Authority: Paul's defence of his

Apostolic Defense: Book of 2nd Corintians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:57
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Can you remember one of the reasons the book was written? Is it in defence of Paul and the apostles authority? This morning here are some thoughts to consider as we look at our section.
Paul has been addressing, making a defense to his critics. There has been various things he had already addressed but recently about spiritual warfare within the body and in bringing someone to come into the body. This leads to the reality of Paul’s authority and the limits too it too that we will address today.
Before getting to the passage a few things to get you thinking as we look at the passage.
Telephone call - you sit and listen to someone on a phone call and you only get one-side of the conversation and you draw assumptions and maybe even conclusions with only hearing one side. We only have one side to go from, Paul’s side in the letter but there are things we can learn from it, or make some safe assumptions from it.
His accusers looked down on Paul. They thought of Paul as uncaring, selfish, self-serving and flagellating. He was claiming authority while there were those showing up (Judiazers) with written authority who were challenging Paul’s proven authority by the church itself.
His accusers looked down on Paul’s demeanor, harsh in writing but weak in person.
On a side note in some writings about Paul in a book from about AD200 entitled The Acts of Paul and Thecla. Paul is described as
A man of little stature, thin haired
He had a hooked nose and crooked legs with shaggy eyebrows.
So he was unimpressive in person (visually)
The accusers seem to say Paul is boasting of himself and his authority in a sphere in which he does not run. He had no ruling authority over the church at Corinth.
Paul addresses his defense on these issues in our passage this morning.
Proper Use of Authority (2Cor10:7-11)
Proper measure needed (2Cor10:12-18)
(below can be removed from the teaching but left on the outline)
Your own thoughts: ___________________________________

Proper use of authority

Have you ever heard the term meekness is weakness? How about that meekness is power under control? I think as we look at our passage you can see there is a difference. Let’s read, pull from the scripture and make some points.
Question: When you think of meekness who do you think of, or what do you think of?
Now let’s turn to our passage, at least the first part of it now.
2 Corinthians 10:7 NASB95
7 You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.
2 Corinthians 10:8 NASB95
8 For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame,
2 Corinthians 10:9–10 NASB95
9 for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”
2 Corinthians 10:11 NASB95
11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Question: The Corinthians have a problem with how they are viewing things, what is the problem (v.7)?
They are looking at things outwardly instead of within.
Question: What was the purpose of the authority given (v.8)?
For building up and not destroying.
Question: What is the accusation against Paul that he states in (v.10)?
He is weighty and strong in letters, His presence is unimpressive and speech contemptible.
Paul’s defense of spiritual authority
Defense point 1: If you are Christ’s, so are we (v.7)
Defense point 2: Authority given by the Lord, and I do not use it to terrify you (vv8-9)
Defense point 3: Who we are in writing is who we are in person our work speaks for itself (v.11)
In the day of the apostles they had a lesson that may have been difficult to swallow when it came to the kingdom of God. Position and power were no evidence of authority. Jesus illustrated such when addressing the Sons of Zebedee and sitting on the right and left in the Lord’s glory. You may read all of the dialog in Mk10:35-45 when you have time. Jesus lets them know don’t use your authority to lord it over people like the Gentiles do.
Our example of humble authority was Jesus, he came to serve (minister) to give His life a ransom for many.
The problem with the Corinthians is they were still carnally minded and not spiritually minded enough to discern what Paul was doing. They were comparing the meekness of Paul with the personality power of the Judaizers and by doing such negated Paul’s God given authority as an apostle and claimed he had none over them.
They were judging by the outside and not exercising any spiritual discernment to see the truth of the authority found in Paul’s meekness.
Paul had the authority, did not deny the authority but he would not use the authority in an unspiritual way, he loved them that much. His authority was given to build them up, not tear them down and destroy.
If you were to compare Paul and the Judiazers, well:
Paul used his authority to build up the church
Judiazers used the church to build up their authority.
Paul’s authority was being questioned because he was not exercising it, for if he really had authority he would use it.
Meekness, power under control, Jesus was the example, Paul followed Jesus example and his life proved his ministry and his authority.
2 Corinthians 1:12–13 NASB95
12 For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. 13 For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end;
2 Corinthians 1:14 NASB95
14 just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.
If Paul was a fraud, a fake, a scammer they all had been deceived, scammed and were not saved.
(Illustration) As a parent are you loving and caring, doting at one time and at another time correcting, rebuking, punishing at others, does one negate the other? The answer is no!
Paul wrote strong in letters because that was needed at the time. He wrote from a place of love and caring even if it was hard to do, he would rather love on them than correct them and wrong doctrine that was leading some away from the truth.
Paul did not want to lord over them (be their boss) there is a huge difference between a leader and a boss.
(Insert Boss vs Leader PowerPoint here)
A boss says “go” get going go do this, while the leader says come on let’s go and leads by example.
A boss is a boss because he knows how to get it done, a leader wants to show others how to get it done so they too can grow and learn.
The boss instills fear in people, while the leader inspires enthusiasm based on respect and goodwill
The boss fixes the blame for a breakdown where the true leader fixes the breakdown. The boss says “I” (want, demand, expect) and the leader says “we” (we can do it, we can accomplish it).
I hope that our leaders here display the desire to inspire so we can do great things for the kingdom.
(Transition) now that leads to our next point about how to measure spiritual ministry, we need to have the right measuring stick to do it.

Proper Measure Needed

How do we measure things? Do you use a ruler, a yard stick, or some other measuring tool? How we measure matters including when it comes to ministry. Paul is going to now look at and give a defense in the measurement being used to measure him and the ministry God had given him?
2 Corinthians 10:12 NASB95
12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
2 Corinthians 10:13–14 NASB95
13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ;
2 Corinthians 10:15–16 NASB95
15 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, 16 so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.
2 Corinthians 10:17–18 NASB95
17 But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. 18 For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture:
Question: Paul is careful not to do what (v.12) and why?
Not to class, compare or even commend themselves, because those that do measure themselves by themselves are without understanding
Question: look at (v.13) regarding measure, Paul uses several words regarding measure, what are they?
Beyond our measure, within the measure and God apportioned measure.
Question: What is man to boast in when you look at (v.17)?
He who boasts is to boast of the Lord.
Question: Just one more, who is the one who is approved according to (v.18)?
The one whom the Lord commends.
I think you notice the word measure was used several times throughout this passage. If we are honest many problems have come from using the wrong measure when it comes to measuring ministry. How do you properly measure the spiritual?
Now we can read the narrative in Acts and know that the early church did note numbers (Act2:41, 4:4) and in 1964 there was a theme in the Southern Baptist Convention
“a million more in 64, and everyone a tither”
Then it was said, great idea but if we get another million like the last million (this was done previously in 1954 too) God help us. See quantity is not guarantee of quality.
Then it was said, great idea but if we get another million like the last million (this was done previously in 1954 too) God help us. See quantity is not guarantee of quality.
(Insert measure picture here)
The Judiazers had false measurement (v.12)
The Judaizers were good at measuring their ministry by the external activities, which is easy to measure by.
Measuring the external is easier than measuring the internal, the transformation of someone on the inside
The legalist can measure by his actions, what he does, or does not do.
The Lord is the true measure, He knows the internal growth of someone, He sees the believers heart.
The external can be lumped together but Paul is saying that is the wrong measure, he was not within their type of measure. Paul wants man to measure themselves by Jesus Christ
Paul asks questions regarding true measurement (vv.13-18; Eph4:12-16)
Before we get to Paul’s questions about measuring, look at Paul’s heart and direction about measuring spoken to the Ephesians.
Ephesians 4:12–13 NASB95
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:14–15 NASB95
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
Ephesians 4:16 NASB95
16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
The measure given is the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (v.13) and he says what that looks like in the verses to follow, and gives the why too.
So here are some questions we can derive from the passage (vv.13-18). Consider these, ask yourself these questions
Measurement questions:
Am I where God wants me to be (vv.13-14)?
God has appointed each persons a measure of faith, a measure of ministry to be used in the assigned field. For Paul it was taking the gospel to the Gentiles (Act9:15, 22:22)
Paul does point out, maybe with a little sarcasm that his measure included them, the Corinthians, he came to them with the gospel and they responded to it.
God is not going to measure me, measure us by what some other church or some other preacher does, we are going to be held accountable to the measure and the sphere (field) given. A servant (minister) needs to be faithful as noted (1Cor4:2)
Is God glorified by my ministry (vv.15-17)?
Oh another like jibe at the accusers, the Judiazers here. They built on and took from some others work. That was true even in Jesus day (see Mt23:15)
Paul did not boast of another man’s work, or steal from another man’s work, or even invade another man’s area. Paul was going to boast only of the Lord and the work the Lord was doing. God deserves all the glory
Let me put (v.17) back up for just a second
2 Corinthians 10:17 NASB95
17 But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord.
That is a quote that comes from Jer9:24; and Paul used that quote previously in 1COr1:31, but how about I put the whole quote up?
Jeremiah 9:24 NASB95
24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
Is the Lord glorified, pleased, delighted in the ministry (service) I do?
The true test is not in the number of members in the directory, it is the final test one day when we stand before the Lord at the judgment seat and we are given the praise of God for the measure of faith, measure of service we did for Him.
(Transition) our final point tonight:
Can the Lord commend my work (v.18)?
Warren Wiersbe says this.
“We can commend ourselves or be commended by others, and still not deserve the commendation of God.”
So how does God approve our work? He does it by testing it. Are we faithful to the measure given in the sphere given?
Current testing we may see
Our faith (Jm1:2-4)
Our heart (Pro17:3)
and even by fiery trials (1Pt4:12-19)
Future testing
Judgment seat ((1Cor3:10ff)
There are other testing we may face.
False doctrine
Prideful, self-serving leaders (bosses)
Rigidity (no willingness to grow or to change)
In reality testing can help us grow and we can become stronger and purer when we strive together with the measure and in the sphere that God has given us.
2 Corinthians 10:17 NKJV
17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
May we be a people that by word and deed boast, glory in the Lord!
(Prayer) (Exit)
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