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Delighting in the Truth

Delighting in the Truth

Words of Faith 12-28-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 12

   [14] Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. [15] So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? [16] Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! [17] Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you? [18] I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course?

 

       Paul was about to make another visit to the Corinthians and he was determined not to be a burden to them on this visit. He wanted them to understand that he was motivated wholly by love for them. He did not want their possessions; he wanted them.

       Like a father with his spiritual children Paul wanted to care for the church without cost to them. While he refused remuneration for different reasons not the least among them was his love for the Corinthians. And he would gladly have received the same "coinage" from them.

     Paul wrote earlier in this letter, "We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange--I speak as to my children--open wide your hearts also" (6:11-13).

       Yet Paul could live with the fact that the Corinthians' return of love would be less than his investment of love in them. What he found intolerable was that they charged him and his associates with underhanded self-gratification when just the opposite was true. This was a deeply wounding accusation.

       Apparently the false apostles suggested that Paul's unwillingness to accept support from the church was simply a cloak to disguise his love of money and the designs he had on the collection. They accused him of "catching them by trickery.” Titus was obviously implicated in this, as was one of the two brothers who accompanied him at Paul's recommendation.

       Paul asked the obvious question: What evidence could be mustered to lend the slightest credence to this allegation? Was there any hint of misconduct in the behavior of Titus or our brother? Were not Paul's actions equally impeccable? Had either of them ever exploited the Corinthians? Paul hoped that the absence of evidence would silence his critics though the history of his relationship with the Corinthian church hardly boded well for such a result.

       The accusations of the false apostle, however unfounded, had undermined the trust between the Corinthians and their founding pastor, Paul. It was a situation perhaps comparable to the modern political climate in which mud slinging and "attack ads" prove most effective because human nature tends to believe the negative. People tend to assume there must be some truth or those negative things would not be spread or said. The Kingdom of God lives by a different method and standard.

       1 Corinthians 13 is the gold standard for relationships in Christ. Paul wrote that "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (6-7). This was the way of Christ and Christian relationships.

       In contrast, Paul described the heart of the depraved to the church at Rome in this way-- "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil..." (Romans 1:29-30). This was the way of the false apostles.

         For us, we can determine not to entertain gossip or accusations against brothers, sisters or leaders. We can choose to expect the best, not delight in evil, rejoice in the truth, protect, trust and persevere. We can pray for our leaders and brothers and sisters.

 

         Father God, I lift the Body of Christ in prayer. Strengthen the leaders You have raised up. Protect them from slander and gossip. Give wisdom and insight. Bless those servants You have raised up for Your purposes. In Jesus' Name.