II Corinthians 1:12-20

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Text: II Corinthians 1:12-20

PRINCIPLES OF ACTION

INTRODUCTION:

Everyone who is saved has a Christian ministry with someone. It is not just the pastors and missionaries. This ministry might be a ladies Bible Study, it might be a Sunday School class, it might be a children's church, it might be your own children, or it might be someone you have just led to the Lord.

We need to realize that our ministry must be a God-appointed one and that it should be Scriptural.

Now something that all of us wants is to have a quality ministry. Whatever we do for the Lord, we want to do to the best of our ability. There is no room for the idea that anything is good enough for the Lord. We desire excellence. We desire to do our best.

Everyone can do an excellent job once in a while, but we desire to do our best at all times. The only way we can consistently do our best all the time is to develop good Principles of Action and adhere to them. Paul had certain principles of action which he mentions in II Corinthians 1:12-24 and in this message I want to urge upon us that we both study and adopt as our own Paul's principles of action.

Paul's first principle of action is -

I. HE BEHAVED HIMSELF IN SIMPLICITY AND GODLY SINCERITY - 1:12-13

II Corinthians 1:12-13 - 12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end.

According to verse 12, by the grace of God, Paul had conducted himself with sincerity and purity of motive wherever he went in his ministry and especially in Corinth.

For our rejoicing is this is understood as now our object of boasting is this, now our reason for boasting is this, or now our confidence is this; and the content of this is that in simplicity and godly sincerity . . . we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

The testimony of our conscience is the witness (or the proof) which my (i.e. Paul's) conscience gives and refers to Paul's inward faculty for determining right and wrong.

That in simplicity and godly sincerity is connected with have had and indicates manner. It is understood in the sense of that with simplicity and godly sincerity.

Simplicity is sincerity, uprightness, or frankness.

Sincerity suggests purity of motive.

Godly has been translated in a way which describes sincerity. It might instead be understood as indicating the source of the sincerity as being from God. There is very little difference because, if the sincerity is from God, it will be godly.

Not with fleshly wisdom is also understood with have had and speaks of wisdom produced by the flesh, i.e. by the old sin nature.

But by the grace of God is in strong contrast to with fleshly wisdom. It is by God's grace. Paul's ability to have had his conversation in the world did not come by means of fleshly wisdom but by means of God's grace.

We have had our conversation, where we and our refer to Paul, is used of human conduct in the sense of we acted, we behaved, we conducted ourselves, or we lived and understood as we practiced certain principles.

In the world indicates where Paul had conducted himself in simplicity and godly sincerity.

And more abundantly to you-ward is and especially (or and all the more) toward you.

According to verse 13, the Corinthian believers were well aware that Paul had conducted himself with sincerity and purity of motive in his ministry in Corinth.

II Corinthians 1:13 13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end.

For we write none other things unto you, where we is Paul, is now we are not writing other things to you; and its tense is descriptive of what Paul is not doing in writing this epistle.

Than what ye read is except what things you are reading.

Or acknowledge is or also are acknowledging, or also are understanding, or also are knowing.

And I trust is and I am trusting, and I am hoping, or and I am expecting.

Ye shall acknowledge is you will acknowledge, you will understand, or you will know.

Even to the end suggests even until the Lord returns at the rapture. Paul wants them to continue acknowledging, understanding, or knowing something until such time as the Lord returns. Paul had no hidden agenda. What he was writing was straightforward, and he wants them to understand and recognize it.

Just as Paul behaved himself in simplicity and godly sincerity, we should live our lives in simplicity and Godly sincerity. Paul's second principle of action is -

II. HE WILL REJOICE IN THOSE WITH WHOM HE WORKS IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS - 1:14

According to verse 14, the Corinthian believers' boast has been in Paul, and his boast has been in them

II Corinthians 1:14 14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

As is just as and introduces a comparison of that we are your rejoicing with even as ye are ours.

Also suggests in addition to our being your rejoicing.

Ye have acknowledged us, where us refers to Paul, is you acknowledged (i.e. understood or knew) us (i.e. me, Paul).

In part suggests a limited acknowledgment.

It is further defined by that we are your rejoicing, where we refers to Paul.

Your rejoicing is something which constitutes a source of pride and is understood in the sense of your boast, your object of boasting, or your reason for boasting.

Even as ye also are ours is just as you also are our (i.e. my = Paul's) rejoicing, boast, object of boasting, or reason for boasting.

In the day of the Lord Jesus refers to the rapture, the time when the Lord Jesus Christ will return for His saints. It is a time yet future. Paul had no doubt that, aside from the false apostles, the Corinthian believers' salvation was genuine. It was his hope that they would fully acknowledge the genuineness of his apostolic office as well and rejoice in him as he will rejoice in them at the rapture.

Just as Paul will rejoice at the rapture with those with whom he has worked, we likewise will rejoice at the rapture with those with whom we have worked. Paul's third principle of action is -

III. HE DESIRES THAT THOSE WITH WHOM HE WORKS BENEFIT FROM HIS MINISTRY - 1:15

According to verse 15, Paul, in his confident boasting in the Corinthian believers, had intended to come to them in order to help them in their Christian lives.

II Corinthians 1:15 15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit.

And in this confidence is and in this trust, i.e. in the trust expressed in verse 14 - that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

I was minded speaks of planning a course of action and is understood in the sense of I was intending (i.e. I was planning, I was willing, I was wishing, or I was desiring).

What Paul was intending to do was to come unto you before (i.e. earlier, formerly, or in former times).

The reason Paul was planning to come to Corinth earlier is that (i.e. in order that or for the purpose that) ye might have a second benefit. It implies a practical application of goodwill. The idea conveyed by a second benefit is a second visit by Paul to Corinth in which he would have more opportunity to use his gift as an apostle to strengthen them in their Christian lives.

He actually planned two visits on one trip. He planned not only to visit them on his way to Macedonia, but also on his way back from Macedonia before traveling to Judea.

Paul disclosed his plan in I Corinthians 16:5-9 - 5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. 6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. 7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. 8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

Just as Paul desires that those with whom he works benefit from his ministry, we likewise desire that those with whom we work benefit from our ministries. Paul's fourth principle of action is -

IV. HE DOES NOT VACILLATE - 1:16-20

He does not chart a zig-zag course.

II Corinthians 1:16-20 - 16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. 17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? 18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

According to verse 16, when he left Corinth, Paul had intended to go to Macedonia, then return again to Corinth and from there, with the aid of the church in Corinth, travel to Judea.

II Corinthians 1:16 16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.

And to pass by you into Macedonia, where Macedonia is northern Greece which contains such cities as Philippi, Berea, and Thessalonica, is to pass through you into Macedonia. Paul's thinking was that he might come to Corinth on his way to Macedonia. By you has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text, which reads literally, And through you to come unto Macedonia.

And to come again out of Macedonia unto you. Paul's thought was that he might retrace his steps and return again to Corinth when he left Macedonia.

And of you (i.e. by you) to be brought on my way toward Judaea indicates Paul's thought that the Corinthian believers would bring Paul on his way toward Judea, which means that they would help him on his journey unto Judea with things such as rest, supplies, money, and traveling companions.

1. Paul's intent was not fickle. It was definite and not vacillating - v. 17

II Corinthians 1:17 17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?

Paul's opponents had apparently accused him of being fickle or undependable in saying one thing one minute and something else the next minute. Paul was not fickle, however. He had merely shared his thinking with them, but God had other plans for Paul and led him to do something different. According to II Corinthians 2:11-13 , when Paul left Ephesus, he went to Troas, expecting to meet Titus in Troas. When he did not find him in Troas, he was troubled in his spirit and went directly to Macedonia from Troas rather than through Corinth. As a result, the two visits to Corinth, one on the way to Macedonia and the other on the way back from Macedonia, never took place.

II Corinthians 2:11-13 - (11) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

Apparently some also used this change of plan to accuse Paul of really not being an apostle because he would say one thing and do another. The implication was that his word was no good.

Therefore introduces an inference drawn from Paul's thoughts expressed in verses 15-16 and is understood in the sense of then, consequently, accordingly, or so.

When I . . . was thus minded suggests when I was purposing this, when I was intending this, or when I was so inclined.

Paul knows that he did not use lightness in spite of some apparently saying that he had.

Did I use lightness? is, Did I act with vacillation? or, Did I proceed with levity?

Or the things that I purpose, suggests or what things I am purposing, or what things I am resolving, or or what things I am deciding.

Do I purpose? is, Am I purposing?, Am I resolving?, or, Am I deciding?

According to the flesh suggests according to human standard, thought, or perspective.

That (i.e. so that or with the result that) with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay.

There should be yea yea, and nay nay is yes, yes and no, no, should (or might) be. It implies that Paul could not make up his mind, that he charted a zigzag course, that he vacillated in his thinking, or that he said yes one minute and no the next. Of course, Paul had no trouble making up his mind in spite of what some might say to taint his character. He was following God's direction.

2. Paul's word was not fickle. It was definite and not vacillating - v. 18

II Corinthians 1:18 18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.

Paul's word was definite and trustworthy rather than vacillating and unreliable.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast with the thought that Paul had used lightness in his planning and that he had vacillated in his thinking.

As God is true and is is just as God the Father is true or just as God is trustworthy, reliable, dependable, or faithful, inspiring trust, or inspiring faith. It speaks here of God as the One in Whom believers can have full confidence. God is the One Who sent Paul, Silas, and Timothy to Corinth with the gospel message; and it was God's message for the Corinthians that these men had proclaimed. There is no vacillation in God, in His message, or in His messengers.

Our word toward you is, Our word, the one (spoken) to you.

Was not suggests was never.

Yea and nay is yes and no as if Paul could not make up his mind.

3. Christ, Whom Paul proclaimed, was also not fickle. He was definite and not vacillating - v. 19

II Corinthians 1:19 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.

Paul's proclamation of the gospel was not indefinite, unreliable, undependable, and inconsistent but was definite, reliable, dependable, and consistent.

For introduces an explanation.

The Son of God is Jesus Christ, and God is God the Father.

Who (i.e. Jesus Christ) was preached among you by us (i.e. through us) indicates that God proclaimed the gospel to the Corinthians through Paul, Silas, and Timothy, who merely served as channels for the proclamation of the gospel message. Since God is the One Who actually proclaimed the message of salvation to the Corinthian believers, the message was trustworthy and reliable and could be trusted. It did not vacillate.

Even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus identifies who is intended by us.

The tense of was not suggests that it never was.

Yea and nay, as in the previous verse, suggests that the message was never vacillating or changing.

But (indicating a strong contrast) in him (i.e. in Christ) was yea (i.e. yes) likewise suggests that the message did not vacillate. The gospel message has always been the same. It has never changed. It proved to be true in the past, and it remains true forever.

4. None of the promises of God in Christ are fickle. They are all definite and not vacillating - v. 20

II Corinthians 1:20 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

All the promises of God in Christ are definite and will be kept; and this will result in God the Father being glorified.

All the promises of God (i.e. God the Father) in him (i.e. in Christ) includes every one of the promises God the Father has made in Christ. It is all God's promises in Him. None are excluded.

Are yea indicates that God's promises are all definite.

And in him (i.e. in Christ) Amen. In him again refers to Christ. Amen is a particle of affirmation, which suggests that the promises of God in Christ are definite.

The amen is spoken or said unto the glory of God by us (i.e. through Paul, Silas, and Timothy. It is literally to God for glory through us. It means that all of God's promises in Christ, without exception, are definite and that the amen is for glory being given or attributed to God through what the promises have taught or proclaimed.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy had followed the Lord's leading in their lives and, within the will of God, had come to Corinth where they proclaimed the gospel and taught the believers for eighteen months. All of this brought glory to God.