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Refresher of Hearts – Obedience and Refreshment (3 of 3)
2 Corinthians 7:13-16
1. To leave a legacy of refreshing hearts means: we must CONNECT with OBEDIENCE.
Verse 13 says” “…In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted
to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.”
Today we conclude our refresher of hearts series and our MISSION POSSIBLE
challenge envelopes. These challenges, if you accept yours, should be accomplished
in February. In this series we have connected LOVE, GENEROSITY, and today we
connect OBEDIENCE directly to refreshing hearts.
A. Paul and Titus’ spirits were refreshed. They were encouraged.
B. Paul expressed his confidence.
Why? Why were their spirits refreshed? Why did Paul have confidence in Christ? One
word: Obedience. The Corinthian Church – the Christians there - did the right thing.
They followed the course the apostle Paul had laid out for them. They were welcoming
and hospitable. They backed up their reputation.
C. Obedience refreshes hearts. Just as love and generosity refresh hearts – so does
obedience – doing the honorable thing…living the right way…acting in righteousness
towards Christ.
2 Corinthians 7:13-16 states, 13 By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own
encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because
his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. 14 I had boasted to him about you, and you
have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our
boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. 15 And his affection for you
is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with
fear and trembling. 16 I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.
Let’s catch up with what’s going on in this passage. Paul’s first letter to the
Corinthians contained a sharp rebuke for various sins being allowed by the church.
One was their indifference toward the sin of one who was living with his father’s
wife. This situation brought the entire church into disrepute before unbelievers.
Paul’s anxiety over the situation in Corinth caused him to find Titus to learn about
the conditions of Corinth. When Paul found Titus, he learned the Corinthian church
had repented. It wasn’t just the presence of Titus that comforted Paul, but also Titus
had been comforted by the Corinthians, and Titus made a favorable report of the
Corinthians’ attitude toward Paul.
The Corinthians had shown great zeal for Paul as their spiritual father by correcting
the situation. While Paul rejoiced over seeing Titus, he rejoiced more over the
church’s obedience and reconciliation with God. Paul didn’t take pleasure in
rebuking their sin, but it was for the purpose of a restoration, purity, and
righteousness in Christ that it had to be done. They had corrected the wrong.
Repentance and forgiveness had occurred. Satan wasn’t given any more ground to
take advantage of the situation.
So, not only is Paul writing about his own joy at the outcome of the situation in
Corinth, but he points out how happy he is at Titus’ joy because of the manner in
which the Corinthians had received him. They had refreshed his spirit. The generous
affection Paul had for the Corinthians was shared by Titus. The battle had been won.
Paul had suffered great anxiety over the situation in Corinth, but victory in Christ had
been achieved. Hearts had been refreshed because of obedience.
Today, we will explore leaving a legacy of refreshing hearts.
Eugene Peterson in “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” writes, “It is not difficult in
our world to get a person interested in the message of the Gospel; it is terrifically difficult
to sustain the interest. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but
there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence
for mature Christian discipleship is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news
about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on
the garbage heap. There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is
little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long
apprenticeship in what earlier Christians called holiness.”
That’s so true. Obedience is a long haul. It’s so daily. Many grow tired and quit. But
obedience not only refreshes the hearts of saints, it refreshes the heart of God and we
should be active in refreshing the heart of God.
Bill Hybels in “The Power of a Whisper” (p.110-111) states: "Don't ever buy into the idea
that everything God prompts His followers to do will be uncomplicated or low-cost.
Sometimes God asks His children to carry heavy loads, as He did with the apostle Paul.
But even--and often especially--under those backbreaking burdens, God's purposes are
fulfilled. When our (whispered) task is tough, the reward of knowing we've helped
further His Kingdom and bettered our broken world is all the sweeter. If you ever find
yourself with a difficult assignment, why not try giving God thanks for trusting you with
something that needs your particular strength. He assigns tasks to the right person every
time. He did it throughout history, and He still does it today. As you walk whatever
potholed path He has asked you to walk, never forget the tough journey that Jesus
Himself once made...Christ was asked to bear the most difficult assignment of all--to lay
down His life as a redemptive sacrifice for humankind. He chose to obey. And because
of His obedience, you and I enjoy our redemption today."
And if I could add some context for our message today…because of Jesus’ obedience,
you and I enjoy a refreshed heart today. Obedience to the truth, obedience to our
Heavenly Father, refreshes hearts. If we desire to leave a legacy of refreshing hearts, we
need to be connected with obedience to Christ.
2. To leave a legacy of refreshing hearts means: the BUILDING of CONFIDENCE.
Paul wrote in verse 16:” I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.”
3. To leave a legacy of refreshing hearts: combine LOVE, GENEROSITY, and OBEDIENCE.
This is a great combination….other great combinations…. (pics)
A. The apostle Paul had confidence in the Corinthian Christians. Wow! I would want
that said of us and the Cove!
B. Their obedience refreshed hearts and built confidence.
C. What is confidence and what is it good for?
Confidence is assurance and certainty. When you’re in a tough spot. When the
challenges are difficult. When trials abound. When life is throwing lemons at you.
When you want to quit and give up the Christian life. When you’re faced with
troubling decisions…isn’t it wonderful to have the confidence of someone who
believes in you…knows you’ll do the right thing…knows you’ll act according to
wisdom…knows with certainty and assurance that you’ll stand up for Christ.
D. Having someone’s confidence actually helps us to do what is right! So, obedience
can continue on!
A. This is where we have been in this series: we have connected refreshing hearts to
love, generosity, and obedience.
B. Your mission, should you accept it will be to refresh a heart in February through
specific love, specific generosity, or specific obedience.
C. We have trusted God and prayed about the exact envelop you received…that it’s what
you need and will hit you right where you are.
D. Love, Generosity, Obedience: Refresh a Heart and in so doing, begin or continue your
The Barcelona Olympics of 1992 provided one of Track and Field's most incredible
moments. Britain's Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal
in the 400-meter race, and his dream was in sight as the gun sounded in the
semifinals. He was running the race of his life and could see the finish line as he
rounded the turn into the backstretch. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain go up the back
of his leg. He fell face first onto the track with a torn right hamstring. Sports
Illustrated recorded the dramatic events: As the medical attendants were
approaching, Redmond fought to his feet. "It was animal instinct," he would say later.
He set out hopping, in a crazed attempt to finish the race. When he reached the
stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, hurled aside a security guard
and ran to Redmond, embracing him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek's father. "You don't
have to do this," he told his weeping son. "Yes, I do" said Derek. "Well, then," said
Jim, "we're going to finish this together." And they did. Fighting off security men the
son's head sometimes buried in his father's shoulder, they stayed in Derek's lane all
the way to the end, as the crowd gaped, then rose and howled and wept. Derek
didn't walk away with the gold medal, but he walked away with an incredible
memory of a father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to
help him finish the race.
Let me ask a few simple questions:
1. Did Derek’s father refresh his heart?
2. Did Derek refresh the hearts of those in the stands and the world by finishing the
3. Did those in the stands refresh the heart of Derek and his father?
4. Do you think that Derek’s confidence to face the greater issues of life increased or
decreased that day?
How much more when we are faithful and obedient to Christ does our life refresh
hearts and instill confidence. Know this with certainty: when we are obedient to
Christ, it builds confidence.
Nancy Spiegelberg, wrote in “Decision” magazine, these words: “Lord, I crawled across
the barrenness to You with my empty cup, uncertain but asking any small drop of
refreshment. If only I had known You better, I would have come running with a bucket.”