May 19, 2024

Combatting Complacency in the Church

Passage: 2 Corinthians 12:11-21, Proverbs 6:6-22
Service Type:


  • Looking at v11-21
  • Last week - considering the theme of 'needing to be made weak'
    • We must depend on God and not ourselves
  • This week - learning from a complacent church
    • It is a problem to sit back and let things happen
    • To let 'slick' preachers come in
  • The Church had made some progress
    • They had known godly sorry (2 Cor 7), repentance, zeal
    • Titus had brought a good report to Paul
    • Still, there was some complacency
  • There is great danger when the church is complacent
    • We excuse sin
    • We lose spiritual discernment
    • The sins of the flesh can take over
      • v20
  • Paul is burdened that the church will continue repentance and the uncleanness will stop (v21)
    • Background of Corinth - 'to Corinthianise'
  • To confine our thoughts from the passage

We must support and love Godly leadership

  • Paul was first with them for 18m
    • There was a second visit
    • He wanted a third visit
  • So called super-apostles had come in - who were running down Paul
    • Examples
    • People started to believe them
    • Nobody seemed to stand up for him
  • Paul defends himself
    • 2 Cor 1:12 - " For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you."
    • 2 Cor 3:1 - "Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?"
    • 2 Cor 4:2 - "But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."
    • v11 - "I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you"
  • There are problems in churches when there are attacks on the pastor/leadership
    • Example of Spurgeon
  • They did not remember that Paul was their 'father in the faith'
    • They did not remember that Paul loved and preached to all
    • 1 Thess 5:12-13 "And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves."
    • It is not nice to be admonished - by God's word
    • Ignore gossip unless 2 or 3 witnesses

Do not be taken in by all that appears attractive

  • The Corinthians were beguiled by charismatic people / showbiz performers
    • Paul did not think highly of himself (yet he was a true apostle)
  • v12 - he was a true apostle
    • He had seen the risen Christ
      • They were foundational
      • There are no longer Apostles today
    • He had been given power to work wondrous miracles and signs (like the other apostles) - examples
  • It is not about glitz and glamour
    • Example
    • It is the regular preaching of the word of God

Imitate what is good

  • Paul gave the Corinthians a good pattern to follow
  • Selfless Service (v13-15)
    • The Corinthians felt inferior to others as they were not charged!
      • Yet Paul did not want to burden them
        • A true minister of Jesus Christ does not want to burden the Church
      • 1 Cor 9 - he speaks without charge
    • Parents ought to support their children - Paul was their spiritual father
      • Paul is glad to be spent for the Corinthians
    • What is our motive for serving?
      • Not for our own benefit
      • Paul served the Corinthians - even though there was ingratitude
        • He did not burden them (v16)
  • To be honest (v16-18)
    • 2 Cor 8:6 - people thought they were after money
    • Paul did not take advantage of them
    • Titus did not take advantage of them
    • Paul appeals to their conscience
  • Careful use of speech
    • Not making up excuses
    • Speaking before God in Christ
    • The Corinthians are 'beloved'

By not giving way to sin (v20-21)

  • Fleshly/carnal sin - v20
    • Paul has seen this previously in the Church in Corinth (1 Cor)
    • Paul is warning against these things taking root
  • Paul does not want to be humbled - v21
    • To come in tears rather than joy
    • 2 Peter 2:22

Closing Remarks

  • Reading Gal 5:19-25
  • We live in a world of tremendous temptation
    • We must say no
    • Put off the flesh and put on Christ
    • Walk in the Spirit