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Heart to Heart

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2021 8:00 am

Heart to Heart

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 23, 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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Looking to the Bible study, radio and Internet Ministry of finance of convincing 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. The seventh chapter of second Corinthians that were studying tonight comes almost in the middle of the letter 14 chapters in the book Almost in the middle and it is the summer AR wrapup section of what is clearly the first part second Corinthians can be divided easily into three parts.

Chapters 1 through seven, and then a short section, chapters 8 and nine and then a final section, beginning with chapter 10 is easy to say that this is say summary section because verse two goes back to what Paul was talking about in verses 11 and 12 of the previous chapter and verse five in this section goes the whole way back to chapter 2 verse 13 where he began for the first time in here continues his discussion of the experiences that came to him when he went into Macedonia. What distinguishes a section of the book, however, is the fact that Paul is exceedingly intimate as he bears his heart in writing to these Christians in the city of Corinth. Intimacy is a very important thing because it's something we all hunger for and yet something that we find. Unfortunately, very seldom, you all know, I am sure that a number of weeks ago and Flanders and her newspaper column brought into a pole which had unprecedented response. She wrote in that column. What was a question on her own mind whether it she was writing to women on that occasion wives preferred sexual intimacy. They are rather would just prefer to be hugged and she was inundated by responses as women wrote in saying in effect that what they really wanted was somebody just to show them some affection and give them an opportunity to be intimate on an other than sexual level what I think did not come out in that pole which I would maintain myself, is that men, for their part. Also have this desire for intimacy. Usually people say and I think there's a measure of truth in it that men give love in order to get sex. Women give sex in order to get love. But what lies deeper than either is this real hunger that we have been known by someone else and to have an opportunity of knowing them as well.

Unfortunately, sin is entered into all human relationships and that natural hunger that we have for intimacy is frustrated again and again in practical ways other Lotta reasons for one reason why we don't have intimacy with other people as our own fears of how they might react if we do express ourselves in vulnerable or intimate way, we say well suppose I would tell what I really think suppose I would share the kind of uncertainties I have worries about the future or feelings of inadequacy. Why if I would do that made probably reject me, they'd say. Well I didn't know you are like that. I don't want to have a friend that has all those weaknesses you confess and we have to admit that sometimes when we have tried to share things on an intimate level. We have been rejected in precisely that way. And so fear of what might happen, holds us back.

I think perhaps been since I made a distinction is always dangerous to do that these days, but since I made something of a distinction between men and women. I think that men especially, have difficulty at that point we have to keep up an image were afraid that if somehow that images shattered her people breakthrough well then will be rejected if were known for what we really are. The reason for a failure of intimacy on our part is what I would call low self-esteem or a low self-image. Now if men have a problem, particularly in the area of their fears. I think I might venture to say all the women can correctly afterwards if I'm wrong, but perhaps there is this problem primarily with women. I'm not saying that it's not also true of man, but I think many women especially in our day have a low self-image. Perhaps that culture is partially to blame. Women are told today that they can be everything which probably they can be. But not everything at once and that unfortunately is the image that is sold within the media papers and so on. A woman who is trying to be a career woman and the lover and the mother and church worker, whatever it may be a social worker tried to do all those things at one time and find she can't quite do it says oh I just feel like I'm not doing well in any area. I'm convinced that many wives have very low self-image as they think their failing is wives and many mothers have low self-image as they think their failing as mothers and so on and all the other relationships of life and we don't become intimates because of that we say well look, I am doing so badly. Who would ever want to really know and care for me same time, probably the greatest reason why we fail in our attempts to communicate on this intimate level with other people lists higher guilt which flows from sin world to some extent can analyze the first two failures you read books along these lines will find them talking about here and low self-image and such things, but freely to Christianity but you have to turn to recognize how serious this matter. Guilt is the difficulty you see is that we are not what we ought to be on just a question of being afraid of being known or having a low self-image. We stand guilty in our own eyes, and above all in the eyes of God. So we think well if I let the true feelings of my heart come across then it will be evident to everybody that I'm a sinner and we don't want that. And so we pull back and we set up all the barriers we know exactly what Adam and Eve did in the garden were all right before the fall when the fall came the first thing they did was try to cover themselves from clothing, which was only a symbol of the kind of coverings we resort to virtually every day of our lives. What I'm saying and this is all by way of introduction. What Paul is going to say in chapter 7 is that it is in Christianity. Above all, that these barriers to intimacy are overcome or broken down the guilt is obviously dealt with in Christianity because that's the meaning of the atonement. Christ died in our place to pay the penalty of our sin in order.

The guilt might be removed. We might stand before God and also before one another problem of low self-image is over, and the fact does the Bible teaches that were made in the image of God and is one of the children's books I've read recently says God don't make no junk where made in the image of God, and we have worth in God's sight. Also in the eyes of other people and we talk about fear here is overcome by love, perfect love casts out fear and that perfect love is what we find revealed by God in Jesus Christ and his love for us see what I'm saying. I'm saying that this great search for intimacy that we all have something Christianity provides. When we turn to the personal life of a man like the apostle Paul. We find a pattern model for the kind of sharing and vulnerability that produces this intimacy between Christian people in all walks of life. Help all as he writes here and as I've already indicated is particularly vulnerable is talking about his experiences in his feelings and he's being very frank and open as he shares in with the Corinthians. The keynote of this section is his reference to the word hearts which in one case it refers to is your heart set on the other case he refers to as our hearts is the repetition in this section, verses two and three with what he had done in the earlier chapter in verses 11 and 12. There it was the same thing.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and open wide our hearts to you.

Then, on the basis of that he says open wide your hearts also us here in this chapter. After that brief parenthesis that we talked about last week.

He does the same thing make room for us in your hearts. I do not say this to condemn you. I've said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.

We look to the apostle Paul in first of all we say in what way. In this section is Paul actually opening up his heart to these people. I find a number of ways in which he does it. The first thing he does is talk about his troubles.

Verse five. This is where he refers back to what he was saying in the second chapter about his travels, how it was.

He came in the Macedonia how we waited there for Titus to come up from Corinth and bring word how he was distressed, waiting to know what the Christians in Corinth would do and how we was encouraged when they come here he gets back to it again as he gets back to it. He begins to talk about the trouble which he mentioned earlier but here he speaks about the most personal way. When we came in the Macedonia.

He said this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn. Conflicts on the outside and fears within I detect I think rightly a different tone here. What we have found when he talked about his sufferings earlier and what is going to say when he talks about them again in Chapter 11. These other passages are far more extensive when he talked about his suffering. In chapter 6, he went on and on at length, troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and so forth.

Dairies really talking about the way in which is a minister, a body of credit himself in the eyes of all people in those circumstances he's talking about ministry later on in Chapter 11. He again talks about his great suffering. He says how he was flawed and exposed to death and beaten receiving of the Jews 540 lashes, and so on. He goes on and on at length with their he's talking about his sufferings says that which flows from his apostleship and on the basis of which is commended to his hearers.

This is not what he does in chapter 7 is not making a point here Paul is simply saying what I came to Macedonia I was really troubled this body of mine had no rest. I had enemies without harassing me and I confess it freely to you, my Christian friends in Corinth. I was even troubled within.

I was very very fearful. As I said earlier, even despairing of the loss of life itself. I think that's an amazing major of disclosure and vulnerability on the apostle Paul's part because I don't believe that the situation was anymore different in his day than in our suite. Look at leaders and we say about leaders while you're not supposed to be vulnerable at that point, you're not supposed to be troubled after all you're the apostle you're the pastor you're the owner or the leader why you can ride through storms high on the crest of the wave who can hear is Paul saying I may not of been sinking when I wasn't on the crest when I got to Macedonia I was down in the trough in the were times when I feared that I'd never come back up again and see Paul Lowe and apostle is not afraid to say that those with the kind of things he went through something else here, in which he's most open and vulnerable. And that's when he begins to talk about his comfort at the coming of Titus is already set the stage for that when he described how troubled he was. We know from the earlier chapters that he was troubled on behalf of the Corinthians sent them this first letter, and he didn't know how it would be received in Uganda, Macedonia, and at first Titus wasn't there. Finally, Titus came to see him and all he said. What comfort it wants to me in that great period of trouble to have this hello soldier of Jesus Christ as companion in my labor, and bear good tidings about you and bring greetings from you, I guess. Again, we look at a person like Paul in St. Paul. You're supposed to be the pillar. What are you names helpers for why do you need comfort why you're there to comfort us. How can you be comforting us. If you're a person who needs comfort and yet Paul doesn't hesitate to say that this man Titus list particular circumstance brought in a great measure of comfort. So he entered into a period of joy and rejoicing that he talks about later on in the same chapter. I think what we find. Here is another illustration of what is quite evidently biblical pattern, namely the pattern of God sending out in the work and Christian work not individuals alone, but individuals with other individuals often impairs first great example of that of course is God making Eve for Adam air God had created a man who at that particular stage in the creation wasn't perfect fellowship with him.

This was a time in the history of the race when sin is not entered in. There were no troughs of the wave. In those days it was beautiful and tranquil and adamant anybody had a perfect relationship with God. And yet God look at that situation even all his perfection and said is not good for the man to be alone. I'm going to make a helper perfectly suited for him, and so God made Eve for Adam to share the work we don't want to say you see that in a certain sense fellowship with God is not sufficient. God is sufficient for all things we have in we have everything but yet we are still human beings and we live on the world of human beings. Send God makes us to work with other people and one of the great blessings of life in God normal way of doing things is to provide a companion of one sort or another, as we do it again. I think of the example of our Lord as he sent out his disciples to preach the kingdom several times in the Gospels. He did that we notice that when he did it.

He sent them out to buy 2.1 preacher or one witness in isolation always to buy two, so one can encourage the other end. One can hold the other one up when the going gets tough for a particular individual gets discouraged. We have to missionaries of this church, husband and wife was served in a very difficult area of South America and who on one occasion when they were back in the furlough were talking about the difficulties and said one of them speaking on this occasion that the only reason why they hadn't come back from the field many many years ago with was that the two of them couldn't agree to quit at the same time what he was saying is that God had given him a wife to hold him up when he was down and got a given her a husband to hold her up when she was down and that that's God's normal way of working. I notice also that when Paul about whom we are chiefly concerned with about to establish church send left leaders behind to carry on the work when he went other fields of missionary endeavor never left just one elder in charge, but he always left more than one was the principle of the plurality of leadership in the churches not to have single individuals who function as potentates or popes, but we are to have a team that year. These things in the Lord and here is Paul saying all I was so happy when Titus came.

It's not. You see, saying that I am sufficient all by myself. You know, Paul the apostle, the great missionary, now he says I like anybody else need help and encouragement in God was gracious to provide this for me when he sent Titus to meet me Macedonia and thirdly he talks about his feelings for Lem and he's very frank as he does this he had written them an earlier letter you heard from Titus to the cause them great distress and sorrow. He said I was sorry that I had to write it didn't yet he sharing exactly how he felt.

He said I wasn't sorry to because this was what happened to be God. In order to recall you from the sin and what really was a blessing to my heart is to learn as I did when Titus came and bore the message that you would received it in sorrow but that sorrow was not like the world sorrow, which is a momentary regret but was a godly sorrow which led to repentance and repentance. He says, is the pathway to salvation and he said look what this godly sorrow produced in you would produced earnestness, eagerness indignation against sin alarm and what might happen longing for righteousness concern with the sin and readiness to see justice done. Paul saying you say I am not a person who stands off here in different to what's happening. I'm not a person who says well you know I'm Calvinist in God's going to do what God's going to go so what I care all he says I entered in to your own experiences and when you saw that I sorrowed and when you repented.

I rejoice that your repentance and all.

I just rejoice God's doing and you that's a wonderful thing. Paul is not afraid to speak that way to the Corinthians then I notice in the fourth place the very end of the chapter even tells them how he boasted about the other people in the Titus he said. I boasted to Titus, and I was so glad to see when he came back from visiting you that my posts had not been amiss. I said must be. This is what he said to Titus. Now when they get that letter there Christians in the Holy Spirit is going to work in them, and therefore more mature than their behavior is indicating an organ repent of that sin and are going to get back on the right course.

But must have been setting.

I sure hope that's an accurate analysis and then Titus came in the report was good that he said say I was right was right. Those men and women there in whom God is working why they're God's people and they're going to make it there just going to go on and on in the Christian life. Paul, as he tells about that is not afraid to be vulnerable at that point what Paul does on the basis of this self-disclosure is to appeal to them because you see, that's the thrust of it all.

He says look, I've open my heart to you and here I am opening my heart I am being as vulnerable as I can be. Also, as I'm not doing it merely as we would say today just let it all hang out.

No, Paul says I want to establish an increase in intensify that bond.

So, just as I have been open with you so I urge you open your heart to me is what we need to do in the Christian church know the world today is so hard, insensitive, selfish, grasping sinful place people can find people to whom they can open their hearts and who can receive as others open their hearts within the church and there's no place that is going to happen in this great hunger that God is placed within the human heart will go unfulfilled. I want to say one last thing Paul doesn't mention it here but it lies theologically behind everything else. I've said reason we have this pattern for intimacy and for that matter. The reason why we have this hunger for intimacy, as it were made in God's image and God himself is like that in his relationship. Dawson ever thought of God as the vulnerable God.

God, it doesn't hesitate to be intimate with his creatures. Greeks didn't think of God like that for the Greeks while God was the great Stoic God was off the air. If there was a God so removed from so abstraction of Micah scientific principle absolutely untouched by anything we might do or think or feel. And they even justified it philosophically because they said well of God can be affected by anything we do and what we do can affect God, and that means we can change God and God cannot be the unchangeable one that is not the unchangeable one is not God. Well, good philosophy, but theology because what we find in the Bible is a God makes himself vulnerable to his creatures. We read in the Old Testament we find God as were baring his soul saying when you send my heart breaks when you go your own way.

After I tried to raise you and teach you and help your wife. It's like a father grieves over an errant child, then as we fail to get that in his own time. God sends Jesus Christ in human flesh to be as vulnerable and is in the much as it's possible for any man to be Jesus walked among us. He rub shoulders with man and women just like us. Jesus shared his joys. He laugh talk with those with whom he was close. Jesus shared his sorrow.

He said as he was about to go to the cross to his disciples by soul is exceedingly troubled tried to share that with them. We know that Jesus even shared his tears because we have a picture of them there, looking out over Jerusalem weeping for the city saying all Jerusalem Jerusalem, how often, what I have gathered you like a hen gathers her chicks under her arm, and you would not, that's our God were made in his image for called to be like in the Jesus Christ himself is our pattern and let's be open with one another as Paul himself was let's not stand on our status, but still what's on our hearts, not to get at the other person. But in order to build them up in Christ spray our father. We see a pattern like this pattern of the apostle Paul and we confess that that's a hard thing very hard for us to really share what's on our minds. And above all hard to do it in an up building rather than a critical way father. That's what we want to be able to do we want to be here as we are, as you made us in Christ and share so that bonds might be established in which your Holy Spirit can work and we together as members of the body of Christ might be built up in him to full maturity.

Our father, we thank you for the church for this can happen, we confess it doesn't always happen and even at the best doesn't happen as it should. Our father we do know that this is a place where we are received because we come together as privileged people but sinner saved by grace, and so on that gray common ground share what you're doing in our lives bless us.

To that end, we pray for Jesus and you are listening to the Bible study hours with a 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. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support of this ministry

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