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Sabbath Mornings at Ballymacashon – 16th June 2013

15/06/2013

Ballymacashon Congregational Church

Order of Service: Sabbath 16th June 2013

Service Theme: PAUL’S HEART LAID BARE

Call to Worship

Praise: Psalm 30:1-12 (Tune: ‘Angel’s Song’)

O Lord, I will exalt you, for you have lifted me,
My foes you kept from boasting, Denied them victory,
Oh Lord my God I pleaded, that You might heal and save,
Lord You from death have ransomed and kept me from the grave.

Sing praises, O you godly, Who to the Lord belong,
And to his name most holy, Show gratitude in song,
His anger lasts a moment, His grace through life goes on,
Then though the night-tears linger, Gret joy comes with the dawn.

When prosp’rous I once boasted, “Unmoved I shall remain.”
But you Lord by your favour, My mountain’s strength maintain,
For when your face was hidden, I then became dismayed.
O Lord to you I cried out, And to the Lord I prayed.

O where is the advantage, If my blood should be shed,
Will dust declare you faithful, Can praise come from the dead?
O Lord to me be gracious, And hear me as I’ve prayed,
To you O Lord I cry out, O be my help, my aid.

You turned my grief to dancing, from sackcloth set me free,
You wrapped me up in gladness; I shall not silent be.
Indeed, my soul, my glory, will praise you and adore;
O Lord my God I’ll thank you, Both now and evermore.

Prayer:

Reading: Matthew 18:15-17

Children’s Address: Forgiveness

Praise: It was down at the feet of Jesus

Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:1-11

Sermon: Paul’s Heart Laid Bare Text: 2 Cor 2:3-11

2nd Corinthians gives us an amazing insight into the mind of Paul, into his spiritual life! This is one of those passages, so let’s see what Paul is saying in relation to the church:-

1. Paul SHED TEARS over Corinth. v. 3-4

Look at the text, and see the depths of Paul’s sorrow with the church…

  • Paul was EMOTIONALLY AFFECTED! For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you. There was affliction and anguish. Paul always rebuked in love, and it grieved him deeply when it had to happen – but still it had to happen.
  • Paul was PHYSICALLY AFFECTED! Paul actually shed tears over Corinth. with many tears. This man who had withstood the battering of the mobs in Asia, who had been arrested and beaten, imprisoned and was living with a perpetual death sentence hanging over him, who was a mighty, strong individual, wept buckets of tears over Corinth!
  • Paul was MOTIVATIONALLY AFFECTED! Paul had the right motives here. Some people take great delight in hurting others. Listen to Paul’s motives, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. 2 Cor. 2:3-4. All of this shows that Paul LOVED the Corinthian Church! Just like the love of God, real love never overlooks sin or error or false belief! When Paul needed to rebuke the church he did so, even though, (in fact because) his love for the Corinthians was ABUNDANT LOVE!

Now it is very likely that the apostle’s enemies had represented him as a harsh, austere, authoritative man; who was better pleased with inflicting wounds than in healing them. But he defends himself from this charge by solemnly asserting that this was the most painful part of his work; and that the writing of his first epistle to Corinth cost him much affliction and anguish of heart, and many tears.

2. Paul URGED CLEMENCY upon Corinth. V5-8

Now, there was a ringleader to this opposition at Corinth. A man who had led the opposition to Paul and had insulted and reviled him. The matter must have gone to the church meeting, and a majority backed Paul. Disciplinary action was started and had now run its course. Now we don’t know exactly what the discipline was, but some of the members of the church thought that not enough had been done. The man should be punished more, with a greater degree of severity. Now Paul writes to say that enough has been done. The man is sorry, has repented, and to discipline him more would soon drive him to utter despair – so Paul now pleads for mercy for the man who had opposed him and hurt him so much… Now notice Paul’s argument to this effect in the verses:-

  • Paul did not take the matter personally! This would be a natural reaction, but not to Paul! But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
  • Paul wanted the man to repent and to accept correction! Paul was not out for revenge or vengeance. [6] Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many
  • Paul never wanted to ‘knock the heart’ out of anyone! [7] So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. [8] Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 2 Cor. 2:5-8

So he pleaded for mercy for the man, and asked the church to show their love for him by forgiving him, no matter what he had done, that should be forgiven, forgotten and the man received back into complete fellowship.

CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Now before we move on, I want you to be aware that although there were people in Corinth who would want to overdo discipline, nevertheless, discipline was an important part of early church life. 1 Cor. 14:33 1 Cor. 14:40. This is essential. There must be ORDER IN EVERY CHURCH. John Calvin taught that the marks of a true Reformed church were three, the proper preaching of the Word, the correct administration of the Sacraments, and the implementation of regular church discipline. When corrective discipline is needed, there is a method! Let’s see the correct procedure for discipline in the words of Jesus: Matthew 18:15-17

  • Step 1. If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
  • Step 2. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
  • Step 3. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church:
  • Step 4. but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

At any stage along this continuum of discipline, should the offender repent, the church must stop the process and forgive! Now this sounds like what happened in Corinth. They had got as far as Step 3 – ‘Tell it unto the church’ and the man had repented in sorrow. What does the church do now? No need to go to step 4, now the man can be forgiven!

Now this is a real challenge to the church. Would the church so what it was told? Would they obey Paul’s directive? For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ

3. Paul WARNED about Satanic Activity in Corinth

Paul now gives another weighty reason why this repentant man should be forgiven and restored to fellowship. Lest Satan get an advantage against us! Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Cor. 2:9-11

If this man who has given sufficient proof of the sincerity of his repentance is not restored, he may be weighed down with his sorrow, and sink into despair; and then the discipline of the Church will be represented, not as corrective and restorative, but as leading to destruction. Wouldn’t that give the enemies of the Gospel opportunity to slander the Christian faith, and the Christian church? That would play right into Satan’s plan… We must never, as Christian believers, give any opportunity to Satan to take advantage of us!

Praise: I want dear Lord

Benediction.

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