Love Brought Low
Love Brought Low
Words of Faith 12-29-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 12
 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.  For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.  I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
Paul wanted more than anything to see the transforming power of the Lord Jesus more and more at work in the lives of the Corinthian believers. He knew that power and he wanted nothing less for his spiritual children.
None of this "defending" of his ministry was about Paul's sense of pride or his self-preservation. Paul knew that his Judge was God, not any human court. Paul's sole purpose in writing this difficult letter was to convey his genuine concern for the Corinthians and to strengthen them in the hope of rectifying the disorders in the church before punishment became necessary.
Like a father with his children, any discipline which he was compelled to administer would grieve him as well. It was for just this reason he had canceled his previously projected third visit. The Corinthians had responded well to his earlier letter but the entrance of the false apostles threatened to revive their former divisiveness.
Paul named eleven specific sins. The first eight were highly symptomatic of a church in disarray, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. These were not so much the problem as they were the fruit that springs from the legalism and disunity that was being spread by the false apostles. When there is no experience of God's grace, the spirit of religion creeps in and this is the result.
The three purity sins mentioned in verse 21 were a concern because of the climate of lax morality which disunity produces. While the legalistic bent of the false apostles might be thought to quash the sins of the flesh, impurity, sexual sin and debauchery, the sad truth is that legalism and immorality are frequent bedfellows.
Paul's deepest desire was a heart transformation for the Corinthians. He realized that he would be "deeply humbled" in the face of such continued rebellion among those he loved so dearly. The word Paul used literally means to be "brought low" or "depressed" or "humiliated of heart.” Paul knew that he would deeply grieve the spirit of unrepentance in Corinth.
What do we gain from this?
If we model the passion of Paul we will not be concerned about ourselves, our pride, our place, our recognition, whether we were given credit, got to be on stage, etc., but our concern will be about the Spiritual life and transformation of those God is reaching. We will find ourselves "brought low" and grieved, not by issues related to our comfort and convenience, but by the signs of unrepentance in the lives of those who claim to be believers.
If we have Paul's passion for seeing people transformed, we will not view quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder as the status quo but rather a sign that grace has not broken in. Impurity, sexual sin and debauchery are something to be grieved, not celebrated or even tacitly approved.
This is not about taking a judgmental stance. Quite the opposite. It is about having a passion for people to experience life instead of death. It is about having a passion for people to find grace instead of judgment. It is about having a passion for New Life in those that God has called us to love and care about.
O God, give me a heart like that of Paul. Give me a heart that longs to see transformation in the lives of those around me and in my community. Give me a heart that is grieved by the pain of sin and energized by the hope of resurrection life. In Jesus' Name.