LESSON 12 20/5/2018
EXPRESSION OF GODLY SORROW AND HEAVENLY FOCUS
Suggested Hymn: G.H.B. 10, 13
Devotional Reading: Col. 3:1-11
Topic For Adults: Accept It For Heaven’s Sake
Topic For Youth: Maintaining Positive Disposition To Divine Rebuke
Topic For Intermediate: Don’t Resist Divine Correction
Lesson Scriptures: 2 Cor. 7:6-11; Ps. 51:1-4; Phil. 3:17-21; Heb. 11:13-16
MEMORY VERSE: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” 2 Cor. 7:10 (NKJV)
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
2 Cor. 7:8-12
Today’s passage shows us how taking a firm and decisive action to trend down spiritual rot can achieve significant results. Apostle Paul wrote in his first epistle to the Corinthians to condemn the flagrant and arrogant display of sin amongst them. This epistle expectedly had significant impact on the church. The members became sober, filled with guilt and remorse, which consequently led to repentance and forgiveness from God. Paul was in no small measure pleased to hear of their godly sorrow and repentance. Summarily put, the epistle produced diligence, clear conscience, hearts free from indignation, fear of God, vehement desire and zeal for holiness and righteousness in the church. What amazing result! Actually, God expects His children to respond in humility to reproof, rebuke, and discipline in the church because they are meant to shapen us to conform to divine specification. Let’s always remember that any child the father loves he chastises.
Point of Emphasis: Anyone that will be used by God must be ready for divine chastening and routine pruning.
Prayer Point: O Lord, in Your mercy always correct me whenever I go wrong.
A glorious church is a heaven focused and rapturable church. One of the attributes of a glorious church is godly sorrow for sin. Because the members are heavenly focused, godly sorrow in their midst produces repentance. We shall see typical examples in today’s lesson in the Corinthian church and in the life of individuals, the amazing outcome of godly sorrow.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: GODLY SORROW (2 COR. 7:6-11; PS. 51:1-4)
The second epistle of Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church was written as a consolidation to the first and also to address some new issues. In firm and strong terms, but with love (2 Cor. 2:4), Apostle Paul had condemned the anomalies reported among the Corinthian brethren, particularly on the issue of sectionalism and sexual debauchery. Let’s recall one or two expressions in the first epistle: “I could not address you as spiritual but as canal (1 Cor. 3:1)”, “Those involved in the sexual act of debauchery be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the body (1 Cor. 5:5)”, “For some of you do not have the knowledge of God; I say this to your shame (1 Cor.15:34b)”, “You fools; what you sow does not come to life unless it dies (1 Cor. 15:36)”. Obviously, Paul’s first epistle made the Corinthian brethren to be sorrowful for their sins. The aims of writing the epistle, which were repentance and restoration, were achieved. This was confirmed by Titus on his visit to Corinth, who eventually brought the good news to Apostle Paul. We need to know that rebuke, reproof or chastisement from God shows the depth of His love, and most often, a necessity for us to fulfil His divine mandates (2 Tim. 3:16,17). No believer is a finished product yet; we’re all in His crucible undergoing refining. This understanding should help us to maintain a positive disposition whenever we’re rebuked by God, either through personal study of the word or through the teaching or preaching of His servants, or in the case of church disciplinary action. Expressing godly sorrow goes with a humble heart. Today, when erring church members are disciplined some will leave for another church, while others often recruit their likes to revolt against the church authority. This attitude does not connote the sincere contrition that is required of members who are aiming for heaven. Similarly, some Christians will rather mourn and be sorrowful because their sins are exposed, and not because they have transgressed the law of God. We have a lot to learn from the brethren at Corinth who went to God in humility of hearts to seek His forgiveness.
Some of the benefits of godly sorrow include:
- Forgiveness and cleansing, leading to joy and gladness
- Restoration, rejuvenation and refreshment
- Renewal of God’s nature within us
- Restored fellowship with the Holy Spirit
- Rekindled grace and determination to live for God.
PART 2: HEAVENLY FOCUS (PHIL. 3:17-21; HEB. 11:13-16)
To be heavenly focused is to live each day doing the will of God; to focus on those things that can edify the body of Christ, and not on materialism and hedonism; to focus on the things that will outlive life, and not on the ephemerals. One of the attributes of a glorious church is that her members are conscious of heaven. As believers, we know that we are not of this world but only in the world briefly to prepare for eternity. No wonder our time here on earth has been described as a lease for which the leasor (God) will one day demand accountability.
Believers need not be discouraged on their pilgrimage to heaven but be focused. Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, which is considered to be one of his prison epistles, warned against complacency, false teachers and mixed multitude in the church (2 Cor. 11:15; 2 Pet. 2:1,3; 2 Thess. 1:9). But how do we know these false teachers? This passage in Philippians mentioned some of their characteristics – they don’t imitate Christ, they are enemies of the cross, their god is their belly, they glory in things they should be ashamed of, and they mind earthly things. The church today needs to be more careful of these unscrupulous fellows who go about seeking recognition and recruiting gullible people. The Bible has admonished us to set our minds on things above only (Rom. 8:5; Col. 3:2). The spiritual lethargy and high level of worldliness among Christians show that the faith of many has waxed cold; while a good number of professing Christians are yet to have salvation experience. This is a clarion call for believers to maintain their focus on Jesus and His word, and not on any man no matter the title he arrogates to himself.
Godly sorrow for sin is a necessary step to forgiveness and restoration. Divine rebuke or chastening is not to take us away from God but to bring us closer to Him. Believers should have a positive disposition toward divine chastening when it comes; it will only make us stronger.
- Mention three expressions in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians that made them remorseful.
- Clearly differentiate between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow; you may support your answer with scriptural events.
- Why do some Christians change the church they attend when they’re disciplined?
- Mention some of the benefits of godly sorrow.
- What can help us to maintain our focus on heaven as Christians?