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2Corinthians 7:2-16

Thursday Evening Bible Study

November 13, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words

Paul had spent nearly three years in Ephesus, during which he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians.

Paul’s stay in Ephesus ended abruptly when a riot broke out in the city because of how the Christian revival was affecting the business of those who made idols.

After the riot, Paul headed up north to Macedonia.

The year is AD 56, almost a year after Paul had written his first letter to the Corinthians.

Paul has been talking about the Corinthians struggle with Paul’s authority.

They were restrained by their affections (2Cor. 6:12)

There was the mess of being “unequally yoked” with unbelievers, from which Paul exhorted them to live in purity and holiness.

And the Paul goes back to the concept of his relationship with them.

As we ended last week with these verses…

:2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.

:3 I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.

Paul has never stopped caring for the Corinthians.

The trouble that has cropped up between he and they is all on their side of the equation.

But as we’ll see, things have actually changed now on the part of the Corinthians towards Paul.

7:4-16 Repentance

:4 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 all our tribulation.

:4 boldness of speechparrhesia – freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance

:4 boastingkauchesis – the act of glorying

:4 I am filledpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full

The word is in the perfect tense – He’s been filled in the past, and the results are continuing to the present.

He has been and continues to be “filled” with comfort.

:4 comfortparaklesis – exhortation, encouragement; consolation, comfort; refreshment

Paul started this letter to the Corinthians by talking about “comfort”

(2 Corinthians 1:3–5 NKJV) —3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

We’re going to see now how Paul was “comforted”, and what the situation was in which he was “comforted”.

:4 exceedinglyhuperperisseuo (“above” + “to abound”) – to abound beyond measure, abound exceedingly; to overflow

You wouldn’t believe just how “joyful” Paul was in the middle of an incredibly difficult situation.  This all happened because of the “comfort” he received.

What was that “difficult” situation?

:4 tribulationthlipsis – a pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits

:5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.

:5 our bodied had no rest

The verb “had” is in the “perfect” tense, meaning they didn’t have rest in the past, and they still don’t have rest.

:5 troubledthlibo – to press, press hard upon; metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress

This is the root word for “tribulation”, a great difficulty.

It’s used for like crushing grapes, except you’re the grape, and people are dancing on YOUR head.

:5 conflictsmache – a fight or combat

Paul was in the middle of some very real, external threats.

:5 Outside … inside

The trouble Paul faced was not only from external threats, but fears within him as well.

Sometimes the worst part of the difficulty we go through isn’t just the real, external, physical threats, but the fears we struggle with on the inside.

What was Paul describing?

:5 when we came to Macedonia

Do you remember the historical setting of the book that we talk about each week?

Paul had spent three years in Ephesus. During the end of that time, he wrote 1Corinthians.
, somewhere around Acts 19:22, early in AD 56. 
He sends the letter with Timothy.
Paul’s other assistant, Titus (remember that name), either helped accompany the first letter with Timothy, or he was already in Corinth.
Meanwhile, back in Ephesus, so many people were getting saved that it caused problems.
The idol-maker’s union was upset with business because nobody was buying their idols anymore. 

A riot broke out, Paul had to flee for his life.

Video:  Ephesus, Troas, Philippi map clip
When Paul left Ephesus, he headed north towards Macedonia (Acts 20:1), stopping first at Troas (2Cor. 2:12-13), hoping that Titus would show up and give him news about Corinth.

(2 Corinthians 2:12–13 NKJV) —12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.

When Titus was a “no-show”, he moved on from Troas to Macedonia, probably Philippi.

It’s here in Macedonia that Paul writes 2Corinthians, in late AD 56.

So how did God actually “comfort” Paul “comfort” in the middle of all this “trouble”?

:6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,

:7 and 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, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

:6 who comfortsparakaleo

 – exhortation, entreaty, instruction; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

Again that word “comfort.  This again reminds us of 2Corinthians 1, where God is called the “God of all comfort”.

:6 the downcasttapeinos – not rising far from the ground; lowly; brought low with grief

NASB – “depressed”

:6 comforted us by the coming of Titus

This was part of how God brought “comfort” to a “depressed” apostle Paul.

Who was Titus?
Titus isn’t mentioned in the book of Acts, but Paul mentions him 13 times in his letters.
He was called his “son”, his “partner and fellow worker”. (Tit.1:4; 2Cor.8:23)

(Titus 1:4 NKJV) —4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

(2 Corinthians 8:23 NKJV) —23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.

Titus probably came from Antioch (Acts 11:26) (Paul’s home church), and accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; Gal.2:1) to give a gift to the famine stricken brothers.  Titus became a test case of whether a Gentile needed to be circumcised to be a Christian (Gal.2:3).

(Acts 11:26 NKJV) —26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

(Acts 11:30 NKJV) —30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

(Galatians 2:1 NKJV) —1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.

(Galatians 2:3 NKJV) —3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

Paul eventually would leave him in Crete to pastor the church there, and writes to him the letter of “Titus”. (Titus 1:5)

(Titus 1:5 NKJV) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—

During Paul’s last imprisonment in Rome, he was with Paul awhile, then left to go to Dalmatia (northwest Greece? famous for its dogs??). (2Tim.4:10)

(2 Timothy 4:10 NKJV) —10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.

:7 earnest desireepipotheses (“upon” + “to yearn”) – longing

:7 mourningodurmos – wailing, lamentation, mourning

:7 zealzelos – excitement of mind, ardor, fervor of spirit

:7 he was comforted in you

God used Titus to bring comfort to Paul, but that was after God used the Corinthians to comfort Titus.

Titus had been encouraged by the Corinthians in how they had gotten their act together and followed after God, and that encouragement to Titus brought comfort to Paul too.


God uses people

Paul saw God as the one doing the comforting, but God brought comfort through Titus.
Some of us don’t like being around too many people.
Some of us like to think that we can manage without getting too close to other people.  And sometimes I’d like to think that we could all manage that way.  Getting too close to people is dangerous.  They’ll betray you.  They’ll be mean to you.

But God’s way is not to leave you alone.  God’s way is that we learn to help each other.

God can work directly in our lives, but sometimes the way God works is through people.
Paul received comfort from Titus, but realized that it was God at work that brought the comfort.
I’m encouraged by some of the things I’m hearing back from our experiment with the “Supper Eight” groups last Sunday night.
They are just a beginning of what I would love to see cultivated and grow in the church – a way to find and grow relationships within the church.

Now Paul is going to share why he was “comforted” or encouraged by the Corinthians through Titus’ report.

:8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while.

:8 made you sorrylupeo – to make sorrowful; to grieve, offend

:8 regretmetamellomai (“change” + “cares”) – it is a care to one afterwards

Some translations use the word “repent” here.

It means to “be sorry”.  It involves a “change” of “emotions”. 
It’s having “regrets”, but is not necessarily true “repentance” in the sense of a change of direction.
When this is translated “repent”, it’s more the idea of being sorry that you got caught, and you feel bad.

:8 I made you sorry with my letter

When Paul wrote 1Corinthians, he had to get pretty tough on the Corinthians because of certain areas of sin in their church, including the topic of immorality.

(1 Corinthians 5:1–2 NKJV) —1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

On one hand, Paul was sorry that he had to cause them such grief by writing them this tough letter, but he also wasn’t all that sorry because they needed to hear it and change.


Tough Love

Sometimes we need to be up front and confront those who are not walking right in the Lord.
Sometimes it takes tough words to get through.
This is one of the least favorite things of mine to do.  I’d rather just wait and see if they change.  But often times they don’t.
Solomon taught us:
(Proverbs 27:6 NKJV) Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Good friends are the ones who have the courage to speak up every once in a while.

Some of us handle confrontations a little poorly.  We act like a monster devouring everything before it.
Video:  Astronauts and Baked Beans
Paul did give us a hint at how we ought to “confront” others.
(Galatians 6:1 NKJV) Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Work on gentleness. 

Put yourself in their shoes (considering yourself).

: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.

:9 repentancemetanoia (“change” + “mind”) – a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done

This is the stronger, better word for “repentance”.  It doesn’t involve a “change of emotions” but a “change of mind”.  It actually results in a change of actions, a change of direction.  This is “true” repentance”.

The thing Paul is excited about is that the grief he caused the Corinthians with his letter had actually led to a real change, a real “repentance” in them.  He’s feeling bad that they felt sorrowful, but he’s very glad it brought a change.

:9 suffer losszemioo – to affect with damage, do damage to; to sustain damage, to receive injury, suffer loss

:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

:10 godly sorrow … sorrow of the world

There are two kinds of “sorrow”.

1.  Sorrow that brings change
You can have sorrow over your sins that will lead you to “repentance”, to a change direction and follow the Lord.
This is a kind of “sorrow” that you’ll never be sorry about, you’ll never regret.
When Jesus encountered a wicked tax collector named Zaccheus, Zaccheus changed.

(Luke 19:8–10 NKJV) —8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

2.  Sorrow that’s just sad.
This is being sad you got caught, or sad at your sin causing you such a mess.
This might even be sadness at the trouble you’ve caused others.
But it’s not being sorry enough to change.

This kind of “sorrow” will lead you to hell. 

This is the kind of “repentance” that Esau produced.

(Hebrews 12:16–17 NKJV) —16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

repentance – metanoia, change of mind.

He cried a lot, but couldn’t find it in his heart to really change.

This is what happened to Judas:

(Matthew 27:3 NKJV) Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

remorseful – metamelomai, change of emotions

Judas was “remorseful”, but he was just being “sorry”.  He was just sad for what he had done.

:11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

We’ll come back to this verse at the end…

:12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.

:12 our care for you

Some of the modern translations have the idea that Paul was wanting the people to see how much they cared for him. (a difference in the Greek manuscripts, humon versus hemon)

(2 Cor 7:12 NIV)  …but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.

Paul didn’t write difficult words just for the sake of the guy who had sinned, nor for the sake of the ones who had been hurt by the sin.

He did it to demonstrate his love as a shepherd over his flock.

:13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.

:13 refreshedanapauo to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength; to give rest, refresh

Titus was probably expecting to get a fight from the Corinthians over Paul’s admonitions.  But instead, he was surprised to find them willing to repent.  He was encouraged and refreshed by them

:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true.

:15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him.

:16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

back to …

:11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

:11 For observe this very thing


True Repentance

Some people are good at saying “I’m sorry”.
They have a knee-jerk reaction every time they get caught, and they say “I’m sorry”, expecting that you will forgive them and everything will go on as before.
I’m learning that this verse is a great test of just how “sorry” they are.  Paul lists eight qualities that tell you just how “sorry” a person really is.

1.  Speed

diligencespoude haste; earnestness, diligence
True repentance doesn’t wait for time to pass.  It deals with sin immediately. 

2.  Words

clearingapologia verbal defense, speech in defense
This is a word about “words”.  It’s not about making excuses, but it’s clearing the issue up by admitting to all that you’ve done.
True repentance admits to its actions without excuses.

3.  Good grief

indignationaganaktesis (“much” + “grief”) indignation, irritation
True repentance is truly grieved and upset over its own sin.  Sometimes the victory in our lives over certain areas just doesn’t occur until we get to the point where our sin just totally makes us sick of being sick.

4.  Fear

phobon - fear.
Fear of God. 
Fear of displeasing God.
Fear of what they’ve done.

5.  Passion

vehement desireepipotheo to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after
Repentance does involve a strong emotional component, it just doesn’t stop with the tears.  It’s a deep, deep desire to do what’s right.  You want to do what’s right.

6.  Zeal

zealzelos excitement of mind, ardor, fervor of spirit
I think “zeal” is deeper than “passion” or “emotion”.
Zeal gets into the mind.  It gets into the spirit.  You HAVE to do what’s right.
When Jesus came into the Temple and saw the money changers, He made a whip and drove them out of the Temple.

(John 2:17 NKJV) Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

Jesus had such a zeal that He took pretty severe action to get rid of a problem.

7.  Restitution

vindicationekdikesis vengeance, punishment; meeting out of justice; doing justice to all parties
This is a word that often is used to talk about taking “vengeance” on people who’ve hurt you.
But here, the idea is that you take vengeance on behalf of the person you’ve wronged.
It means you pay the price to make things right.

Where there is a debt incurred, you pay it.

Don’t just say you’re sorry for breaking the window, fix it too.

8.  Real change

“In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter”
approvedsunistao – to place together; to put together by way of composition or combination, to teach by combining and comparing; to show, prove, establish, exhibit
clearhagnos – pure; pure from carnality, chaste, modest; pure from every fault, immaculate; clean
the matterpragma – that which has been done, a deed, an accomplished fact
You might call this “whatever it takes”
When a person’s “sorrow” results in true repentance, they are willing to do whatever it takes to change.
It’s the alcoholic that is sick and tired of being sick and tired, and they don’t just start attending a program, but they actually do what they’re asked to do, they learn to “work the steps”.
It’s the person who struggles with online porn finally admitting to their spouse the mess they’re in, and installing whatever filters and tracking programs they need to stop.

And if THAT doesn’t stop it, they get an accountability partner.

And if THAT doesn’t stop it, they look into getting into a 12 step group and getting serious with the steps.

The point is that you don’t stop with just being sorry, you don’t stop until you’ve changed.

Are you ready to change?  Really change? Perhaps you should start with a conversation with God that looks like this …

Video:  God’s Chisel