Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes -

Part I: God's Use Of Sufferings To Make Headway In Hard Ministries
(2 Corinthians 1:1-11)
  1. Introduction
    1. Often when a believer decides to heed God's leading to serve Him effectively, he gets the shock of his life: no sooner does he decide to serve God when mammoth trials may arise in various areas of life.
    2. He often wonders "Why would God allow this to happen just when I yielded to His will to serve Him?!"
    3. We discover the answer to this question from 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 as follows:
  2. God's Use Of Sufferings To Make Headway In Hard Ministries, 2 Corinthians 1:1-11.
    1. Paul had faced an uphill challenge in his ministry of discipling the Corinthians:
      1. When first evangelizing the town, Christ felt it necessary to give Paul a vision encouraging him to continue ministry there due to the opponents he faced, cf. Acts 18:1-8, 9-10 with 1 Cor. 2:1-4.
      2. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians revealed an "astonishing variety" of problems in the Church, cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, "The Church in Corinth," p. 1619.
      3. Then, in writing his first epistle, Paul had to order an excommunication of a sinful believer, something causing him grief and concern for the body's welfare, 2 Corinthians 2:1-6 with 1 Corinthians 5:13.
    2. However, God only allowed Paul to experience more trials to result in equipping him BY GRACE to surmount the humanly overwhelming discipling challenge he faced with the difficult Corinthians:
      1. First, God allowed trials to equip Paul to know what to teach effectively to the difficult Corinthians:
        1. Paul needed God's comfort for sufferings God allowed him to face in serving Him, 2 Cor. 1:3-4a, 5.
        2. God then comforted Paul in these trials which equipped him to aid other afflicted believers: (a) Paul could share personal testimony with the Corinthian believers of his experiences of suffering and of God's resulting comfort in those sufferings, 2 Corinthians 1:4a. (b) That way, the comfort Paul gained from God in these trials were useful for counseling of others like the Corinthians when they faced similar trials, effectively equipping Paul with insight on what to teach for their welfare, 1:4b.
      2. Second, God permitted Paul to suffer to teach him the lesson of using divine strength over human strength to enhance his effectiveness in discipling difficult people like the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 1:8-9.
        1. Paul suffered enough as an Apostle that he actually came to the end of trusting his human resources and feared for his earthly life, 2 Corinthians 1:8.
        2. This suffering beyond Paul's human capacity to handle was followed by God's deliverance, 1:10a.
        3. Thus, the suffering was designed to get Paul beyond even humanly trying to solve his trial problems and just rely on God's supernatural intervention for solutions, 2 Corinthians 1:9.
        4. We know from 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul learned to use these things for great empowerment in his ministry as his greater dependence upon Christ in his life produced greater results in his ministry!
        5. Thus, he was enhanced by God's power to minister even to the difficult Corinthian believers!
      3. Third, God allowed Paul to suffer to allow the difficult Corinthians to begin to learn how to minister themselves by way of intercessory prayer in his behalf, 2 Corinthians 1:11a.
      4. Fourth, God allowed Paul to suffer to create a unity with difficult, carnal Corinthian believers who might have drifted in their love for Paul due to his need to discipline some of them, 2 Cor. 2:1-3!
Lesson: God readies His servants to surmount humanly formidable obstacles in ministry assignments through THESE servants' SUFFERINGS: (a) By allowing such sufferings and then comforting them in these trials, God shows these servants WHAT to TEACH effectively to difficult people who also suffer. (b) By allowing such sufferings that force His servants to lean wholly upon Himself, God greatly EMPOWERS them for difficult ministries; (c) by such sufferings, God motivates even spiritually dull people to begin THEMSELVES to minister effectively and (d) creates an otherwise impossible spiritual UNITY among otherwise very mutually uncooperative and divided parties!

Application: We must learn not to be shocked at the presence of sufferings in our lives when we are seeking to minister to the Lord: such sufferings are TOOLS God uses to prepare us, those we disciple and the discipling PROCESS for great, superhuman results!