Thursday, April 11, 2019

2019.04.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 7:2-12

Questions for Littles: What does the apostle ask the Corinthians to do in 2 Corinthians 7:2? What three things have the apostolic ministers not done? How does he express his affection to them in 2 Corinthians 7:3? What four things, in 2 Corinthians 7:4, are increased by his love for them? What troubles had they had in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 7:5)? What comforted them (2 Corinthians 7:6)? What does 2 Corinthians 7:7 present as the cause for this comfort? What did the apostle both feel and not feel about having made them sorry in 2 Corinthians 7:8? Over what, specifically, did he rejoice in 2 Corinthians 7:9? What had their sorrow led to? What does a repentant response to sorrow show that God is doing in them (2 Corinthians 7:10a)? What does the sorrow of the world (the sorrow that does not produce repentance) produce instead (verse 10b)? What six things does 2 Corinthians 7:11 highlight as characteristics of their repentance? What does the apostle say he was not aiming at in this case of church discipline (2 Corinthians 7:12)? What does he say that he was aiming at?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn something about real love and real repentance.

Real love feels like it dies with your death and lives with your life (2 Corinthians 7:3). Real love speaks boldly to you when you need to hear it (2 Corinthians 7:4a). Real love is full of joy at another’s good (verse 4b). Real love has comfort not in its own circumstances, but in the circumstances of the one it loves (verse 4c). Real love has joy—even if itself is in trouble—at the good that comes to the one it loves (verse 4d).

Real love is willing to make you sorry—and rejoices if it sees a change (2 Corinthians 7:8-9). Real love doesn’t aim so much at adjudicating particular situations (2 Corinthians 7:12a) as it does at seeing God use it to care for you and save you (verse 12b, 2 Corinthians 7:10).

But one of the things at which real love aims at is real repentance. Repentance is more than just saying sorry. Repentance is even more than just truly feeling sorry. The world truly feels sorry—in a way that is leading to their death! 2 Corinthians 7:11 describes those aspects of the Corinthian repentance, reported by Titus, that confirmed to the apostle that this was real repentance, that demonstrated godly sorrow, as evidence that God was indeed saving them.

Real repentance produces diligence. It works hard at doing something differently. Real repentance desires a clean conscience—it wants to be investigated, examined, and cleared that the offense is no longer there. Real repentance is indignant. It doesn’t pooh-pooh the sin, but admits it and owns it and hates it. Real repentance fears; it recognizes not only that we must be indignant with our sin, but that this is especially because of God’s white-hot holiness and wrath against sin. Real repentance has vehement desire. It passionately wants to reverse course, to be holy, to enjoy the fruit of this holiness. Real repentance is full of zeal. It expresses this desire in a bubbling over of attitude and action. Real repentance vindicates the one that confronted it—it says, “you had good reason to confront me.” All of these things characterized the Corinthian repentance, and this is why the loving apostle was so comforted by the news that Titus brought him!
Whom do you really love? Using the characteristics that we see in this passage, explain how you know that you really love them. Who really loves you? Of what sin have you been confronted? How will you specifically show the aspects of real repentance that we see in this passage?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH130A “Lord, from the Depths to You I Cry!”

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