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Rest Easy: How to Find Rest When You Won't

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2 Cor. 7:5-7

Rest Easy: How to Find Rest When You Won’t!

Introduction

This last weekend was hectic. We were busy trying to get ready for Sharon’s graduation on Sunday. Josh had flown in from Alabama and pleasantly surprised us. I wanted to spend time with him and do some other things I had planned to do to prepare for my upcoming excursion at a horse training clinic. God and Sharon had other plans and to be honest I didn’t handle them all that well. Sunday was really busy. You would think that with it being such a happy occasion what with Josh coming home, and Sharon graduating, it would have been a great weekend. But I had no rest, because I just would not chill out, relax and know that it will all work out. It has been my experience that if I just say to myself when I am becoming stressed and hyper, “Relax, it will all work out according to God’s will. So chill out;” things work out to a more harmonious outcome.

The great apostle did not always ride a spiritual crest, which he was not hesitant to admit (cf. 2:4; 6:10). He candidly admitted that his conflicts . . . fears and depression (downcast) were brought on by apparent opposition or persecution in Macedonia, by anxiety about Titus’ well-being, by his reception by the Corinthians, and by their response to his letter. Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:571). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

So lets learn from Him how to Rest Easy and find rest when you won’t.

I. No rest for the godly? v.5

Paul picks up from v.4 to explain what he means by the tribulation that he rejoices in.

It is interesting to note that it is never easy to communicate and travel in those days nor today. Paul had to depend on God and trust that things would work out regarding his plans for Titus visit to Corinth.

Today we still have to depend on God, trusting He will work out His will in our travels, etc.

Don't you get up tight when you are travelling trying to make a connection, or arrive at your destination? Traveling always makes me uptight.

Sharon loves to tell the story of when we visited Grace land in Memphis. I was sitting in the car at a light and She and the kids were out taking pictures of something. The light turned green and I was getting upset yelling for them to get back into the car, saying “It’s a green light!” But they just ignored me and in their own time they seated themselves in their respective seats. While my desire was to plant them there as hard as I could and never let them out again. Sharon couldn’t understand my high anxiety because there was no one behind me at the light and there wasn’t going to be for some time. Travel gets me uptight. I have to get where I am going in the shortest amount of time possible. Can anyone else identify with me? When I am traveling I am on a mission that must be accomplished.

Well this sort of anxiety must explain a little bit of Paul's anxiousness.

Even as I write this, My son-in-law, Josh, and granddaughter Madison are traveling to see his brother's ordination. They were supposed to make their flight in Chicago, but were just parking with 10 minutes to spare before the flight was scheduled to leave. They didn't make their flight, So they had to wait 3 hours for the next one. But again, God is going before them and is surrounding them with His presence.

One of the reasons Paul had no rest was that Titus had yet to return to him, 2 Cor. 2:12-13. In these verses he had no rest in his spirit, but in this verse he had no rest in his flesh.

Paul was troubled in many ways, cf. 2 Cor. 4:8. He had no rest, no relaxation in heart. we don't know what the trials were exactly 2 Cor. 6:4-10, but he does give us two sides of it in general terms:

1. outside there were conflicts/fightings

μαχαι- a severe clash, conflict, battles, 2 Tim. 2:23; James 4:1; Prov. 15:18; 1 Tim. 6:4. This word carries the idea of heated quarrels that divide people. It is used for military combat as well as sporting contests. Acts 7:26 as Stephen retells how Moses found to Hebrews fighting each other. And in John 6:52 for a dispute regarding who Jesus is.

IN light of the use of the word Paul means some sort of verbal arguing and possibly the physical beatings he has taken to preach the gospel to others.

2. inside were fears. φοβος- these fears may have been fear for his life or fear that they would not respond to his letter correctly(2 Cor. 2:4) or that they would reject him or Titus. They could have been fear that he would lose them and all his work with them would be lost.

Recently, I found out that a friend of mine, George, who had became a believer while in jail and subsequently went to prison had been stabbed 13x. I found out that he had left Christ and out of fear joined a gang. But he realized that he needed to go back to the Lord and and at the risk of his life quit the gang. That is when he was stabbed. He knew there would be danger when he came back to Christ but he did it anyway. He then got a transfer and was in protective custody. A man he knew from his former prison was transferred in to his same area. He knew he was from the same gang. He feared for his life again because there was a contract put out on him. A few days later this man approached him and said he had been watching him and after what he had been through he still kept his faith. That impressed the man so much that George led him to Christ. Now that man who is a big hulking man is his guard. No one gets close to George with out going through Him. I want to tell you no one gets close to you with out going through God first.

You might be anxious and uptight because of an argument you had with a spouse, child or co-worker, or because of some stress in your life over work, impending traveling, finances, your health. There is no rest for you right now. You can't sleep, your mind is always on the issue. It feels like you can't turn your mind off. But you’re doing your best to follow God and yet you experience no rest right now. Paul has a similar situation. Look what he does and learn from him.

Is there rest for the godly? For you?

II. Yes, there is rest for the godly! v.6

Though Paul was in distress, nevertheless, the comfort of God more than met his needs.

We can understand from this passage the following truths:

A. God is the source of all comfort,

2 Cor. 1:3ff.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Isaiah 49:13 (KJV)
13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

B. God is the one who comforts those who are cast down.

ταπιενους-humble, down cast, poor, lowly, not high and lifted up, lowly of spirit, insignificant, a lower class.

Romans 12:16 (KJV)

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescendc to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

C. How does God comfort the downcast?

1. The ministry of the Holy Spirit. John 14:16- He is the Comforter.

2. He uses his word to do it.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 (KJV)
16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

I turned to James 1:3-6 after my disappointment a couple weeks ago and it really comforted and brought joy to my heart after I thought through the passage in light of my disappointment.

3. He uses people to comfort us in our trials. Like Titus coming to him finally, after much trepidation.

1 Corinthians 16:17-18 (KJV)
17 † I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

1 Thessalonians 3:6-7 (KJV)
6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: 7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:

4. He also uses good news, v.7

Titus brought word back to Paul that eased his fears about their response to his letter to them. Because they responded in a positive way it eased Paul's mind.

D. This also shows us the godly way to respond to godly correction:

1. no holding of grudges - they longed to see Paul,

επιποθησιν -·earnest desire, longing, deep desire, craving

2. grieving over our sin

mourning/grief over your sin - they lamented, wailing, grief, Matt. 2:18 quoting Jeremiah 31:15; . expressing the deep felt grief of a mother over the loss of her children.

THey may have lamented the fact that they had been remiss in dealing with the sinning brother

1 Corinthians 5:2 (KJV)

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

, which required him to write a letter to them about it; or they may have been lamenting the way they had been treating Paul.

There was also a zeal for Paul.

3. A zeal or eagerness for Paul. What does he mean here?

zeal- earnest concern. I think there were those in Corinth who were advocating for Paul, supporting him, and trying to convince those who were anti-Paul to quit and come back to supporting Paul. THey must have been debating with the false teachers who were slandering Paul regarding his motives and integrity. Thus, Paul rejoice to know that he, in fact, did have many supporters at Corinth, many more than he thought.

Finally, Paul could rejoice and have rest.

III. Joy in trials, v.7

so that I rather rejoiced

It isn't that the trials made him glad or were pleasant, but rather that the outcome made him glad, put him in a good mood.

χαρηναι- to rejoice, to be glad, extremely delighted, Phil. 4:4. This has to do with the mood of Paul. Paul could now relax and take a deep breath.

He went from being downcast, wondering if all his work, and his letter to Corinth would bear good fruit. And it did!

This led to joy for Paul. This is always the case for the one who has to do the correcting, wondering if he said or did the right thing in the right way and with the right words and tone. Will they respond rightly? When he hears they do it warms the heart/rejoices the heart.

there is always the chance that the offender will not respond right, but it is a risk worth taking, especially since there is so much at stake: the well-being of the offender spiritually, the reputation of the Church and more importantly Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

When you are anxious, worried about some issue or some situation and sleep flees from you, your mind is in overdrive and locked up over your situation. When you have no rest, know that rest is around the corner, Trust God, believe it. He will work things out for your good and the good of His kingdom and to His glory. Flee to the word with prayer, let the Holy Spirit minister to your heart from His word. Yes, there is rest for the godly, and there is joy too!

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