Even in the life of a godly man like the apostle Paul there were misunderstandings and people who wrongly judged his motives. When these things happen to us we can choose to allow the enemy to destroy relationships and negatively affect ministry, or we can choose Christlikeness.
Paul chose the latter.
Read 2 Cor. 1:23-2:2 – Choosing to Walk in the Spirit
- Though misunderstood and falsely accused, 2 Cor. 1:23-2:2 expresses Paul’s intentions and love for the Corinthian believers. What do you see in these verses?
When we are misunderstood, falsely accused, or our motives are questioned….
a. What would it look like if we responded in the Spirit?
b. What would it look like if we responded in the flesh?
- What is the probable result…..
a. If we respond in the Spirit?
b. If we respond in the flesh?
- What instruction do we receive from Gal. 5:16 and Gal. 5:25?
- Rather than mull over the assumed offense against us, what instruction are we given in Col. 3:1-2?
Read 2 Cor. 2:3-4 – The Heart of a Pastor
Paul founded the church at Corinth and he taught them for 1 ½ years. As the founding pastor he had seen many of them come to faith and grow in Christlikeness. As we can see from 1 Corinthians, though the church was very gifted, they had fallen into some things that Paul was correcting with strong words. Though it is believed by many that there may have been a more severe letter written between 1st and 2nd Corinthians which we do not have, it could also be that Paul is referring to the letter of 1st Corinthians here. In both 1st and 2nd Corinthians we see Paul’s urgent desire to get the church back on track. Regardless of the situation being addressed, we see in Paul the heart of a pastor.
- According to verse 4, what was Paul’s motivation in correcting them?
a. How does he describe his effort in writing this?
b. Why do you think Paul felt this so strongly?
- Paul is demonstrating the heart of a godly pastor. How does this apply to your pastor? How might this understanding affect the way you respond to your pastor?
a. A pastor is called to shepherd the sheep. What might this involve?
b. What do you think is the greatest gift you could give your pastor? Why?
- In John 10:11-15 Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. In these verses, how does He describe a shepherd? What in these verses could we apply also to pastors?
Read 2 Cor. 2:5-11 – Discipline Within the Church
- This section of scripture most likely refers to a correction Paul had made in 1 Cor. 5:1-5.
a. What was the sin that Paul needed to address?
b. In response to this man’s sin, what was the sin of the church?
- We learn from 2 Cor 2:5-11 that the church had followed Paul’s instruction, and apparently the man repented and desired to enter back into fellowship. What is Paul’s instruction to them?
a. What did Paul say may happen to the man if they did not follow this instruction? (see vs 7)
b. What do you think this means?
c. What was the church instructed to do in verse 8?
- To forgive is commanded in the scriptures and is exemplified in Jesus. What further understanding do we glean from Matt. 6:14-15 and Luke 6:37b?
- Church discipline can be difficult and painful. Though we won’t get into the details here, we should recognize that the goal of church discipline is repentance and reconciliation. (For further study see Matt. 18:15-17) We see this result in our verses in 2 Corinthians. Besides unity and Christlikeness, what is another reason to address these things within the church body, according to verse 11?
a. Satan is looking to take advantage of unforgiveness, disunity, a light view of sin, etc. These things give him a foothold in the life of a Christian and in the life of the church. Why is this important to understand?
b. We are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy because we learn of them through the scriptures. What do you know about the devices of Satan? How would you summarize Satan’s goals?