“Defending the Faith….Defending the Ministry”
Introduction: The Apostle Paul writes this second latter about a year after he wrote the first letter. Paul was greatly burdened because in addition to addressing the many isms and schisms that crept in the Corinthian church, now he is faced with sharp criticism and scathing accusations of insincerity, with a growing mistrust against him to the point that he apostolic authority is being sharply questioned. Paul uses this second letter to first finish addressing the many issues that plague this church and he takes time to defend his ministry calling and his apostolic authority, given to him by Jesus Christ.
Note the many words Paul uses to express the “suffering” of the mind, heart and the physical body: affliction, anguish, beatings, distresses, fastings, fighting, labors, peril, persecutions, sorrow, stripes, sufferings, tears, tumults, weak and weakness.
The word “comfort”, used both in the present tense and in the past tense (comforted) is found more frequently in this epistle than in any of Paul’s other epistles. The words joy, rejoicing, triumph are prominent in the epistle as well.
I. Paul’s Greeting to the Corinthian Church (his and Timothy’s behalf) (Verses 1-2)
a. Paul made it a habit to associate a fellow laborer to undergird his apostolic authority and o give those mentioned both his sanction and credibility.
b. Timothy had recently either ministered in Corinth and was now with Paul, or still was there with Paul in Macedonia and was simply sending salutations.
c. Grace be unto you and peace (standard Christian greeting) (vs. 2)
d. Paul starts the letter by first blessing God and Jesus Christ because they are the source of all comfort.
II. God gives comfort in all suffering (verses 3-7)
a. God (the Father) is the mercies and all forms of comfort. (vs.3)
b. God comforts us in “all” of our tribulation so we can comfort others who are any trouble the same way and with the same comfort God bestows to us. (vs.4)
c. As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, our consolation also abounds in Christ. (vs.5)
d. Whether we are afflicted, or we are comforted (for the cause of Christ) it’s for your consolation and salvation which is effective for you to endure the same type of suffering, and experience the same type of consolation. (vs. 6)
e. We have a “steadfast” hope for you: As you are experiencing the same type of suffering…(for the cause of Christ) you will receive the same type of consolation from God in proportion to the type of suffering you have to endure for the Lord>
III. Delivered From Suffering (verses 8-11)
a. We don’t want you ignorant of our sufferings: we had trouble in Asia (vs. 8)
Burdened beyond measure…strength…we despaired even for our lives (thought we would either be attacked by the people of destroyed by wild beast) Remember, Paul expected Christ to come at any time. So they preached as dying men to dying humanity.
b. We had a “death” sentence in ourselves. (vs.9)
Paul felt that he was condemned to die; that he felt as if he were under sentence of death and with no hope of acquittal; he was called to contemplate the hour of death as just before him. The words "in ourselves," mean, against ourselves; or, we expected certainly to die. This seems as if he had been condemned to die, and may either refer to some instance when the popular fury was so great that he felt it was determined he should die; or more probably to a judicial sentence that he should be cast to the wild beasts, with the certain expectation that he would be destroyed, as was always the case with those who were subjected to the execution of such a sentence.
We should not trust in ourselves.
This teaches that in the time to which Paul refers, he knew he was in great danger, People were trying to kill him (Judaisers and other Jewish religious leaders) so certain was a prospect of death, that he couldn’t even rely on himself. All he could do was place his life under the protection of that God who had power to save him even then, if he chose, and would exert power similar to that which is put forth when the dead are raised if needed. Knowing that death was always so near lead him to put increased confidence in God. He believed that God only could sustain him if he should die.
c. God delivers from death and continues to deliver us even now. (vs. 10-11)
d. We help each other by pray and supplication…rendering aid where it’s needed
(Watching over one another in brotherly love, remembering each other in prayer, aiding each other in sickness and distress) effectual fervent prayer from the righteous avails much.
IV. Paul Defends His Ministry (verses. 12-14)
a. Paul said dhe and we lived a Christian life in sincerity and simplicity, no bragging or boasting of things in fleshly wisdom.
b. Paul didn’t write anything different to the Corinthian Church than he wrote to the other churches in the region. Paul promoted and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christmno matter where he went and who he was preaching to..
c. The people had once acknowledged Paul as the prophet of God s teacher sent from Christ. He didn't expect them to do no less when he was writing this letter evn though there were troublemakers who accused Paul of not being sincere and rezally not caring for the coverted Corinthians.
V. Sparing The Church (Paul explains his Delay) (verses 15-22)
a. My real intentions was to see you before I went to Macedonia, then come back through Corinth again after I left Macedonia but I wasn’t able to. (vs. 15)
(When he didn’t and word got back to Corinth that Paul was in Macedonia, some accused him of “dissing” them and said he had no intention of coming in the 1st place.)
b. QUESTION: Did I promise more than I could deliver? Did I act like other fleshy men? I wasn’t being rash or inconsiderate toward you when I changed my plans. (vs. 16-17)
c. He didn’t want the Corinthians to think that he had preached false doctrine to them. The gospel of Jesus as Christ is true (vs. 18-19)
VI. Defending the Gospel (verses 20-24)
a. Our words toward you were not yea and nea. Paul, Timothy, and others had preached the same gospel to the Corinthians. (vs. 20-21)
In other words:
1. They (we)are the promises of the God of truth. God is not like man that he would lie, God’s truth and mercy endures forever.
2. These promises are made in Christ Jesus, the Amen, the true and faithful witness; Jesus purchased and ratified the covenant of promises in his blood, and is the “surety” of the covenant,( Hebrews 7:22.)
3. They (we) are confirmed by the Holy Spirit. It is “He” (the Holy Spirit) that establishes Christians in the faith of the gospel; He has anointed them with his sanctifying grace. In scripture, this is often compared to oil. The Holy Spirit has sealed them, for their security and confirmation; and he is given to the Christian as earnest in their hearts, (vs. 21-22).
d. I didn’t want to come to Corinth in a “rebuking” mindset (vs. 23)
e. I wanted to give you more time to repent and make the necessary changes needed. I wanted to spare you further rebuke. This is why I sent Timothy before me.(vs.24)