2 Corinthians 10
Ivy Rose Choiniere
Ivy Rose Choiniere
First things first this morning, we continue to be a growing church! Some of that is from new folks joining us, and some is from you people being fruitful and multiplying. I am so excited about doing this Baby dedication this morning! This little lady is Ivy Rose, she is Eli and Tori’s first baby, and Tori actually told be she was expecting Miss Ivy while I was baptizing her this past summer. So if you saw my shocked expression, or I suddenly looked dumber than normal, now you know why. Now even though life starts at conception, we don’t count that baptism for Miss Ivy, because it was not by her choice, nor was she able to make a profession of faith on that day.
Although so much has changed since then for Ivy, we don’t believe that even now is she ready for baptism, see the Bible instructs us to believe and be baptised. So that requires coming to an age where you can decide for yourself whom you will serve.
So what we are doing this morning is a baby dedication. Eli and Tori have decided who they will serve, their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. They also understand that Ivy was a gift from the Lord, and by coming up in front of us all today are dedicating her back to the Lord, and promising to raise her up according to the Word of God, demonstrating their love for Him by following Him and modeling that for Ivy. Church, the reason they are doing it in front of us, is not for show, or to brag that they’ve got a cute new baby girl, but it is for accountability.
It’s our role to come alongside of them. Reminding them of this day and supporting them, and assisting them as they follow through raising their family in a Godly home. Pray with me church.
2 Corinthians 10
2 Corinthians 10
Good morning church, this morning we start another new section to this letter to the Corinthian church from Paul. We are in 2 Corinthians chapter 10. Chapters 1-7 were basically gratitude and the comfort of God, chapters 8&( concerned the collection and fulfillment of the gift offering Paul was gathering for the struggling church in Jerusalem. And now in chapters 10-13 is another major shift. These final chapters are harsh and are basically the vindication of Paul’s Apostolic authority and ministry.. That he really was what he said he was, and was a sincere servant of the Lord.
The change is so drastic that most Biblical expositors and scholars seem to require an explanation for the change. Some say that Paul didn’t write this letter all in one sitting, just as we haven’t tried to read it all in one church service. That explanation is simply Paul had a really bad night between chapters 9 and 10 and it was reflected in his writing. Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit, so I’m personally not buying that one.
The most popular explanation is that the harsh, sorrowful letter that Paul wrote in between 1 and second Corinthians that we know to be lost, is actually here in the last 3 chapters of this letter. Variations of that include that the beginning of the missing letter may have just been lost, along with the ending of this letter, and some scribe just combined the two of them together. This idea of the last three chapters being that missing letter or part of it at least are surprisingly popular in several Bible commentaries. As good Bible students, I would caution you against just blindly accepting that explanation as well.
As just a simple guy that reads his Bible, I’ll explain my problem with that. I don’t see any indication in my Bible of a visit of Titus to the church in Corinth before the mention back in Chapter 7 2 Cor 7:6-7
6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.
And then in chapter 8 that we read last week it says, 2 Cor 8:23
23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
When we get to chapter 12 and it won’t be today, we read 2 Cor 12:18
18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?
So, whatever the scholars want to theorize, I don’t see how Titus could have gone and not taken advantage of them in a letter that was written prior to this letter.
So, I believe that it belongs here as part of this letter and really as a dramatic finish. Paul has been addressing this issue of false teachers and false apostles coming in and trying to lead the people unto themselves, and away from Paul. It would be similar to a false teacher coming into this church like the Bible talks about the wheat and the tares. That as the good wheat grows there can be look alikes among them. So if one of our Elders were to try to gather a group within the church or to gather up followers after him to take out of this church and start a new work.
Things like that can happen in small groups or gatherings if someone is undermining the ministry here, or bashing the ministry. Saying things like, oh what we get in church is OK, its true and all, but if you want to get into the deep things of the Lord, or the mysteries of the Scriptures, then come study under me.
All kinds of crazy things like that were happening in the church in Corinth and I think these last three chapters are Paul addressing that, and more specifically the bad apples among them, his dis-tractors, so that he wouldn’t have to correct the whole church. Paul begins with...
1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you.
Paul was not just bold in letters, like an internet blogger from his parents basement, or people that send me messages through fake email accounts or social media. Yo, Bible students might remember an occasion from the life of Paul when he went to Cyprus, we have it recorded for us in Acts 13, starting in verse 6 we read, Acts 13:6-9
6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
I’m sure this was kind of intense, especially if you consider the descriptions we read of Paul,
10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.
A Physical Description of Paul
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 June 2011 Less well known to most students of early Christianity than the literary evidence are the artistic representations of Paul, but the curious literary portrait of Paul in the Acts of Paul and Thecla, which in some respects agrees with early Christian paintings, is well known. There, Onesiphorus sees Paul as “a man small of stature, with a bald head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting and nose somewhat hooked, ...”
From Christianity Today 1995 article, Bald, Blind, and Single we have a paraphrase of that description in answer to the question...
1. What Did Paul Look Like?
1. What Did Paul Look Like?
He was a bald-headed, bowlegged short man with a big nose, and an unbroken eyebrow that lay across his forehead like a dead caterpillar.
2 Cor 10:8
8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed—
Vs. 8 Which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction: Paul recognizes that Jesus grants authority in the church for one reason. He does it to build the body of believers up (edification), not to tear it down (destruction).
i. This is true of every level of authority God has granted. In the church, in the home, in the workplace, and in government, God has established levels of authority and submission. He did this to build up, not to destroy.
9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”
We are so carnal in our preferences for speakers, in general, I think today, well…not you guys, you’re here after all... But in general... we want entertainment, we want dynamic, powerful. Do you know that the taller of the presidential candidates throughout history in America has won the popular vote 2/3’s of the time! So ladies, maybe start voting for players in the WNBA during the primaries?
Way back in Paul’s time there were divisions, remember there were those that favored Apollos over Paul. Apollos is described as being eloquent, mighty in the Scriptures, fervent in the Spirit, yet we also read that he didn’t know as much as Paul, in fact he didn’t know as much as Priscilla and Aquila. Speaking of Apollos we read in Acts 18:26
26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Knowledge didn’t matter to these folks, or even accuracy, style in oration, presence, charisma. And that is more than just a lack of maturity, it’s looking at things according to the flesh, walking in the flesh. But Paul continues in verse 11, 2 Cor 10:11
11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.
Those of you that are whining about me being tough from a distance, but meek and mild in your presence, be careful of what you’re asking for, because I’m happy to oblige. You may be able to imagine Paul taking a moment here to again look intently as he considered what that may look like. Would he have to once again call down blindness, or worse? But he goes on with a warning…2 Cor 10:12
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Sounds like a tongue twister, it’s really not, here it is in the New Living Translation…2 Cor 10:12
12 Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
You know what it reminds me of? The Oscars, the awards given out to Actors and actresses, and those in the film industry. The awards are awarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences…do you know who that is? It’s them! Actors and actresses, and those in the film industry! It would be like if we had an annual awards ceremony here at OTCF, and Pastor Jim and I, or the church board say, were on the panel to award the Assistant Pastor of the Year award. Oh, wow! Pastor Jim Braley, come on up!
It’s actually worse that that by far, for when we are only comparing ourselves by ourselves number one, we put ourselves in the role of God in deciding what the standard is, and number two, we set the bar far too low. He says be holy, for I am holy, we can’t be the standard that we compare others to and they can’t be the standard that compare ourselves to. I think the grossest place for that is in ministry. Not just comparisons among other churches, but pastors and leaders that elevate themselves above those they are serving, because they might know a little more. They need to realize that there are always bowlegged brothers like Paul that know far more than they do. And even if you happen to be at the top of the pig pile, God decides the standard and He has given it to us in this Holy Book!
13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.
Stay in your lane of authority!
“It is base, abominable, and deeply sinful, for a man to thrust himself into other men’s labours, and by sowing doubtful disputations among a Christian people, distract and divide them, that he may get a party to himself… This is an evil that has prevailed much in all ages of the Church; there is at present much of it in the Christian world, and Christianity is disgraced by it.” (Adam Clarke) theologian
17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
In verse 17 Paul quotes from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah I just want to look at that quickly and we’ll close with that…Jeremiah 9:23-24
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
The Corinthian Christians were the types to glory in wisdom, in might, and in riches, instead of glorying in the LORD. Lets learn from the lesson to the Corinthian church here gang, and seek the approval of the Lord and not of others. Grace and peace.