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Godly vs Worldly Sorrow: Responding to Divine Discipline

Dealing with Negative Circumstances  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Paul expresses thanks for the Godly sorrow of the Christians at Corinth.

Notes
Transcript
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
2 Corinthians 7:8–11 NLT
8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. 11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
INTRODUCTION
Is there disobedience in -your life? As you look in your day - to - day existence, are you aware of things ...habits...that you know should not be there? Are there things that you know, by the Word of God, should be there that are not? When you read and study God’s Word, or hear it preached and taught, do you sense that you need to do something about it? To do nothing about it you need to understand that by scriptural definition you are living in rebellion against God.
You say, “Pastor, I know that my life is not what it should be.. .and I’m sorry that it is not.” To that statement I respond with a question. ”How sorry are you?” By this I mean, are you really sorry.. . after a Godly way, or only in a worldly way? There is a difference! In our text, the Apostle Paul describes the difference between Godly sorrow (repentance) and worldly sorrow.

I. THE CONTRAST: GODLY SORROW VERSUS WORLDLY SORROW (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

2 Corinthians 7:9–10 NLT
9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

A. Godly Sorrow - (2 Cor. 7:10a)

2 Corinthians 7:10a NLT
10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

1. Godly sorrow begins with the realization of sin

a. The realization of sin begins with the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
(John 16:7-8)
John 16:7–8 NLT
7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
1) When you, as a child of God, sin the Holy Spirit convicts you of the rebellion in your life.
a) If you can sin and not be convicted, you do not have the Holy Spirit within (Hebrews 12:8)
Hebrews 12:8 NLT
8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.
b) In the youngest saved child, and the most wayward child of God... there is a sensitivity to sin... The wayward child of God cannot be happy living in rebellion against God!
c) When you sin, you will sense the broken fellowship with the Father. You may not know immediately what the sin is that broke the fellowship, but you will sense the conviction of the Spirit that something is wrong.
b. The realization of sin will lead to the pinpointing of the act of rebellion that is the problem.
1) God will always pinpoint the problem for us.
a) Sometimes through his messenger
(1) God used Paul to point out the rebellious acts of the Corinthians (I Corinthians)
*Open immorality and condoning of it.
*Cliques
*Insensitivity
*Doctrinal heresy
*Verbal attacks against God’s Messenger
(2) God sometimes uses a verbal or written message to point out the sin problem.
b) Sometimes through meditation on His Word.
(1) God has used this method on me many times...
*Pointed out bad attitudes
*Pointed out lack of faith
*Pointed out failure to surrender some area of my life.
c) Sometimes during a searching time of Prayer.
(1) God will sometimes point out sin problems while we are earnestly seeking Him in prayer.

2. Repentance is the proper conclusion of Godly Sorrow

a. Godly Sorrow always leads us to repent of sin.
1.) The Corinthians experienced Godly sorrow (repentance).
a. The results was salvation for the church, and the redemption of the life and testimony of church as a whole..
b. The results individually was salvation (sanctification) of the lives of the individual believers that made up the church.
*Repentance will always result in the growth of the believer, progressively being brought into the increasing likeness of Christ.
----Surrender of part after part of your life - growth in commitment to with Christ.

B. Worldly Sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10b)

2 Corinthians 7:10b NLT
10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

1. Worldly sorrow is only a mild sadness that ends without action

a. If you are not sorry enough to follow through with repentance and change... it is worldly and not Godly sorrow.

2. Worldly sorrow results in a destroyed life

a. Life destroyed by guilt.
1.) guilt for sin not repented of.
*Sin is not forgiven until it is repented of...repentance is necessary.
(Luke 13:3)
Luke 13:3 NLT
3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.
b. Life destroyed by bitterness.
1.) Rebellion breeds bitterness.
a. Bitterness against the messenger of God...
*Because of conviction of the Holy Spirit, we are made un comfortable.
*Because of the discomfort we don’t like what is said.
*Because we don’t like what is said, resentment and the resulting bitterness comes.
*Bitterness then quenches the Holy Spirit in our lives... and in Public worship. This destroys our own spiritual life and prevents the Spirit from moving in the hearts of others.

3. Worldly Sorrow ultimately results in Death (2 Corinthians 7:10c)

2 Corinthians 7:10c NLT
10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
a. Continuing in sin and rebellion is dangerous! -
(1 John 5:16)
*Remember Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11 )
b. Some eve take their own lives through guilt for unrepentant sin.
*Peter’s Godly Sorrow vs. Judas’ Worldly Sorrow (Matthew 26, 27)

II. THE CONVERSION: GODLY SORROW’S EFFECT UPON A LIFE (2 Corinthians 7:11)

2 Corinthians 7:11 NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.

A. Godly sorrow produces repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10a)

2 Corinthians 7:10a NLT
10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
1. Repentance is a change of heart, mind, and action
a. It literally means to change directions.
1) Repentance is part of the believer’s life.. .not just the unbeliever. (1 John 1:9)
1 John 1:9 NLT
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
...It leads to the progressive growth in surrender of your life to Christ.

B. Godly Sorrow eliminates indifference (2 Corinthians 7: 11).

2 Corinthians 7:11 NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
*Before Godly sorrow, the Corinthian believers were careless and indifferent...afterward, definite changes took place. Notice:
(Just see what this godly sorrow [θεὸν λυπηθῆναι] produced in you!

1. Conscientiousness (2 Corinthians 7: 11a)

( σπουδήν=to be eager to do something, with the implication of readiness to expend energy and effort—‘to be eager, eagerness, devotion.’ ) (2 Corinthians 7: 11a)
2 Corinthians 7:11a NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
a. When Godly sorrow does its work, we will become conscientious to be completely obedient to the Lord. We will be careful to avoid sin.

2. Clearing of Sin (2 Corinthians 7:11b)

(ἀπολογίαν= to speak on behalf of oneself or of others against accusations)
2 Corinthians 7:11b NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
a. When Godly sorrow does its work, confession and repentance will automatically follow.
1.) The Corinthians dealt with personal sin and sin within the camp. They were no longer tolerant of sin. They disciplined the unrepentant.

3. Indignant against Sin (2 Corinthians 7:11c)

(ἀγανάκτησιν= a state of strong opposition and displeasure against someone or something judged to be wrong—‘indignation, anger.’)
2 Corinthians 7:11c NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
a. No longer was sin condoned. True Godly sorrow results in a hatred of sin... we will be repulsed by it.

4. Reverence toward God (2 Corinthians 7: 11d)

(φόβον= a state of severe distress, aroused by intense concern for impending pain, danger, evil, etc., )
2 Corinthians 7:11d NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
a. Indifference and irreverence toward God and His will is eliminated... reverence, awe will replace it. Recognition of His holiness will be present. -

5. Desire to restore fellowship (2 Corinthians 7:11e)

(ἐπιπόθησιν= to long for something, with the implication of recognizing a lack—‘to long for, to deeply desire, deep desire.’)
2 Corinthians 7:11e NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
a. It creates an intense hunger and thirst for righteousness...a continual seeking of God. Our desire — our obsession becomes “To know Him”.

6. Zeal in the Spirit (2 Corinthians 7:11 f)

(ζῆλον= to have a deep concern for or devotion to someone or something—‘to have a deep concern for, to be devoted to, earnest concern.’)
2 Corinthians 7:11f NLT
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right. 12 My purpose, then, was not to write about who did the wrong or who was wronged. I wrote to you so that in the sight of God you could see for yourselves how loyal you are to us.
a. When Godly sorrow does its work, in difference is replaced by zeal that is fueled by an intense love for Christ.

7. Discipline in the fellowship (2 Corinthians 7: 11g)

(ἐκδίκησιν·= to give justice to someone who has been wronged—‘to give someone justice.)
a. Those who are unrepentant affect the life and testimony of the whole body of Christ...and cause unbelievers to blaspheme
(Romans 2:24)
Romans 2:24 NLT
24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
(I Corinthians 5:6)
1 Corinthians 5:6 NLT
6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?
b. Such are to be formally disciplined.
(2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15)
2 Thessalonians 3:6 NLT
6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us.
2 Thessalonians 3:14–15 NLT
14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.
(Matthew 18:15-17)
Matthew 18:15–17 NLT
15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
1) Godly sorrow in a church eliminates tolerance for rebellion!

8. Proven Lives (2 Corinthians 7:11h)

(ἐν παντὶ συνεστήσατε ἑαυτοὺς ἁγνοὺς εἶναι τῷ πράγματι. = to demonstrate through actions the determination to do what is right)
a. When the work of Godly sorrow is complete, a strong testimony will emerge.
*Beware of personal indifference and spiritual carelessness - it indicates a deeper problem!
Illustration: “Which needs help?” (KMB 544)
Self-righteous people know nothing of true repentance. A woman told her minister she would leave the church if a young woman who shared her pew wasn’t made to occupy another seat. Said the minister: “Madam, that girl was saved from a terrible life of sin. You say she sits and weeps quietly through the church services, and it annoys you, but it’s because her heart is so full of love to her Savior. Can’t you try to understand her?” “No, I can’t,” said the woman. “People who show emotion over their religion annoy me. I have always lived a good life. I don’t make any fuss.” “Well, madam,” said the minister, “have a talk with the girl; I believe she can help you.”
—As told by the minister
CONCLUSION:
What about you? How sorry are you? Sorry enough to repent and allow Godly sorrow to do its complete work in your life?
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