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Jan 07, 2018 | Matthew Sowada

Finding Purpose in Pain and Suffering

Historical Connection between Paul and the Corinthians.

  • Corinth was a significant Greek port city on the island/region of Achaia as part of the Roman Empire.
  • Paul was the founder of the church in Corinth. Acts 18:1-18
  • Paul wrote at least 4 letters to the Church in Corinth.
    • Significant issues in regards to their gatherings and worship had arisen. Timothy was sent to address these issues. After Timothy’s visit the letter of 1 Corinthians was written and sent.
    • Things were deteriorating among the congregation and leadership. A “severe letter” was written by Paul and sent along with Titus.     2 Corinthians 2:4-9
    • Finally a good report was received by Paul from Titus (2 Corinthians 7:8-12) and then 2 Corinthians was written. 

Purpose of 2 Corinthians.

  • Forge a renewed trust and relationship between Paul and the Corinthian Church.
  • Outline and encourage healthy relationships within the church and those abroad.
  • Provide a vision for compassion and comfort within difficult and challenging trials.
  • Comfort/Encouragement is mentioned 18x in 2 Corinthians and has the basic meaning “called to ones side to help.” BEC

God’s Character Revealed in Pain and Suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:1-4

  • God is the Father of compassion. (3a)
    • The initiator and creator of compassion.
    • His compassion is lavished on us like a father to a child.
  • God is the God of ALL comfort. (3b)
  • His compassion and comfort is revealed in our troubles. (4a)
  • We experience his comfort and compassion so that we can pay it forward to others. (4b)

There is Purpose in Pain and Suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:5-7

  • Our trials align us with Christ. (5)
  • Paul actually states his trials were to equip him for ministry to others. (6)
    • To better comfort and to lead to salvation.
    • Develops greater endurance and stamina in one’s faith.
  • Our trials actually unite us together in hope. (7) 

Discovering Purpose in Pain and Suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

  • Paul’s example of great trial in Asia.
    • Pressed beyond his personal capacity. (8)
    • To the point life was in the balance. (8b-9a)
  • In reflecting back, he saw it as God’s way of creating reliance on Him. (9b)
    • With much success it is easy to become self-reliant.
    • When we meet our limitations, we have to look up.
  • God’s character is revealed in the present and as a result we can have confidence in him for the future. (10)
  • Trials, pain, and suffering also arouse the church together to pray! (11)

Click HERE to see the Group Discussion Questions for this sermon.

Series Information

2 Corinthians is a letter between Paul and a church that had a fractured relationship.  He addresses many relational and deep personal issues that get below the surface and deal with heart of the matter. This book is such a good model on navigating challenging personal and relational issues!