Second Corinthians chapter number 7, the part that I wanted to focus on is from verses is from verses 8 through 11. I want to preach a sermon this morning entitled Godly Sorrow Versus the Sorrow of the World. What's the difference between having godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world? All throughout the Bible sorrow is mentioned many times in a positive way and other time in a very negative way. It's because there are 2 different kinds of sorrow that we can have in our lives. There's godly sorrow and then there's the sorrow of the world.
Look at verse number 8. The Bible reads, "For though I made you sorry with a letter …" which obviously sorry is derived from the word sorrow, "Though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent. For I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. For ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort …"
If he talks about sorrowing after a godly sort, the implication is that there's a wrong way to sorrow, the sorrow of the world. He says, "Ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge. In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." What is the difference between godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world? First of all, before we get into all the other scriptures let me just explain to you what's going on in this passage. Let's get the context.
A lot of people will misinterpret this passage because they don’t understand the context. The context you don’t have to turn there, but the context is actually found in first Corinthians chapter 5. In first Corinthians chapter 5 the Apostle Paul had confronted them about sin that was commonly reported and commonly known to be going on in their church. There was a guy in the church who was living in fornication and the Bible says it was fornication such as it was not even heard of among the gentiles that one should have his father's wife. His father is probably already dead because of this word fornication not adultery, he's fornicating with his father's wife. He's not married to her. He is living in sin with her. He's going to bed with her whatever.
This sin was commonly known and nobody was doing anything about it. The Apostle Paul explains a little leaven, leaven is the whole lump. You need to put away from among yourselves that wicked person. He said, "You are not supposed to company with anyone who is called a brother who is a fornicator." He said, "The world is going to commit fornication," but when Christians are committing fornication or being drunk, et cetera, we should not even eat with those people. We should put away from among ourselves that wicked person. That was the situation that was dealt within first Corinthians 5.
When we get to second Corinthians chapter number 7 and he talks about making them sorry with his letter, he's talking about the fact that he used some really strong language telling them to get right with God. Go back if you would to second Corinthians chapter 2. Second Corinthians chapter 2, we're getting the context of chapter 7. First, there was that incident in first Corinthians 5 where we had this guy who is committing a major sin. He's living in fornication and they're told to throw this guy out of the church and they said, "To pray that basically you would be delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." You can get that all in first Corinthians 5.
Look at second Corinthians 2:6, "Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him." What we get from this book of second Corinthians is that the guy had been thrown out in first Corinthians 5, now the guy has gotten right with God.
Paul is telling them, "Now that he's right with God his punishment has been inflicted. He's been humiliated and thrown out of the church, now you ought to forgive him and reach out to this guy and love this guy and restore him and get him back in fellowship. You don’t want him to be swallowed up of overmuch sorrow. Confirm your love toward him." By the way, that’s why we should never feel that it's unloving when we have to throw someone out of the church.
People say, "You just don’t love people if you're throwing out people in fornication." No, actually love is that we walk after His commandments and sometimes being thrown out of the church is exactly the wake-up call that somebody needs in order to get right with God. It's not that we just hate that person or that we just want them to die. No, we're throwing them out because the Bible commands us to throw them out and we're hoping that they will be able to be restored. We're hoping that they will get things right, repent and be restored onto fellowship once they get the fornication out of their life or the drunkenness out of their life or whatever the case may be. It's a wake-up call for people to be cast out of the church.
With that in mind in second Corinthians 7 verse 8, he says, "Though I made you sorry with a letter," he's talking about first Corinthians. He says, "Though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent I do not repent." What does it mean to repent? Repent means to basically change your mind about something, regret that you did something. Basically what he's saying, "I do not repent," he's saying, "I don’t feel bad that I wrote you that letter. I'm glad I wrote you the letter." When he says, "I do not repent," he's saying, "If I had to do it over again I'll do the same thing."
Watch this, he says, "I do not repent, though I did repent." What he's saying is when he first wrote the letter he put it in the mail and he thought to himself, "Maybe I shouldn't have written that letter because it was so harsh." He says, "Though I did repent, for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season." He did not want them to just sorrow for the sake of sorrowing. He says in verse 9, "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry," that doesn’t give me joy just to make you sad, but he says, "But that ye sorrowed to repentance."
He's saying, "I'm glad I wrote the letter even though I felt bad about it after sending it to you. I'm glad I wrote it because it caused you to get things right and to fix things." He says, "I'm glad that you sorrow to repentance, for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort."
I want to first of all point out to you this letter is not being written to the guy who committed the sin. Notice that everything is plural here; ye, you, your. It's written on to the church at Corinth that’s why it talks about the guy in the third person in chapter 2. He's saying, "You guys need to forgive him." When he talks about the godly sorrowing into repentance, he's not talking about the fornicator. He's talking about the fact that the church repented. The leaders of the church especially repented from letting fornication go rampant to fixing it.
The repentance in this chapter was the leadership of the church of Corinth, the bishops, the deacons saying, "We're going to throw this guy out because we can’t allow fornication in the church," whereas previously they’ve just been allowing it to happen. Did everybody understand the context? That was the repentance. They were sorry and they change their mind about the fact that we're not going to let this go on. We're going to change our course of action here where we're going to put away from among ourselves this wicked person.
A lot of people will point to verse 10 and they'll try to make this verse about going to heaven or hell because it says, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." It's talking about the church being saved from destruction. It's not talking about any individual soul being saved from hell. All throughout the Bible when you see the word save, you can’t always just assume that it's talking about heaven and hell.
For example, when Peter is drowning in the water he said, "Lord, save me." Is he saying, "Lord, I know I'm a sinner. I don’t wasn’t to go to hell"? No, he's saying save me like, "Pull out of the water because I'm drowning." Here the salvation is not the salvation of the soul but the salvation of their church that’s being destroyed and the church was saved. Just like when the Bible talks about women being saved in childbearing, it's not saying, "If you want to get to heaven, you better have children." A lot of times people will misunderstand the word save. What this is talking about is the elders of the church saving the church by actually repenting of their anything-goes attitude that they had in the past.
Let's apply this to our lives though. We in our lives need to make sure that when we sorrow for our sins, when we're corrected or rebuked or even just went our heart's might that we've committed sin, we need to make sure that we sorrow after a godly sort and that we have godly sorrow and not the sorrow of the world. There are a lot of sorrowful people today in the world, but that sorrow is not usually a godly sorrow.
Go to Luke chapter number 22, Luke chapter number 22. First of all, while you're turning to Luke 22, let me point out that the godly sorrow leads to repentance. Basically, godly sorrow leads to somebody actually changing something. In Ecclesiastes; you don’t have to turn there, but in Ecclesiastes 7:2 it says, "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better."
The Bible is not saying there that sorrow is good just for the sake of being sorrowful just because it's great to be sad. No, he says, "The reason that sorrow is better than laughter is because by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better." Godly sorrow leads to repentance. Godly sorrow causes your heart to be made better that’s why it's something that’s good whereas the sorrow of the world doesn’t lead any of that. The sorrow of the world just leads unto death.
Why is it called the sorrow of the world? Because it's the way most of the world sorrows. That tells us that most sad people today, most sorrowing people today are not sorrowing after a godly sort. They're sorrowing after a worldly sort and I'm going to explain what that means. If you look down into your Bible there in Luke 22, I want to show you the first example of the sorrow of the world.
Basically, there are 3 attributes that I found in the Bible of the sorrow of the world in order to differentiate it from godly sorrow. Number 1 is that the sorrow of the world is a sorrow that causes you to just give up and quit trying and I'm going to explain what that means. The sorrow of the world it doesn’t lead you to repent and do right. The sorrow of the world leads you to just give up and quit trying. This is very well illustrated in Peter's life. The Apostle Peter denies Jesus Christ in Luke 22, which is a major sin.
Look at verse 54, "Then took they him, Jesus, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, 'This man was also with him.' And he denied him, saying, 'Woman, I know him not.' And after a little while another saw him, and said, 'Thou art also of them.' And Peter said, 'Man, I am not.' And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, 'Of a truth this fellow also was with him, for he is a Galilaean.' And Peter said, 'Man, I know not what thou sayest.' And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew."
"And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, 'Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.'" Watch the sorrow in verse 62, "And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." Let me ask you something. Did Peter have a lack of sorrow for his sin? He had sorrow. He was sorry. No question about the fact that he sorrowed here because he not only went out and wept, he went out and wept bitterly.
Go to John 21, John chapter 21 verse 1. Let's see if Peter's sorrow was a godly sorrow that led to repentance or whether it was the sorrow of the world that works death. Look at John chapter 21 verse 1. The Bible says, "After these things," this is of course after Jesus has already died, had been buried and risen again, "After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, 'I go a fishing.' They say unto him, 'We also go with thee.' They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing."
You'll say, "What's the big deal a couple of guys going fishing?" Here's the big deal. Jesus has specifically told Peter not to do anymore fishing. Peter had been a fisherman before the Lord called him to be an apostle and Jesus said unto him, "From henceforth …" meaning from hereon out, "… thou shalt catch men." He forsook the net. He forsook the ship. He forsook his coworkers and he went and followed Jesus. He even brought it up to Jesus later in a bragging way, "Lord, we've forsaken all and followed thee. What are we going to get for reward?"
Here we see Peter going back to the old life, going back to his old job, giving up on preaching, giving up on soul winning, giving up on being a disciple of the lord and just saying, "I'm just going to back to what I used to do. I'm just going to go back to fishing." Notice this; he takes a bunch of people with him. By the way, when you quit church and when you quit on God and quit, you're going to always take people with you. He says, "I go fishing," and then a bunch of other people go with him.
It says, "They caught nothing." Verse 4, "But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, 'Children, have ye any meat?' They answered him, 'No.' And he said unto them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the ship and ye shall find.' They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, 'It is the Lord.' Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, for he was naked, and he casts himself into the sea."
Peter swims to shore. The rest of the boat comes to shore. They sit down with Jesus. Jesus has a fire going. They're cooking the fish. Verse 12, "Jesus saith unto them, 'Come and dine.' And none of the disciples durst …" Durst means they did not dare. They durst not … where am I here, "They durst not ask him, 'Who art thou,' knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise."
Verse 14, "This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?' He saith unto him, 'Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.' He saith unto him, 'Feed my lambs.' He saith to him again the second time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?' He saith unto him, 'Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.' He saith unto him, 'Feed my sheep.' He saith unto him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?'" Look at the next words, "Peter was grieved."
Here we see sorrow again, don’t we? "Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, 'Lovest thou me?' And he said unto him, 'Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.' Jesus saith unto him, 'Feed my sheep.' Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 'When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.' This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, 'Follow me.'"
That’s exactly what Jesus had originally said unto him when he told him to quit fishing. He said, "Follow me. I'll make you fishers of men," and here he tells him again, "Follow me." Of course, we know that this time Peter follows him Peter does the right thing and Peter does end up becoming a great preacher and a great apostle and doing great things for God.
What we saw in Luke 22 we saw the sorrow of the world. We saw a guy who had committed sin go out and weep bitterly but that weeping wasn’t a weeping of, "I've done wrong. I'm sorry and I'm going to fix it. I'm going to make things right. I'm going to pick myself up and I'm going to make it up to God by being the best servant of God I can be." No, instead it's just a, "I guess I'm a loser. I guess I quit," just throwing up hands and quitting whereas in this chapter we see him having godly sorrow because he actually makes a change. He actually has repentance here. He actually is going to follow Christ now and he's not going to go back to the old way of life.
Here are some examples of this sorrow of the world, which I would classify as, number 1, a sorrow that just gives up and quits trying. For example, let's say a girl who commits fornication and so now she's no longer a virgin and then basically she'll just say, "I've blown it now so I'm just going to go sleep around with everybody now." There are girls out there who do that, that’s the mentality of just, "I'm not a virgin anymore. I guess I've blown that now. I'm just going to go out." They feel bad about it. They feel sorrow and sorry, but instead of getting it right instead of repentance it's an attitude that just says, "I guess I'm not a virgin now. I might as well just go out and just be a hoar," and that happens all the time and it's the sorrow of the world my friend.
A godly sorrow from a girl who had lost her virginity and committed that wicked sin of fornication would be to be sorry that she had done so and to have repentance and say, "I'm not going to do that anymore. I've done wrong, but I'm going to confess and forsake my sins. I'm going to live a life now that is pure from hereon out and not just …" You can see this mentality in a lot of people's minds. This is a silly example maybe, a carnal example.
Think about when people go on a diet and they’ve got this really strict diet of man I'm on this diet and everything. Then what do they do? They accidentally eat the wrong thing and blow their diet so then it's like, "I already blew my diet," and then they get out a half gallon of ice cream, plop down in front of the TV and just use the scooper as their utensil and just eat ice cream. Why? Because they give up. Because they just feel like, "I failed. I'm a loser. I guess this is not going to work out so I might as well just go off the cliff because I'm going to fail I might as well fail big." It's a foolish mentality and that kind of sorrow for your sin is the wrong kind of sorrow and it's going to lead to death.
I'm not just talking about the heart disease and the diabetes. I'm just saying the sorrow of the world is leading to death. Godly sorrow leads to repentance. When you get this attitude because you sin where you're going to give up, people get this attitude. You see it in the Bible where people just they sin and then they just give up. That’s it. I'm a failure. I'm a loser. No, the Bible says, "A just man falls at 7 times and rises up again."
When we commit sin even a big sin like denying the Lord Jesus Christ publicly; that’s a big sin, or if we commit a sin like fornication a big sin, go out and get drunk, you don't just say, "I fell off the wagon. I messed up. I might as well just quit. I might as well just quit trying." There's nothing noble about that sorrow. That sorrow is not making your heart any better. That sorrow is going to lead to death because that’s a sorrow of the world.
The right sorrow says, "I'm sorry God. I'm sorry that I sin. I want to get it right, because I'm sorry about the people that I've hurt and I'm sorry about sinning against the Lord. I'm sorry about what I've done and I'm going to fix it. I'm going to change." That’s the right kind of sorrow when we're sorry and we're going to change, not just sorry, poor me. What is it? It's just a pity part. A lot of people they commit sin and then they have a pity party for themselves. It's the person who is late to work and then they're mad at the boss because they were late to work.
Everybody just has a pity party. I know I'm such a loser. I'm such a failure. Get out of the pity party and have godly sorrow for your sin and fix it and do right. Secondly, not only is the sorrow of the world, a sorrow that gives up and quits trying. The sorrow of the world is also a sorrow that basically just assumes that God will not forgive us, that God won’t show us mercy and that God is done with us. That’s the sorrow with the world. It just assumes that God is through with us.
Go to second Samuel chapter 12 and I'm going to show you 2 stories in the bible that both used this phrase who can tell whether God would be gracious, who can tell if God will turn and repent. I think this second point will make sense to you once we see these 2 Bible stories. It will really be illustrated unto you, what I mean by the fact that the sorrow of the world assumes that God won’t forgive or show mercy.
Look if you would at second Samuel chapter 12:21. Just to quickly give you the idea of what the story is about, this is where David committed an adultery. Is that a pretty big sin committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband Uriah killed? These are major sins of adultery and murder. He has repented of these things and he is sorry for these things and his sorrow was a godly sorrow where he truly was sorry and he's going to do right from now on.
In verse 21, but before we get to that let me just explain to you that Nathan the prophet had confronted him and rebuked him and he had sorrow and he was sorry and he realized he did wrong. Nathan told him the child that is the product of this adultery that child is going to die. That had been told to him by Nathan the prophet, "Because you've committed this sin, the child will die." He didn’t say might die. He said, "The child will die." Look at verse 21. This is after David had been praying and fasting and after 7 days the child died.
Verse 21, "Then said his servants unto him, 'What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.' And he said, 'While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.'"
David while the child was still alive is praying and begging God to be merciful. He is fasting and he's asking God not to kill his child, but the child ends up dying. When the child dies, he rises up. He eats bread. He washes himself and then he goes and worships the Lord. He has a good attitude toward the Lord. He realizes that it's not God's fault it's his fault and he's going to do right now.
Notice the phrase in verse 22, "Who can tell whether God will be gracious?" he believed that there was a chance that God would let his child live. He didn’t just assume that for sure I'm doomed that no matter what because a lot of people; listen to me, they get this attitude, "I'm doomed no matter what so why try. I'm doomed no matter what so why even get right with God if he can’t fix things for me." Go to Jonah chapter 3, because Jonah chapter 3 uses the exact same phrase of who can tell.
In David's case, was God merciful? In that case, no. God did allow his child to die. In Jonah, we have the same type of a judgment being pronounced. They say, "Who can tell," and God ends up being merciful and not destroying them. The point of what I'm showing you here is that you don’t know what God is going to do. You don’t know how harshly God is going to judge you. You don’t know whether God is going to show mercy or not. When you've committed sin and you're confronted with it, don’t get this doom and bloom, "God is not going to be merciful. God is not going to forgive me. Everything is over," because then that leads to point 1 of just quit and don’t even try.
Think about this. In Jonah verse 1 of chapter 3, it says, "The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 'Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.' So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, 'Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.'"
Did he say, "Unless you guys get right with God"? Did he say, "There might be a way out, there might be a way to fix it"? Here's the message, 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown, period. The people of Nineveh believed God and they went out and said, "Guys, we got 40 days left. Let's party hardy. We got 40 days. Let's eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we die. These are going to be the best 40 days and we're going to run up the credit cards and we're going to party and we're going to have fun and we're going to commit every sin in the book because God is going to destroy us anyway."
If we're already being destroyed, if God is already going to kill us all, why don’t we just go out and just maxed out all the sin and just go nuts with it? Isn't that an attitude that some people get out? There are people out there. That’s the sorrow of the world where they hear God is going to judge you, God is going to destroy you. Man, we're going to be destroyed, might as well just throw in the towel. Let's party 40 days.
Look what they did, "The people of Nineveh believed God and proclaimed a fast …" That’s the same thing David did, he fasted. "… proclaimed a fast, put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, 'Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing. Let them not feed, nor drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.'"
"'Who can tell,'" exact phrase that David used, "'Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not?' And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do unto them, and He did it not." Here God says, "I'm going to destroy you. Your city is going to be overthrown in 40 days." When they repented, what did He do? He turned from His wrath. He did not destroy them.
Of course, this made Jonah upset because Jonah preached that they're going to be destroyed. He wants to them destroyed. Then even after he sees that God has turned away from His wrath, he goes and sets up a little booth and he says, "I'm going to sit here and watch. I'm not leaving until this city is destroyed, God, because that’s what You told me to preach. I want to see it happen." Why? He didn’t love the people. He didn’t even want to go there in the first place. Jonah had a bad attitude.
The point that I want to make with this chapter is that you don’t know if you're doomed. Who can tell? Just remember that phrasing right, "Who can tell?" We don’t know what God is going to do. We don’t know if God is going to be merciful. We don’t know if God is going to pour out his wrath. We need to just repent and get right with him and sorrow unto repentance and be sorry when we do wrong and not sit there and think to ourselves, "Too late, doomed, quit, stop trying, fail and just give up. Just get out of church. What's the use? What's the point? God is going to punish me anyway. God is not going to bless me anyway."
There are people who are here in this auditorium right now who've made serious mistakes in their life, committed major sins in their life and yet here they are serving God, loving God, being used by God and being blessed by God. They're being blessed by God today. Why? Because when they realize that they committed sin, they had godly sorrow and not the sorrow of the world. The self-pitying, I'm doomed, God doesn’t care, God didn’t love me.
Even in David's case where the child died, God gave him another child with that woman and God forgave. God allowed him to still be used in the future going forward. We're not always going to escape the consequences of our actions of course. You'll say, "Why was God more merciful to Nineveh than He was merciful to David?" Because unto whom much was given, of him so much will be required David should have known better. David had been walking with God since he was a kid. David knew the word of God well.
Did the Ninevites know the word of God that well? God was more lenient with Nineveh than he was with David. Both of them had a future. Both of them received mercy from God. Just not the same type of mercy, but they both were able to pick it up and do better and live right and go forward. Go to first Kings chapter 21. We don’t know whether God is going to cloud up and rain on us or be merciful or somewhere in between. That should not determine whether or not we make changes in our life. We just need to r4alize that a real godly sorrow for our sin is a sorrow that wants to change.
What did the Bible say? "Godly sorrow worketh repentance." You say, "How do I know if my sorrows are godly sorrow?" If it works repentance, it's a godly sorrow. If it's a sorrow that says, "I quit. I'm done trying," it's a sorrow of the world. If it's a sorrow that says, "God is not going to forgive me anyway. God has done with me. God is not going to show mercy," who can tell? You don’t know that. You know whether that’s really true.
We're talking about God this morning, but this can even go for other relationships in our life and other authority figures in our life. This could be the child who basically realizes that his parents have busted him and his parents have confronted him with wrongdoing. He can go have a pity party and cry and (voice sound). It's like, "Why are you crying." "Because I did so big, because I was so bad. I made your life miserable. I'm sorry. I didn’t mean to make you so sad." Kids always do that and then get up the next morning and do all the same stuff to torment you. Why? Because it's not a godly sorry. It's a self-pitying sorrow.
All kinds of people are wallowing in self-pity today. How many people today are on antidepressants in America today? Does anybody know the figures on it? It's got to be some crazy high percentage of people. It's got to be millions. There are millions of people on antidepressants. Are they all just sorrowing after a godly sort? God, I'm so sad that I've done wrong, God. How I can do right, Lord? I want to do right by You. I want to repent. I want to fix things.
No, you know and I know that 99 percent of these people are depressed and sad and sorry. It's the sorrow of the world and it's leading to death. It's not making a change in their life. It's not causing them to get right with God or fix things. It's just the, "Poor me, I'm such a loser. I could never succeed," instead of fixing it. People just feel sorry for themselves and that’s not godly sorrow my friend. Godly sorrow says, "I can fix it." Godly sorrow says, "God is not through with me. God is going to forgive me. God might be merciful to me. It's not over until it's over." Even if God does punish me, it doesn’t mean that I won’t have other blessings later. David was blessed with other children.
Look at first Kings 21. Here's a great illustration of the fact that who can tell whether God is going to be merciful or not. Verse 20 says, "Ahab said to Elijah, 'Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?' And he answered, 'I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.' Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.'"
"And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, 'The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.'" Is Elijah giving Ahab a lot of hope in this message? Here's how you fix it Ahab. Here's how you get it right buddy and everything will be fine. Is he given him any hope? It's like, "No, you're going to die. Your wife is going to die. She's going to be eaten by dogs. All your kids are going to die and be left in an open field to rot. Bye." That’s the message.
Look at Ahab's reaction though and fist before we get into his reaction … Actually, let's get to the reaction. Verse 27, it says, "And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, he said, 'I'm just going to worship Satan then, because obviously there's no hope for me. I'm doomed anyway." No, look what he says, " It came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.'"
What we see is that Ahab humbling himself and getting right with God. It didn’t remove all the consequences. Those consequences are still coming, but at least he gets a little bit of mercy from the Lord that it's not going to happen in his days and that he could still be used by God going forward. By the way, just to show you how bad he was it says in verse 25, "there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. He did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites."
Was he a pretty bad guy? Real bad guy. Yet when this guy humbled himself and fasted and prayed, did he find mercy from the Lord? That should tell you that you should never get this I'm doomed, I give up, I quit attitude because you don’t know. A lot of kids will get an attitude of just, "I just can’t win with my parents. I just can’t win with my parents and so I'm just not even going to try anymore." That is a wicked sorrow of the world. That’s not godly sorrow.
Our wife would just say, "I'm tired of trying to please my husband. He just can’t be pleased." That’s the sorrow of the world. It's not a godly … A godly sorrow says, "There's hope." A godly sorrow believes in the mercy of God and a godly sorrow works repentance and says, "I'm going to change. I'm sorry so I'm going to change," not I'm sorry and (voice sound). Thirdly this, the sorrow of the world is a feeling sorry for yourself instead of feeling sorry about grieving the Lord and hurting the people around you. That’s the big difference between the godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world.
Go if you would to first Samuel 15, because I think one of the people that best illustrates this is King Saul. King Saul made a lot of mistakes and he can’t be in sorry for his mistakes over and over. Saul makes mistakes and he's sorry. It doesn’t help him. His life gets worse and worse and worse until he ends up committing suicide. David on the other hand he makes mistakes. He is sorry and things go well for him and he fixes it. What's the difference between David sorrow and Saul sorrow?
Simple. David sorrow is godly sorrow. Saul sorrow is the sorrow of the world. We could best see this illustrated in Saul's life as a sorrow that sorry for yourself, not about grieving the Lord or the people that you're hurting. By the way, whenever you sin you're always hurting other people. It's never just you that’s being hurt. You're always hurting someone else.
Look if you would at first Samuel 15:30. This is one of the early sins in Saul's life, the second big sin. 15:30 says this for first Samuel, "Then he said, 'I have sinned, yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.'" What's wrong with that sentence? I've sinned but can you make sure that I don’t look bad in front of people? Can you honor me now in front of the people? Did you see that? Fine, I've sinned but honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel.
Go to first Samuel 22 verse 8. What's he really sorry about? Is he really sorry that he hurt the Lord or that he hurt the people around him? He's sorry about the fact that people are going to look down on him. He feels bad for himself basically. I'm losing honor here. I need to be honored before the people here. Let's fix this.
Look at first Samuel 22 verse 8 and let's see if anybody can tell me if Saul has godly sorrow or the sorrow of the world. It says in verse 8, "That all of you have conspired against me …" this is Saul talking, "… and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me …" (voice sound). Nobody feels bad for me. Nobody is sorry for me. Isn't this a guy who is just feeling sorry for himself publicly?
Go to first Samuel chapter 24 verse 16. First Samuel 24:16, do you see a pattern with this guy? It says in verse 16, "It came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, 'Is this thy voice, my son David?' And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept." Let me ask you this. In verse 16, does Saul have sorrow? He's weeping. He's crying. He definitely has legitimate sorrow. What's going on here? This is where he's trying to hunt David and kill David. David rebukes him and explains to him why he's wrong and he's sorry and he's crying. He's weeping.
He said to David, "Thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me, for as much as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not." He's hunting David, but David had the chance to kill him and David shows him mercy and lets him go. He says, "I could've killed you." He's talking to him. He's yelling from far away from a safe point, "I could've killed you and I let you go." Saul starts crying and he said, "I'm sorry. You did right by me."
Verse 20, "And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand. Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house. And David sware." Why is he sorry? What's he sorry? I'm really sorry David. Can you please when you finally be me and when you're in control, can you be sure to show mercy to me and not kill my family and not do the …" You see how this is a sorrow that’s self-serving?
Instead of just I'm sorry, I was wrong, I'm going to stop chasing you, I'm going to stop coming after you, instead he is sorry, I feel so bad, I'm really sorry can you just please actually swear and promise that you're not going to do me wrong. It's not a sorrow that feels bad for others. It's a sorrow that feels bad for himself. What's the proof? The proof is that 2 chapters later in chapter 26 he's doing the exact same thing. In chapter 24 he's so sorry, but you can tell it's a self-serving sorrow. It's a pity party for self, because in chapter 26 he's doing the same thing again.
Then in chapter 26 he has another pity party, "I played the fool. I'm so sorry." Then what's he doing in 27? Coming after him again. No repentance my friend. When the sorrow doesn’t lead to repentance, it's not a godly sorrow. It's the sorrow of the world. This is like politicians who say they're sorry for being a whoremonger, but then they just immediately want to run for office again. Think about that.
If you're a politician and you're going to get up and say, "You know what," like that guy Anthony Weiner; he's perfect example. This congressman from New York, he gets up and says, "I'm so sorry about all those filthy lewd text messages." Of course, he won’t use words like that. That are the right words that he should have used; filthy, lewd, disgusting, I'm a whoremonger, I'm evil, but anyway. He gets, "I'm so sorry. I did that. I let you all down, I'm sorry but I'm running for mayor. I know I'm not congressman anymore, but I'm running for mayor now."
There's no repentance because if he really felt I'm sorry, I've done wrong I've let you down, he wouldn't be trying to aggrandized himself further with more titles for himself. Do you think he's trying to become mayor because he just really knows that he's going to be the one that does the best job? Maybe he wasn’t running for mayor. He ran for something else right after that scandal some other position. Not because he wants to help people, but because of the fact that he wants to glorify self.
By the way, even after he apologized he was busted for more text messages and more smut and more adultery and more being a whoremonger because there's no real repentance because his apology was a fake apology. It's like Bill Clinton's apology. First he's like, "You look at me. I did not have, you know what, with that woman, Monica Lewinsky." He's probably like pointing at some other woman, "I didn’t have affair with that woman, Monica Lewinsky," but he lied. He just tells a boldface lie and then when did he say he's sorry? When he's caught, when there's so much evidence that he can’t deny anymore. He didn’t have real sorrow or repentance.
If he had any real sorrow or repentance, you know what he really would have done? He would have said, "I'm sorry and that’s why I need to step down as president because of the fact that our country needs to have a leader that the world can respect, the people can respect. I'm going to go ahead and step down," that would have been showed real repentance. Instead it's like, "I've sinned. Honor me now before the people." First, he argues just like Saul argued. Then it's like, "I've sinned. Honor me now before the people," then he runs. Not only he didn’t step down, not only he finished the term, he ran for reelection. He runs another term and then he puts his filthy lesbian-looking wife up for election.
These people, these politicians they don’t have the sorrow of that’s godly when they sin. It's the sorrow of the world. By the way, the same thing goes for a pastor. Let's say a pastor is caught is one of these major sins. Obviously, everybody is a sinner. Let's say one of these pastors gets caught in adultery, major sin adultery. Then obviously if he's really repentant for having committed adultery, he'll say, "I'm sorry that I committed adultery. I did wrong. I let you down. I'm stepping down as pastor," and you know you do you'd never be a pastor again. Never be, because he's not blameless.
He's never be going to be pastor again. It doesn’t mean that he can't serve God. A pastor who did that who was actually a saved bona fide Christian pastor; it could happen because David did it, a real bona fide pastor who did that the right thing to do would be to step down and say, "I'm sorry. I blew it. I let you down. I'll step down from being pastor because I'm no longer fit to be your pastor." Then he would never be a pastor again, but what he would do is continue serving God. Because guess what? This church is filled with people who are serving God. Are they all pastors? You don’t have to be a pastor to serve God.
A real person who is sincerely sorry and showed repentance would continue to serve God humbly from the pew. They go soul winning and they'd serve God and love God. When they want to still come back … I can name for you pastors who have committed adultery and committed adultery and committed adultery and been caught and stepped down and then just a year or 2 later they're pastoring again. They're not really sorry. If there was repentance, why were they committing adultery in church after church after church? Then they finally get busted and it's wide open then they go around the point.
I know a pastor who applied for a job at a church as pastor and he committed adultery repeatedly and had been busted with it. He had to say something because he'd been caught in the past. He didn’t want to tell them, "I've committed adultery," so he would go into the job interview and tell them, "I've had a personal failure in my life. I don’t want to go into any detail. I just want you to know that I've had a personal failure."
He said that in one church and they said, "We're not looking for a pastor who's had a personal failure in his life." Then he found another church that’s like, "Sure. We're all a bunch of wicked devils anyway so you're a perfect pastor for us. A serial adulterer is just what we need because then you're not going to preach on our sin. You're not going to hit hard on fornication or drunkenness or adultery. You're not going to condemn anything that we do so great. How much salary do you want?" he's pastoring right now a big giant church right now and he's a serial adulterer.
Why? Because of the fact that he didn’t have godly sorrow. He had the sorrow of the world just like the politicians that do the same thing. It's not a sorrow of I've hurt others, I've sinned against heaven. It's a sorrow that just says, "I'm sorry I got caught. I'm so sad that I'm such a weak person that I keep falling into sin." It's just a feeling bad for self instead of a godly sorrow that leads to repentance.
Let's close the sermon with this. Go back to second Corinthians chapter 7. I hope this sermon has helped you to have an understanding of the difference between godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world. Is sorrow a good thing in our lives? First of all, we shouldn't go through life just continually sorrowing because the Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength and that we should rejoice and that joy unspeakable and full of glory. It characterizes our Christian life, so we should rejoice and enjoy our life. There are times when we should have sorrow.
Let me tell you something. When you sin, you should have sorrow. You shouldn't just be able to sin with a smile and then just walk away and just think like, "Who cares?" there's some wrong with you if that’s your attitude. There should be sorrow for sin. Just because you're sorry when you sin it doesn’t mean that you're sorrowing after a godly sort. By the way, just because your kid is crying when they get caught and you bust your kid with their hand in the cookie jar and they go (voice sound), does that really necessarily mean that they have godly sorrow? No, because that could just be a sorrow of I got caught or a sorrow of my parents spank every day no matter what I do. No matter how hard I try I get spanked every day. There are kids who think that.
I'll confess my sin, I remember as a teenager. I remember as a teenager having this thought. I remember a thing if Jesus lived in my house, if Jesus were growing up in this home he would get yelled at every day. I remember thinking that, because I had this attitude like you can’t win with my parents. If Jesus was growing up in this home and perfect in every way tempted in all points like as we are yet without sin, Jesus would be screamed at in this house every day; I give up. You know what? It wasn't true. That’s what I thought and I honestly thought that in my teenage brain that no matter what I do I can’t win with my parents, not even Jesus could do it. Even he is perfect, they'd still scream at him because they just scream it does.
Then you know what though a little bit later in my teenage life I got into a good Independent Fundamental Baptist Church and I start reading my Bible more and applying the things I was hearing and preaching. I made changes and strove to be a better son and I noticed that my parent's attitude toward me changed immediately; immediately. I thought, "It's their problem. It's not my problem. It's all their problem." You know what? It was my problem, because once I started being a better child and a better son and making changes in my life they started treating me way better, way better than I ever would have thought. It was like, "This is easy." You just actually obey and be respectful and kind.
I remember when I started getting right with God in regard to my parents, I remember one time I came home from work and just started doing the dishes in the kitchen. My parents said, "What are you doing? What is going on?" I said, "I work at a pizza place and I do dishes all day. I just figured what's one more load of dishes. I've done a hundred loads of dishes today, might as well do one more and help you out." "Thanks." I try to do things nicer by helping out around the house, being more respectful, doing what I supposed to do.
By the way, I was always one when I was a teenager where I was like, "Man, when I turned 18, I'm moving out. The day I turned 18, I'm gone." Don’t raise your hand but that mentality that says, "When I'm 18, I'm out of here." You know what when I turned 18, I did not move out because I believe the Bible said, "A child should leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife." I decided I'm going to stay living with my parents and I'm going to make things work out with my parents and learn to get along with my parents. I should be able to get along with my parents. That’s part of growing up by the way, learning to get along with your parents.
I learned to get along with my parents and I decided not to move out until I got married and that’s what I did. I moved out when I got married. I'm telling you when I was a teenager man I was going to move out when I turned 18. The change in my attitude and the change in my behavior fixed things, but there are many times before that when I had the sorrow of the world that just said, "I give up. They're impossible to please. I can’t be perfect whatever," and it didn’t fix anything. Then once I got into the right preaching and started actually changing myself and once there was repentance in me where I made changes and I was willing to take a step toward them and get things right, then everything was suddenly fixed.
You know what? There are so many situations like that in our life where we want to blame everybody else, wives want to blame their husband or even husbands want to blame their wife and they say, "I try to be a good leader in my home but she just won’t follow. She just won’t do this." Honestly, there are changes that can be made on your end and children who just think to themselves, "You know this? My parents are unreasonable blah, blah, blah," when really they just need to obey their parents and get right.
Even parents could maybe even just have a bad attitude toward their children when in reality the Bible does say that if we will train up a child in the way he should go when he's old to not depart from it and obviously maybe some people could be doing the wrong kind of parenting if they're having a problem with their kids. If we feel sorrow about the relationships in our life with husband and wife, with children and parents, our boss at work, coworkers, let's have a godly sorrow that says, "What can I change? What can I do to fix it?"
When the preacher preaches to you and you're like, "I just walk out of that church it's feeling like dirt. He called me a whore because I'm sleeping around or living with my boyfriend. He used the word whore 15 times." I only use it 14 times and that was the Holy Spirit that told you that you that 15 times. What I'm saying is, "It makes me so sad. I want to go to church that makes me feel good." No, it's better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting. Why? By the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. You need to go through some sadness in your life in order to get better, but it a waste if it's not godly sorrow.
Let's just close by reading the passage once again in second Corinthians 7, because this is where we started. This is where it's really laid out the best in second Corinthians 7 verse 8, "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent. For I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. For ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort."
What's the result of a godly sort of sorrowing? What carefulness it wrought in you? What does that mean? You're careful to do it right now because you had godly sorrow. What clearing of yourselves? You know what clearing of yourself means? You're going to clear your name meaning you're going to build a new reputation. You're going to do things right from now on. I know I've sinned in the past where I'm going to make up for it now by doing right.
He says, "What indignation, yea, what fear." Indignation is basically hating sin. What fear; fearing God, wanting to do His commandments. What vehement desire, what zeal. It's a passion to do what's right now. That’s the right reaction to having the right kind of sorrow. You're sad that you've sinned. You're sorry and now you are on a mission to zealously and fervently do it right from hereon out. I'm going to make things right. I'm going to do it right. I'm going to serve God now.
He said, "What zeal, what revenge. In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." It's not too late, is it? Was it too late for the Corinthians? Paul said, "You've done right now church at Corinth. You've fixed the problem and you have cleared yourselves and everything is fine now and I think you're a great church and I'm not looking down on you. You have cleared yourselves. You've approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." It is possible to please God today. It is possible for you to have a good standing with God.
Nothing in this sermon is about salvation. None of it was about salvation. You say, "Why not?" Because 99 percent of the people here are already saved. Who here are already saved this morning? Put up your hand. You know for sure you're going to have. Look around. You see why I'm not preaching on salvation? Because 99 percent of people here are already saved. Church is to build up the saints and we as saved people need to learn what it means to really repent of our sins on a daily basis and on a monthly basis, whatever the case may be. Where people get mixed up is where they try to mix this with salvation. Salvation is how many times?
Speaker 1: He didn’t say get born again and again and again. You get born again one time and you're saved eternally. You have eternal life. Jesus said, "I give unto them eternal life. They shall never perish. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." By the way, God didn’t say, "Turn from your evil ways and thou shall be saved." No He did not. What He said was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved."
Salvation is by faith, but after we're saved when it comes to walking with God, when it comes to keeping His commandments, we're going to make mistakes and when we make those mistakes we need to change. You know what repentance means? It just means change. You say, "What does repentance have to do with salvation? What needs to change in an unsaved person? What they believe needs to change?" Repentance means change. It could be a change in what you believe. It could be a change in your actions. It could be a change in your mind. Repentance is a real broad word that’s why you have to get the context of what the change that’s needed.
Godly sorrow in our lives as Christians. Second Corinthians isn't about the unsaved. Are you going to tell me that the pastor of the church at Corinth wasn’t saved or that the deacons weren't saved? Of course the leaderships at Corinth were saved, but they were allowing sin in the church. They were wrong. They were dory about it when they got rebuked and they sorrowed after a godly sort and that sorrow led to a change. What was that change? They got rid of the fornicator.
What needs to change in your life? I don’t know. That’s between you and the Lord. Whatever it is that need to change in your life it's between you and God. Be sorry for your sins but have a godly sorrow that leads to repentance, not this wrong kind of sorrow that the world has. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much Lord for the Bible and for all these great stories we can read about, Peter and Saul and David and Ahab and Jonah. We can get all these different illustrations Lord that we can apply tour own lives and say, "Wait a minute. Am I sorrowing after a godly sort?" I'm definitely sad when I do wrong. I definitely feel bad about it, but am I feeling bad in the right way? Am I feeling bad in a way that leads me to repentance or am I feeling bad because I got caught or am I just feeling bad and giving up and throwing in the towel?
Lord, help us when we feel bad. Help us to have zeal to fix it and do right. Help no one in here to give up, Lord. Help everyone who is here no matter how sinful their past is to be ready to dust themselves off and from hereon out live a godly life and seek Your mercy in Your favor in their Christian life. In Jesus' name we pray.