Paul’s Change of Plan and Integrity
2 Cor. 1:15-24
Things happens unexpectedly that no matter how we plan things in advance and anticipate what lies
ahead, there are times that we have to change and do differently. This doesn’t mean that we are
fickle minded or cannot be relied on and trusted, there are just things that are beyond our control.
Bear in mind that things happen only according to God’s will. Nothing under God’s control is never
out of control. Paul also have to change his plans, but that did not make him a liar nor a double
minded person. He made no firm promises to the Corinthians. He speaks to them about what he
desires to do, and generally about what he will do, if it is the Lord ‘s will (Acts 18:21).
Illustration 1: Christians Must Have Goals
Christians without goals are a little like Alice in the fairy tale ALICE IN WONDERLAND. In a
conversation between her and the Cheshire Cat, Alice asked, “Would you tell me please, which way I
ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat. “I
don’t much care where,” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.
I. Paul’s purpose (II Cor. 1:15-19)
A. “I was minded to come…” (II Cor. 1:15): It was Paul’s intention while in Ephesus to
go into Macedonia first, and then to Corinth (1 Cor, 16:5-7). Later he planned to go
first to Corinth from Ephesus by crossing the Aegean by boat (verses 15, 16). He
changed his mind again, and went first to Macedonia (verses 17, 23). It was not a
mark of weakness or dishonesty and insincerity.
B. “Second benefit”. The first benefit was their salvation. The second I supposed is
their spiritual growth. That they may grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ.
C. “Did I use lightness?” (1 Cor. 1:17): “Did I show fickleness?” His enemies said he was
a “yes, yes” and “no, no” man; that is, of light-mindedly saying “yes” and “no” at the
same time. He is not a man who will say one thing but mean another or different
things. Paul declared his purposes to be those of a sincere and honest Christian.
The gospel he preached was the truth and nothing but the truth which they can rely
D. God is true, God is trustworthy (2 Cor. 1:18). He was telling the Corinthians that he
represented a true and trustworthy God as an honest spokesman. There was no
duplicity with him and his companions. They say what they meant and do as they
said unless there was a compelling reason to change his plans.
E. “The Son of God Jesus Christ, the mentioning of the full title of the Lord Jesus Christ
here tells us that the false teachers are attacking the person and the deity of Christ.
The gospel which he, Timothy and Silas were the true gospel which they faithfully
Illustration: Purpose in Life
Many years before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, he was a store-keeper in Salem, Illinois.
Abe had a rifle displayed in his store that was one of the most beautiful rifles ever made. The barrel
was made from the finest steel, the stock from the best walnut wood; and a world-famous gunsmith
had assembled the gun. The price was extremely reasonable. Displayed next to this attractive gun
was a rack of ordinary Kentucky squirrel rifles. These long-barrel rifles were made from ordinary gun
steel, and plain wooden stocks. Yet, the price was higher.
A customer entered the store looking for a new rifle. He was impressed by the fine-looking gun, but
was confused as to why it was priced much lower than the less attractive rifles. Abe explained that
the good-looking rifle was for show, while the others were for shooting. The pioneer bought the
Kentucky squirrel rifle.
A little while later, a rich farmer was decorating a room in his country mansion. He wanted to place a
gun over the fireplace mantle with his big game trophies. Abe’s fancy gun was exactly what he
needed. The fact that it would not shoot was irrelevant. The purpose of the gun had changed.
God has given each of us a purpose, too. We can choose to work for God’s glory and make disciples
for Christ, or we can choose to be decorations in the church. What purpose are you serving in your
relationship with Christ? 10,000 Sermon Illustrations
II. God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:20-24)
A. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen…” (2 Cor. 1:20): The
“promises of God” in the Old Testament and the New Testament are sure and
positive. Will God’s promises be fulfilled? Christ is the Answer, the incarnate “Yes,”
the everlasting “Yea.” Through Jesus Christ comes, peace, love, forgiveness,
goodness, sanctification, hope, fellowship, glorification, and heaven.
B. Amen (so let it be). “Amen” is found many times in the Bible and is an expression of
agreement and support. It is also a common expression among Christians today.
Jesus is called “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14), meaning that He and His promises are
perfectly true and trustworthy (2 Cor. 1:20)
III. God’s Work (1 Cor. 1:21-24)
A. “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:21): Christ’s saving work
of grace stablished the believer and places them on a firm foundation in Him.
Whatever stability of character we possess is attributed to God. God establishes us
in a steadfast relation to Christ. God makes us partakers of the very life of his
B. Christ…God…Spirit. A clear reference to the Trinity. The authenticity of Paul’s
spiritual life and that of every real believer is verified by these 4-divine works: 1.
Stablisheth us, 2. Anointed us, 3. Sealed us. 4. Given us the earnest of the Spirit.
1. Stablisheth us – stated above
2. Anointed – In the earlier days, prophets, priests, and Kings, were “anointed” with
oil as a symbol of the influence of God’s Spirit, by which they were to be
equipped for their tasks. So, in reality, God “anoints” us for service. The gracious
influences of His Spirit prepare us for our work and consecrate us to the service
3. Sealed us – Refers to the ancient practice of placing soft wax on a document and
imprinting the wax with a stamp. The meaning of the sealing: (1) Security (Dan.
6:17). (2) Ownership (2 Cor. 1:21-22). (3) Authority (Gen. 41:41-42; Esther 8:8; 2
Cor. 5:20; Mt. 28:18-20). (4) Completed transaction (Jer. 32:9-10, Jn. 17:4,
4. Given us earnest of the Spirit. Earnest here means a guarantee, a down
payment. The Holy Spirit is the down payment on the believer’s eternal
C. “Moreover, I call God for a record…” (2 Cor. 1:23): Paul calls God to witness the
truth of his statement. “To spare you”. He now explains the reason for his altered
purpose and his consequent delay. If he had come to Corinth when he originally
planned to, it would have been with a severe rebuke. He wanted to wait till the visit
could be one of joy. Paul wished to give them time to repent.
D. “Not for that we have dominion over you…” (2 Cor. 1:24): “that that we have
lordship over your faith”. Paul did not want to Lord over these people; in reality he
wanted them to grow in their spirituality and learn to stand alone without him have
to guide them. He truly desired that they would grow up and mature without being
scolded. He cares for them and he really love them.
Illustration 3: He Careth For You
A construction crew was building a new road through a rural area, knocking down trees as it
progressed. A superintendent noticed that one tree had a nest of birds who couldn’t yet fly and he
marked the tree so that it would not be cut down. Several weeks later the superintendent came
back to the tree. He got into a bucket truck and was lifted up so that he could peer into the nest. The
fledglings were gone. They had obviously learned to fly. The superintendent ordered the tree cut
down. As the tree crashed to the ground, the nest fell clear and some of the material that the birds
had gathered to make the nest was scattered about. Part of it was a scrap torn from a Sunday school
pamphlet. On the scrap of paper were these words: He careth for you.
Paul was branded liar or a man whose word cannot be trusted by his enemies and false
teachers because he was not able to come on time. His reason of delay however,
outweighs the reason of his coming earlier. He cares for them. Like Paul we change our
plans due to unavoidable circumstances. But as long as we do it out of love, honesty
and sincerity, and our conscience is clear, we have nothing to be afraid of no matter
what other people say.