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2 Corinthians 11





Paul’s reference to foolishness at the beginning of the chapter is not a reference to ignorance or stupidity.  He is actually referring to an example or illustration he is going to use.  There are a couple of reasons that examples or illustrations could be referred to as foolishness.  One would be that those who think they are spiritually superior to you would reject your example or illustration.  The other reason is that no example or illustration is as perfect as the Biblical principle you are trying to illustrate.  At some point the illustration would undoubtedly break down and seem foolish.

The example that Paul puts before us casts him as the father of the bride, the Corinthian church as the bride, and Jesus as the groom.  Paul is not attempting to take the place of God the Father.  He is simply using an illustration to make a point.  He says as the “father of the bride” that he had a divine jealousy for the church that she remain pure until she is presented to the Groom.  It is important to remember that love does not envy but love can be jealous.  Love can be passionate about exclusivity with and the protection of the one loved.  So, Paul is rightfully jealous for this church.

As Paul continues with his illustration, he refers back to the first marriage and how Satan, the serpent, deceived Eve.  He is rightfully concerned that the Corinthian church will continue to be deceived by the Judaizers and fall away from the true Gospel of grace.

In verse 6, Paul alludes again to the fact that he was unskilled in speaking.  Although Paul was an incredible intellect and a masterful writer, most theologians believed that he was not that good of a public speaker.  There are some that say that he even had some sort of impediment.  Nevertheless, given the opportunity to verbally share the Gospel, Paul didn’t hesitate to speak in public forums. 

In verses 7-11, Paul reminded the Corinthians that he didn’t ask for any financial support from them when he was at Corinth.  Instead he worked as a tent maker and he received support from the Macedonian churches.  The Judaizers and false teachers could not make that claim.  They extorted as much money as they could from the Corinthian church.  Yet even that did not seem to register with the Corinthians.  They were still inclined to follow after those Judaizers.

In verse 13, Paul calls these men false apostles and deceitful workman who disguised themselves or masqueraded as genuine apostles of Christ.  You might think it would be easy to discern between the two but Paul reminds them and us that Satan, at times, disguises himself as an angel of light. 

But he reminds us that their (the Judaizers and false teachers) end will correspond to their deeds.  In other words, they will not enter into heaven but will continue their fall into hell.  This is not something for us to rejoice in.  But we need to be reminded that those who reject the true Gospel of Jesus can have only one eternal destination and it is not the one anyone would want. 

From there Paul concludes this chapter by talking about the suffering and abuse he endured.  There is no way anyone would continue to tolerate such treatment if he is not genuine and sold out to the truth.  The things that happened to Paul would have caused a false teacher or false apostle to walk away.  Instead Paul endured it all.  And on top of that in verse 28, he was constantly carrying the pressure of his concern for all the churches.  His life was one that most would not envy and, indeed, most would avoid at all costs.  But that is evidence of his genuineness.  May we have more people who are willing to suffer for the glorious Gospel.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

2 Corinthians 10





People in the ministry are always targets of attacks, criticisms, and untruths.  That is probably true about everyone who is in a public position.  In fact, the more public the position the more true this is.  But it is particularly true about those in ministry.  Please understand that I am not complaining.  I am simply stating fact.

Paul dealt with the same things.  The Judaizers were responsible for a withering personal attack on Paul.  They were doing all they could to turn the Corinthian Church against Paul.  Actually, there were busy in other churches like the church in Galatia trying to accomplish the same thing.

Although Paul had addressed some of the issues caused by the Judaizers, he really has waited until the last four chapters to correct the situation.  There is a tremendous amount of wisdom in this.  Sometimes when we are attacked or our character is maligned, our tendency is to jump right into the fray, give the attackers what for, and defend ourselves.  What we find here, though, is it may very well be better if we just slowed down, took a deep breath, and waited until a more appropriate time to address the issue.  I think that’s the main reason Paul has waited until the last section of this letter to speak to his detractors. 

Another thing we see in this chapter is that it really is impossible to defend yourself.  Although it seems at times like that is what Paul is trying to do, what he is actually trying to do is defend the ministry and the apostleship that the Lord had given him.  There is another key point here.  Please don’t take this the wrong way but think through this logically with me.  People don’t have to like me.  They can totally disagree with my leadership.  They can be totally opposed to whatever it is that I’m trying to lead the church to do.  But it is important that in the middle of all of that they respect the position I hold.  I am certainly not an apostle.  But I am a pastor.  And for the health of the church that position needs to be held with some respect.  After all, I will not always be the pastor of this church but this church will always have the office of pastor.  Paul’s position of apostle had to be respected because of the ultimate importance that position held in the early church.

So, as the Judaizers were tearing at him and trying to discredit him, Paul was arguing for the reality of his ministry and apostleship.  This can be seen in the last four chapters by the repetition of the word “glory” or “boast”.  He is glorying or boasting in the work and calling of Christ in him.

It is also important that you particularly notice in verse 3 that Paul realized his battle was not with other people, not even Judaizers.  The real enemy is a spiritual enemy – it is Satan and his minions.  As a result, Paul’s main weapon in this battle is the eternal truth of Scripture.  We should gather up our thoughts before we speak them and test them against Scripture.  If those thoughts pass that test, they may be spoken.  If they can’t pass that test, they should be taken captive and not released.

Finally, in verse 7, Paul makes a most interesting statement.  He is basically saying anyone who is a Christ follower at the church of Corinth would know that, he too, is a Christ follower.  It is an interesting concept indeed to think that as Christ followers we have a kindred Spirit with all other Christ followers.  And it shouldn’t take long for those of us who are Christ followers to recognize that someone else is as well.  As the old hymn says, there is a tie that binds our hearts.  And that tie is the Holy Spirit of God. 

We are all in this together.  The Kingdom benefits and the church grows when we live like that.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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