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How God Helps us Deal with our FEELINGS – 2 Corinthians 7:5-16

31/08/2013

Ballymacashon Congregational Church

Lord’s Day 1st September 2013

Service Theme: How God Helps us Deal with our FEELINGS

Text: 2 Corinthians 7:5-16

In our last study, we spoke about emotions, feelings, affections.  We said that these should always be tempered by the Word of God.  That does not mean that Christianity has no emotional content!  This passage is FULL of emotion and feelings and pathos:

1. Waiting for Titus!  v5-7 DEALING WITH WORRY

This little section describes Paul’s anxious arrival and wait at Macedonia.

  • There was ANXIETY! For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side.  Worried about Titus.  Worried about Corinth, worried about how his letter had been received and the way that the Corinthians might have responded.
  • There was FEAR! without were fightings, within were fears After all – continual persecution and vilification makes a person suspicious of everyone he meets, a state of hyper-vigilance!
  • There was SADNESS! those that are cast down Why would they not be sad!  It is always a great source of sadness for a Christian worker when they look at a place where they have laboured and toiled for the Lord and see no evidence of that labour.
  • There was COMFORT! Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down comforted us by the coming of TitusAnd not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, Now, see how comfort came about for Paul:-
    • Titus comforted him!  The very coming of Titus was some comfort to him.
    • Good News comforted him! He found Titus to be comforted in them; and this filled the apostle with comfort, especially when Titus told him of their earnest desire to put things right in the church. Proverbs 28:23
    • God comforted him!  Paul ascribes all comfort to its real source.  All comfort comes from the Lord!  He is the author of comfort!  Now again this is a practical application of Paul’s own teaching!

Let’s see how:

  • Paul recognises that his feelings are unreliable and temporary!  That’s why he bases his life on the Word and not on feelings!
  • Paul acknowledges the sovereignty of God in his own life.  One of the differences Christ makes in a person’s life is that his whole WORLD-VIEW IS CHANGED!  2 Cor. 5:17-18.  He begins to attribute everything to God!  No longer does he think of anything happening by chance, or by luck or by fortune or by coincidence, for EVERYTHING IS OF GOD!

This is the first lesson about feelings. God knows how you feel, and helps you to control and redirect your feelings.

2. Listening to Titus!  v8-12  DESPAIR AND SORROW

when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. 2 Cor. 7:5-7

Now we have a second lesson.  When God is working in a person’s life, bringing that person (or even a group of people) to Christ, or out of bondage or false religion, bringing them to the Lord or to a closer appreciation of the truth – He will use their feelings as an instrument, to bring about His purpose! So Paul had written, and the Corinthians had responded with feeling.  Let’s see how God used their emotional response to Paul’s very strict letter, to turn them from wrongdoing and sin, and to turn them to Him.  Here’s what Titus told Paul about Corinth:-

  1. The letter had made them sorry!  For though I made you sorry with a letter  In fact it was more than just sorrow, it was mourning over their sin and rebellion!
  2. Their sorrow led to repentance!  Paul rejoiced at this!  Not that he had upset the people, or that he had had to be so harsh with them, but that his strong medicine had led to a recognition of their condition, and being sorry they had repented – turned away from their sin, and turned to the Lord!  v8. 
  3. Their repentance led to forgiveness! For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. [11] For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter 

So, God USES our feelings and emotions for his purposes – to bring us into a relationship – or a closer relationship with Him.

3. Rejoicing with Titus!  v13-16  DELIGHTING IN JOY

Finally, in this chapter, we see another emotion.  – JOY!  When Paul met Titus his comfort was increased when he saw something of the joy of the Lord in him.  There were very good reasons for this.  Titus had been:-

  1. Watching Christians RESPOND TO THE WORD! It was refreshing that the Corinthians had responded to God’s Word! V.13  For a preacher of the Word, that is the most joyous and refreshing experience, to see people begin to change, bringing their lives into subservience to the word of God!
  2. Watching Christians LIVE UP TO THEIR TESTIMONY! It was a source of joy that Paul’s opinion of the Corinthians had been found true! V14 Paul had told Titus that surely they would be teachable people who would listen to the Word, and would obey it, despite what their emotions might tell them to the contrary!
  3. Watching OBEDIENCE GROW! Their obedience itself was a source of great happiness to the apostle!  V15 How wonderful it is to see in Christian people a desire to serve the Lord with faithfulness.   What great affection that aroused in Titus!

So here we see Paul emotionally involved again.  He is rejoicing, his heart is overwhelmed with joy, because he has great confidence in the effectual working of the Lord in the Corinthians’ hearts and lives!

One Comment
  1. pilgrimpastor permalink

    Thanks Brother,

    I’m headed to Haiti with my wife in two weeks to continue nurturing a ministry & some partnership God has placed in our life.

    This is a very good blog post. I may bring these core thoughts along for a lesson for some of the Haitian people we are serving there. Blessings!

    Pastor Chris Surber, D.Min. “Christianity is a life which grows out of truth.” – C.H. Spurgeon

    Sent from my iPhone http://www.chrissurber.com

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