Sunday School Material 8-10-14: Forgiveness and Restoration

Introduction
:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Paul talks about restoring the repentant person. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to revisit our level of discipline and restoration.

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Body:

Read II Corinthians 1:23-24; 2:1-4

I. Changed Plans. In our Sunday School material Paul talks about how he did not return to the church at Corinth for their own benefit. He did not want to be seen as one lording over the people.

He and his team are working with the church in Corinth to help build their faith and joy. Paul had written a letter that caused some to be upset. But Paul wrote it in love.

Applications -

- Right actions and motives. Notice in vss. 23-24, 1-4 that having right motives is so important. First, we can do the right thing for the wrong reason. For example, we can hold someone accountable for their sins, so we can look good and exercise control over them.

Second, we should strive to make sure we always do the right thing for the right reason. God will be the ultimate judge of our hearts, not people.  People don’t know our hearts. They know their own and often project their hearts on to us.

Third, this area of application is especially important for leaders. As leaders, we have more opportunity to cause harm. And we will be held to a higher standard.

Let’s work on doing right for the right reason. In church, we should aim for the edification of the body, not the stroking of our own egos.

Read II Corinthians 2:5-11

II. Changed Hearts. Paul talks about how he is not holding on to personal grudges. He mentions how someone has been punished by the will of the majority. Now it is time to forgive and restore. The restoration will keep Satan from causing too much trouble.

Applications -

- Taking things too personally. Notice in vs. 5 in our Sunday School material that the disciplining of the man was not a personal issue between Paul and the man having sex with his father’s wife. It was the principle of the matter.

In like manner, we need to be careful about making things to personal, as we strive to live by God’s church principles. There are too many who hold on to grudges or who think that the actions being taken are all about them, instead of doing God’s will. Let’s work on not taking things too personal. 

- Church discipline. Notice in vs. 6 that the majority was involved in the disciplining of the man. First, having the majority involved was probably more effective than just the leader’s decision. There are some who are more concerned with what their peers think than what the leader thinks.

Second, involving the majority also kept the majority from grumbling about the leader being too harsh. It is sad to see that as carnal as the church in Corinth was, even they had some church discipline, but too many of our churches today have even less.

There are those who use their seniority, title, and money to get away with all kinds of sin. Let’s work on having ample discipline in our churches. This means, not too much and not too little.

- Forgiving and restoring. Notice in vss. 7-8 of our Sunday School material that when there is repentance by the sinner, there should be forgiveness and restoration by the saints. The person should be disciplined for as long as it takes for them to repent.

But as soon as they repent, the church should be even more excited about forgiving and restoring than they were about disciplining the person. Even the church must guard against holding grudges against people.

Think about how some churches respond to those who have been caught stealing money, having sexual relations outside of marriage, and other types of sin. Let’s work on being enthusiastic about forgiving and restoring those who repent.

- Following leadership. Notice in vs. 9 that the Corinthians passed the test of following leadership. There are those who will follow/obey leadership instructions as long as they are pleasant and convenient.

However, when there is a call for that which is unpleasant and inconvenient like church discipline, especially of those who are popular, following leadership can fall by the way side.

However, the less discipline the church has, the more influence the devil has. Let’s work on following leadership, as long as it is not contrary to God’s word.

- The devil’s influence. Notice in vss. 10-11 that the devil tries all kinds of ways to cause trouble in the church. Sometimes he influences the church to have no discipline.

And then other times he influences the church to have too much discipline. Let’s make sure we move according to God’s principles, not the devils.

Conclusion: Let’s work on our level of discipline and restoration. God has much for those who obey His will.

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