Study on the Book of 2nd Corinthians

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Division 3 — “The Ministry & It’s Description”

Lesson 11: "The Ministry: It’s End - A Transforming Revival" - II Cor. 7:2-16

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

II Corinthians 7:2-16, “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. For if I have boasted anything to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.”


-Introduction: This is the passage that covers the great revival that took place in Corinth. All the hurt that Paul had suffered from the Corinthians and all the hours of prayer that he had offered up in their behalf bore fruit—great fruit. The church repented. And God sent His Spirit of revival upon them. This is a great passage on the factors involved in revival. It is a great passage on the end toward which the ministry aims: the end of a transforming revival. Four things here:

          -1.  The revival had a solid foundation- A faithful minister (v.2-6).

          -2.  The revival was stirred by godly sorrow and repentance (v.7-12).

          -3.  The revival brought a renewed spirit to a young disciple (v.13-15).

          -4.  Conclusion: the minister held great confidence in the church since its revival (v.16).


#1) The revival had a solid foundation- A faithful minister.

Look again with me at 2 Corinthians 7:2-6, “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.”


Faithfulness is an absolute essential if there is to be revival in the church. No church has ever experienced more problems than the Corinthian church.

          -The Corinthian church was filled with division, pride, immorality, fraud, questionable practices, abusing the Lord's Supper, abusing spiritual gifts, and denying the bodily resurrection of believers.

            -The Corinthian church had some members who were leveling every charge imaginable against Paul, ranging from being a poor speaker and damaging the church's image over to stealing from the offerings and living an immoral life. If there has ever been a church where revival seemed impossible, it was probably Corinth. Yet, revival came in the force of God's Spirit. One of the primary reasons was the faithfulness of its minister, Paul the apostle. Six things concerning his faithfulness:

          A-First, there was Paul's (the minister's) great desire to be received by the church and be reconciled with those who opposed him. Note how he wrote about securing reconciliation.

          -He tenderly and warmly appealed to the opposition: receive us. He let them know that he wanted reconciliation; he wanted to be received by them.

          -He declared that he was innocent of the charges leveled against him.

            -He had wronged no man: treated no man unjustly.

            -He had corrupted no man; he had not destroyed any person either morally or doctrinally. He had lived a moral life, always guarding himself; and he had preached and taught only the Word of God, not the ideas of other men nor of his own mind.

            -He had defrauded no man; he had not taken advantage of anyone financially or morally. He had not stolen or confiscated money from the offerings nor taken advantage of families or friends who helped and supported his ministry.


"Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8).


          B- Secondly, there was Paul's (the minister's) great love for the church. Note how softly and tenderly Paul spoke to the church and to those who opposed him.

            -"I do not speak this to condemn you": that is, I do no mean to accuse or down you while defending myself.

            -"You are in our hearts": I love you—love you so much I would die with you and for you, even as I long to live with you.


The point to see is Paul's great love for his people—a love that reaches out to people despite the terrible wrong they had been doing to him. Great love—love that forgives wrongdoing—is an absolute essential for revival.


"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).


"So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us" (1 Thes. 2:8).


"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 John 3:14).


"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).


"And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another" (2 John 5).


          C- Thirdly, there was Paul's (the minister's) boldness in proclaiming the truth. Glance at the awful corruptions of the church listed above in this note and imagine the terrible accusations against Paul. Then take a moment and think through how boldly Paul has written in I and 2 Corinthians. His boldness is clearly seen! The faithful minister of God must always confront error and corruption with a clear and bold proclamation of God's Word. This is without question one of the essential requirements for revival.


"Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life" (Acts 5:20).


"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Cor. 9:16).


"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2).


          D- There was Paul's (the minister's) confidence that the people would respond. The word "glorying" means boasting. In the present passage the church has already repented and experienced revival, and Paul was actually experiencing the joy and rejoicing of the church's repentance. He was boasting in them, for his confidence in them had proven to be well-founded.


The point is this: Paul had always hoped. He never lacked confidence in the Corinthian church—that they would repent and be reconciled to God and to him, their minister. It was his confidence in them that kept him going after them. He knew they were not hopeless. If people are hopeless, then there is no need to continue trying to reach them. But no people are hopeless until God Himself determines they are and removes them from the earth.


Thought 1. Confidence, hope, and belief in the church are essential if the minister is to stay after a people. Revival can come only as a minister perseveres after his people, ever believing that they will repent of their sins and turn to God.


"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy." (1 Thes. 2:19-20).


          E- There was Paul's (the minister's) faithfulness despite great trouble both within and without. Very simply, Paul is saying that he, his flesh, never had rest from trouble.

            -He was troubled on every side: in every conceivable way and place.

            -There were fighting’s without from those who opposed him, from people both in and out of the church: criticism, censorship, ridicule, abuse, attacks, and persecution.

            -There were fears within: concern for the church and fellow believers, for the Lord's mission and the gospel, for the lost and the needy.


"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Phil. 1:29).


"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not" (2 Cor. 4:1).


"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:16-17).


"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry" (1 Tim. 1:12).


          F- There was Paul's (the minister's) great sufficiency: God and His comfort. When God's dear servants are under attack, God always meets the need of His servants. If a minister has ever needed God's presence and comfort, Paul did. Disliked, belittled, criticized, accused and slandered by others, and ever weighed down with a driving sense of duty and mission, Paul desperately needed God to sustain him as he worked with the Corinthians to correct the sin and errors within the church.


-Remember, Paul had probably made a hurried visit to Corinth after writing 1 Corinthians. He had heard that many had not received his exhortation to correct matters and that things had deteriorated. Paul had left Corinth, and after regaining his composure he had sat down and written a severe letter calling for repentance. This severe letter was sent by Titus. It was the return of Titus from Corinth that is referred to in this verse.


Paul is anxiously awaiting word to see if the church has listened and finally returned to the Lord and holiness. The word was positive: the church had repented. Their repentance is discussed in the next few verses. The present point is this: God met Paul's need by returning Titus safely with the answer to Paul's prayers: the church had repented. Note how descriptively Paul gives all the credit to God:


"God, that comforts those that are cast down, comforts us by the coming of Titus" (2 Cor. 7:6).


Thought 1- God will always meet the need of His faithful servant. Sometimes it will be dramatic just as it was with Paul. Sometimes it will be in some natural and ordinary way. But note this: Paul had to endure heavy trials for a long time before God moved. Just like Christ, Paul had to learn obedience by the things which he suffered. God meets the need of His servant, but He grows His servant while He meets that need.


"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18).


"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Cor. 1:3-4).


"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).


"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (1 Peter 5:10).


"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10).


#2) The revival was stirred by godly sorrow and repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:7-12, “And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.”


These verses give clear insight into what brings about revival within a corrupt and divided church, a church that is attacking its minister. Six things here,

          -A. The church had an earnest desire to correct its evil. They longed, yearned, and ached to be reconciled to their minister.

            -They mourned: wept, wailed, lamented over the sin within their midst and over the mistreatment of their minister.

            -They now had a "fervent mind," a zeal to correct the sin and to defend Paul, their dear minister.


          -B. The church experienced sorrow. Paul had proclaimed the truth: the church needed to cleanse itself of sin and of false teachers. It needed to stop the attacks upon its minister. It needed to repent and get back to ministering for Christ instead of living in sin and being embroiled in controversy. The church would not let Paul stand in the pulpit, so he had proclaimed the truth in a letter to them. The letter had done its work: the church, at least a majority of its members, had been stricken with a spirit of sorrow.

*Note Paul's spirit, he regretted having to take such a stern approach as writing a stern letter. But he was glad he had declared the truth, for the letter had led to the church's conviction and sorrow.


          -C. The minister rejoiced, but note over what: Paul's rejoicing was not over the church being made to feel guilty and sorrowful, but over the fact of their repentance. He says that he would not damage or harm them in any way whatsoever. What a crucial lesson for so many believers who find joy in the guilt and sorrow of those who had opposed them.


          -D. The church's experience of true sorrow: godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow.

          -E. The church's evidence of godly sorrow. There are eight results of godly sorrow, of true repentance and revival mentioned in this verse.

          -Carefulness or earnestness and eagerness to correct the sin, pollution, dirt, wrong, and hurt.

          -The cleansing of oneself: the church acknowledged its sin and repented. The church turned away from sin and turned back to God. It dealt with the leader of the opposition against Paul (2 Cor. 7:12) and apparently dealt with and corrected all the wrongs in its midst.

          -Indignation with sin: there was anger at the fact that the sin was ever allowed to seep into the church. In fact, there was a renewed anger at sin itself—a renewed commitment to combat sin with all the resources available in the power of God's Spirit.

          -Fear: there was fear of the wrath of God and fear that great damage had been done to the church and to one of God's great servants, and to the name of Christ.

          -Vehement desire: there was a longing desire to correct all the wrong done.

          -Zeal: there was a zealous commitment to tackle the task immediately because so much wrong had been done. A strenuous and long effort was needed to overcome for Christ. There was also a zeal to lead all sinners to repentance.

          -Revenge: this means vengeance, punishment, the avenging of wrong. There was a renewed sense of justice, of punishing and correcting wrong-doers. This was necessary if some persons persisted in their sin and in attacking the minister, and in disturbing the fellowship of the church. There was a renewed commitment to allow no more open sin or underhanded divisiveness.

          -Innocence: the church, by its godly sorrow and repentance, had cleared itself. Note the words "in all things." What a glorious picture of true repentance and of God's glorious grace. As corrupt and polluted as the church was, when they truly repented, God cleared them of all things!


          -F. The minister's purpose for reaching out to the church became clear to all. This is a difficult verse to break down into clauses, even in the Greek. The point deals with Paul's purpose for staying after the Corinthians. He straightened out the mess in their midst. Paul had not written and called them to repentance for the sake of the wrong-doer, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong (himself), but for the sake of the church as a whole: that the church might learn its true character. It is a genuine church; the church does care for its minister and for righteousness and for the Lord's cause.


#3) The revival brought a renewed spirit to a young disciple. 

2 Corinthians 7:13-15, “Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. For if I have boasted anything to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.” 

The points of the outline for the most part cover this discussion. Revival always stirs a renewed spirit within young disciples. This was certainly true of Titus. Three things here,

          A. The young disciple, Titus, had the wonderful privilege of being one of God's instruments in bringing revival to the church. Being in the midst of a church-wide repentance (revival) had eased his concern for the church and given him a refreshed and rested spirit.


*Note that Titus was so affected by the revival that his joy greatly affected Paul. The joy of the Corinthian revival not only stirred joy within Paul, but the excitement of Titus caused the joy of Paul to overflow.

          B. The young disciple had been informed of the church's good qualities by Paul. Apparently, Titus had heard Paul boast in the qualities and strengths of the Corinthians many times. He had heard Paul share his expectation of God granting a revival of true repentance among the Corinthians. The young disciple had the privilege of witnessing the proof of a true church: the Corinthian church proved worthy of Paul's boasting.

          C. The young disciple joyed greatly over the church's submissive obedience to the proclamation of God's Word. Titus, no doubt, not only delivered the letter written by Paul, but he also proclaimed the Word of God himself. Note how the church responded: with fear and trembling. They realized that they stood before a holy and righteous God who loved them, but they also realized that a loving God demanded repentance or else the facing of judgment. They feared lest they fail to do all that God's wonderful love demanded.


#4) The minister held great confidence in the church since its revival and repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:16, “I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.”


The church had experienced several things:

•  a revival of unity: its problem of division was solved. (1 Cor. 3:3).

•  a revival of humility: its problem of pride was solved. (1 Cor. 3:18; 1 Cor. 4:18).

•  a revival of morality: its problem of tolerating immorality in its midst was solved. (1 Cor. 5:1).

•  a revival of honesty: its problem of tolerating the wrongdoing and cheating within its midst was corrected. (1 Cor. 6:8).

•  a revival of love: its problem of allowing questionable social practices and stumbling blocks in its midst was corrected. (1 Cor. 8:1f).

•  a revival of observing the Lord's Supper properly: its problem of allowing abuse of the Lord's Supper was corrected. (1 Cor. 11:17f).

•  a revival of exercising the spiritual gifts properly: its problem of allowing the abuse of the gifts was corrected. (1 Cor. 12-14).

•  a revival of doctrinal truth: the problem of allowing doctrinal error was handled and corrected. (1 Cor. 15:12f).


*Next Lesson: Division 4- The Ministry and its financial collections, II Cor 8:1-9:15.



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