In 2 Cor 7:4, Paul said, “I am exceeding joyful.” Our study of 2 Cor 7 will show us why he was exceeding joyful. This is certainly how a preacher hopes to respond to a congregation he is helping. Paul was exceeding joyful:
Because of their holiness in the fear of God – 2 Cor 7:1 – God promised us in 2 Cor 6:14-18 that if we would separate from unbelievers, infidels, and idols he would receive us and be a Father unto us. God said, “touch not the unclean thing,” [2 Cor 6:17]. Therefore, we are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit by separating ourselves from ungodly influences in our lives. By this separation, we perfect holiness in the fear of God. The Corinthians responded to Paul’s admonition to perfect holiness and, therefore, he was exceeding joyful. One great joy of preaching is to see believers separate from darkness to walk in light [Acts 26:18] and turn from idols to serve the living and true God [1 Thes 1:9].
Because of their fervent mind toward Paul – 2 Cor 7:2-7 – Titus went to Corinth to see them. When he was there he saw their earnest desire, their mourning and their fervent mind toward Paul [2 Cor 7:7]. Paul might not have expected this after he had written his first letter. Yet, he exhorted them to receive him because he had not wronged, corrupted or defrauded any man there [2 Cor 7:2]. He reminded them that they were in his heart in life and in death [2 Cor 7:3]. Therefore, he could speak boldly to them, greatly glory in them and be filled with comfort and joy even in his own tribulation [2 Cor 7:4]. He needed the comfort of their fervent mind toward him, particularly in Macedonia [Acts 16:12-40] where he had no rest and had been troubled on every side. Titus brought this comfort to him [2 Cor 7:6]. Another great joy of preaching is to know that the believers to whom you preach have the same mind toward you and the things of God as you do toward them.
Because of their godly sorrow and repentance – 2 Cor 7:8-12 – when Paul wrote his first letter, he addressed the situation with the fornicator, his father and the church directly because he cared for them [2 Cor 7:12]. Soon afterwards, he repented that he had made them sorry with his letter. But by the time he wrote this second letter he no longer repented because the sorrow he caused them was godly sorrow that led them to repent. Because they repented, Paul said, “Now I rejoice,” [2 Cor 7:8-9]. The preacher has great joy when he has to deal with a problem “head on” and the people involved repent and straighten out.
Paul said, “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of,” [2 Cor 7:10]. Godly sorrow and repentance thus yield:
- Carefulness – you are very careful not to get into that trouble again
- Clearing of themselves – they were clear in this matter [2 Cor 7:11]. You resolve the problem
- Indignation – you become angry about this sin, like the Lord [Ps 7:11]
- Fear – your fear of God increases, keeping you from repeating this sin
- Vehement desire – you have a forceful, powerful desire to never repeat this sin
- Zeal – you are eager to please God
- Revenge – when your obedience is fulfilled you revenge your disobedience [2 Cor 10:6]
Because of their obedient reception of Titus – 2 Cor 7:13-16 – Titus went to see the Corinthians, and Paul wan’t sure what kind of reception he would have. He was relieved to know that they received Titus and didn’t turn him away. Paul rejoiced that Titus’ spirit was refreshed by them [v.13]. Paul rejoiced that his boasting of them was found to be true [v.14]. And he rejoiced that they received Titus with “fear and trembling,” [v.15; the attitude of servants toward their masters (Eph 6:5) and believers toward God (Phil 2:12)]. Therefore, Paul rejoiced that he could have confidence in them in all things [v.16]. The preacher has great joy and is refreshed by believers who fear God and obey his preaching and teaching of the word of God.
Conclusion: these are four things that would cause any preacher to rejoice.