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When God Reschedules Plans

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 13, 2021 8:00 am

When God Reschedules Plans

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 13, 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 our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically. My opinion, it's very difficult thing to have our plans changed when we worked out something carefully, and it's especially difficult when were criticized as a result of having to change the I knowledge that people are different in this respect, I think perhaps at this point I am able to identify with the apostle Paul bad, who obviously was a very organized person that didn't like to have his plans change. I can be sitting on a beach in Florida the middle of August, fanning myself first 15 minutes on this side and 15 minutes on that side where the perfect schedule in mind and be interrupted and have to break it and be irritated. I'm sure their people can understand it but I'm sure it must be people who can lie on the beach and be utterly unconcerned about such important matters have to change their plans about mind at all, but some of us have difficulty putting all of us have difficulty in that area when we have plan things carefully. We work out how we want to do a certain job at work and then something comes along to force the change. Almost everybody is irritated, to a degree, as I suggested we are particularly troubled and were criticized as a result of changes like that which have been utterly beyond our control was what Paul experienced. We began to talk about.

Second Corinthians. Last Sunday night pointed out that Paul had had a long relationship with this church at Corinth, he had founded it on his second missionary journey and it's been 18 months there, which was a long time and the way Paul did his missionary work.

The only place I know that he spent more time was an emphasis he spent two years there, but here he had spent 18 months he had founded the church.

He visited it again. On one occasion, and as we would say he had invested a large portion of his life, and those people, and furthermore he had made plans to come back and visit them. He explains in second Corinthians. What he had originally planned to do. Paul says in verse 16. I plans to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. Other three parts to that, Paul presumably was in Ephesus at this time.

He had already been to Corinth twice.

First, in his founding visit to the church in a second time on what he describes elsewhere in these letters is a sorrowful journey there were problems she went there to straighten them out. He hadn't succeeded real well and now he says he was planning to go there twice more cedar different ways that you could get to Macedonia from emphasis.

The most normal would be to go up through Asia. What we call turkey crossover at the Hellespont and then traveled on by foot, probably to Philippi. The capital of Macedonia, the other way would be to go by boat instead of sailing on up the coast which might sometimes be done to cross over the Corinth, on the other side of the sea disembark pay a visit go up to Macedonia by land and then as he says here return a second time. Now that's the plan. He changed I think changed early because when I read the very end of first Corinthians 16. I think what he saying there is that he planned as he wrote this letter to visit them once says in verse five.

After I go through Macedonia. I will come to you. So what happened you say is that Paul had somehow pulled them.

Perhaps when he was there on his second visit, perhaps by a lost letter is a question about whether there may have been another letter to the Corinthians.

We don't have it in some way. He had told them that he wanted to visit them twice. He was going to come over and visit them. He was to go to Macedonia for his responsibilities there and he was gonna come back Corinth a second time and he change that and when Nero first Corinthians. He said I'm going to go to Macedonia first then I'm going to come and this gave rise to unreasonable but destructive criticism. The people that were trying to undermine his work in Corinth said, well, look, this Paul Taken too seriously because she writes one thing and he does another. Why, when he writes a letter. He's so bold you think he was a liar and then he comes to CON is like a mouse.

They were slandering him you say and they said, looking said he was going to come twice and he's not coming twice he's only going to come want to believe that people who had benefited by his ministry would be as petty as that, even if they weren't the ones that made the slander petty enough to at least listen to it. That's the way it is and that's true in Christian work. I regret to say it is a great deal petty criticisms level.

Sometimes we are forced to change plans and people say well you know there's somebody you just can't be trusted. Why can't be trusted. Little things, how can you believe them when they talk about the gospel or about Jesus Christ. Paul is dealing with that has been dealing with it as he writes this letter, we know some of the things that happened. I pointed out when we were starting the first portion of this first chapter of second Corinthians at Paul as he indicates there had been under unusual pressure.

So much so that he says he's feared even for his life. I weighed all of that is doesn't elaborate here later on in the letter he described some of the things he went through those things are horrible enough how he was beaten and flogged and shipped direct wasn't hungry hungry and thirsty and well. He talks about all sorts of things.

That sounds horrible enough, but he seems to have been describing something else here in this first chapter.

Something was so bad and dangerous. She was so pounded to death so persecuted that he thought he might even be killed, and it really was as a result of that he wasn't able to come in yet here were people saying well.

He doesn't come just because he's fickle. You can't trust really makes us ask how a person in Paul's situation and therefore how somebody in our own situation is supposed to deal with a situation when God our own fickleness. But God one reason or other changes our plans.

Another great insights here, I think, let me suggest some of the things that Paul obviously did the first thing Paul did was examine himself in terms of his own personal integrity. See when were criticized by someone. The natural instinct of the human heart is to rise up in self-defense. Somebody says we do something wrong we say no I haven't done anything wrong. Somebody said well you know you failed in this we say no I haven't failed as were criticized for.

That's the point at which we defend most fiercely Paul would seem didn't do that when I read this first paragraph beginning with verse 12 where Paul says our conscience testifies that we conducted ourselves in the world and especially in our relations with you in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. I think Paul is not being defensive is. He says that Paul is saying is this examine myself. I search my own conscience to see whether, as I have acted. I have really acted in integrity and the basis of the holiness and sincerity that come from God and when I have done that I discovered that in this matter as in other matters, I have not conducted myself, according to worldly wisdom, but according to the grace God gives us important. That's what we need to do sometimes criticisms a come to us are utterly unfounded, utterly unjust, yet it is often the case is that the there is some truth to the criticism and if there's any validity to the criticism at all what we have to do is examine ourselves and see if that's true, this matter of conscience is interesting.

We sometimes say in common speech. Let your conscience be your guide and when we say that we are treading on difficult ground because conscience conscience tells you that you want to do the right thing when you know what the right thing is you know what the right thing is, that is, if your conscience is not illuminated by the word of God. You can exercise conscience, but end up doing something that's profoundly wrong. One of my predecessors here. Dr. Donna Gray Barnett used to compare the conscience to a sundial sundial gives very good time or an approximation of good time when the sun is shining on you see the sun is shining on it doesn't give good time at all.

If you go out in the garden at night when there's a sundial in the moon is shining on it, it might say 7 AM, but it's not 7 AM it's the middle of the night, and unless our conscience is the word of God shining on it, which I think Paul is talking about here when he says he conducted himself, not according to worldly wisdom, but according to God's grace. The contrast is between the world's wisdom God's wisdom between natural ability to figure things out in Revelation, Paul is saying, I examine myself in terms of what God is said in his Scripture must we do that well then we can make our conscience say anything we want. Couple can be out in the garden and the broken side of the phone on my mother's I'm supposed to be home at 11 o'clock what time is it, he said while looking sundial. I go over look at a sundial and that she's not quite satisfied to see it says it's only nine she's eyeing us later that well. He said there let him strike him actually strikes my control, so there is anything you want, nine, 10, 1045 is that's what our consciences like Leslie sure light of the word of God is shining on our our conscious and something we can shout down we do something wrong in our conscience says you must do that that's wrong and we say well maybe true but let me think about it a little bit. We think it over, and we wait we think of the reason why it's right and I conscience tells us all that's not right that's not a good argument you think it over and you say well it's true that is in a very good argument for doing it. But here's another argument in this time. Our conscience whispers our conscience says no that's not right.

And we say well maybe I couldn't do it.

For that reason, but here's a reason that I can do it, and this time our conscience says and then we go do it. See conscience will do that conscience illuminated by the word of God, where as we study the Scriptures and examine what God has to say about our relation to him standards of personal integrity by kind of conscience is valuable. What Paul says in this matter of accusations that I am lawful in my plans that I been unfaithful to my people this matter.

I've examine myself before the Scriptures and I testify that we conducted ourselves to the holiness and sincerity that are from God, we need to do that. Secondly, when God changes plans we have to relate the change of plans to God's sovereignty and this is what Paul does what Paul talks about in the next section, beginning with verse 15 through verse 20 is his surrender to God's sovereignty. What he saying here is that when God speaks, God speaks shortly and directly what what God does when God acts in our lives is always the best course in the shortest distance the destination which God wants to bring us so if we really are serious about following as well.

Going the way, wants us to go then will surrender to this change of plans in our lives will say to God. God does look like that's the shortest way bottom looks like I had picked the shortest why you've introduced the change in change the detour and goodness life all that well why would have to go all way around the mountain instead of directly up which is the way I wanted to go and God said yes.

You see, but you can see the path ahead, you don't know what's coming in. I changed the path because why I'm directing you is really the quickest way to get there. Paul says that's what I learned to do. I've learned that when God says yes God means yes yes in the God says this is the way to go. I've learned that he means it doesn't seem that way to me. Well, the problem is and me are the kind of perception. I have I don't know if you've ever been driving down the road and very hot time in the summer when they wrote his straight is often is. For example, if you drive across the Midwest and because of the heat, heat waves, rising up from the asphalt and as they rise they ripple and you look down that road. That road looks like it's made out of corrugated tin looks as uneven as it can be atmospheric conditions or distorting your perception road isn't bending road is not even the road straight but you look at it then because of the interference with your vision. It doesn't seem straight the same phenomena incidentally makes the stars sparkle light of the stars isn't an director going on and off except in case of quasars and such things, which you can see anyway but it's the atmospheric conditions that wobbly air in the change in the conditions makes the stars seem to sparkle that's weight is with with God's plan.

God is a direct plan.

It's a straight road when we look at it because we can see clearly, we say well seem to be straight. We chafe under his changes are balls that I've learned not to do that.

I've learned to trust God. I've learned when God says something I replied by saying your will be done.

The third thing Paul does you find it in verses 21 and 22 and did was examine his relationship to Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. We had a question earlier about the doctrine of the Trinity find it here.

You see the way you often find it in Scripture talks about what God does his relationship to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, all in verses 2122 now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ T anointed us set his seal of ownership on us and put his spirit in our hearts is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come see Paul when plans change, sat down and re-examined his relationship to Jesus Christ important thing because Christ was his master, and although it was true that for circumstances beyond his control is plans were changed. He wasn't able to do what he wanted to do recognizes he thought about that that that was okay because she wasn't is all you belong to Jesus Christ and what Jesus Christ would do with them. That's what he wanted to do.

Jesus was his master, Paul speaks about his union to Christ in an interesting way uses a number of important terms here. He says that he was anointed into Christ.

That's the word that is used Christ himself to see an anointing set somebody apart for something special.

The word anointed one is actually the word Messiah, which is the word Christ.

So when we talk about Jesus Christ were talking about Jesus the Messiah Jesus the anointed one. Wallace is just as God said Jesus Christ apart to a special task anointing into it. So my anointed for that same task.

Jesus Christ is my anointing actually unites me to him in his ministry uses the word seal which is often used to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God's seal on Cecile indicates ownership when an important document was signed in antiquity, and really, and not so long ago was often tested by his seal man would wear a ring that would be his seal and when the document was written.

It would be sealed with wax and the ring would be pressed into the wax and that would indicate that the man wears the ring stand behind the contents of the document he owns up to it, as it were. Seal was also used as the case of Christ to indicate that it couldn't be broken with the authority of Rome stood behind the authority of the Jewish Sanhedrin. That's what the Holy Spirit is for us, God is put us in the Christ and the Holy Spirit is God's seal on that the work is we belong to him and his blog is on the state's third word, Holy Spirit is a deposit in earnest guaranteeing what is to, Paul is talking about. There is our union with Christ and he saying look as I examine my life. That's the thing that matters most to me possible to go on. He says I know I do it or not, you must've done it as well to go on to make our own plans do our own thing, as if we were our own master falls is what I have tried to do is live in such a way that what Jesus does, I did ON my union to him manifested by the seal of the Holy Spirit is apparent all the world, then, is 1/4 thing Paul has examined his own personal integrity. He's re-examined. Whether he's actually surrendered to God's Lordship in his life.

The sovereignties re-examined his relationship to Jesus Christ. The last thing has to do not with his relationship to God, although it does directly, but his relationship other people and in this case to the Corinthians, Paul said, you see, the reason all this worked out this way and it's interesting he presents this says is his real reason for not going to Corinth. Although we know from the preceding paragraph. It's because of the things that happened to them in Asia. But it's the reason he said, is because it if I had gone when I had planned to go and the church was in its unrepentant state.

The state that's reflected in our first Corinthians, Paul said, I would have had to come to you in judgment and happiness. I would've had to exercise my authority as an apostle. We would had to discipline the people that were involved in the offenses that were there grievous offenses as we find in that first letter. Also, I didn't want to do that that isn't the way I wanted to operate.

I wanted to advise you what was right. I wanted to have use search out the basis of what you know about God. How your conduct is offensive to him.

And then, because you are God's children not because you're under my authority, but because you're the children of God. You want to please God straighten that out. Make it right then begin to lead and develop the church in a way that honors Jesus Christ in all respects. So Paul says.

For that reason I didn't come when I did, and as we know Paul wrote this was aware, having met with Titus in the meantime would been to the church that they actually had done what he wanted and knew they had straightened things out.

They had gotten back on the right path, and so he writes with joy. I would appall her to do that place obvious place where Pollock learned that was from Jesus Christ himself, which is what indicate you see he didn't call me and says in order to lord it over you know he came to work with you. Jesus Christ as our Lord Jesus doesn't lord it over us and that distorted form of the word Jesus works with us and invites us to work with him in order that as we work together we might bring glory to his name and other people to know him as the Savior when God changes our plans is for those reasons, but because he doesn't care, but because he delights in upsetting something that we might have plan to do, but because God loves us and cares for us, because God loves others and cares for them because God wants to work through the change in our lives to be a blessing for those others for whom he also died. We need to trust God and that as we trust to grow. Let's pray our father we ask for your blessing upon this study up on those areas of our lives swear these crews apply. Father, we go through many days where plans go smoothly, are anticipations of the future for unchallenged and then suddenly something comes to reschedule the plans and upset that future for that is so hard for us. We would pray that through this study and other things we know of your word.

We might learn to rest and what you're doing and trust you to be doing the best possible thing in our lives.

We know that nothing rises up and wife to surprise you. What surprises us. You are not shaken but you pursue your steady way with us, so father, help us to grow and thus set are amen to what you have spoken to the glory of God are amen you are listening to the Bible study hour with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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