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The ministry of believers
Bible Passage
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book 2 Corinthians.

The ministry of believers

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached August 21, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
15 Because I was confident, I planned to come to you first so you might receive a double blessing.

16 I planned to leave you in order to go to Macedonia, and then come back to you from Macedonia, and let you send me on to Judea.

17 When I planned this, I did not do it lightly, did I? Are my plans so fickle that I can say “Yes” and “No” at the same time?

18 As certainly as God is faithful, we haven’t talked to you with mixed messages like that.

19 For God’s Son, Jesus the Messiah, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No.” But with him it is always “Yes.”

20 For all God’s promises are “Yes” in him. And so through him we can say “Amen,” to the glory of God.

21 Now the one who makes us—and you as well—secure in union with the Messiah and has anointed us is God,

22 who has placed his seal on us and has given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.

23 I call upon God as a witness on my behalf that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.

24 It is not that we are trying to rule over your faith, but rather to work with you for your joy, because you have been standing firm in the faith.

1 Now I decided not to pay you another painful visit.

2 After all, if I were to grieve you, who should make me happy but the person I am making sad?

3 This is the very reason I wrote you, so that when I did come I might not be made sad by those who should have made me happy. For I had confidence that all of you would share the joy that I have.

4 I wrote to you out of great sorrow and anguish of heart—along with many tears—not to make you sad but to let you know how much love I have for you.

5 But if anyone has caused grief, he didn’t cause me any grief. To some extent—I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.

6 This punishment by the majority is severe enough for such a man.

7 So forgive and comfort him, or else he will drown in his excessive grief.

8 That’s why I’m urging you to assure him of your love.

9 I had also written to you to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in every way.

10 When you forgive someone, I do, too. Indeed, what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I did in the presence of the Messiah for your benefit,

11 so that we may not be outsmarted by Satan. After all, we are not unaware of his intentions.

 

BACKGROUND
In the recent past, Paul had twice been forced to change his plans for a visit to Corinth. His first plan was to go to Macedonia, down to Corinth, and then to Jerusalem (Acts 19:21; 1 Cor 16:5-7 ). His second plan was to go to Corinth first, up to Macedonia, back to Corinth, and then to Jerusalem. The advantage of this second plan was that the Corinthians would benefit from his ministry twice.

When he was forced to change this plan also, the Corinthians accused him of not keeping his word, of being like an ordinary person of the world who says ‘Yes’ one day and ‘No’ the next (2 Cor. 1: 15-17).

Again Paul denies the accusation. To act in such a way would be contrary to the character of Christ that Paul had preached to them. There was nothing uncertain about Christ. The fulfillment of all God’s promises in him shows that he always said ‘Yes’ to his Father’s will. And Christians add their ‘Yes’ by saying ‘Amen’, by which they mean ‘Yes, indeed, this person is the Truth of God’ (verses 18-20).

The Christian life is one of assurance and stability because it is from God, it is in Christ, and it is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit (verses 21-22). Paul’s decision against going to Corinth was not because he lacked certainty or courage. Rather it was because he wished to spare the Corinthians the unpleasantness of his stern treatment (verse 23).

He does not want them to think he is a dictator, but they must realize the importance of discipline if they are to have true happiness. Neither Paul nor the Corinthians would have wanted him to pay them another painful visit. Paul’s desire was to enjoy fellowship with them, but this would not have been possible had they been full of sorrow. So instead of visiting them personally, he wrote to them. The purpose of the severe letter was not to hurt them but to urge them to repent. He wrote out of love so that his next visit to them would be an occasion for joy (2 Cor. 2:1-4).

Paul speaks about an offender and his offense, and although we do not know to whom or to what he was referring, the Corinthians did. The offense seems to have concerned Paul personally (perhaps a denial of his apostolic authority) and was one reason for Paul’s severe letter. The issue caused sorrow for the church and for Paul (verse 5). The church finally dealt with the offender, probably by excluding him from the fellowship for a period (verse 6).

Paul now has to warn the Corinthians not to be hard and unforgiving. The man had shown sorrow and repentance for his sin, and the church should now lovingly welcome him back. If they continue to treat him harshly, their action could have bad results instead of good, by driving the man away from God in bitterness and sorrow (verses 7-8).

The Corinthians had demonstrated their unity with Paul in dealing with the offender. He wants them to demonstrate that unity again, by forgiving the man and receiving him back (verse 9-10). If they fail to forgive, Satan may use the opportunity to do further damage, both to the man and to the church (verse 11).

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 God is God, and never relents in His work, wish, and desire.

🔷 We must correct and punish people but never unjustly

🔷 We need to forgive one another so we don’t give the opportunity to Satan to take advantage of our grudge and rivalry

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Pray for wisdom to handle God’s assignment to you
💥 Ask for the expansion of the kingdom of Christ

CONCLUSION📙
The conduct of our ministry must always be authentic, with the right motives so we can build the kingdom of God together. We must conduct ministry first by knowing that the ministry is not for us but for God.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections