Paul’s tenacious love for the Corinthian church is inspiring to me. I’m amazed by his continued love for them despite the attacks by the false teachers and the rejection that he received. Paul held fast to the hope that they would hold fast to the gospel. He displayed his uncommon love for them with these encouraging words.
“I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.” 2 Corinthians 7:4
What is the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow? In our first lesson for the week, we studied these two viewpoints in addition to considering the joy Paul must’ve felt when he connected with Titus. Paul had been concerned by how the Corinthian church had received a previous letter from him. Titus’ report brought him the news he sought.
“Yet know I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9,10
Our lesson on Day 2 explored the principles of godly sorrow in more detail. We listed the seven results produced by godly sorrow and answered questions about our relationships. We also cross referenced a similar experience found in the book of Deuteronomy. Paul’s painful letter led the church to clarity about their actions. That clarity, in turn, led them to repentance and godly sorrow.
“See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged.” 2 Corinthians 7:11-13
On Day 3, we moved to a new chapter in the book of 2 Corinthians and onto a new topic that makes some believers squirm in church: Giving.
“Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:2
A couple of missionaries came to mind as I read our text for this lesson. Like the Macedonian churches, George Mueller and Amy Carmichael lived lives that were rich in grace yet filled with poverty. Their stories are worth reading. We also explored these two opposites, joy and poverty, throughout the remainder of our lesson. The last portion of this lesson focused on the life of Jesus and the gift of grace He offers us.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
The lesson on Day 4 focused on sacrificial giving. Paul reminded the Corinthians of their pledge to give and encouraged them to see the gift fulfilled. We reflected on our own personal struggles with follow through in regard to giving. We were reminded that we are to give to meet others’ needs [2 Corinthians 8:13-15]. We also considered the connection between sacrificial giving and having a need of our own supplied.
“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:12
In our last lesson for the week, our attention was turned toward shared passions. We focused on our need for each other in ministry and the call to do our piece of the whole that God has called us to steward. We read in our assigned text that Titus was eager to answer Paul’s request. He shared his passion. Our questions explored the text but also steered us to consider our callings that the Lord has given each of us. Kelly Minter concluded our lesson with a question to consider how we can show proof to the ministry leaders of our churches the ways in which we value and love them.
Start Session 6 lessons beginning on page 127. All of the recaps for this study will be archived for use following the study’s conclusion.