1. Paul defends his apostleship 1, 2
  1. 2 Corinthians timetable
    1. Written after first Corinthians
    2. Written after a visit to Corinth
    3. Order of letters
      1. 1 Corinthians
      2. 1 and 2 Thessalonians
      3. 2 Corinthians
      4. Romans
  2. Paul starts by defending his apostleship
    1. There are still those who are in the church trying to set Paul, Peter and Apollos against each other.
    2. He is addressing the church in Corinth, but also the believers in what is now Greece
    3. Persecution is starting and now Corinth is the only place where the believers can gather in what we would call a church service.
  3. First part of the letter
    1. The first seven chapters are going to commend them for obeying the first letter and answer any questions they had about it.

2.  Thanksgiving for God’s comfort in Affliction Vs 3 – 11

  1. The Starting Point
    1. Blessed be God… He is the Object of blessing
    2. He is the Father from whom merciful acts proceed
      1. He has compassion
      2. Compassions root word is “takes pity on”
    3. He is also the God of all comfort
      1. This is the word used for the Holy Spirit as our comforter
      2. Encouragement for troubled hearts to find strength in Him
      3. we can see proofs of the Triune God in names like comforter
        1. Isaiah 66: 13 Father referred to as Comforter
        2. 1 John 2: 1 Jesus is called the Paraklete “Comforter”
        3. John 14: 16 The Holy Spirit is called the comforter.

Paul is not only talking about the persecution Greece is facing, He has went through harrowing experience himself and he suffered so much that he despaired of life itself. In these times it is easy to put this off as God’s judgement, but Paul is trying to remind people that God is a God of comfort.  You can only really know this God of comfort when we are going through affliction.

2.    God is not only a blessing to the individual, but the individual in turn becomes a blessing to others. Vs 4

1. Affliction qualifies an individual to minister to others

2. Personal experience necessary in order to pass this on to others.

So God comforts us (present tense) and He does it in ALL of our affliction not that we may just endure but even rejoice. (See 11: 23, and 12: 10). Two meanings behind the words trouble.  All our tribulation collectively and every trouble specifically.

3.  The believer is a fellow sufferer with Christ Vs 5

  1. Scriptures
    1. Romans 8: 17 if so be that we suffer with Him
    2. Philippians 3: 10 the fellowship of His sufferings
    3. Colossians 1: 24 the afflictions of Christ in my flesh
    4. Matthew 20: 22 The baptism that I am baptized with
  2. Sense of greater faithfulness equals intensity of suffering
    1. 2 Timothy 2: 3 endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ
    2. Acts 14: 22 we must go through much tribulation
    3. Luke 14: 28 – 31 the need to count the cost
    4. 1 Peter 4: 12 fiery ordeals should not be considered strange
    5. Hebrews 13: 14 We bear his reproach.
  3. Comfort and strength also flow from this union
    1. 1 Peter 4: 13 We will also partake in His glory
    2. Remember these are the sufferings of Christ.
  4. Paul’s afflictions and comforts are for the sake of his converts Vs 6
    1. The believer is bound to Christ and other believers
    2. Lack of sympathy is in fact unscriptural insensitivity.

COMMENT: god has one great purpose for His people above everything else;  it is to destroy in us forever any possible confidence in the flesh; it is to bring us to the place where self-confidence has passed away forever and replaced by confidence in God who raises the dead (Redpath)

4.Paul refers to his trouble in Ephesus Vs 8

  1. Troubles beyond Paul’s ability to endure if left to himself.
    1. Only divine intervention gave him ability to survive.
    2. These are the sufferings of Christ referred to in Vs 5
    3. The specific troubles simply are not mentioned.
  2. From the human perspective he could see no possible way to survive.
    1. It was as if a death sentence  had been passed on him
    2. Despair is that there is no way of escape.
  3. God had the power to deliver us from this death sentence. and he will continue to deliver me. Vs 10
  4. Paul relied on the power of God to deliver him, but he also admitted that he needed the prayers of the Corinthians
    1. Prayers literally were faces that Paul saw standing with him in prayer.
      1. He is offering up thanksgiving for the prayers of so many standing in for him while he is struggling
      2. it gave him a cheerful countenance

COMMENT: notice that there is no real explanation or attempt to try and figure out why certain things are happening.  The focus is totally on the fact that those who’ve Christ will suffer at the hands of the enemy, but the focus should always be on Christ who gives us the power to endure and be strong in the middle of the battle we are facing.  We also have to be aware of the sufferings that those around us are going through.  Our prayers for those who are suffering are effective.