“Every Which Way But Loose!” II Corinthians 1:12-2:4
Was I fickle when I intended to do this? (1:17)
Paul’s change of plans: Instead of coming back through Corinth from Macedonia as he had said he would, Paul delayed the plan until after visiting other places.
(1:12) 12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.
THE ANCHOR IN OUR “ELASTIC” ENVIRONMENT.
- INTEGRITY AND SINCERITY OF GOD’S GRACE IN FICKLE HUMANITY.
- A CLEAR CONSCIENCE
(1:13-14) 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
THE STRETCH IN OUR EFFORTS TO LOVE.
- RISKING SHORT TERM HURT FOR LONG TERM HEALTH.
- OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD (SPOKEN OR TAKEN WRONG)
(1:15-24) 15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”? 18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
“EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE!”
- THE “STRETCH” ALWAYS PULLS BACK TO THE “ANCHOR.”
- STABLE “FICKLENESS”: “I STAKE MY LIFE ON IT / SPARE YOU (FOR YOUR GOOD).”
- EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE: BOAST OF YOU… GRIEVE YOU… REJOICE
- IT’S A CO-STRUGGLE … “WE WORK WITH YOU FOR YOUR JOY”
(2:1-4) 2 1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
THE LOVE MUCH DEEPER THAN “WARM FUZZIES!”
- “TEARS FOR FEARS”
- “GREAT DISTRESS… ANGUISH OF HEART… MANY TEARS”
- THE “STAKE IN THE GROUND.”
- “THE DEPTH OF MY LOVE FOR YOU.”
DOES MY LOVE STRETCH ME EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE?
GOD’S LOVE FOR ME… IT STRETCHED HIM OUT ON THE CROSS!
WHO DO YOU NEED TO STRETCH OUT TO? HAVE YOU STRETCHED OUT AND BEEN PAINFULLY CUT OFF? HAS SOMEONE STRETCHED OUT TO YOU? HAVE YOU PAINFULLY CUT OFF SOMEONE WHILE THEY WERE STRETCHED OUT TO YOU?
COME, LET GOD DIRECT YOU IN WHAT TO DO NEXT!
- HIS DEPTH OF LOVE FOR OTHERS IN YOU? COURAGE TO STRETCH OUT TO SOMEONE? HEALING FROM BEING CUT OFF BEFORE AND COURAGE TO DO IT AGAIN? FORGIVENESS FOR SINCERE BUT MISGUIDED STRETCHES TO YOU? HUMILITY WITH ONE STRETCHING OUT TO YOU? CONFESSION AND REQUESTED FORGIVENESS TO ONE YOU CUT OFF?