Friday, August 8, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 10, 2014

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RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS
(Forgiveness heals and restores)
(2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11)

After the Apostle Paul changed his plans for a re-visit to Corinth during his third missionary journey in A.D. 57, his opponents in the church took advantage of the opportunity to charge Paul as being untrustworthy. They also contended that Paul was just another tyrant who cared nothing for the people he sought to rule over. It was a charge that deeply hurt Paul, because he knew in his own heart, his commitment to the work GOD had called him to do.
In reality, Paul changed his plans, because he had let his “emotions” get away from him, and a visit to Corinth at that time, would have been too painful to both he and the people at the Church at Corinth. Whenever we let our emotions get the better of us, or control us, that is the time when we leave ourselves most vulnerable to satan.
Second Corinthians, chapters 1:12-7:16 is an emotional defense, by the Apostle Paul, of his sincere commitment to his Christian ministry in general, and, to the Church at Corinth in particular. Paul met the questions concerning his commitment head on, and he affirmed with confidence that his moral conscience and his intensified knowledge of GOD’s Word were without censure, and were exemplified in his own day to day conduct, both publicly and privately.
As a leader and a person who closely followed CHRIST, Paul always strove to be simple, sincere, and straight-forward, and he was the same way in his letters. In 2 Corinthians 1, taking up at verse 23, Paul, very honestly and straight-forwardly tells the Church at Corinth, that, the reason he didn’t return to Corinth was because he wanted to spare them from the severe emotional rebuke that he was prepared to give them.
It was not so much, Paul’s desire to try and tell the Corinthians exactly how to put their faith into practice, but rather, he wanted to work together with them so that their joy would be full as they strived to stand firmly behind the teachings of CHRIST JESUS, while living out their lives, in this world. And so Paul decided that it would be best not to dishearten the people of Corinth with yet another emotionally painful visit because, to cause them emotional pain, would not only discourage them, but it would also sadden him deeply on a personal level. He did not wish to be made sad by his brothers and sisters in CHRIST, who were suppose to give him the most joy (2 Corinthians 2:1-4).
In verses 5-11, perhaps Paul is writing about the man whom he had urged the Church at Corinth to excommunicate from fellowship a year earlier (1 Corinthians 5:1-7). The man had been involved in an ongoing adulterous relationship with his father’s wife, living in sin with her (shacking up). Paul had strongly rebuked the Church, who were very much aware of the couple’s sexual immorality, but had taken no action to address this unacceptable behavior.
After Paul’s strong and decisive rebuke, the Corinthians followed Paul’s advice and instructions, and removed the man from church fellowship (apparently the woman was not a member of the Christian congregation at that time). However, now Paul was strongly urging the church to show “compassion” and welcome the man back into fellowship, as he felt that he had been punished enough for his indiscretions.
Apparently the man had been in deep repent and suffering in the time since his dis-fellowship from the church, and now, Paul felt it was time to forgive, comfort him, and show him love, so that he would not become so discouraged that he would not be able to recover emotionally.
Furthermore, Paul knew how satan would seek to take advantage of this situation (incorrect emotional response to GOD - see Nehemiah 8:9-12) and use it to do even greater harm to the man, and to the church. Being thoroughly familiar with the evil tactics of satan, Paul used the only effective weapon he had, which was the ways and wisdom of CHRIST.
Through his wisdom (authority) from CHRIST on high, Paul was forever mindful of  our human need for “repent” and “forgiveness”, and, it was time to apply this wisdom, (forgiveness and encouragement) to the situation, now at hand, in the Church at Corinth. Forgiveness completes the healing process, and restores our relationships with our fellow man, conceptionally, in the same way that all mankind receives forgiveness through JESUS CHRIST, our SAVIOR.
JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice provides us with a vehicle to spiritual recovery and healing, so that we can be forgiven by GOD the FATHER, whenever, and if ever, we decide to repent. GOD then restores us back into “a personal relationship of friendship” with HIM, and HE also lends us the help and guidance of the HOLY SPIRIT, to assist us as we move forward in the ways of CHRIST, for the remainder of our lives, here on earth.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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