Paul's Heart and Sincerity

Apostolic Defense -Book of 2nd Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:31
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Does he really care?

As we get into our section today we shift from “true comfort” and the reason comfort given (2Cor1:3-11) to the reason, or the body of the letter starts.
(Courtroom setting picture inserted here)
Picture a court room setting, there is an accusation that is made against you and you are mounting your defence.
The accusation: Paul does not really care about us
Prosecutions witness list: Changed travel plans
Defense: My conscience
Defense witnesses: my conscience, myself, my God is my character witness.
Paul starts this section in response to the report he had gotten back from Titus about the state of the church in Corinth. Remember in our introduction to the series I stated that the problems had not gotten better that he addressed in the other letter (we will call the Severe letter) they had gotten worse.
Paul’s character, Paul’s integrity are under attack and later his apostleship even, so Paul starts to address the issue here in mounting his defence with his chief defence his own clear-conscience.
There was a mounting belief in Corinth that due to the multi-changes in travel plans to come to Corinth again that Paul did not really care and that he had been manipulating the Corinthians for his own self-interest. The pleasantries of the letter to them are over and Paul is now immediately dressing the attack on his character and integrity.
As in a court we see that Paul is basically taking an oath (2Cor1:12-14) the starts to present his defense to the accusations that were being made.
Key word for this section: Conscience
What do you believe the word conscience means?
Merriam Webster states: the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good
KJV Bible Dictionary states: Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them.
One thing I read said it comes from combination of two Latin words one being “com” which means “with” and the other word being “scire” which means “to know” so in combination it means to “know with”
Conscience is not the Law of God, but it bears witness to the Law. It is the window in which things are seen through and with a dirty conscience then the light does not come in or go out well and the light becomes dimmer and dimmer.
Paul uses the word conscience 23 times in his writing. One of the most used ones is
Acts 24:16 NASB95
16 “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
Commentator Brooks says “when a person has a good conscience, he has integrity, not duplicity; and he can be trusted.”
So this morning we will look at the text, glean from the text, how Paul sets up his defence and what a vital part that conscience plays for him then, and should for us now.

The Text

This is a long section and it will be better that we break down in pieces and will glean from the word and a few comments along the way. The section actually ends in 2:4.
2 Corinthians 1:12–13 NASB95
12 For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. 13 For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end;
2 Corinthians 1:14 NASB95
14 just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.
Question: What was the proud confidence in (v.12)? How is it described?
The testimony of our conscience.
in holiness, godly sincerity, grace of God.
What was Paul’s hope for them (v.13)?
Understand until the end.
Paul was confident that end the end, the day of the Lord all things would be fully understood. (v.14)
Some versions (v.12) use the word boasting and he is not boasting of himself but in his confidence is in God and his sight in the view of God. He had a clear conscience (more to follow on that later).
Do not take Paul’s confidence (v.12) as arrogance, he was confident that he was fulfilling God’s mission in a manner that was pleasing to God. (see 2Cor10:13)
2 Corinthians 10:13 NASB95
13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.
Now our next section of text (2Cor1:15-17)
2 Corinthians 1:15–16 NASB95
15 In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing; 16 that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea.
2 Corinthians 1:17 NASB95
17 Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?
Question: What was Paul’s confidence in (v.15)?
That they might twice receive a blessing
Question: In (v.16) he tells them what the intended blessing was to be and gives another reason for the stop too?
He was to stop there twice on way into Macedonia, and way out of Macedonia, and to be helped by them on his journey to Judea
Question: Paul identifies part of what the Corinthians thought in (v.17) what was it?
That he was vacillating in this intention to come
Paul again speaks of his confidence, his integrity is being attacked, his character, his motives and he starts with his defence here (we will get the defence in a bit)
To press on with the text now (2Cor1:18-22)
2 Corinthians 1:18–19 NASB95
18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. 19 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.
2 Corinthians 1:20–21 NASB95
20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,
1 Corinthians 1:22 NASB95
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
Question: What does Paul say about God in (v.18)?
God is faithful
Question: Paul makes a confident statement (v.19) about the preaching that was preached. it was not yes and no (i.e. vacillating) it was what?
It was yes in Him!
Question: What does Paul have to say about the promises of God in Him (Christ)? Also what is the result (v.20)?
His promises are Yes and through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us (Paul, Silvanus and Timothy).
Question: look closely at (v.21) who does Paul say did the anointing?
They were anointed by God and established in Christ.
Question: How did God seal them and why (v.22)?
Sealed with the Spirit in hearts as a pledge.
Still a couple more verses to go (2Cor1:23-24)
Question: Paul very boldly calls the next witness, who is it, and to witness what (v.23)?
He calls God as witness, witness to my soul.
Finally, one more question from the text (v.24) what was Paul firm about?
He was standing firm in their faith.
Now that we have gleaned from the scripture and I know you have had a lot of blanks here, but you cannot go wrong from pulling directly from the scripture. May we move on to two more points this morning.
Paul’s confident defence
Paul’s conscience an example for us.

Paul’s confident defence

Paul is under attack, but even in that he is confident. Paul in addressing the attack brings a good defence and defence witnesses in our section today.
(insert accused picture here)
Have you ever been accused of anything? OK, accused of anything you knew you were not guilt of?
Paul gets word back from Titus after delivering the other letter to the church of Corinth that they had problems with Paul and had accusations against Paul.
The accusation: Paul does not really care, it is proven by him not coming as he stated he would and is out for his own interest.
Paul was being accused of manipulating the Corinthians all along for his own self-interest and that he really had no honest feelings for them.
Paul’s defence is a strong defence with strong witnesses on his behalf that he had no ulterior motive, no hidden agenda with them that he was straightforward and understandable in what he said. He was confident and as we look at the witnesses we can see why confident.
The witnesses:
First Witness: Paul’s conscience (2Cor1:12)
Confident in his good conscience (Act23:1)
Lived to have a blameless conscience (Act24:16)
Standing before the council, people judging him look what Paul said:
Acts 23:1 NASB95
1 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”
Look at Paul’s words there in 23:1, he was very confident in living his life with a perfectly good conscience before God.
Acts 24:16 NASB95
16 “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
Question: who did Paul maintain a blameless conscience before?
He strove to maintain a blameless conscience before man and God.
His conscience testifies w/Holy Spirit (Rom9:1)
Romans 9:1 NASB95
1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,
Question: How does Paul’s conscience testify here in (Rom9:1)?
In the Holy Spirit
He served with a clear conscience (2Tim1:3)
2 Timothy 1:3 NASB95
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,
Question: who did Paul serve with a clear conscience according to (2Tim1:3)?
He served God with a clear conscience, as was the example set before him by forefathers.
So, if you were in the jury box listening to the first witness, Paul’s conscience what would you, could you conclude?
Next Witness: Paul takes the stand himself (2Cor1:13; 2Cor4:2, 2:3-4, 7:8-12)
I have not changed, I write, speak plainly and hide nothing (2Cor4:2)
2 Corinthians 4:2 NLT
2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
Question: What did Paul reject (2Cor4:2)?
Shameful and underhanded methods.
I have shared my anguished heart (2Cor2:3-4)
Listen to Paul’s words, feel Paul’s heart in the next two passages.
2 Corinthians 2:3–4 NASB95
3 This is the very thing I wrote you, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.
I have no regrets, look at the results (2Cor7:8-12)
This next one is a little longer, but I think it is important for is shows his heart and his character and his desire, as well as the results!
2 Corinthians 7:8 NASB95
8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while—
2 Corinthians 7:9 NASB95
9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.
2 Corinthians 7:10–11 NASB95
10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.
2 Corinthians 7:12 NASB95
12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God.
So there jury member, do you think this is a credible witness?
Next witness: God as a character witness (2Cor1:18)
2 Corinthians 1:18 NLT
18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.”
Paul makes a point, God is faithful, and our word (since preaching God’s word) is faithful and does not waver. (ref also 1COr1:8, 10:13; 1The5:24; 2The3:3; 2Cor1:23)
God’s trustworthiness has been proven through the ages and due to time please note down a couple of other scriptures in your notes (1Cor1:8, 10:13, as well as 1The5:24; 2The3:3)
Paul’s statement of Gods faithfulness is setting up a type of oath that Paul will offer up as God as his character witness (2Cor1:23)
2 Corinthians 1:23 NCV
23 I tell you this, and I ask God to be my witness that this is true: The reason I did not come back to Corinth was to keep you from being punished or hurt.
Paul links her personal character and integrity to that of the integrity of the gospel! For the gospel is true, Jesus and Him crucified is what he preached to them and everywhere. In fact it is in Him that they stand firm (v.24), and if in Him they should stand firm in Paul and his character too.
(Transition) now in a few quick minutes I want to speak a bout conscience, We have looked at Paul’s conscience and character, we have seen the faithful witnesses now draw back for some application then close.

Paul’s conscience an example for us

In 1Cor11:1 Paul says to imitate him as he imitates Jesus, and we have established that he lived, served with a good, clear conscience so what can we glean more to follow? Let’s look
A person with a good conscience has integrity not duplicity (Act24:16 previously stated)
When living with a clear conscience you live in the light of the return of Christ (2Cor1:14)
When you have a clear conscience you will be serious about the will of God (2Cor1:15-18)
When you have a clear conscience you glorify Jesus (2Cor1:19-20)
When you have a clear conscience you will be on good terms with the Spirit of God (2Cor1:21-24; Ref 2Cor1:22-24; Eph1:13)
God’s Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will keep his promises
God’s Spirit sealed us (2Cor1:22; Eph1:13)
God’s Spirit enables us (2Cor1:23-24)
(summarize) We have seen Paul’s heart, Paul’s sincerity, Paul’s character, his integrity can we imitate that? Can we apply that into our lives and live our lives with a good, clear conscience?
(prayer) (Close) (exit)
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