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Something Painful This Way Comes

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 12, 2021 8:00 am

Something Painful This Way Comes

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 12, 2021 8:00 am

As the young church in Corinth grew in size, its membership faced new struggles on the path toward holiness, just as believers and churches do today. The Apostle Paul sent the letter we know as II Corinthians to encourage these believers to grow up in their faith. Dr. Boice illuminates all of Paul’s key points, including God’s comfort in affliction; forgiving people who have hurt us; the blessings of generosity; and why God allows thorns in our lives.

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Welcome to the Bible study reviewing Internet ministry of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically every one of the letters of the apostle Paul and indeed all of the books of the Bible have their own particular appeal.

We talk about Paul's letter certainly where attracted to the great letter to the Romans because of its doctrinal content.

Just the greatest of all the doctrinal books of the New Testament we think of Galatians were at attracted to that because of the historical setting guide of problems that existed there in the churches of Galatia that struggle between legalism kind of legalism that would impose law upon Christians as a way of salvation and that freedom which is ours in Christ as God provides salvation through grace we think of the pastoral epistles there appealing because of what they tell about the church structure and how the church should operate with the requirements of officers in the church should be and so on.

So I say every one of the letters every one of the books has its own appeal and that is no less true of this great second epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, which were beginning to study here tonight.

What is the appeal of this book. I suppose it means different things to different people. When we read the Bible out of the context and turmoil of our own lives are things that we read that speak to oxen, then we appreciate the material. For that reason.

Add to that degree. Since Paul deals with different subjects for different reasons why this book will appeal to different people chiefly.

I think it appeals to readers because of what it tells us in an autobiographical sense about the apostle Paul wrote to say I think that there is no letter in the New Testament that tells us so much about the writer Mrs. Mott because it was Paul's intent to set out to write a personal letter. Paul was always personal. He always send an incidental way would tell things about himself, often indicating his plans and things that it happened. Certainly sending greetings from the church which he was then residing he would do that. But this far exceeds that in contact reason Paul speaks so autobiographical he here is that his apostleship was being challenged for a number of reasons, and it was in order to defend that and explain his actions that this kind of material. This wealth of material comes in is only one other of his letters that is comparable about is his letter to the Galatians and the auto bright biographical material is in that letter for precisely the same reason churches of Galatia.

His apostleship was under attack and so he gives a great deal of detail things that had happened in the past in order to explain that it is interesting that in spite of this letter telling us so much about Paul. It is also for most among the letters for giving unexplained information kind of references, which when we read them we say will not want in the world is Paul talking about their one of these is in the passage were going to look at the mighty speaks about the peril or trouble that he was in Asia. So much so that he despaired even of his life.

All is and explain what that is.

We read the book of acts, and we may find some things there seem to suggest that kind of a situation were not sure. I don't know what Paul is talking about. Presumably the Corinthians. No, we don't know, and so were puzzled. Another problem of that nature occurs the end of the 12th chapter.

Speaks about man. He says who 14 years ago was caught up in the third heaven was people that read I think that Paul is talking about himself.

I do also a ball is and actually say that.

And even if he is talking about himself.

What is he talking about what is this being caught up in the third heaven seeing visions being in paradise where we just aren't quite sure little later on in the same chapter he has a phrase that is been a great puzzled the commentators he speaks about a thorn in the flesh was given to what was Paul's thorn in the flesh we use that as a symbol ourselves for something that's an affliction that you can't get rid of it, we doesn't mean that what kind of an affliction wasn't were not told those things but as I say, we are told a great deal about what Paul was going through this particular. Of his life how his letter was written out of his anxiety for the church. Paul is greatly concerned about all these churches and in some ways, particularly for the church at Corinth spent a lot of time there. He spent a lot of time in Ephesus to but he had spent a lot of time in Corinth and it was a place where as acknowledged in the first letter God did marvelous things God works mightily in their midst.

Many people came to faith. It was great contrast to Athens because when he was in Athens was very little response to the gospel was in the case of the being not there had been some several believed in the church was established. Eventually, what compared Athens Corinth was a delight error was a place where people responded in large numbers grew, came together, worship, witness, all such things, and Paul spent a large amount of time. Among them, perhaps about a year and 1/2 before he went on in the context of his second missionary journey elsewhere then there were problems in the church. We know that from our study of the first letter was immorality in the church divisions were lawsuits great dispute about the resurrection.

There was danger of falling away from other doctrines and Paul wrote this first letter in order to straighten matters out is very concerned about this problem. Immorality in the church very strict and how we talked about it is that it has to be dealt with. You simply cannot overlook that in the Council expelling a member who was guilty of that particular offense because that must not be practiced within the church of Jesus Christ balls in his letter waited in like a good pastor. During the interval was greatly concerned as to how his letter would be received. Eventually he sent Titus. With this second letter wrapped with the first letter of it to the Corinthians 1st Corinthians 10.

He wanted to know on this second trip.

How the Corinthians were doing. He had planned to meet Titus along the way. Apparently, the plan was. This Titus was to go ahead he was to see how things were. Whether the Corinthians, and responded well to Paul's admonitions and then they were to meet again the Croats that is Paul who was in Ephesus at the time was to go north through Asia toward the Hellespont where one crossed over in Europe and Titus with God before was to go north up through Acadia. The main part of Greece to the Hellespont and crossover me to Matrox as Paul came Matrox as Titus wasn't there. He waited a while, he was distressed. Finally he himself went on over to the other side to Europe and then somewhere there in Macedonia.

Perhaps it will acquire the port city. They met up in Titus gave his report. Titus said there's good news bad news good news is that they responded to the admonition about this immorality in the church. They dealt with.

It is a good thing. Your letter was well received or encouraged lad, you wrote. But he said there are problems in the church. Apparently, people had come to Corinth that were not altogether, unlike those who had come to Galatia and had caused trouble there. They were speaking against Paul, particularly I were saying that he wasn't really an apostle certainly wasn't a faithful minister. He really didn't care for the people they were even giving him accusations that when he was collecting money for the poor in Jerusalem. He was really collecting it for the poor is collecting it for himself.

He was growing rich at the Corinthian's expense in all sorts of evil things, unjust things were said about it.

They even said he was fickle hard to imagine man with the character we know Paul possessed being accused of fickleness, but that's what they said they said, looking told you he was going to come see you. And then he didn't, he says well I'll do this that he doesn't do it, please a man who is who is not a man of his word, and so when Paul hearing that wrote this second letter.

One of the things he is concerned to do is explain why he acted the way he did, and that's what he deals with in the first chapter, particularly going to look at the first 11 verses tonight, especially verses three through 11 where Paul speaks of that comfort that God gives to us in our suffering disclose directly out of what I just been speaking up. I noticed as I looked through a variety of the commentaries on second Corinthians that people have difficulty knowing how to outline this particular portion of the book. The book is hard outline anyway because it's what we would call an incidental letter.

Paul Wright says the thoughts of his heart unfold. It doesn't have the same kind of logical consistency in Romans cause. For example, or even Galatians doesn't mean that it doesn't have an outline.

I noticed as I say that some of the commentaries don't quite know what to do with verses three through 11. Most of them appointed as part of an introduction which Paul sometimes does another C gives the formal introduction Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ of the saints, and so on is another little section, which is also introductory in nature, it's probably because of that so many of the commentators make these versus an introduction.

I think Philip Hughes is writing his commentary when he says this is not an introduction, but it's the first part of Paul's argument. People that came to cause trouble in Corinth said that he wasn't a man of his wording said he was coming and he didn't, now Paul begins to explain.

From the start why it is. He didn't come over later on he is going to say that the reason he didn't problem is that he didn't want to cause them, difficulty he does that. Right at the end of the first chapter was to spare you that I did not return to court. That's a perfectly valid reason here in these verses, he explains the very personal way. The reason he didn't get there is that he experienced great difficulties in Asia some kind of severe suffering that he doesn't explain, but which he said was severe enough that I despaired even of the loss of my life is interesting is there's the apostle Paul engaged in God's work, caring for the churches, nevertheless, so distressed by suffering in the province of Asia where he was also engaged in carrying on about administrate that he despaired even for his life. We look at our lives we say, well, things didn't go very well this morning, we say oh I'm having difficulty with so and so at work we say all that pain in my back is bothering me. Things are so bad in my life. Here's the apostle Paul. This Ralph saint of God and during all of these things. It makes some of our problems fade into insignificance.

I think it's interesting that it's an apostle engaged in God's work was experiencing the suffering seemed that's and that's important because it says that God allows things to come into our lives for a variety of reasons. I have looked at the subject of the Scripture from time to time because like any pastor I often talking to people were suffering from one calamity or another, and the question they asked and asked rightly. Is this why is this particular thing happening to me here is someone who is stricken with cancer. Perhaps somebody who's young, they say, why me, why is this happening to me or someone who has lost a member of their family. Someone close to them, husband, wife, son, daughter, they say, why is this happening to me or they lost their job, they say, why should I be the one loses my job here.

I'm trying to live as a Christian. I'm trying to do the right thing. Why does this happen while I looked at this in Scripture, it seems to me there are variety of reasons why things like that come into our lives. One least illuminating but nevertheless a true one is that such things are just common to humanity. Job was writing about it and I think spoke wisely when he said man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. He was making particularly profound theological observation except to the extent that it's all related to sin, we have trouble was simply saying, look at his part and parcel of life to have troubles when your child can argue to fall down and scrape your knee when you get in the high school you are going to have sand romances and have your heart broken when you get into the job market. There are occasions when you're going to lose your job you are going to get sick. Eventually you're going to suffer a loss of members of your family and others by death. There's no particular reason.

There doesn't have to be any deep explanation these things are part of life I think. Of course, that in most cases it goes beyond that.

I think there are answers or are things specifically that God is doing with this with the first answer we find is that some of these things just come part and parcel of what it means to live in a fallen, imperfect world others. A second answer the second answer is God sends things, and though our lives. Periods of suffering in order to refine and polish us know if you just drift along in life you don't have any troubles while you don't always grow a great deal. I'm in the running and recently I've begun working with weights and sometimes when you get running magazines in the magazines and talk about these things, you see advertisements in one of the advertisements I've noticed says this no pain, no gain. I understand the doctors don't like that I think that pain is a warning to stop. I'm not sure I think whatever it does at least let you know you're alive and I would rather hurt a little bit and be so flabby that I don't even know I'm there until eventually the flesh falls off my body and I die. I think a little bit of pain is healthy. But at any rate, the point I'm making is that these things do make us proud. When you look at some of the stories of the Bible characters who underwent suffering.

You see that that was certainly the case, think of David one a man of integrity. He was what a great King. He was man was able to endure in all kinds of hardships under the pressure of leading the nation of Israel as a righteous king oddity learned that he learned that in his youth as he experienced one persecution after another from Saul and from other enemies, Abraham experienced Ray inner anguish when God required him to take his son and sacrificing my mouth Mariah, but Abraham grew by that experience the end of Abraham is praised for his obedience.

He becomes a model of the faith of obedience for Christians in all generations. That's a second workers is 1/3 purpose. As I understand it, as I read Scripture that is the sometimes suffering comes into our lives for no other reason then it is a way in which God is glorified something that is hard for many people to understand unbelievers can understand. It all seemed at absolutely absurd God should allow one of his children to suffer in order that he might be glorified. Christians kind of can understand that it's not always easy, but we can kind of understand are two great examples of that. One of the Old Testament, one in the know one in the Old Testament is the story of Joe know that here was a day when Satan came in the presence of God and God called attention to Joe, a righteous man righteous in all his ways. God said Satan said, well, yeah, I these righteous all right, but it just because you take care of them because you blessed because you given so many worldly things to enjoy you take those away. Curse you to your face God we notice from the story had called attention to Joe Goddard raise the issue presented the challenge God allowed Satan to attack Job and the area of his possessions and his family because God said I want to show the Job does not love me because of the things I do for him but because he loves me. It's the same way I love him so Satan did that even later on the second assault after he had inflicted Job with Boyles were told that Joe bemoaned himself excited dust and ashes picture of abject misery.

And yet it says Job did not sin with his lips.

You never find Job cursing God is a great story of Gloria being given to God even in the midst of such suffering in the New Testament. There's a parallel story.shorter dictation of the man was been born blind stolen John IX chapter, there the disciples saw this man who had been begging by the gate. Everybody knew who he was. It was there all the time. They asked the obvious question they said look the banner suffering.

Suffering as a result of sin, who was new sin was at this matter was it his parents part understand how to be this man because he was blind from birth, must God foresaw that he was going to send in so God's punishment in the 40 minute maybe is a sense in which it could've been the sin of his parents, but at any rate, Jesus replied did a very profound way. He said neither did this man sin, nor his parents, but this is that the glory of God might be revealed. Then he healed the man of glory was given to God what the story teaches us that God allow that man to be born blind in the sit there in darkness all his life in order that on that occasion, Jesus might come in healing and the power of God in such a healing might be saying I say that's a difficult thing for many people to understand that that's the teaching of the Bible as we grow in grace, we begin in part understand, especially as we suffer, we begin to understand it and there's 1/4 reason in the first reason is what Paul talks about here. Paul says that God allowed him to suffer and experience the comfort of God and his suffering, in order that he is a minister of God might comfort those who are likewise suffering. Never thoughts about your suffering that way you experience a great illness ever thought that God allows you to have that in order that you might speak as a Christian. The word of comfort someone else was going through the same thing you suffered death in your family to great loss, very painful. You think nobody could possibly understand that and it's grow people to not gone through that experience can't fully understand. But then somebody else has the same experience and they understand, and you go to them what not to say here is somebody who understands me, but rather go to them to say look when I was suffering exactly the same loss God comforted me and that's what I want to share with you. That's what Paul is talking about here.

There is Paul who apparently went through one of the great crises of his life. So we despaired even of life.

Yet he looks back on that and he said God allow that to come into my life so that I might be able to comfort you. This is a book that talks a great deal about suffering. In the introduction to the Scofield reference Bible where there little paragraphs at the beginning of each of the books. There are several lines that emphasize how much Paul talks about suffering the tribulations of this book, I counted up the number of words there just list the different words Paul uses for the things he endured were 16 of them in that particular list. I find some of them here is run through it to find words like troublesome suffering and such things they find a great many more in the 11th chapter where Paul actually list detailing suffering city was flogged and exposed to death shipwrecked in endangering all those things. Word after word after word certainly is a book of suffering but look when Paul begins to write about any reason and right at the beginning the first of these themes here.

The kind of things he endured when he was in Asia when Paul brings it in the first thing he mentions is not suffering doesn't give a catalog of all the horrible things that happen to them when he talks about is God's comfort so many times he talks about comfort in this paragraph. In verses 3 to 7 uses the word comfort nine times is redundant.

You know I do a lot of editing this is a sort of thing. You strike out as an editor like that word comfort appearing again and again and again you say, Paul originally synonyms and you have a Roget thesaurus get it out let's write better than that Paul says come on now is that I'm trying to make a point but I want to talk about his comfort. As you can get it any other way. I'm going to repeat it. And so here I go. Praise to the God and father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who does what comforts us naturally in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. Five of them right there and then he goes on to say, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

If we're distressed it's for your comfort and salvation.

If we are comforted. It's for your comfort in verse seven, and hope for you is firm because we know that just as you share in our suffering, so also you share in our comfort. What is he say about comfort while I think it's obvious he says all comfort is from God, and furthermore that comfort which is from God is for all our troubles wonderful.

There's no trouble. You have nothing you go through. No distress you experience God is not able to be present in that trouble and bring you comfort and moreover all real comfort is from him is that why does Paul say that he's the God of all comfort is the understand that sometimes people can comfort other people and you might say, well, there's a good comforter, somebody who helps honesty.

Paul is thinking more deeply than that he's well aware that somebody who knows nothing at all about God can get next to somebody you suffering and say come on now Mike off I'll stick with the help you in a certain sense. That's comfort voice he knows there's no God is no God, who is a sovereign God in charge of everything who gives purpose to life because he orders like so that nothing happens or doesn't flow through his well then, in the ultimate sense. There's no comfort in any thing, because nothing means anything your suffering. So a lot God is in charge especially if God is working in the lives of those were his people. Vendor's comfort because whether you understand it or not comfort means something the suffering means something God is doing something in you, which can be a blessing to others. I read it I think Paul also says about the subject that because God comforts us in our suffering. We learn to trust him and see if you look back over your life and you say well there was a period where things were really bad horrible things came in I lost my job, my business went to pieces.

I experienced all kinds of personal difficulties with some one else. But as I look back I see that God was there God was upholding me God was helping me. God got me through it God strengthen me, God comforted me in the midst of the loss of you can look back and see that you can trust God is a goddess painful but is the same God.

God is the output I might be getting in the end the same yesterday today and forever to be comforted me that he will comfort me now so you begin to grow. You learn to give the same kind of testimony that Joe gave see that's what a Christian to do. Paul knew that he knew it in a personal way about the same rough timeframe that the apostle Paul was writing, there was a great Roman Cicero, who is not a lot of writing and we know about from his writing. He lost his beloved daughter whose name was Talia Talia was the chief delight of his heart and she died at a young age and Cicero was absolutely broken by the loss. He had a friends name was PC a severance PC a severance did what any good friend would do. He wrote a letter to him. I try to comfort him. We have the letter he tried to remind him that after all suffering and death is the common lot of humanity in all of us have to die sometime and he reminded him that she had died that.

Of Roman history where the Republic itself was failing in the long run it might be good. She didn't live to see the dissolution of the Empire yet to see you read that to recognize here is a friend learned in all the wisdom of the ancients trying to do the best he can for a man who was close to him yet. Not much comfort there. The Masters understanding sympathy but not comfort. Contrast that the greatest of the Romans doing the best they can with what Paul himself does what he writes to the Thessalonians. They had lost friends those so their number would died. What Paul does, there speak about that time when were going to see them again. He says I tell you a mystery.

We won't all die will be change will be caught up in the air. He says that the Lord is going to descend from heaven with a shout going to see our loved ones again.

It gets to the end of it and he says therefore comfort one another with these words. See what I mean when I say that God is the God of all comforts and that the experience of that comfort and suffering teaches us to trust him and gives us the ability to comfort others.

Paul says all which true it is true. Life is filled with troubles I've experienced more than most of us can match the sort of thing that Paul talks about here in the 11th chapter where he runs down one great tragedy after another worst of the soap opera good match that Paul says I understand all of that but look there is great comfort because God is in charge of all and because God is sovereign in the good triumphs over evil.

Sin will be punished.

All that is endured for Christ sake in righteousness will be rewarded. That last day I only have one more thing I want to sell units to those who may not be Christians. You're not a Christian, I just want to say I think what you're missing.

You may be in the period of your life when some of these things that I've talked about a not yet happened to you, but if they haven't happened yet they well is make any difference how healthy you are. Someday you're going to get sick doesn't make any difference how young you are. Someday you're going to get old. Eventually you're going to die doesn't make any difference how blessed your life is been the time will come when those close to you will be taken away. You're going to go through these things.

The question is how are you going to go through you going to go through them without the comforts comes from God or are you going to go through them with the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles. I commend the Christian way, I commend Jesus Christ who endured all of this for you suffering death for every man in order that he might bring many sons and the glory, let us pray father when we talk about suffering in your purposes in its we know we're in an area where we understand very little and certainly at best see through a glass darkly someday will know someday we'll look back on this and will say backs what God was doing but we don't see that now. What we do see is Jesus and knowing that he is our Savior and sovereign Lord we trust him. So go through these things with confidence and with an ability to help others who likewise suffer father make a strong to do that we would pray that if there are those here who listen to these things perhaps have heard the many times but it would not come to Christ the Savior that they might do so, so that when sorrows of life come in the hardships of life break upon them, they might stand firm, because their fixed up on that rock, which is the Lord Jesus Christ and they know that you are the God of comfort. Even in those difficulties. We pray this in the name of Christ are you listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution.

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