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Good Sorrow, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
June 19, 2024 9:50 am

Good Sorrow, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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June 19, 2024 9:50 am

In Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, Blessed are those who mourn. Yet when we feel sadness, regret, or guilt, most would rarely describe that pain with the word “blessing”. The Bible teaches us that there is a good sorrow, a sorrow that teaches us, heals us, and draws us near to the Savior. What does that good sorrow look like? Is there a right way to sorrow over sin? What is the difference between worldly sorrow that binds and godly sorrow that frees us? Today Pastor Rich answers these questions from our passage in 2 Corinthians 7:1-12.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. In Matthew 5-4, Jesus said, Blessed are those who mourn. Yet when we feel sadness, regret or guilt, most would rarely describe that pain with the word blessing. The Bible teaches us that there is a good sorrow, a sorrow that teaches us, heals us and draws us near to the Savior. What does that good sorrow look like? Is there a right way to sorrow over sin? What's the difference between worldly sorrow that binds and godly sorrow that frees us? Today, Pastor Rich answers these questions from our passage in 2 Corinthians 7, 1-12.

Let's listen in. As we continue our study through 2 Corinthians, the title for this morning's message is Good Sorrow. There is such a thing as good sorrow. The reason why he says what he does at the beginning of this is because Paul takes a very high view of God and because of that, sin is a very serious thing. We need to ask ourselves often, do I have a shallow view of sin?

Do I minimize it? If I do, it means one thing. That is that I have minimized God. I have made God small.

Of course I can't do that but in my mind, in my heart, in my thinking, he has become small. And that might be reflected in this particular prayer that was proposed. This is way back in 1959 by an author pointing out maybe what has become of our prayers, what has become of our view of God and our own sinfulness.

The prayer goes like this. We are a silent and easy going parent. We have occasionally had some minor errors of judgment but they are not really our fault. Due to forces beyond our control, we have sometimes failed to act in accordance with our own best interests. Under the circumstances, we did the best we could. We are glad to say that we are doing okay, perhaps even slightly average. Be your own sweet self with those who know they are not perfect. Grant us that we may continue to live a harmless and happy life and keep our self-respect. And we ask all these things according to the unlimited tolerances which we have a right to expect from you. Amen.

Gag, I know. I fear that this prayer reflects what goes on in the minds and hearts of many who call themselves Christian today. And it represents a small view of God.

It represents a very shallow view of our own sinfulness. Last week, the focus of the message was that we are in Christ. We are set apart to succeed. Remember the definition of success. Success means to be satisfied in God, glorifying Him. That is what a successful person is. Success is not measured in this life, in this world. Success is not measured by outcomes. A person who is created in the image of God, the definition of success is one who is satisfied in God and glorifying Him.

That is a successful person. Now, there are things that can be impediments. There are things that can sabotage our success. And if we take a small view of sin, it will sabotage our God-ward movement. This is why the apostle begins in verse 1, chapter 7, an excellent connector between chapter 6 and chapter 7. Therefore, having these promises, what are these promises? Look back at chapter 6, verse 16. You are the temple of the living God. I will dwell in them and walk among them and I will be their God and they shall be my people.

Look at verse 18. I will be a father to you and you shall be my sons and daughters. God's intent for us, infinite, holy, sovereign God, His intent for us is for us to be with Him. For Him to be among us in fellowship together so that we can enjoy Him. That is our ultimate and highest good.

That is our success. And he says in chapter 7, verse 1, therefore, having these promises, which these promises speak to the greatness of our God and therefore the greatness of His purpose for us, it is God's destiny for His people, His purpose for His people. Since we have these promises, what does He say? Two things. Number one, let us cleanse ourselves. Let us cleanse ourselves. In other words, you are running a race, you are running this marathon toward the finish line, toward the objective. Lose the weights that hold you back.

Let them go because they are only holding you back. They are impediments that sabotage your success. And we don't have time to go through all the possibilities of what that could be. But He says, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Not just what we do with our bodies, but what goes on in our minds. Listen to this, all sin begins with the imagination. Therefore, what feeds the imagination is of a maximum importance in the pursuit of holiness. What feeds your imagination? You know what, there might be some cotton candy for your mind out there that you just love consuming.

But you need to ask yourself, is that cotton candy for your mind sabotaging your success? Cleanse yourself from it, sever it from you, the Scriptures command. And the second is, therefore, having these promises, number one, let us cleanse ourselves. Number two, perfecting holiness and the fear of God.

Perfecting holiness just simply means making progress Godward, moving closer to God, becoming more like Christ. That work that God is accomplishing in you to make you like His Son, Jesus Christ. Perfecting holiness and the fear of God. Listen to this verse from Proverbs 19, 23, this is a really good verse. The fear of the Lord leads to life and he who has it will abide in satisfaction.

That's a good verse. The fear of the Lord leads to life, understanding that He is an infinite, sovereign, holy God. He is a consuming fire and it is in my best interest to ask Him to devastate me with His presence in terms of anything that would impede my success. To be satisfied in Him, glorifying Him. The fear of the Lord leads to life and he who has it will abide in satisfaction.

John Wesley said, as a very little dust will disorder a clock and the least sand will obscure our sight. So the least grain of sin which is upon the heart will hinder its right motion toward God. The least grain of sin, that which is contrary to the character and purpose of God. If I'm harboring it, if I'm hanging onto it in my heart and mind, why would I hang onto something that is an impediment to my satisfaction in God and glorifying Him, my success?

No. Cleanse ourselves from these things, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. What does that require? The cleansing ourselves, the perfecting holiness. As we said last time, set apart to succeed. Sometimes we have to let things go. Anything that is sabotaging my success. I have to let it or I have to sever myself from it. I have to take drastic action to cut away from me, to take away from me that which is holding me back from my God-ward movement. Severing yourself from what impedes your success can be painful.

Why is that? Well, because I've been attached to it for a very long time. Not only have I been attached to it for a very long time, but I have some very significant emotional ties to this thinking or person or relationship that I want, that I feel like I want to hang onto, but I know it's holding me back from my God-ward movement. So it's painful, it's cutting, it's painful to sever it from me. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 18, remember He's speaking hyperbolically, if your eye offends you, do what? Pluck it out. If your hand offends you, what do you do with it? You cut it off. Wow.

Hyperbole, obviously. But what is He saying? He's saying, be willing to do the painful thing to get rid of that which holds you back from your God-ward movement. And sometimes it is painful, because I've been attached to it for so long and I've got a real emotional attachment to it.

Here's a problem. This is why severing yourself from what impedes your success can be painful. Because we don't like pain, do we? And conventional thought today says that if it's painful, it must not be good. How many of us believe that? Pain is by definition bad.

Not in a fallen created order. Pain can be good. And sometimes that pain comes as the wounds of a friend. The wounds of a friend. Proverbs 27, 6.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend. The Apostle Paul is writing to his spiritual children at the church of Corinth. And he's speaking to them with cutting truth. And he mentions a letter that he had previously written. It's not 1 Corinthians. It's one that was written between the two.

He had to write to them very sharply, but very truthfully. And it was a wound, but it was the wounds of a friend. Proverbs 20, 30. Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart. What the Apostle Paul was doing was Christian discipleship. Correction needed to happen. Because he loved the Corinthian believers, he knew that there was something in the church that was impeding their success.

And he says it needs to be cut off. They were the wounds of a friend, but it's a necessary element of Christian discipleship. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in Him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-19 13:13:00 / 2024-06-19 13:17:20 / 4

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