The Corinthians were wounded. They felt jilted by his lack of stopping by for a visit. Their hearts were stung by his harsh word of exhortation and first letter of discipline. They doubted Paul’s love for them. The pain of discipline and sting of rebuke blinded them to the simple truth that all this was done because Paul still loved them and not because his love had wavered. And Paul reminds them of this fact in the opening of II Corinthians chapter two, which is what we’re going to look at today.
We’ve all had those days. The days when our best laid plans fall apart. The times when nothing seems to go as we thought it would or should. The weeks when life seems most chaotic, despite a perfectly thought out plan. Do you know what I’m referring to? Well, whether or not you’ve had days, weeks, or seasons like that, Paul experienced a situation when nothing seemed to go according to plan, and it caused deep hurt and disquiet among the Corinthians. Let’s take a look at what that situation was and how Paul handled it.
What is the purpose of affliction and trials? Why does our all-loving God allow them into our lives? We know that He is a God of mercy and comfort, so why does He let us experience suffering in the first place?
We all enjoy experiencing God’s comfort. As we learned last time, God is a God of abundant mercy and comfort, and He delights in comforting us when we are afflicted or under pressure. This is a beautiful and precious promise that should encourage and lift our hearts. But we can’t stop at verse four! The topic of God’s comfort continues on in II Corinthians, and today we’re going to look at the often overlooked part to this truth. So let’s jump right in now.
After his opening remark and salutations, Paul begins his letter with a short doxology and message on comfort. This was the first thing on his mind and most likely the most important word Paul had for the Corinthians, since out of all the things that he wanted to tell the Corinthians, he chose to start with this message of encouragement. So let’s take a look at what the Apostle Paul was so passionate and eager to tell the first-century Christians in Corinth—and ultimately us.
There had been a major conflict. A pastor’s heart had been overly burdened and concerned for a fledgling congregation, and that congregation had spurned the advice and authority of its founder and leader. Things were not looking good, and the situation seemed unfixable.
Welcome to the first post in our new II Corinthians Study. Before we dive into the book of II Corinthians, it’s important to try and wrap our minds around the era and background surrounding the letter so that we can better understand the situation, circumstances, and significance of what Paul wrote. So to start out, let’s travel back almost two thousand years and picture Corinth as it was in the fall of circa A.D. 50.
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