Paul’s Fears

 

Text: II Corinthians 7:4-7

 

I.         What causes you to be afraid?

            A.        Most of us face fears at different points of our lives.

            B.        Most of our fears come from things that we cannot control or things we cannot for see. More fear is born of our imagination than is found in reality.

            C.        We usually see fear as a bad thing, but it is still something we all experience.

            D.        Paul admitted to having fears - I Corinthians 2:3

                        1.         The contrast is interesting in the context - I Corinthians 2:1-5

                        2.         As a spokesman for God, he demonstrated the power of God

                        3.         But as a man he felt weak and afraid

            E.        Paul was a man who could face down a false sorcerer - Acts 13:6-12

            F.        He was a man who could call a court official a whitewashed wall, and calmly apologize when he learned that the official was the high priest - Acts 23:1-5

            G.        Without a doubt, Paul had courage. But he also had fears.

II.        Fears of being disappointed

            A.        Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians strongly rebuking them for the various sins with which they allowed themselves to be afflicted

                        1.         It grieved him that he had to cause them pain - II Corinthians 7:8

                        2.         He had to do battle against sin, but at the same time there were fears as to the outcome - II Corinthians 7:4-5

            B.        It is the duty of a preacher to rebuke with authority - Titus 2:15

                        1.         But it doesn’t stop the concerns regarding whether it will work this time.

                        2.         I’m sure many see such preachers as harden, tough veterans; not understanding that underneath they are still sensitive, caring men.

            C.        Paul rejoiced that his fears were unnecessary in this case. He learned from Titus that the letter was properly received - II Corinthians 7:6-7

                        1.         We see a man who did not let his personal fears interfere with his duty to God.

                        2.         Paul was facing all sorts of problems, but he didn’t let them stop him - II Corinthians 4:8-9

            D.        Still, he was nervous about seeing the Corinthians again in person - II Corinthians 12:20-21

                        1.         He remained concerned that while they responded well to his letter that they won’t actually change.

                        2.         He was afraid that he would find more problems in the group and that old problems would be continued.

                        3.         He was afraid that instead of a joyful meeting that he would have to be harsh – something that neither they nor him would enjoy.

                        4.         Paul hoped to see progress and he was afraid that he might be disappointed when he came.

III.       Fears of the deceptions of Satan - II Corinthians 11:1-4

            A.        Paul understood the power of Satan and the weakness of men - II Corinthians 11:13-15

                        1.         Paul knew how smooth words and flattery would work in the hearts of people - Romans 16:17-18

                        2.         He knew that false teachers would court the brethren - Galatians 4:17

                        3.         They would whisper sweet-nothings in their ears - II Peter 2:18-19

                        4.         And men would listen because the things they hear are exactly the things they want to hear - II Timothy 4:3-4

            B.        Paul knew that people could be swayed by powerful personalities

                        1.         People tend to only look at the surface - II Corinthians 10:7

                        2.         Paul knew that in appearance he couldn’t compete - II Corinthians 10:10

                                    a.         Though he knew that it wasn’t appearance that mattered, but content - II Corinthians 11:6

                                    b.         He refused to use the tactics of the false teachers - I Thessalonians 2:5

            C.        Paul would do those things that were necessary - II Corinthians 11:9-12

                        1.         His using funds from other regions was a cause of complaint among the Corinthians.

                        2.         But Paul knew the reason for this choice, as the Corinthians ought to have known, but he wouldn’t let their disapproval stop him, because his choice made the false teacher’s “work” harder.

IV.      Fears of corruption - II Corinthians 11:3-4

            A.        The “simplicity” in verse 3 doesn’t mean easy to understand, but singleness of purpose that is in Christ The opposite of the Greek word haplotes is the idea of being divided or doubled.

                        1.         Paul feared that the Corinthians would accept ideas blended with other concepts

                        2.         The same fear he had for the Galatians 1:6-10

                        3.         He wanted the Galatians to have no other mind - Galatians 5:10

                        4.         But he feared that they would blend Judaism or idolatry with Christianity - Galatians 4:8-11

            B.        No longer would it be one faith - Ephesians 4:4-6

                        1.         There can be no division or blending - I Corinthians 1:10

                        2.         The problem of a blended faith is that retains enough of the truth that the naive imbibe without suspecting the elements of poison within.

                        3.         And Paul could see the Corinthians putting up with such

            C.        Much of what passes for Christianity is actually a blending of truth with other philosophies

            D.        Paul knew he would stand against such - II Corinthians 10:1-6

                        1.         Paul knew how to use the truth to destroy false teachings

                        2.         When he came, he wanted to come to teach and build up the faiths of the Corinthians.

                        3.         But if he had to tear down their false beliefs he would - II Corinthians 10:8-11

V.        It is amazing the destructive beliefs people will tolerate - II Corinthians 11:19-20

            A.        If Paul came visiting here, what would he find?

            B.        Would he have reason to fear?