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2Corinthians 7and8 - Encouragement With Titus

INTRODUCTION: Titus had gone to Corinth while Paul was in Macedonia, and he was well received by the Corinthians. Paul was very pleased when Titus was reunited with him, but even more so because of the good report Titus brought back from Corinth. As Paul continued preparing his letter, he commended Titus and other workers who were partners with him in spreading the gospel of Christ; and expressed the joy that both he and Titus had in the report brought back from Corinth.

NOTE: Bible passages are from the American KJV.

A - TITUS BROUGHT A REPORT FROM CORINTH THAT ENCOURAGED PAUL

2Corinthians 7 "1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. 3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that you are in our hearts to die and live with you. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. 5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fights, within were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, that comforts those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. 8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same letter has made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it worked in you, yes, what clearing of yourselves, yes, what indignation, yes, what fear, yes, what vehement desire, yes, what zeal, yes, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter."

COMMENTS: Paul made reference to the comfort of knowing God will receive those who have separated themselves in body and spirit from the fleshly desires of the world because of the faith they have in Christ. He appealed to the Corinthians that his affection for them was both willingness to live and to die with them; and he wanted them to receive him knowing that he had not wronged, corrupted, nor defrauded any man. When Paul spoke about the Corinthians it was with boldness, having great pleasure that gave him comfort and even joy while in all his tribulations. When he had gone into Macedonia he had outward fights and inward fears that were troubling him, but the news that Titus brought to him was a blessing from God, who comforts those who are cast down. Paul was blessed to hear that the Corinthians were eager for Paul to make a return visit to them, because he had been concerned about any lasting negative effect to part of his previous letter. But Godly sorrow for a season can work repentance to salvation; but the sorrow of the world works death. Paul wrote that they sorrowed after a godly sort, and thereby in all things they had approved themselves to be clear in this matter.


B - TITUS HAD BEEN WELL RECEIVED BY THE CORINTHIANS

2 Corinthians 7 "12 Why, though I wrote to you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you. 13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yes, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. 14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. 15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things."

COMMENTS: Paul stated that he had written not so much for the one who suffered wrong, or for the one who had done the wrong; but that they would know Paul had care in the sight of God for those at Corinth. And Paul saw the joy in Titus as he returned to give his report, and what Titus had seen in the Corinthians verified the boasting Paul had made about them in the Lord. Paul took the opportunity to state that as he had spoken to the Corinthians in truth, it was now evident that what he had told Titus about them was also true: which gave Titus a strong affection in his heart for them, and Paul rejoiced at his own confidence in them.


C - PAUL WROTE ABOUT THE LIBERAL SHARING BY THE CHURCHES OF MACEDONIA

2 Corinthians 8 "1 Moreover, brothers, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yes, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take on us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God. 6 So that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 7 Therefore, as you abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that you abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which you have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man has, and not according to that he has not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and you burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack."

COMMENTS: Now Paul wanted to share how the churchs of Macedonia gave evidence of the grace of God to them even though they experienced a great trial of affliction, they had an abundance of joy. Even in deep poverty, they gave generously beyond what could have been expected from their resources. Through much prayer they urged Paul's team to receive a gift of support, and to take on the fellowship of ministering to the saints. Paul wrote that as the Macedonians had first given themselves to the Lord, they then gave to the ministry by the will of God. So Paul desired as Titus had begun with the Corinthians, he would also see them go on in such acts of grace. Paul said he was not writing to demand of them, but that they might demonstrate the sincerity of their love. This follows the example given in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich. Paul wrote that he wanted them to follow through with what they had begun to do a year earlier, and that their willingness would be completed out of that which they possessed. This was not to place any burden on the Corinthians, while the recipients would rest in ease. But those who have abundance should be willing to share with those who have need; and if the time should come, there would be reciprocating care from others. For those who are all under the care of the Lord, Paul referred to the time God gave just the right amount of daily supply of Manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years.

Exodus 16 "15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they knew not what it was. And Moses said to them, This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take you every man for them which are in his tents. 17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating."


D - PAUL GAVE COMMENDATION TO TITUS AND TO HIS OTHER FELLOW WORKERS

2 Corinthians 8 "16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went to you. 18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: 20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: 21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, on the great confidence which I have in you. 23 Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow helper concerning you: or our brothers be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 24 Why show you to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf."

COMMENTS: Paul wrote that he was thankful that God had put warm care into the heart of Titus for the Corinthians, because Titus did not need to be persuaded by Paul to go to them. And Paul sent another unnamed brother in the Lord with Titus, and that man was well known by many of the churches as a fervent minister of the gospel of Christ. Paul expressed the sending of these fellow workers as an abundance of sharing on his part with great confidence in the Corinthians; providing honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. Paul gave assurance that if any at Corinth had questions about the men he sent: Titus was his partner and fellow helper concerning them, and the other brothers were the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. Paul urged the Corinthians to show those men, and before the churches: the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, I thank you for these passages which display some of the personal feelings of the Apostle Paul for the value he placed on his own need for loving fellowship with other believers. He desired to be set apart from the world, but not from the affection that followers of Christ need to share with each other. From the example of an apostle, may I have humility as I use whatever gifts you have graciously given to me for your glory, as I interact with others who also know your unsurpassable gift of salvation. Paul had good things to say about the Corinthians, and his spirit was lifted by the way Titus reported about the warm reception he had received as he visited Corinth in Paul's behalf. As Paul continued to compose his letter, he wanted to share how the Christians in Macedonia gave generously to benefit others, even though they did not have an abundance of material goods for themselves. Paul then used this fact to encourage the Corinthians to follow through with the preparations they had unselfishly been making for the benefit of others. Paul wrote in very complimentary fashion about Titus and other companions who were dedicated to the work of the Lord; and he was confident that the Corinthians would receive them warmly as they made another visit while Paul remained in Macedonia. Help me Lord to work with others in the body of Christ in person, or through other modes of communication, to promote love and service to each other. Amen, and amen.

Published 21 January 2021