Blessings Come From Helping Others

The Blessings Of Helping Others
2 Corinthians 8

When we study the Books to the Corinthians we see a body of believers who had some serious problems in trying to become a working ministry of the Lord.

We have seen may spiritual problems and sadly spiritual problems will always lead to a financial shortfall.

The churches throughout Judea were suffering a great poverty and sincerely needed help to survive. In the Israel of that day if you rejected the teaching of the Pharisees you were not only not allowed to worship in the Temple but in most every case you would loose your job and any other source of income. Many of the Jews had scattered to foreign lands just to survive but those that could not, faced terrible poverty.

The only support that was available was from the “body of Christ”.

Corinth was not only a most wicked city but it was also a rich city. These of this new church had a desire to help but those controversies within the church body had not allowed that help to develop.

Today we know that the needs of missions is a never ending call.

In many places of worship today we have forgotten that giving is a part of the “Grace” of God, just as the knowledge of Christ, the love of God, and the filling of the Holy Spirit!

Giving has been lowered to just being a burden. Many see giving as just filling the coffers of the church when it should be about spreading the Word of God and aid to the body of Christ in times of need.

The “Grace” of giving should also be included in our prayers because the truth is God loves the cheerful giver!

2Co_9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

You see God is specific, if giving has become only a burden to you then you can miss out on this love of God.

The Grace of God includes being a “cheerful giver”!

We will all stand before the Lord at one day and we should remember what He said:

Act 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

We know that love is the greatest sign of Christian “Grace” and we need to understand that giving for the cause of Christ “is a part of that love”!
It was Paul that wrote that “Charity” was the greatest sign of a Christian and Paul did not use the word “Love”. In our English language “Charity” is the only word that resembles the “Love of God”.

God gave us life. God gave us all our necessities. God gave us His Son that we might live forever.

If we take away “giving” then all we have left is not really much love!

No one can really understand this until we have “given” ourselves to the Lord!

Let’s Begin

*****2Co 8:1  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 
2Co 8:2  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 

Remember Paul is writing to the Corinthians. Corinth in that day was a rich city by all standards. We can be sure there were some poor people here but like America, Corinth was a city great opportunities financially. You could get a job in Corinth if you really wanted a job!

Macedonia included all of Greece and was the doorway to Europe.

We know that Paul had already established the church in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.

At one time Macedonia had been known for its natural resources but over time this area had been ravaged by the numerous wars and Rome had stripped this area of its wealth.

Because of these things most of the people of Macedonia were poor and had very little opportunity for that to change.

Most of the known world had realized these things and in the end the greed of Rome was Rome’s downfall.

It seems this lesson is never learned today.

Paul used these places of worship as an example to these Corinthians because they were extremely wealthy in the “Grace of God”!

Remember “Grace” is “the unmerited favor of God” and God’s grace is reflected many times in the good things that God gives so freely.

Ordinarily poverty is used as an excuse of not giving but this was not so of the people of Macedonia!

How did Paul describe these people?

1Th 2:14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: “for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews”: 

How did these people react to the ‘Grace of God”?

*****2Co 8:3  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and “beyond their power they were willing of themselves”; 
2Co 8:4  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 

The truth is they were willing to give far beyond their power to give!

In verse 2 Paul used the phrase “deep poverty” which means just at is says “poverty down to the depths”, utter poverty! These same people were giving more than all others!

What is the truth in most places of worship?

1) There are those who say they have nothing to give because they are too poor. Regardless of this fact God requires the minimum of a 10th of that income.
2) There are those who give a great deal thinking that should be enough but they do not give according to their means or they would hundreds in place of tens, or a thousand in place of a hundred.
3) There are also those rich and poor who believe the Pastor will only run people away from the church because he causes the plate to be passed so often.

All these groups of people lack the “Grace of Giving” because we all should give according to our means to give, in order for the ministries of God to succeed!

If we are to exercise the gift of faith, and the gift of love, then we need to exercise the gift of giving according to our means.

What is the truth of these Macedonians?

In verse 4 we can see that Paul even cautioned them “much intreaty” not to cause them own selves harm by their giving, “But They Insisted That Paul Receive Their Gift”!

So how is this wonderful gift obtained?

*****2Co 8:5  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 

They had an abundance of joy because they had given themselves to the Lord and they were saved and they knew it for certain!

1) They gave themselves over to the Lord!

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

2) They then gave themselves over to God’s representatives.

2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 
2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

3) They then obeyed the will of God to carry out His will. Above all others these Macedonians had volunteered to help those in Judea who were actually dieing of starvation.

What did Jesus teach?

Mar_3:35  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

After all the gifts that were gathered were to aid the poor Jews that remained in Jerusalem, a people who were suffering even more greatly because they had given themselves over to the Lord!

We must understand that giving is also the means of getting!

What is God’s principle of giving?

Pro 3:9  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 
Pro 3:10  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 

We give so that we can receive!

This is one of those principles that the world cannot understand, just like the certainty of the “Glorified Body”.

Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 
Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 

There are many good reasons to be charitable with all our possessions but the best reason is “that it shows the grace of God in our own lives”!

*****2Co 8:6  Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 
2Co 8:7  Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 
2Co 8:8  I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

So what is stewardship?

In the Bible times, a steward was one who managed the affairs of the household of another person.
This showed a great confidence to those who held such office!

It could be said that the Apostle Paul was the steward of God’s church, “the body of Christ” and this is a function of all those who are called of God to minister the Word of God.

But the fact remains that every “born again” child of God is to be a good steward. After all we become
God’s Temple if we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and “we are responsible for the affairs of that household”.

1Pe 4:8  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 
1Pe 4:9  Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 
1Pe 4:10  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 

1) We are to give because it will remind us that we are dependent on God to meet all our needs.
2) We are to give because it will remind us that our Redeemer gave all of Himself in order that we can live forever.
3) We are to give in order to promote spiritual welfare.

The problem with us humans, is that we are born selfish and we wish to hold onto all our possessions, even those gifts that God has given to us so freely!

Some would ask then, when should we give and God gives us a good suggestion of a good time.

1Co 16:2  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 

We know the first day of the week in the Scriptures refer to Sunday!

Paul challenged these Corinthians to give and even excel beyond what these Macedonians had given.

They had actually began this at one time but those controversies they had been through had stopped most all support for the church and the church ministries.

1) “Faith” is our ability to trust in God and to live a victorious life.
2) “Utterance” is our ability to share the “Gospel” with others we meet.
3) “Knowledge” is our ability to understand the Word of God.
4) “Diligence” is our energy and zeal to be ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
5) “Love” is our ability to care for the minister of God that He has given us and to care for all brothers and sisters everywhere, along with the work of the Lord.

If we have done all these things then we are not complete unless we become “cheerful givers” also!

We should give cheerfully.
We should give frequently.
BUT, We should give intelligently.

The intent of bearing our own cross for Christ Jesus is self denial and we may also have to deny ourselves of some things, to be able to give in a Christlike manner!

God does not give us a command to give because if giving is forced or even coerced it loses all it’s benefits because it will not please God!

Giving proves the state of our hearts in the eyes of God!
We already know that love is an action word “so love is proven more by action than by word of mouth”!

1Jn 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; “but in deed and in truth”. 

Again who is our example in all things?

*****2Co 8:9  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, “that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich”. 

The Lord Jesus Christ was rich and as the Son of God He possessed all the nature, all the being, and all the fullness of God, who just speaks and things just happen.

**Jesus Christ dwelt in the power and the majesty of the Godhead, the Holy Trinity!

Col 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 

**Jesus Christ possesses every good and perfect thing!

Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 

**Jesus Christ had all the worship and adoration of all heavenly things!

Rev 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, “stood a Lamb” as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 
Rev 5:7  And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 

But the Lord Jesus Christ gave all these things up just to come to this earth to be a substitute in death for all our sins!

Jesus became poor “for our sakes” that we through His poverty could be rich in all things in Heaven and Earth.

And these are things that we know to be true, so how can we not give a little something of our selves and our possessions that He has shared with us “for all good things truly belonged to Him”!

So what was Paul advice to these Corinthians and to all of the Church everywhere?

*****2Co 8:10  And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 

If we take that word “expedient” as meaning “profitable” as it does, we can then understand what Paul is saying:

1Ti 6:18  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 
1Ti 6:19  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 

Before the controversies had divided this church they had made a commitment to support missions. In fact they obligated themselves to help their brothers and sisters in Judea.

Paul had already taught about the “judgment seat of Christ” and the gain or the loss of rewards. Paul is saying, why would anyone want to change a gain into a loss!

It is certain God expects us to uphold our commitments because if not then a commitment becomes meaningless!

Certain of these Corinthians had made a commitment to help the Christians in Judea and they were persuaded that it was absolutely the right thing to do.

So what does God say?

Jas 4:17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

Here is another case of a gain becoming a loss!

This commitment was made a year ago, so we can see that these disputes within the church and the lack of Church discipline had stopped the Church outreach which is also where a gain becomes a loss.

It was surely profitable or expedient that this church get back to the work of the Lord!

*****2Co 8:11  Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 
2Co 8:12  For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 

The greatest challenge in giving is not only to give but to give willingly and to give readily.

A church that has no outreach is not much of a church and this holds true to every individual. We must all give of ourselves in some way to the missions of the Church!

We see that Paul adds that phrase “out of that which you have”. In other words according to your own means!

If we accept what God is saying then, if we have undertaken a mission project then we need to complete that project but also that this should be a continuous and ongoing thing for all churches.

There is always a need somewhere and this will remain until Lord returns!

The world is full of sin.
The world is full of disease.
The world is full of poverty.
The world is full of death and hunger and thirst.

We know that a small child cannot hear you when their stomach is empty and so is a grownup.

Many in our world die without Christ everyday just because no one cares enough to help them.

Mar 14:7  For ye have the poor with you always, “and whensoever ye will ye may do them good”: but me ye have not always. 

Until the Lord returns there will always be a need for missions and the support of those missions!

Giving can happen when we have a willing mind!
But there must also be a readiness to give when an opportunity arises.

We should judge our own selves. God accepts everyone according to what they have and not according to what they have not.

We should remember the story of the little old lady in the Temple.

Luk 21:3  And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 
Luk 21:4  For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: “but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had”. 

The point being that God does not expect us to give all that we have of our finances as this sweet lady had done, but in the eyes of God, her small amount counted for a much greater reward that what the others had given even though they had given a far greater amount!

God says give what we can and even if it hurts a little, no matter the amount with this thought in mind, God will judge us on “what we give compared to what we could give”. God has a way of multiplying things!

What is the truth of giving?

*****2Co 8:13  For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 
2Co 8:14  But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 
2Co 8:15  As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

After all what is a Christian? A Christian is someone who learns the principles of Jesus Christ and then applies those principles to their own lives.

Christian still means Christlike and not worldlike and much of the church has forgotten this main principle!

We should also remember Jesus was no wimp. Jesus stood His ground on the Word of God even before all obstacles.

In the Christian mind, Christ must be all in all, the measure of all things, and the standard that we are to use to set our goals in this life!

As Christians we are all in this thing together. We are one family! If one suffers we all suffer! We should help meet the needs of one another.

The truth is, God has given all of us a certain capacity for enjoyment. If God increases our riches beyond that point of enjoyment and we hoard those things and they cause sadness in any way, we cannot blame God, we should have given that extra it to those who who do not have and stayed at the place where we enjoyed the life that God had given to us already!

More does not make happy into happier!

We should remember “the manna” that fed the children of Israel for 40 years. They could only gather what they needed and as much as they needed. If they tried to gather more than they could eat it would
spoil. If someone was sick or injured then another could gather enough for them so that they all had all that they needed.

God’s principles do not ever change and we are wrong to think so!

God still made this giving to be voluntary.
God left it in our power to keep or to give away!
God left it in our own power to give a little or to give much!

But God also gives us good advice in how to deal with giving.

Gal 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 
Gal 6:10  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

We can be sure if God has provided something extra, then He will soon show us a place where that extra is needed to have an opportunity for a reward saved in Heaven but also joy in this life!

We should have this thought in mind, “that whatever is done for another Christian or to those in need, is the same as if it were done for Christ Himself”!

Mat 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

Since we know that giving is truly important to the Lord and to the spread of the Gospel, then we should surely know that those who collect that ministry also have a great responsibility to make sure those offerings gets to where it is needed and it is used for what it was intended!

*****2Co 8:16  But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 
2Co 8:17  For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. 
2Co 8:18  And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 
2Co 8:19  And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: 
2Co 8:20  Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: 

Those that gather the collections of the church also have an important function and it should be taken very seriously!

The truth is, the “body of Christ” must always be aware of who handles the money!

These people must be trustworthy!
Titus was an evangelist who assisted the Apostles and became a church planter himself.

Titus cared for this church at Corinth as much as Paul did!

This church clearly understood this fact and placed great trust in Titus.

So those that take up the collections must also have a great love and care for the church!

The name of this other person is not as important as is his qualifications. “His praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches”.

He was a Christian. He was treated as a brother in every church. He had a strong testimony in the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

It would only be a wild guess to assume that this was Luke because we cannot possibly know, and it is his qualifications that are most important!

This person had been hand picked to keep the collections secure until they were delivered to the place of their need.

You see the men who secure the collections of the church “should be chosen by the church”.

If Paul had handled these offerings himself, he would have left himself and his ministry open to being charged with confiscating or even stealing church money.

Every Pastor needs to consider these things in his own ministry!

In reality Paul sent 3 messengers to Corinth to gather this offering and we should observe another Godly principle.

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”. 

These Corinthians had made a commitment and if they did not follow through then there would be 3 witnesses and not just the word of the Apostle Paul.

Paul wanted all men to know that he was honest and that he would never take money out of the offerings for his own use.
Paul wanted no one to question his personal conduct because he had dedicated his life to the “Gospel” and to helping people and his reputation was everything to him for his work to have meaning and to produce fruit.

This should not only be the goal of every Pastor but also for every child of God!

*****2Co 8:21  Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 

Paul said above all things we give no one an occasion for suspicion, not only in the sight of all men but also in sight of the Lord.

God is not sitting in Heaven just waiting on us to make a mistake so he can punish us but He is certainly aware of all the things we do and at all times.

Psa 139:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 
Psa 139:2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 
Psa 139:3  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 
Psa 139:4  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 
Psa 139:5  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 
Psa 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 

If we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ then we must have a reputation that resembles Christ’s reputation and above all Christ Jesus never sinned and even those that hated Christ knew Him as a good man!

We as Christians must have a clear conscience and it must appear to the world that we have a clear conscience!

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

The two men who Paul had sent with Titus had met all these qualifications and everywhere this was known.

*****2Co 8:22  And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. 
2Co 8:23  Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 
2Co 8:24  Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

Paul had sent Titus who the Corinthian Church had come to trust, a Christian brother whom all the other churches had selected to trust, and this third Christian who had been tested frequently by the Apostle Paul himself.

Again if this this church was not ready to honor its commitment then there would qualified witnesses and these things could not be blamed on God’s Apostle.

Paul had requested no particular amount and remember they already were giving in support of their own church.

Paul had said to be liberal. (of bounty and not covetousness)
Paul had said to be deliberate. (Christian charity is a calm and wise thing, with courage to refuse if necessary, not an impulse but with purpose of heart)
Paul had said to be cheerful. (The Lord loves a cheerful giver)

Giving is also a proof not only of the love of God in our lives but also the love of all our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Love is an action word that calls for proof sometimes if not all the time!


Let’s Pray!

Forgiveness Brings Blessings

Blessings Through Forgiveness

2 Corinthians 2

We know our Churches face the challenges of this world just to survive and that is bad enough, but when there is internal turmoil and divisiveness inside the Church body, then that is even worse.

Satan will try His best to make the power of the Church go away in this world and he has in many places already.

In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul had addressed many issues that had divided the Church in Corinth.

By ignoring blatant sin among its members, the Corinthian church was further contributing to division and weakness in the members of this Church.

The Apostle Paul had given practical instructions from the Word of God on for how to deal with immorality in the church.

Today we are reading why Paul could not return to this Church at this time and why he wrote the second epistle to this Church at Corinth.

The biggest reason the Church faces so many challenges is because even though we are a saved people, we are still human and we still live in these sinful bodies of flesh!

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

The Apostle Paul understood these things better than most other Church leaders.

One lesson we should learn is, that our Pastor should not be the cause of pain in Church discipline, this is the responsibility of the church body.

It is the “Body of Christ”, the Church members that should bear the pain of Church discipline, guided by the Pastor and sticking to the Word of God in every step!

*****2Co 2:1  But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 
2Co 2:2  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 

We can actually see the love that Paul had for this church.

We need to clearly understand the purpose of Church discipline!

The purpose of Church discipline is:
(1) To bring glory to God and enhance the testimony of the “body of Christ”.
(2) To restore, heal, and build up sinning believers.
(3) To show the need for sound doctrine.
(4) To win a soul to Christ, if the sinning person is only a professing Christian.
(5) To silence false teachers and their influence in the church.
(6) To set an example for the rest of the body of Christ and promote godly fear.
(7) To protect the church against the destructive consequences that occur when churches fail to carry out church discipline.

Until the Church in Corinth had done these things it was not so important that Paul made another appearance to this Church.

It is never so important for a Pastor to pour his heart out to people who reject the Word of God, his time is better spent on those with receptive ears and open hearts!

Paul was committed to the purity of the Church and he would have been even more severe if he had come and none of his directions had been followed.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

These things had brought much ridicule to the Apostle Paul and it would be best if if he was not attacked again.

Our Pastors do not deserve to be attacked for preaching the whole council of God!

AND, The “Body of Christ” must stand up and insist on the truth of God coming from the pulpits.

*****2Co 2:3  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 

Paul’s reason for writing was that if those in sin would repent, then there could be joy to all when he returned instead of more sadness on the part of Paul himself.

We can be sure that Paul was following the lead of the Holy Spirit in this case and had not done this thing on his own.

It is also best that the Church put the Lord first, for He is the foundation of the Church and put an end to all controversy.

We would be foolish to believe that everyone in the Church is saved but we cannot allow our Pastor to be the center of any controversy by undisciplined members!

*****2Co 2:4  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

Paul had shed many tears over the things that were going on in this Church.

SO, Paul was writing this time to show his love for them all.

The purpose of the Pastor is to reach out to this lost world, lead the lost to Christ and then disciple them to give them strength!

This must be the goal for every Pastor!

This must be the exact same purpose for all the “Body of Christ”!

Just as Paul wanted no part of controversy, the same then should go for the Church.

Paul had only one desire for his children in the Lord.

Rom 1:11  For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, “to the end ye may be established”; 
Rom 1:12  That is, that I may be comforted together with you “by the mutual faith” both of you and me. 

We must realize that it only takes one person to stir up trouble in any Church.

*****2Co 2:5  But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 
2Co 2:6  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

We must never forget, Church discipline has only one goal and that is to restore that one who has fell from “Grace”.

Church discipline is not to run people off that we simply do not like!

There was a single person who had caused grief for this whole church.

It could have been that one who been so immoral but we also know that there were those in this church who had become opposed to the Apostle Paul and there is always a ring leader and some think this is the one because immorality is not mentioned in these Scriptures.

The truth is there was some one in this Church that was attacking God’s man and causing much grief and pain and bringing this Church near to collapse.

**This thing had to be dealt with.

1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 

**This man had to be stopped so God’s man (Paul) could do what he was called to do.

Rom 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 

We are not called to judge a man called of God to preach.

Many today are Mama called and Daddy sent!

If God is his master, then God will cause him to stand or he will fall.

**This Church at Corinth had many problems like all Churches do but this controversy could cause this Church to fail.

Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 
Php 1:28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 

We know we have a good Pastor here at Gethsemane and we simply cannot allow anyone here in our church to stir up any controversy because of the message he preaches.

But we also must be willing to forgive everyone who repents of their evil doings!

Remember it is not the Pastor who disciplines, it is the Church, the “Body Of Christ”.

Paul had insisted this Church deal with this problem before he would return and they had.

But it was just as important that if this person repent that he also be forgiven and welcomed back into the family of God.

BUT, Some now felt that this should not happen and this person never be allowed back into the church.

We must first understand that church discipline is never to be about legal matters because church discipline is to only be about the will of God for His Church. The Church belongs to God!

The government disciplines those who break those laws

There will always be different opinions about church discipline and just like everything else we must depend on the Word of God to know what to do in these things.

What we know:

1) There was a man causing controversy in this church, in fact so much controversy that the Pastor had to ask this church to deal with it.

2) This church followed the advice of the Pastor and dealt with this problem.

3) Not everyone agreed that discipline was needed.

Not everyone agreed with the amount of discipline.

Some even believed that it was never to responsibility of the Church to do such things.

The pure fact is, that church discipline should have taken place before this controversy was allowed to fester and divide this church but also according to the Word of God.

AND, If this church had not done the right thing then the Apostle Paul would have stepped in and remember Paul had all the powers of the Apostles just as Peter and John and the other 9.

We know that the 11 Apostles had chosen a 12th and this is no slight on another good man but Jesus chose His own Apostles.

Paul cautioned this church:

2Co 13:2  I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, “I will not spare”: 

2Co 13:10  Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present “I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification”, and not to destruction.

This church had forgotten the purpose of church discipline as most have today!

*****2Co 2:7  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 
2Co 2:8  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 

The Lord Jesus made these things pretty simple for us all:

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. 

First: any believer who attacks God’s church and God’s preachers must be corrected most of all, for his own sake.

Second: this person must be restored to a point that he loves God and all the people of God.

**There must be “forgiveness”, if this person repented!

Luk 17:4  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. 

**There must be comfort and encouragement given to this person, if he repented!

It would be shame and embarrassment to be told to repent or to leave the church.

1Th 5:11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Th 5:12  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 
1Th 5:13  And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 
1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 
1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 

**There must be repentance from that offender! Once he had repented and demonstrated godly sorrow then the purpose of the discipline had been achieved!

If this person is not accepted back into the fold, these things could be more destructive instead of correcting, if “he be swallowed up in much sorrow”.

Act 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

**The church must go out of it’s way to assure this person of the love of the church!

One of the greatest testimonies of the church is love. This is always notable to visitors. If we cannot show that same love for each other we are failing as a church.

If the mess has been straightened out, its time to get back to the work of God, the quicker the better.

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 
Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 
Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 
Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

It is this love that shows the proof of each and every church!

*****2Co 2:9  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 

Most of us when we think about Church discipline, we always forget the purpose of the Church.

As long as any church knowingly compromises with those who commit the sins of the world, then the church cannot focus on it’s mission and it’s ministry.

Any church that is being disobedient to the Word of God will allow controversy and division to rule in the church rather than God.

Remember the Church was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior!

Rev_1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and “washed us from our sins in his own blood”,

Eph_1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

These things being true, if that person or persons repent of their evil ways, then that same merciful love of God is to be shown to them!

The same condition of pardon and life that we have been given from the Lord, is that we believe that person or persons and offer that same mercy and love to them.

The Church is to be obedient in all things!

The Bible says: Let our conversation be as it becometh the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.

We are always to love one another!

We associate sin with the soul but we are to hate the sin but never show hatred to the soul which is of great value to the Lord!

The Church is in the business of saving souls!

We can only be the fishers of men and only the Lord can save!

*****2Co 2:10  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 
2Co 2:11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

**Notice the Apostle Paul forgave this man in order to help this church but also to help himself.

The entire nature of the Lord’s Church is based upon forgiveness!

The Church exists only because God has forgiven our sins because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ!

When the Church is unforgiving it is denying it’s purpose of existing!

The church that does not forgive and restore after repentance, needs to close the doors because it has no reason to exist!

This is when the true Pastor of that church should take the lead, as did Paul.

**Paul also forgave this person for the sake of Jesus Christ (“in the person of Christ”).

We must remember that Our Lord is so displeased with an unforgiving spirit that He will refuse to forgive anyone who is not forgiving themselves!

Jesus Christ expects us all to be just as forgiving as He is!

**Paul also forgave this man for another great reason, to keep Satan from taking advantage.

1) Satan would take advantage with that man if the church had not forgiven him and he would become a witness against the church and remain out in the world.

He may also have fallen into depression and despair and be swallowed up in sorrow.

2) Satan would take advantage on the Pastor. The ministry of that Pastor or church leader would have become ineffective. God would no longer bless the ministry of such an unforgiving man of God!

3) Satan would get a foothold in the church for the same reason. God will never bless the ministry of an unforgiving church!

Just as Paul states we must always be aware of Satan’s techniques!

We should always consider that Satan has never had to change the way he does things, because his ways have worked for several thousand years, because we fall into his traps so easily.

Satan’s mission is to tempt and destroy people and we must never help him because we will be betraying the reason Jesus Christ went to the cross, which was to save people!

We must remember the Word of God, our enemy is never our fellow man.

Eph 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 
Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

Satan is always determined to cause the church to fail in it’s mission!

1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 
1Pe 5:9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 

AND, We should never question Paul’s love for this church nor any church.

As men we can only be at one place at a time. Paul was lead by the Holy Spirit as it should be!

Besides, if Paul had spent all his time running from church to church at every little problem, his own ministry would have failed!

For this reason, God chose to give us these wonderful epistles to teach us the truths of God!

We need to listen as Paul describes what God had called him to do and in these things we can learn about our own Pastor.

*****2Co 2:12  Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 
2Co 2:13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. 

A true pastor will always be gripped with passion to answer God’s call!

Every man called to preach, is called to preach “Christ’s Gospel”!

We see Paul as a pastor who was gripped by passion to preach the full council of God.

We see that Paul still had a deep concern for a troubled church but Paul also had to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit!

Paul had planned to go to Corinth but God had other plans and those attacks on Paul’s person had also made it an unwise thing to do.

Paul instead had sent his first epistle by Titus to this church but Paul’s passion to preach could not be quenched and he answered what we know of as the Macedonian call, but Paul was saddened because he had not heard back form Titus.

Notice Paul could not sit still while waiting on Titus!

We know that our own Pastor simply cannot sit still when he knows that there is another soul that could be reached for the Lord!

Notice when God’s called men are faithful to follow His lead, God will always open up another door for them.

What had God said?

Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 

How did Paul feel about his calling?

1Co 9:16  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 
1Co 9:17  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 
1Co 9:18  What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 

No matter what Paul was doing or where he was preaching or what church he was staring, he still had a great concern for troubled churches and we know for certain that every church has it’s own problems.

Paul said “he had no rest for his spirit”.

Here again we can see our own Pastor and see that no matter what he is doing or how busy he is, he has a great concern for his church!

Paul also had great “faith” in the Word of God as does our own Pastor!

*****2Co 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 

You see no matter what the world brings to hinder the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” if we follow in the will of God, and go through the doors that He opens there will always be victory!

The thing we need to remember is, just as Paul said the triumph was Christ’s, Paul may not have felt a great victory for himself in Corinth but he knew Christ was victorious in Macedonia!

When Jesus Christ has triumphed over us, we will certainly have victory in our lives. Paul felt this victory even in his sadness for Corinth.

We can all be apart of this same victory of Paul when we yield to the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ!

You see no matter who that Pastor or that missionary is, there can be no triumph without the Lord Jesus Christ!

Our one job is to make known the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ wherever Christ has placed us. This is our missionary field until God opens some other door!

As ambassadors for Christ, we must believe in Christ, trust in Christ, be called of Christ, serve in Christ, minister in Christ, live in Christ, move in Christ, and be in Christ!

It is never about us because it must always be about Christ!

When we do these things then we become a sweet savour to Christ.

*****2Co 2:15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 
2Co 2:16  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 

It is obvious that not everyone will respond to the “Gospel” but that is not our calling. Our calling is to make known the “Gospel” to all people.

We are not to pick and choose who we witness to!

Everyone who is a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ is very precious to Him!

The message of the “Gospel” is either life or death to that one that hears it!

The the unsaved lost,”those who perish”, the “Gospel” we will then be the minister of death.

This is why the Christian is so hated!

The fact that they do not believe the Word of God is there own death sentence and all those who are dead to Christ now will remain dead to Christ throughout eternity!

This is another reason Christians are hated so, it is this message, but it is the Word of God.

AND, this is also the reason the world is trying to silence our true Pastors!

Joh 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 
Joh 3:20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 

All those who accept the truth of God and believe, will pass from life to life. These can live now and then live eternity with God!

Joh 3:21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. 

The Pastor who holds to the complete Word of God without compromise, is being sincere to his calling.

*****2Co 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 

Without a doubt even in Paul’s day, he knew that there were many more who corrupted the Word of God than who preach the truth.

The true Pastor and the true Christian will always speak in communion and fellowship with the Lord!

The true Pastor and the true Christian will always have motives that are pure!

Our ministry is to serve God and help people.

Tit 2:7  In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 
Tit 2:8  Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 

The true Pastor always speaks in the power of God and the presence of Christ Jesus and is therefore able to share that fellowship with others!

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

Was Paul perfect absolutely not.

Is our Pastor perfect, he cannot be.

Are there any perfect pastors, preachers, missionaries? No

Our job is not to be perfect, our only job is to be true to the Word of God as best we can!


Let’s Pray!