Friday, April 30, 2010

Glory In Christ: Suffering Makes Us Meek And Magnifies God's Adequacy: 2 Corinthians 2:1-17

Text: 2 Corinthians 2:1-17

Theme: Glory in Christ, not the flesh.

1. By enduring weakness (1-5)
     D. Suffering makes us meek (1:12 - 2:11)
     E. Suffering magnifies God's adequacy (2:12 - 5)

Suffering makes us meek (2 Cor. 1:12 - 2:11). Paul's sorrow and anguish when writing the "severe letter", only demonstrated his concern that they purge evil from among them (cf. 1 Cor. 5*). Since they finally punished the man, he could change his plans, and come to them in joy, rather than with a rod of discipline. Since the offender repented, he encouraged them to forgive him, lest he (the offender) be overwhelmed by sorrow, and Satan take advantage of the situation. Paul's "weakness" made him desire to be meek toward the Corinthians.

Suffering reveals God's adequacy (2 Cor. 2:12-17). Although God opened a door of ministry for him in Troas, Paul had no peace of mind when he didn't hear from Titus about the Corinthian's response to his "severe letter". As a result, he went on to Macedonia, and eventually received the good news from Titus. Credit for such results goes to "God, who leads us in His triumph in Christ" (2 Cor. 2:14). 

Apparently, the illustration, here, is of a Roman march of triumph, in which the commanding victor led the conquering troops, who were followed by the captives. The whole party carried incense. For the victors, this was the sweet savor of triumph. For the captives, it signified the stench of death. In the same way, true Christian ministry--conducted in weakness--is an aroma of life to those who are saved, but of death to those who are perishing. Only God could make someone adequate for such a ministry (cf. 2 Cor. 3:5). Paul's weakness revealed sincere (2 Cor. 2:17) motives (why else would someone endure such hardships without pay?), and God's adequacy to resolve our problems.

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