When Sorrow Comes
Book of 2 Corinthians 7
What is sorrow? To begin with, we should know that sorrow is the exact opposite of joy!
Sorrow can actually be bad for your health. It will contract your heart, sink your spirit, and it will cause injury to good health!
If there was a theme for our lesson today it would come from verse 10.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: “but the sorrow of the world worketh death”.
We must be aware that sorrow becomes sin when it causes us to blame God or we shirk from our duty to serve God!
Sorrow is also sinful when we are oppressed so much it threatens our lives!
When we reach a point that we have no hope, it means we have forsaken the Lord and abandoned our “faith”!
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, “even as others which have no hope”.
We must never act like we simply have no hope because we already know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!
AND God will never forsake us even in our times of sorrow!
*****2Co 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
This verse may should have been included in the previous lesson but here it is.
Since we have these great promises of God which are tokens of God’s favor toward us.
Since we have them as proof of God’s purchase of us with the “Blood of Jesus”.
Since these are declarations of God’s good-will towards His adopted children.
Since these are just part of God’s “Covenant of Grace”.
Since God’s promises are the foundation of our “Faith” and the object of our “Hope”.
Then on these things let’s build all our expectations of God!
God has given us sure directions!
God has provided our means of encouragement!
God has promised to listen to and to answer our prayers!
Since God has already done these things and promises even greater things than these, why can we not do the very little that He ask of us!
Isa 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, “what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him”.
Then Paul adds, make room for us in your journey for the Lord and make room in your hearts!
*****2Co 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
Paul says “receive us” because the greatest desire of the Apostle Paul was for the “spiritual” developement of his flock.
This should be the greatest desire of every Pastor! We need to be growing toward the Lord Jesus at all times!
It would seem that no church has ever experienced more problems that this church at Corinth but in the end, they remained united in the cause of Christ and were a solid force against the evil of Corinth.
The Apostle Paul and those with him had been accused of many things and Paul again addresses some of these things.
Just as the Lord Jesus was innocent of all charges, Paul, though no way a perfect man at all, he and those with him were innocent of these charges by some in this church.
It was a simple matter of justice!
Paul had not wronged any one in this church body! Paul had not treated anyone “unjustly” which is the meaning of “wronged”.
Paul did not offer any proof, for they were his proof if they would look into their hearts they would know the truth.
Paul had not corrupted anyone in this church. Paul had not destroyed anyone in “doctrine” or even “morally”. In fact Paul had been a true example how we should all live for Christ. Paul had only preached the whole counsel of God which was his command of the Lord.
Paul had not defrauded anyone. Paul had not taken advantage of anyone in this church, friend or foe. Paul had not even taken advantage of any financial help, preferring to work by his own hands to support himself.
And Paul continued:
*****2Co 7:3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.
We must remember the Apostle Paul had certainly been wronged by this Church but he also remembered the Words of Jesus Christ.
Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Paul was certainly not trying to condemn anyone but he sincerely wanted to gain a brother!
Paul had a great love for this church and this church had a great need for revival.
All these things at this church needed to be settled before Paul would ever return to this church.
Again a church that does take a stand on the Word of God, “does not deserve a Pastor that does”!
And a faithful Pastor must always confront error and corruption with boldness!
A revival can only begin with the truth of God without any compromise!
2Ti 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
When Paul wrote these words to Timothy we can be sure he had learned many of the these things at Corinth and these lessons are valuable for every young Pastor.
*****2Co 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
Again we see that Paul had an understanding of people that most do not have.
Obviously this is because Paul and Paul’s words were being led by the Holy Spirit.
Paul could only be so bold because Paul was confident in the results!
Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Remember Paul was writing to saved people. Paul was pointing out errors at the same time he was boasting to people who loved the Lord.
1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
1Th 2:20 For ye are our glory and joy.
A Pastor has every reason to rejoice when his message is received by people who love the Lord and who crave for the truth of the Word of God!
To a true Pastor confidence, hope, and belief are essential.
To a Pastor, a church that not only has great love for the Lord and for all people, must be willing to repent if they have strayed in error of the Word.
Repent means returning to the truth and by the way this is the only means for revival in any church body. They must repent and return wholly to the Word of God!
The Holy Spirit will never work in any church body “that refuses to return to the Word of God”!
The truth is it is hard enough to be a Pastor, a Missionary, or Evangelist but if the “Body of Christ” will not follow the whole counsel of God, then that effort is not worth the risk.
For this cause many good Pastors have left the ministry even though they are wrong in doing so!
*****2Co 7:5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
We can just imagine the stress mentally and physically on the Apostle Paul.
Paul had been beaten to a point near death more than once.
Paul had stayed in Ephesus for 2 years teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul had traveled to Troas expecting to meet Titus there but when that did not happen, Paul had answered the Macedonian call by the Holy Spirit and still he had not heard from this church at Corinth.
In fact it could be said, that Paul could have been close to breaking down himself. He certainly was under great distress mentally and physically!
His flesh had no rest. There was great opposition to the Word of God.
He suffered from the enemies of Christ. There was great persecution of the messengers of God.
All this time Paul was thinking that even the Church in Corinth could be failing to survive.
You see that God knows all things, all the time, and God knew Paul needed some relief!
All these things began to effect the health of the Apostle Paul and God was not ready to take Paul home yet!
*****2Co 7:6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
2Co 7:7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
The truth is God will always meet the needs of His faithful servants! This means so much more than financial means.
It was Titus who had carried the letter now named 1Corinthians to this church and he had certainly stayed to make known the truth of what the Holy Spirit had given to Paul. In fact he may have delivered this message, this epistle to more than this one church as much time had passed.
It was the return of Titus that had brought much comfort to Paul but even more was the message Titus had when he returned.
Paul gave the glory to God who had known the need of Paul.
Finding that the church at Corinth had repented and returned to their first love, the Lord Jesus Christ was certainly good news and a great comfort to Paul.
God had met Paul’s need at this time in a way that only God can do!
What had Jesus said?
Joh 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
You see Paul was cast down, which in reality is depression and that’s all God needed to know.
We should clearly see that Paul had to endure these heavy trials for a great period of time before God moved.
Just like Christ Jesus, Paul had to learn obedience by the things that he suffered and this we all do but maybe not at the extent of Paul and surely not that of Christ or He would not be our example.
Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
The Lord could never be the “Author” if He had not suffered the most!
There are a great many things that can cast us down as we serve the Lord.
We see the wicked prosper and the Christian suffer.
We see corruption in trade, in politics, in science, and literature including filth and open lies.
We see more and more rejection of the Word of God.
But God never changes His command.
God will just comfort us through all these things!
The thing we see is that God used another Christian, Titus, as His messenger of comfort and God will do this most of the time and work through the Holy Spirit that abides within us.
And now we can understand why Paul, by the Holy Spirit, has put these great words into this epistle we now know as 2 Corinthians.
The message Titus brought was that the church at Corinth had repented (earnest desire and mourning) and had a great desire for the return of Paul. (they had a fervent mind)
This had to take place or Paul could have never returned to Corinth!
Again we see that a church that does not follow the Word of God does not deserve a Pastor that preaches the whole counsel of God in truth!
*****2Co 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
2Co 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2Co 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
When a Pastor preaches the truth, he has no reason to repent just because the church body does not like the message!
Paul had no reason to repent and the Holy Spirit decided that the world wide body of Christ needed to remember these things through this period we call “Grace”.
The church has no Holy Ghost power today simply because the Church will not cleanse itself of sin and continues to allow the world to dictate Bible Doctrine.
God said what He meant and God means what He says and He does need some Pope or some church leader, or some false pastor, or some government to try to interpret another meaning.
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
When the Word of God gives us the truth, we certainly are never to change it just because we do not like it!
Paul never rejoiced because of any pain his letter caused, Paul rejoiced because that pain had brought repentance!
Godly sorrow should bring an eagerness to correct any sin.
Godly sorrow should bring repentance. To acknowledge sin is not enough, we must repent!
Godly sorrow should increase our hatred for sin but not the sinner.
Godly sorrow should make us keenly aware of the wrath of God.
Godly sorrow should create a great desire to eliminate the problem and get back to the work of God as soon as possible.
Godly sorrow should bring us to the knowledge of Church discipline, correctly applied.
Godly sorrow should bring us to a point of innocence again in the eyes of God.
We should all be very clear, though we sometimes wonder how any church could be like this church at Corinth, we should know that God gave us these Scriptures for a reason.
A genuine Church must demand a true man of God and then that church must care for that man of God.
That man of God must preach and teach the whole counsel of God and be unyielding to any change in the Word of God.
The Church must discipline according to the truth of the Word of God immediately and not allow things to spread and cause a loss in the work of the Church, the work of the Lord.
Together all parties must care for the righteousness of the Lord’s cause!
We should remember clearly that worldly sorrow only produces death!
Worldly sorrow can only cause guilt and remorse leading to depression which can lead to natural death.
Worldly sorrow can only turn someone against the truth of God and then lead them to spiritual death.
Godly sorrow is brought on by Holy Ghost conviction.
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
1Th 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
Paul said he rejoiced because this church had proved themselves clear in this entire manner.
If we are to remember this church at Corinth, then remember this church for what they had accomplished where so many are failing today!
This church had witnessed its own revival by adhering to the complete truth of God.
So Paul says “wherefore”, for which reason:
*****2Co 7:12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.
Many had considered the letter known as 1 Corinthians was too harsh for the church.
Paul explains that though church discipline is a required thing at all times in most every church, and those that were wrong should be vindicated according to the Word of God, the main object of his letter was to get this church back into the work of the Lord as quickly as possible.
A church that does not have a zeal for the work of the Lord has failed in its purpose to exist!
We all know that one unhealthy branch on a tree can harm the whole tree. That branch needs to be removed for the tree to grow properly.
So Paul then says “therefore”, for this reason, for this cause:
*****2Co 7:13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
The goal that the Holy Ghost had set for the previous letter to these Corinthians had been achieved and Paul could readily see it in the face of Titus.
Isa_55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
It amazes me that the comfort of one will most everytime rub off to comfort someone else.
God designed His church in this manner. If someone is going through a particular trouble, in almost every case someone else in that church body has made it through a similar problem and they can then help that person. I have witnessed this many times in the church I attend.
*****2Co 7:14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.
2Co 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.
2Co 7:16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things
Titus was a young disciple of Paul at this time and had not yet gone to Crete where he would spend most all his remaining years. These were valuable lessons for a young preacher boy.
When we can see the handy work of God it certainly increases our faith but when we realize that we have been used as an instrument in the hand of God it certainly can grow our confidence in the thing that God has called us to do!
It is always a profit to believers to see God’s “Grace” applied when we can witness the results.
Titus was so over joyed to witness these things and Paul was caught up in the joy of Titus.
When the truth of God is observed in action, then it proves the truth of Scriptures.
The church at Corinth had been revived!
In other words we can pray for revival until we are blue in the face but revival will never come unless as individuals we judge any evil that is in our own lives!
**Revival cannot come unless we as individuals put away all filthiness of the flesh and our own spirit!
Revival is about the church going back to work more than it is about evangelism.
Fruit will come to a revived church!
God is waiting on His people individually to get right with Him and then God will provide the tools that are needed!
We spend to much time praying for the lost world to get right with God and not enough time praying for God to point out the sin in our own lives so we can be better servants!
Paul had boasted to Titus that the people at Corinth would repent and follow the Word of God because they knew the Word of God was true.
Titus had found these things to be true and his overwhelming joy had increased the joy Paul felt for this church.
There cannot be revival unless the pastor of that church shows confidence in his people!
**Revival can only come when people hear and understand the truth!
Love for God and God’s people is a key to revival in every church!
When people understand that they stand before a holy and righteous God who only seeks the best for His people, who is more a Father than a God, then they will yield to His truth.
**A church can only have revival when it understands that God demands repentance or else the facing of His judgment.
**Revival can only come when our fear of failure to do what God’s love demands is greater than our own demands!
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
**We have also seen that when we allow doctrinal error into the church we are binding the hand of God and doomed to failure!
2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
Every man called of God is commanded to be ready to preach the truth at all times!
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For there is coming a time when the world will close its ears to the Word of God and we may be there now.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The strength of every Pastor comes from the Holy Spirit but it certainly does not hurt for the Pastor to have confidence in that church to understand the truth!