February 18, 2024

Expressions of Love for a Troubled Church, part 1

Passage: 2 Corinthians 12:11-18

I recently read an article that reflects the passage we are looking at today. The author, a former pastor wrote:

When we presented some changes [to the church by-laws] that reflected our church’s ecclesiology, we were accused of a conspiracy and an intentional attempt to destroy the church. Shockingly, these accusations came from those who had previously been very supportive of the leadership.[1]

I think Paul could easily relate to that same situation. He had a rather tense, strained relationship with the church at Corinth. Although he and his colleagues had served the people well, the false teachers had turned the church against Paul. His enemies were making unfounded, ridiculous accusations against him, and Paul has to respond to these accusations.

Instead of Paul having to defend himself, the people of the church should have been defending him. They should have been very thankful and gracious toward the one who had led them to Christ and who started that church. But instead of defending him, some in the church were slandering him and making all kinds of ridiculous accusations.

In many churches, the relationship between the people and the pastor is strained, tense, and somewhat hostile. When that happens, there is usually a small group of dissatisfied people who are causing all the problems. That seems to be the case at the church at Corinth.

In the first section of the text, Paul describes some of the problems in the church. In the second part, he expresses his continuing love and devotion for the people of the church. In spite of the fact that the people didn’t show much love for him, he still loved them and wanted what was best for them.

Today we’ll look at some of the problems in the church, and then next time we’ll consider how a pastor can express his love for a troubled church.

As we look at the first part of the text, we should determine to avoid the problems he mentions. If these problems exist, the church is in deep trouble. If these kind of troubles arise within the church, someone has to stand up and resolve them.

[1] Ed Moore, “I Was Burnt Out—And I Stayed In.” https://www.9marks.org/article/i-was-burnt-out-and-i-stayed-in/

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