mean I have the gift of condemnation. That's not exhortation. It's comfort. It's encouragement. It's telling people, you can do this. You can go on. God is for you. It's not against you.

And it could be that word that sharpens the countenance of your friend. Today on Connect with Skip Heite, Pastor Skip shares a message all about being an encourager. But first, here's a resource that gives you a comprehensive look at everything the Bible says about the last days. The Book of Acts says we need to understand the days we live in and how we should be spending our time, energy, and finances.

The first step is information. And this month to complement Skip's series, The End is Near, we're offering the excellent Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy by Tim LaHaye and Mark Hitchcock. This 450-page hardcover book is a reference guide to what the Bible says about the end times, covering over 150 topics from Armageddon to the wrath of the lamb. The Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is a comprehensive survey from the world's foremost experts on biblical prophecy. Here is what Tim LaHaye said about the importance of understanding what the Bible says concerning the future. To me, the signs of the times are evident that we're in the last days.

In fact, I call them the last days of the last days. I believe that the people that had a great deal to do with the early church were the expositors of the scripture but gave Christian evidences. Why do we believe what we believe? And one of the reasons we believe what we believe is because of prophecy. This Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is our gift to you this month when you encourage the growth of Connect with Skip with a gift of $50 or more. Make your financial vote of support at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. With the Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy on your desk, you'll find yourself reaching for it frequently as events in these days speed forward. Receive this excellent hardcover book with your gift.

Go to connectwithskip.com or call 1-800-922-1888. All right, we're in 2 Corinthians 7 as we begin today. Perfecting holiness or bringing it to completion in the fear of God. It would be worth your while some morning for your quiet time to do a little personal study on the fear of the Lord.

First of all, it's greatly lacking in our culture even among believers. And for you to understand what does it mean the fear of God? Well, it doesn't mean I'm afraid of God. It doesn't mean I shake in my boots like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. It means a reverential awe that produces humble obedience to a loving God.

That's my definition. Reverential awe that produces humble obedience to a loving God. I know God loves me. I know He wants to be my Father.

I know He wants to have me enjoy intimacy with Him as His child. Therefore, because I know that, because I want to show my love to Him, I will have a humble submission based on reverential awe. Knowing who God is, knowing who I am, it's a reverential awe that produces humble obedience to a loving God. Perfecting holiness in the fear of God. So we made one verse in this chapter.

Let's move along. Verse 2. Open your hearts to us. Open your hearts to us. Corinthians, make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one. We have corrupted no one.

We have cheated no one. Now this is the second time Paul talks like this. Go back to chapter 6 briefly and look at verse 11. Oh Corinthians, we have spoken openly to you. Our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same, I speak as to children, a father to spiritual children.

You also be open. So here it is again. Open your hearts to us. Come on, Corinthians. Come on. It's Paul. It's me.

It's the founder of the church. You know how I love you. Open your hearts to us.

And then he touches on something that we just sort of have to fill in the blanks on. We have wronged no one. We have corrupted no one.

We have cheated no one. It seems that in Paul's absence, there was a group of people who were accusing Paul and those accusations were spreading like gossip, like wildfire through the congregation. Maybe they were saying, oh, that Paul, you know, he's so overbearing and legalistic.

Why would they say that? Well, in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, the first letter before this, 1 Corinthians chapter 5, he speaks about something going on in that congregation, a case of incest. And he said, look, I'm not there, but I'm with you in spirit.

Let me tell you what you need to do. Kick him out. If he's unrepentant, get him out of the church.

A little leaven leavens a whole lump. And maybe some thought, oh, that's so unloving and so harsh because remember 1 Corinthians 5, they prided themselves and their progressive Christian attitude. We accept all genders and all pronouns and all whatever morality or immorality you decide to live with.

We are so filled with love and embracing you no matter what. Paul said, kick him out. So maybe, maybe some of those people were saying, well, Paul, remember 1 Corinthians 5, he is so overbearing. Or, and or, some were saying, you know that Paul, he's really a charlatan because Paul had mentioned and he's coming back to collect an offering, a monetary offering for the saints in Jerusalem.

And maybe accusations were going on about that. Oh, Paul, you know, he takes that money and skims off the top and lives and travels and does what he wants. So Paul is saying, open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one. We have corrupted no one.

We have cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn you. I'm not doing this to get hard and heavy on you. For I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort.

I am exceedingly joyful in our tribulation. The reason Paul was so bold with them is because he had so great a love for them, jealous for them with a godly jealousy, not wanting them to be sidelined or shipwrecked in their faith. So he would be bold where he needed to be bold, like he was back in 1 Corinthians. He was very, very bold in that letter.

That was a corrective, in some cases, a pejorative kind of a letter. So he was bold, but he says, great is my boasting on your behalf. Man, I bragged about you guys.

I still brag on you guys. I imagine wherever Paul went, he said, can you believe it? God started a church in Corinth. There's actually saved people in the city of Corinth, one of the most ungodly, immoral places on the planet.

God's done a work. And he bragged on them, boasted in them. One of the people he bragged to was a guy named Titus.

We're introduced to him again in this chapter. I am exceedingly, verse 4, joyful in all our tribulation. Now, the reason Paul says he's joyful is because of the news about Corinth that Titus brought back to Paul the apostle. We continue, 4, verse 5, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side.

Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless, God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation which he was comforted in you when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. Paul the apostle left Ephesus. That's where he was stationed for three, three and a half years.

And after three years, he went to Troas. When he went to Troas, which is a seaport, he sent Titus to Corinth. He sent Titus there with a letter. Now, some believe that's 1 Corinthians. I don't want to get too much in the weeds because there's like possibly four different letters of correspondence that Paul in total wrote to the Corinthians.

We have two of them. But he sent a letter to the Corinthians, and he was worried about the outcome of that commissioning, that mission that Titus went on. The idea is I'm going to Troas. Titus, you go to Corinth.

Meet me in Troas and give me news. Now, he gets to Troas. He looks around. Titus isn't there. He freaks out a little bit. He worries. Where is he?

What happened? So waiting, waiting, waiting. He then goes over to Macedonia, goes westward to Macedonia, and looks around for Titus there. No Titus, no Titus.

Eventually, Titus comes. Now, you just have to remember, in those days, they didn't have communication. He couldn't like get on the phone and say, hey, so Titus, how did it go in Corinth?

Right? He couldn't shoot him a text. You know, the communication took months. So they made a plan to rendezvous.

It didn't come to pass. He makes it to Macedonia. He's worried about the outcome.

What's Titus finding out in Corinth? Did they lynch him? Did he get lost? Is he still alive?

What is it? So outside were conflicts. Inside were fears. This is Paul the Apostle writing. This is the hero of the New Testament saying, I was fearful. And I just want you to mark that, because I believe some of us suffer from a false impression of people in the Bible like Paul. And we picture him as, you know, a super saint, aloof almost, not beset by normal problems. I had somebody this week saying, gosh, you never seem to be flustered, like you just sort of float above it all.

And so I said, well, let me tell you what's going on in my personal life, just a few things, just to set you at ease about that. So we picture Paul as this super saint, and why that is detrimental is because we think, well, I can never measure up. I can never be like Paul. Oh, yes, you can. Just be fearful.

Just be filled with anxiety. You go, are you commanding me to do that? No, not really. But if you are, then you're like Paul. Paul admits I'm human too.

I struggle too. Outside were conflicts. Inside there were fears. So take another look at your heroes in the Bible. Another example, Elijah. We think, oh, Elijah, what a prophet. He was so bold, he could stand before 450 false prophets on Mount Carmel and challenge them and stand up to them. Well, he could.

He could call fire down from heaven by the grace of God. But in the very next chapter, the threat of one woman caused him to panic. The queen, Queen Joseph, the queen of Jezebel said, I'm going to lynch that dumb prophet.

I'm going to make him a nonprofit organization before it's all done. And so he runs away like a little kid down to the Sinai desert, hides under a rock and says, it's too much, God, kill me, take my life. I want to die. You, Elijah, is that you? That can't be the same Elijah we just read about in chapter 18.

No, but it is. Same guy. But he's not always chapter 18, Elijah. Sometimes he's chapter 19, Elijah. Sometimes Paul the Apostle is not 1 Corinthians Paul the Apostle. Sometimes he's 2 Corinthians Paul the Apostle. And so we have these different mood swings and different weaknesses and anxieties.

We all have them. So yes, you can be used by God. These heroes of the faith, like Elijah, James wrote about Elijah, said he was a man of a light passions just like you are. Verse 7, I want to just draw your attention to again. Titus came and he was encouraged. He was all excited, not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you when he told us of your earnest desire to desire, your mourning, I'll explain that to you in a minute, your zeal for me so that I rejoiced even more. In other words, Titus came to Corinth and the result was better than he anticipated. Titus probably came to Corinth thinking, oh boy, I don't know how this is going to go. I've heard a lot about these Corinthians and how divisive they are and all the different problems they had. Paul had to write a couple letters already to them. He went there and they were a changed group. They received him. They were responsive to Paul's letter and they mourned over their previous inconsistencies and issues that they were dealing with.

So Titus was relieved by that. Now I just want to make another note before we move on. It says, verse 6, look at it, nevertheless God who, let this sink into your spirit, who comforts the downcast. If tonight you're experiencing depression, discouragement, difficulty, some of you don't know if you can go on, okay, I'll come to church tonight, but this is so bad.

God is wanting to comfort you. How will He do it? Well, He could do it through this Bible study. He could do it in a conversation you have right after church.

He could do it through some experience during the week. In fact, He could do it like He did it with Paul by sending just the right person at the right time with the right message. God comforts His people by His people. We were comforted by the coming of Titus. Remember 2 Corinthians chapter 1, God comforts us in all of our tribulation, that we with the same comfort, that we might be a comfort to others with the same comfort we have received from God. God uses us to comfort people who are discouraged. So God comforts people. He uses people to comfort people.

And notice the fourfold use of that word comfort. God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, not only by His coming, but also by the consolation, same word as comfort, perichalasis in Greek, with which He was comforted in you. When Titus came and Paul set eyes on him, and I'm sure they embraced, Paul experienced what Solomon wrote about in Proverbs 27 verse 17. As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. He was sharpened by it. He was encouraged. He was He was sharpened by it. He was encouraged.

He was comforted by it. By the way, do you know this is one of the spiritual gifts, encouragement? It goes by the name in the New King James, the gift of exhortation.

And we typically think that means, you know, getting up there and telling people, you need to do this and you need to do that sometimes. But the word, the idea, means to console or to comfort, to encourage is the idea. The gift of exhortation does not mean I have the gift of condemnation. That's not exhortation. It's comfort. It's encouragement. It's telling people, you can do this. You can go on. God is for you.

He's not against you. And it could be that word that sharpens the countenance of your friend. We call these people balcony people. Think of a concert and out is the audience, and there's a great balcony on all sides, and the people in the balcony are clapping for those down below on the platform. Be a balcony person. Be an encourager.

Give us your applause. See saints that are laboring and encourage them in the Lord. Tell them that they can go on.

Henry Drummond, that's his name. A guy named Henry Drummond said, how many prodigals are kept out of the kingdom of God by those unlovely characters who profess to be inside? Your attitude goes a long way. And encouragement in a time of need can go a long way. So it happened for Paul with Titus. It happened for Titus with the Corinthians. They were greatly consoled, greatly encouraged, and that is a ministry and a gift. Verse 8, for even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it.

Again, this is interesting to think. Here's Paul writing a letter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and as soon as he writes it, he thinks, oh, oh, man, I just sent that letter. I can't take it back.

Was I too harsh? Now he's not, when he's saying this, he's not denying inspiration. He's just admitting humanity. Paul was a man of God, but he was just a man. He was a man. He experienced anxieties. He experienced regrets. So he sent that hard letter, and let's just suppose it's 1 Corinthians for the sake of argument that he's referring to, some pretty hard elements in 1 Corinthians. And so he said, you know, I don't regret sending it because I'm giving you the Word of God, but I did regret it.

I did have second thoughts. I did have doubts, though I did regret it, for I perceived that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now, I'm going to take you back or at least read in 1 Corinthians 5, something that Paul writes. 1 Corinthians 5, in verse 9, he said, I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Now, I just read to you from 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians, the first letter in our Bible that we have that Paul writes to the Corinthians, in that letter, Paul says, I wrote past tense to you in my letter. So in 1 Corinthians, he's referring to an earlier letter, which means 1 Corinthians is really 2 Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians is really 3 Corinthians. In fact, there may even be a severe letter somewhere in between.

I'm not going to try to unravel that again. So when he says that I made you sorry with my letter, what was he referring to? Either 1 Corinthians, the book of 1 Corinthians, either that or the previous letter that he refers to in 1 Corinthians, or the severe letter. I'm going to work off the assumption that it's 1 Corinthians.

It could be any of those three, but I'm going to work off the assumption it seems to fit, and for our purposes, it does fit. So I made you sorry. I don't regret it.

I did. I made you sorry just for a while. Verse 9, Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

There's a big difference between regret and repentance. That's Skip Heitig with a message about being an encourager of your fellow Christians. It's from the series Expound, 2 Corinthians. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can share life-changing teaching from God's unchanging Word with more people around the world.

More people around the world. God speaks into every aspect of life through His Word with timeless wisdom that you can apply to your life today. This ministry exists to connect people around the world to God's Word so they can experience the life change that comes from knowing and following Jesus Christ. Through your generosity, you can grow the reach of Connect with Skip Heitig into even more U.S. cities and help even more people respond to the life-changing truth of the Bible. Plus, you'll keep these teachings available to you wherever you listen.

Would you partner with me in this effort? Here's how you can give a gift now. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

Thank you for your generosity. Come back tomorrow for Skip's teaching on mourning and repentance before God. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn.

What was He speaking of? Repentance. I'm poor in spirit. I acknowledge my weakness. I acknowledge my deficit before God. My poverty before God.

I'm bankrupt before Him. What does that cause me to do? Mourn over it. Blessed are those who mourn. He didn't say blessed are those who moan. But blessed are those who mourn. The mourning of repentance is beautiful.

The moaning of regret is not. It produces death. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. Connect with Skip Hyter is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-29 06:08:08 / 2024-04-29 06:16:59 / 9

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