Thu, Aug 05, 2004
2 Corinthians 1-2 by Joe Guglielmo
Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
Series: Thursday Service



            Please turn in your Bibles this evening to II Corinthians chapter 1 as we continue our study through the Word of God.  Paul wrote this second letter to the church in Corinth probably less than a year after his first letter, putting the date around 57 AD, on his third missionary journey.  He wrote his first letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus and now this letter he wrote from Macedonia, some early translations speak of it specifically being Philippi.

            This second letter reveals the heart of Paul, the heart of a shepherd, the heart of a pastor.  Of this letter, Sadler said this, “The transparency of the revelation of Paul [in II Corinthians] is to me unequaled in all sacred literature.”  Let me say this, when you expose your heart as Paul did, there is always a chance that it will be broken, it will be stepped upon, but that did not stop Paul and it should not stop us from ministering to people, sharing our heart with them, showing you care.

            Now it seems like false teachers confused them, began to sway them and Paul sends Titus to deal with those issues and as Titus reported back to Paul, many had received the words from Titus and rejected the false teachers and Paul rejoiced over that. But there were still those who refused to listen and Paul will also address them as he defends his calling as an apostle, his conduct and his character with the end result, they should heed his words, they should not be swayed by these false teachers.  So with that said, let’s begin reading in II Corinthians chapter 1, starting in verse 1, and let’s see what the Lord has for us this evening.




            The church in Corinth, for the most part, didn’t respect Paul, his authority and thus, he starts out by establishing that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ, not because he says so, but because it was the will of God for his life!  Too often today people get into the ministry because they want to or their family wants them to, and that is wrong. You are in the ministry because it is the will of God for your life and if it is not, then don’t get into the ministry.

            Paul speaks of the Siamese twins of the New Testament, GRACE & PEACE.  Paul, in all 13 of his epistles, if you exclude Hebrews, speaks of grace and peace and always in that order.  You see, you can never experience the peace of God until you first make peace with God through Jesus Christ and that is done by grace through faith, it is a free gift that we receive by faith.  It is then that you can experience the peace of God through the storms of life!


            How can Paul speak of God being the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort?  Because Paul experienced the mercy and comfort of God in his own life and thus was able to speak from personal experience to people going through similar situations.  You see, like it or not, you are not going to be able to give to others what you have not received yourself from the Lord.  We all have experiences in our lives that God has comforted us and seen us through.  For me, just a few, I know what it is like to lose a dear friend, to lose a father, to have rebellious sons, thus, I can bring comfort to others who are going through similar situations.  I can encourage them to keep praying for that wayward child because I have seen what God can do to restore that child, to bring them back and it is awesome.  I also know what it is like to see one son on the run from God and God continues to comfort and encourage my wife and I.  We have shed many tears over the last several years as we watched what they were doing, but God is faithful.  Folks, we have all been through things that others might be going through right now and you can be the one to encourage them, help them through it because you know what it is like!  It is as Peter said in I Peter 4:10, As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  The Amplified Bible puts this verse like this, As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God's many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely Diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].  May we do that, give to others for God has freely given to us!

Let me also say this, the things you go through are not just for others, but God is teaching you lessons, trying to show you something and learn the lesson so you can move on. As you go through these things may you do so seeing the hand of God in them instead of becoming overwhelmed by the situation. God is not going to tempt you beyond what you are able to stand and the key of course is not to trust in yourself, but in God.  We will see that more in a minute.  “Mr. Knox, a little before his death, rose out of his bed; and being asked wherefore, being so sick, he would offer to rise?  He answered, that he had sweet meditations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that night, and now he would go into the pulpit, and impart to others the comforts he felt in his soul.”  (Trapp).


            A. W. Tozer said, “Before God can use a person greatly, he must allow that person to be hurt deeply.”  We don’t like that; we just want to be used, but in order to help you have to learn to receive the comfort of God into your own life.  Paul knew tribulation, he was hurt deeply and he was used mightily.  In II Corinthians 11:23-28 Paul tells us that he was whipped, thrown in prison, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, all kinds of perils – water, robbers, countrymen, gentiles, in the city, in the wilderness, in the sea, among false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness and as Paul went through all these things Jesus was with him and He comforted Paul.

Now please understand that if you are doing evil, then there will be consequences to your actions, that is not the tribulation that Paul is speaking of here as Peter tells us, But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:11-12, Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

            Listen to how The Living Bible puts these verses here in II Corinthians 1:3-7, What a wonderful God we have-he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.  You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement.   We are in deep trouble for bringing you God's comfort and salvation. But in our trouble God has comforted us-and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure.

            We are going to have tribulation in our life, suffering, but also note that God will comfort us in the midst of these sufferings.  Please don’t forget that or lose sight of that.  Keep Jesus before you at all times and don’t let the situations block out your view of Him!


            Do you think Paul was ever discouraged, depressed, down?  It seems like he was here in these verses.  The tribulation he faced was so bad that he did not know if he was going to live or die each day according to verse 8.  Why did God allow Paul to be brought to this point?  One of the reasons is he had to come to the end of himself, trusting in how he was going to get out of these situations and learn to trust in the Lord no matter what.  Thus, Paul knew in life and death God was there and even in death, God will resurrect these bodies, life is not over!

            I remember when we first moved up here to Manitowoc, I had all these plans for the church and they were good, I felt everyone, especially the leaders were behind me and what I found out is that God had other plans, He needed to do other things and He removed those that were not behind me.  I will tell you this, it was like having the rug pulled out from under me, key people in the church left and in the end, I had to come to the end of myself and this is God’s church and He will take care of it and He did and He does!

You see, when things are going well, we tend to become lax in our relationship with God, but when the fire is turned up, when we have no control, when we come to the end of ourselves, we come to God who comforts us and lifts us up, something He wants to do in our lives.  In Isaiah 41:10 we are told, Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  And in Isaiah 40:31 we are told, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

            One more point before we move on.  Paul did not have this fatalistic attitude, a kind of what ever will be will be. He coveted the prayers of the brethren for protection, for the work of God to continue on.  The leaders here at Calvary also covet your prayers in the work of the ministry.  You see, when you are seeing lives changed, people coming to the Lord and growing in the Lord, the enemy will try to stop you, and thus, prayer is needed!  Clarke put it this way, “Even an apostle felt the prayers of the Church necessary for his comfort and support. What innumerable blessings do the prayers of the followers of God draw down on those who are the objects of them!”

VERSES 12-14

            The Corinthian’s were saying that Paul was unreliable and he is defending himself against those accusations.  Back in I Corinthians 16:5 Paul spoke of coming to them and when he didn’t, they came to the conclusion that Paul was all talk, he really didn’t care for them, which was not true!  Paul had no hidden agenda, no ulterior motives, he came to preach Christ crucified, to bring them the Gospel message and to build up the believers in the faith, which did and does included correction when needed as we saw in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  But there are always those who try to figure out what you mean when you say something, like “Hi, how are you doing?” or whatever.  That is a cynical heart and one that is not soft but hard towards others. Instead of looking for evil, look for good, trust that what they are saying has no hidden agenda, there are no ulterior motives.

            Also, Paul speaks of godly sincerity and the Latin word is SINE CERA and it means “without wax.”  Back in those days, the potters, those who made sculptures, if the pot cracked as it was heated, they would use wax, the dishonest dealers that is, and cover the cracks up.  If you knocked off and ear or nose when you were making a statue you could put it back on with wax.  But, in the heat of day, the wax would loosen and the nose would come off, the cracks would show.  Paul is saying that in the light of day, when the heat is on, his life was without wax, it was sincere, it was real and folks, may we be able to say that also, that we have a life that is full of godly sincerity!

VERSES 15-17

            In I Corinthians 16:5-7 Paul told the Corinthians, Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia).  And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go.  For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.  Paul went from Ephesus to Troas expecting to meet up with Titus, but he wasn’t there so he went to Macedonia and didn’t go to Corinth.  When Titus arrived he told Paul what was happening in Corinth, and thus this second letter to the Corinthians.  Because Paul didn’t come to Corinth when he said he would, they were putting him down. But Paul is saying here that he says what he means and means what he says.  Then why didn’t he go to Corinth like he said he was?  Because he said he would go if the Lord permits.  That is the key in all that we do, if the Lord permits!  And, like Paul, we should be trustworthy, our yes should be yes and our no should be no!  Yes, the Corinthians could have been disappointed that Paul didn’t come but to blame him was wrong, to hold it against him was wrong!


            Paul tells them that he didn’t say one thing and do another; he was faithful, true to his promises, not like the Corinthian’s were saying.

VERSES 19-22

            Paul preached of how Jesus is faithful, how He is reliable, how He is trustworthy and then for Paul not to be would fly in the face of what he believed and it would show that Jesus had not impacted his life!  Paul also says that all the promises of the Father are in Jesus, they are seen in Him and given to us through Him!  We don’t have to worry that they are not for us, they are!

            Paul then tells us that we are anointed by God, by the Holy Spirit.  Now some hear this and they think of televangelists who claim “I have the anointing of God brothers and sisters, the anointing of God on my life, I feel it, here it comes . . .” Folks, we all, as Christians have the anointing of God upon our lives, it speaks of being empowered with the Holy Spirit to move the Gospel message forward, to be a witness of Christ, to edify the body of Christ.  In fact, we are told in I John 2:20, 27 and this is from The Amplified Bible, But you have been anointed by [you hold a sacred appointment from, you have been given an unction from] the Holy one, and you all know [the Truth] or you know all things . . . But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].

            Secondly, the Holy Spirit has sealed us.  In ancient times the owner of some item would take his signet ring and place it in the wax on the container and it would signify that this was his, no one else could claim it or tamper with it.  In Ephesians 1:13 we are told, In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.  Thus, can you lose your salvation once the Holy Spirit has sealed you?  No way, you can’t be stolen away or tampered with, you belong to God and the Holy Spirit has placed His seal upon you!

            And lastly, the Holy Spirit is given to us as a guarantee that Jesus is coming back to receive us as His bride.  In Ephesians 1:14 we are told, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.  Think of it like a down payment that God has placed upon our lives and He is not going to lose His down payment, He is coming back for His bride, the church, it is a guarantee!

VERSES 23-24

            Even though Paul was an apostle and had authority over them, he did not lord over them but told them he is a fellow worker, part of the body of Christ just as they are.  They did not stand upon Paul’s faith but on their own and like Paul, their work should be done to bring joy to the body of Christ as lives are transformed by the power of God’s Spirit!




            Again Paul is defending himself on why he didn’t go to Corinth.  The last time he was there Paul had to deal with their carnality, their sin and it was difficult.  Not everyone accepted what Paul had to say.  Thus, Paul, not wanting to hurt their relationship or damage it more, stayed away and instead sent them this letter.  Of this Clarke tells us, “Because of the scandals that were among them he could not see them comfortably; and therefore he determined not to see them at all till he had reason to believe that those evils were put away.”


            Some feel this letter Paul spoke of is another letter to the Corinthian church, there may have been as many as four, but only two became part of the Scriptures.  Keep in mind that not every letter written became part of the Bible!  The Holy Spirit, working through men, put it together.

            Paul felt a letter would be better received at this time than if Paul went there in person.  And please note that Paul did not write this letter in anger, hatred but he was broken over what was going on in Corinth, he wept over their condition because he loved them and his desire was to see them get right with God.  I’m sure you have felt that way before, grieved over what a son or daughter, a brother or sister in the Lord is doing because you see where it is leading them, the harm it will bring as they engage in that sin, the consequences it will have.  It breaks your heart, not because you hate them but because you love them of course! As Trapp put it, “St. Paul’s epistles were written rather with tears than ink.”


            Who is this man that Paul is urging the Corinthian believers to forgive and restore back into the fellowship?  I believe that this is the man spoken of in I Corinthians chapter 5 who was having sexual relations with his stepmother and the Corinthian church ignored his sin, they tolerated his sin.

Paul tells us in I Corinthians 5:1-5, It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles -- that a man has his father's wife!  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Thus, the Corinthian believers listened to Paul and they ex-communicated this man from the fellowship, the stepmother was not a believer so there was nothing the church could do in terms of discipline.  Paul says that this man should be turned over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh and outside the church, the body of Christ he lost that protection from the Devil.  Paul’s purpose is not for destruction of this man but for restoration.  Yes, the destruction of the flesh nature needed to occur, he needed to repent of his sin, and now that he has, he is to be restored into the fellowship.  It would seem that they had a hard time forgiving this man even after he repented, and Paul says that they are not only to forgive but restore this man, don’t add to his pain, he has returned.  Morgan tells us, “If discipline is largely lacking in the Church of today, so also is the grace of forgiving and comforting those who, having done wrong, are truly repentant.  How often, alas! souls have been indeed swallowed up with overmuch sorrow because of the harshness and suspicion of Christian people toward them in view of some wrong which they have done . . . love never slights holiness; but holiness never slays love.”


            When discipline, correction is needed, may you punish the sin and love the person. That doesn’t mean you condone the sin, but you love the person and I truly believe discipline done in love will cause people to repent.  Obviously not always, but I believe in many cases. By excommunicating this man from the church because he refused to repent and stop his sin showed that they loved him and now that he has repented, how much joy that should have brought to them as they see this man restored, not destroyed!

            Satan tries to take advantage of us, to cheat us out of something that belongs to us in Jesus!  He has devices, schemes that he uses but how can we know them?  Not by studying them but by allowing the Spirit of God opening up the Word of God to you and He will show you what is right and what is wrong, how to get right when you have gone astray and how to stay right.  Don’t let Satan come and rob you of the peace, the joy, and all that God has for us. Let’s be wise!

VERSES 12-13

            Jesus said in Revelation 3:8, I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.  Thus, as God opens doors for us, we are to step through them instead of trying to kick them down ourselves.  Not only does God open the door, but He brings others to our side to help us out, we are not alone, we are not a one man show.  Paul was concerned that Titus was not there because he was a fellow laborer in the work!

            Now, from II Corinthians 2:14 through 7:4 Paul describes and defends his ministry as an apostle.  Here in II Corinthians 2:13 Paul speaks of departing for Macedonia and in II Corinthians 7:5 he speaks of his arrival in Macedonia.


            Paul was not some loose cannon that did as he pleased; he followed the Lord, his general!  Paul takes this illustration from the Roman Triumph Parade that was given to generals who were successful in battle, returning home in victory.  Of this Barclay tells us:

            In a Triumph the procession of the victorious general marched through the streets of Rome to the Capitol . . . first came the state officials and the senate.  Then came the trumpeters. Then were carried the spoils taken from the conquered land . . . Then came the pictures of the conquered land and models of conquered citadels and ships.  There followed the white bull for sacrifice which would be made. Then there walked the captive princes, leaders and generals in chains, shortly to be flung into prison and in all probability almost immediately to be executed.  Then came the lectors bearing their rods, followed by the musicians with their lyres; then the priests swinging their censers with the sweet-smelling incense burning in them.  After that came the general himself . . . finally came the army wearing all the decorations and shouting lo triumphe!  Their cry of triumph.  As the procession moved through the streets, all decorated and garlanded, amid the cheering crowds, it made a tremendous day which might happen only once in a lifetime . . .

 . . . That is the picture that is in Paul’s mind.  He sees Christ marching in triumph throughout the world, and himself in that conquering train.  It is a triumph which, Paul is certain, nothing can stop.”

- Barclay

            As Christ marches in He is leading us, and as we are close to Jesus the fragrance of our Leader, Jesus Christ permeates our lives and those around us will smell the fragrance of Jesus.  The question is, “What kind of smell are you leaving behind?”

VERSES 15-17

            To all we are the aroma of God just as the incense burnt to the gods in a Roman Triumph Parade spoke of the aroma, the power of the Roman general and Rome itself.  This smell though did affect people differently. If you were part of Rome it was wonderful, joyous but if you were the defeated enemy it was the smell of death!  For those that believe and receive Jesus into their lives it speaks of life, but for those that reject Jesus it is the smell of death, eternal separation from God!

            Then Paul speaks of not peddling the word of God.  The word speaks of “adulterating” or “watering down” for their own personal gain.  Think of it as someone who waters down wine to make more of a profit.  Look at the church today and how the Word of God is watered down, it is edited to make people feel good about living in sin. You see, the profit may not only be monetary in nature, but it enables people to live lives that are immoral. That is why we teach the Word of God verse-by-verse here at Calvary Chapel, you get the whole counsel of God and then it is up to you to either listen to what God is saying or disobey what God is saying.  The thing is, you will not be able to say you didn’t know because the Word of God is not watered down or adulterated!  When you teach the Scriptures, when you share Scriptures with people, the best way to stay on track is to understand that God is present and thus as we speak of God, as we share His Word, it is a time of worship!  That will help, but again, how sad to hear people say that God’s Word is boring and that is why they don’t teach it verse-by-verse!  If the pastor feels that way, then that is how his congregation will feel and that is totally wrong. I am sorry!  Approach the Scriptures with the idea that God is in the audience and it will keep what you teach pure and it will keep you sincere!

            As I close this evening, please understand that we have the victory in Christ, and thus, may we go where He leads us and as we go, wherever we go, may we leave the aroma of Christ behind and not something else!