Today we will be looking at the first chapter of 2 Corinthians. This passage of scripture grabbed my attention this past week, so I decided to study it further. Here are a few things that stood out to me as I studied it.
Paul had to deal with a big mess in the church in Corinth. His authority as an Apostle was being challenged by someone within the church. This individual was causing division within the church and impacting the effectiveness of the ministry. Paul had made some positive strides with the situation, but still had some questions being raised about his character. Paul failed to visit the Corinthian church as he said he would, so people we displeased and let him know.
I. Suffering and Comfort
2 Corinthians 1:3-7: 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
Paul praises the merciful Father who is the source of all comfort.
A. He comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others.
God is faithful to comfort us in our troubles.
Matthew 5:4: God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God wants us to comfort others who need to be comforted.
Galatians 6:2: Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Why do we fail to comfort others?
Life is too busy
We don’t know what to say
We are not the comforting type
B. Christians go through suffering
1 Peter 4:12-13: Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
Why do we suffer?
We live in a fallen world
We have an adversary
We are partners with Christ
We sometimes forget what Jesus endured on the cross so that we might have life in Him. Jesus had to endure hardship in order to get to the greatness of God’s plan.
We will have to endure the hard stuff to get to the good stuff.
II. The Value of Transparency
2 Corinthians 1:8-11: We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
Paul is not just trying to encourage those who are suffering. He too had gone through suffering his own suffering and he shares it. Paul thought they were going to die. This could have come from opposition or maybe health issues. Then Paul had a revelation that God can raise the dead. If they died, God could raise them back to life.
Paul had no choice but to trust in God and God showed Himself faithful. It’s one thing to say that we have complete confidence in God - it’s another thing to actually live it. God allows suffering sometimes to help us to live with complete confidence in Him!
We are not transparent for the sake of people feeling sorry for us. We are transparent so that we can see Christ at work in our lives. There are times when we need the strength and encouragement of one another.
III. God’s promises are always Yes!
2 Corinthians 1:15-22: Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice—first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia. Then you could send me on my way to Judea. You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
People were not happy with Paul because he didn’t show up like he said he would. They thought he was being flaky. Paul explains why he didn’t come here in the text. He hits home with something here. We need to be faithful, just like God is faithful. His track record show this, he genuinely wanted to come and and genuinely loved the people in this church.
The World says “Yes” but means “No”
Christians say “Yes” and need to mean “Yes”
God is the ultimate “Yes!” He always does what He says He will do.
All of God’s promises have already been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding Yes! Through Christ our Amen (Yes) ascends to the glory of God. Christ is glorified by us walking in His fulfilled promises. You may not be healed in the moment but it has already been answered as Yes! God is faithful and will do it in His timing! That goes for any promise that we are standing on.
He has guaranteed these promises with the deposit of the Holy Spirit in our Hearts. We get to experience His Kingdom now through the Holy Spirit!
I pray that we can grasp the magnitude of understanding what it means to share in Christ’s sufferings. Don’t shy away from suffering - rely instead on God all the more. He is faithful to comfort us, but at the same time we need to comfort one another. Let’s be transparent so that we can encourage one another and to allow others to see God at work in our lives. Let’s continue to walk in God’s faithfulness and know that His yes is always a yes. He is worthy to put our trust in!