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January 31, 2021 6:00 pm
This is a boasting of which the apostle Paul speaks begins in chapter 10, and continues on into Chapter 11 where we are sojourning this morning.
Paul clearly considers such boasting to be unwelcome and distasteful. But he was forced to do so by particular circumstances, for there were false teachers who closely followed Paul's travels in ministry, and wherever Paul successfully planted a new church. These false teachers quickly set up shop in the same location and worked diligently to draw disciples away from Paul and from Christ, and unto themselves the court.
They seem to have been moderately successful in this endeavor. They apparently exploited the vacuum of leadership.
After Paul's departure.
I have often wondered where were the elders of the Corinthian church is no reference to them. Interestingly, first and second Corinthians, constitute two of our longest epistles only behind Romans and in these long epistles that are very personal and deal with many church matters. There is no mention of the elders. I think it is certain that there were elders, but I think it is also likely that they were not very strong not functioning very well not capable for whatever reason of discerning the dangers and fortifying the church in the way they needed to be helped. That's what required Paul's continual attention to this church. So Paul wrote to rescue the Corinthian Christians from deception by the false teachers and in our passage today versus 16 through 33 I have for divisions number one, Paul justifies his boasting versus 16 through 18, number two, Paul expresses his concerns in verses 19 through 21. Third, Paul enumerates his credentials in verses 22 through 31, and finally, Paul adds another episode in verses 32 and 33 Paul justifies his boasting in verses 16 through 18, and there are three concepts of Paul wants to get across here first.
He says my boasting is not normal. Secondly, my boasting is not Christlike. Third, my boasting is necessary. My boasting is not normal for 16 I say again, let no one think me a fool if otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, but I also might be most a little.
What in the world is a say leasing. I hope you don't think that I am a fool because I am boasting in this way, but if you do, even if you do at least give me Eric, your listing to these other guys in their boasting so at least be willing to do the same for me as I take up my boasting in response to their boasting my boasting is not normal, it is not my normal procedure. It is not what I generally do I avoid it as much as I possibly can. But in this case there's a purpose for it and so please give me a hearing as I boasted the way that I would prefer not to do my boasting is not normal but number to my post.
Boasting is not Christlike and that's interesting in verse 17.
What I speak I speak not according to the Lord.
But as it were, foolishly, and is confident boasting Paul Mack mentions what he knows they may have not noted until he drew their attention to it, but namely you won't find anything similar to this in the record of Christ life and ministry upon earth. You won't find Paul boasting in the way the Paul is now boasting Christ Jesus did not do this, but there's an implication that Paul does not spell out here and I think it is this that Jesus didn't do it because he didn't face the same situation.
The only reason the Paul was forced to do something that Christ didn't do was because he was facing a situation the Christ did not face in that situation.
Put them in a corner where he felt it necessary to do this when he says that this is not something the Christ that he's not saying that this is something which is antithetical to Christ likeness is not saying I'm sitting in doing this. I'm not doing something that is dishonoring to the Lord, but he saying I'm doing something that Jesus frankly didn't do because and remember what's going on here is that Paul's critics are boasting of their accomplishments there listing all of their accomplishments and their doing so for the purpose of displacing Paul and his leadership and his authority in his apostleship, displacing Paul out of their lives and replacing him with the false teacher. They were listing the accomplishments for the purpose of replacing him but of course we don't find anyone in the gospel accounts listing their accomplishments for the purpose of replacing Jesus Christ.
Christ suffered a lot of things a lot of lot of scored a lot of rebuke a lot of opposition a lot of innuendo and false accusations but nobody said no my list of accomplishments. My list of endeavors. My credentials are greater than yours and put me in a position to to exceed you and your claim to being the Christ. Nobody did that. But these false teachers were doing the very that very activity in order to replace Paul and evidently to claim that they were apostles who were greater than Paul and his credentials were more impressive than Paul's more genuine than Paul's, so Jesus Christ did not do this but he didn't face this exact situation and though such behavior of listing your accomplishments is foolish and displays fleshly confidence.
Nevertheless, there are times when it is absolutely appropriate. In fact, is absolutely essential. As Paul goes on to say in verse 18. Seeing that many boast according to the flesh. I will also boast reminded of that proverb. Proverbs 24 verses four and five you're aware of it.
It's one of those pleasantly back-to-back Proverbs which seem to for the one to cancel out the other.
But when you understand what it's saying it's very important.
Proverbs 26, four do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Verse five. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes, which is it, don't answer a fool according to his folly or do answer a fool according to his folly depends on the situation of the need most of the time it's better to ignore fools and their foolish statements in their boasting, but there are times where it's appropriate to, as it were. Fight fire with fire and to speak to a fool. It is according to his folly in a way similar to his folly, because that's the only way to get the point across.
And that's exactly what Paul is doing now is only saying the false teachers are employing fleshly boasting and as he said elsewhere. You are listening to them favorably had been deceived by them. Therefore, I find it necessary to join their folly in this kind of boasting in order to rescue you from their deception.
It seems to be the only approach that you're paying attention to at the moment. You seem to have ignored the truth of God's word. So let's lay down their list against my list and let's go at Duke this thing out, but don't forget what boasting is boasting is listing human qualifications and accomplishments for the purpose of gaining honor and influence that the false teachers were doing. That's what Paul is now doing to regain his God-given influence and authority with these people he saying I'm going to I'm going to go right up to the mat with them. I'm going to match them boast for boast credential for credential accomplishment for accomplishment. Let's do it.
So even though boasting for the most part is not appropriate for God's children and should only be employed in extreme circumstances, and for God honoring purposes. Nevertheless, there are times when it needs to be employed for this is the key for God honoring purposes for stages of course were doing it for self-aggrandizement and for sinful purposes.
But Paul was employing the same technique for God honoring purpose. Thus we have Paul justifying his boasting the secondly verses 19 to 21 we find Paul expressing his concerns and his concerns are the following number one. The Corinthians were favorably impressed by carnal boasters verse 19, number two. The Corinthians were deceived by abusive charlatans in verse 20 and number three. The Corinthians were rejecting the true messenger of God.
Verse 21 so the Corinthians were favorably impressed by carnal boasters that's a concern of Paul's and he expresses that in verse 19 for you put up with fools gladly put up with fools gladly since you yourselves are wise. You'll notice that little dig. They thought they were wise. I put in my notes in parentheses sarcasm alert sarcasm alert. This is sarcastic. This is what Paul is doing you put up with fools gladly since you yourselves are wise in what he saying is this behavior views yours shows that though you think you are wise you are actually bullish.
They were so wise that they honored fools. Now you're really wise, aren't you, you think you are wise you you think you have understanding you think you have achieved a high level of spiritual maturity. No evidently not, because if that were true, you been listening to fools like this. Your reception of these false teachers and their carnal boasting is evidence that you're not wise either. If you are wise you wouldn't do that.
So Paul is concerned because the Corinthians were favorably impressed by carnal boasters and Paul is concerned because the fate the Corinthians were deceived by abusive charlatans.
They were impressed by displays of carnal dominion verse 20 carnal domination for you put up with it. If one brings you into bondage. If one devours from you.
If one takes from you, what exalts himself. If one strikes you on the face not as we look at this list of activities that Paul is ascribing to these false teachers. We are amazed you put up with it.
If someone brings you into bondage if they devour you and take from you.
Put those two phrases together is talking about taking advantage of you financially put up with that one exalts himself. NIV says puts on heirs. If one strikes you in the face. You say Shirley that must be figuratively speaking, not literally know it's probably literal wasn't that uncommon in the day can find several examples of that in the Bible. Remember when Paul was before the Sanhedrin next chapter 23 and I forget the statement he made.
He may have rebuked them for four judging him by the law.
Though they were judging him contrary to the law and Ananias the high priest commanded the man next to Paul to smack him across the mouth, striking him in the face of the kind of behavior that was pretty common in the days of his probably means that literally these false teachers had gained a place of authority and honor in the church that they never should have had it never should've been yielded to them and they were acting like abusive, domineering dictators, and even going so far as to smacking people across the mouth and he says you're taking all this your impressed by the displays displays of caramel, carnal domination, we would say will that that may been going on in the first century.
But surely nobody would allow that kind of activity today. Well not so sure you can see the same kind of submission to this kind of abuse in many of the cults today and even in legalistic churches where there is more emphasis upon a list of of five do's and don'ts that are beyond what Scripture says and that becomes more important even than the Bible itself becomes very domineering and very abusive and very very much a bondage situation, people are held into emotional bondage did not free in the liberty that we have in Christ Jesus, and even sometimes go so far as to being abused physically. That's why we had to have things like Jonestown, a number of years ago. And those people follow that leader down there blindly intact and took the poison that he offered them. They all committed suicide together say what kind of idiot would do that. Probably more idiots than we would like to think amazingly that the width within this Adamic flesh of ours is on the one hand, and insistence, we will be free. We will not submit to authority. We will we will be our own person and I will turn right around and the same sinful heart will slip into a position of submissiveness to ungodly domination. So Paul is concerned is concerned that they were favorably impressed by carnal boasters of these concerned they were deceived by abusive charlatans. He has reason to be concerned.
Doesn't realize what's going on here and is concerned that the Corinthians were rejecting a true messenger of God. Verse 21, to our shame I say. That way, speaking of himself, of course, we were too weak for that. We were to wait. He had been accused by the false teachers of bingo, a weak leader not strong enough. Yes, he says we were to wait for that kind of activity.
We were too weak to act that way. Thank God for that.
We were too weak for that. But in whatever anyone is bold. I speak foolishly, I ambled also. In other words, I'm able to be bold when it's proper, and God honoring and necessary, but not of this kind of sinful abusive boldness seems to impress you. You see people acting this way, you say, oh, what a great leader. What a great leader.
This person is look how strong they are looked decisive they are. Look how forceful they are and you consider yourselves wise surprised bold as does come right out and say you are a bunch of idiots to take this yes is Paul. I'm too weak to abuse you. I put put it in parentheses again to my notes, another sarcasm alert speaking sarcastically again what he saying is I'm too Christlike to behave in such a manner, but make no mistake about it, I am able to exercise appropriate boldness when nudity needed, but only when necessary for your welfare, your well-being, your spiritual health. Your progress in Christ and it's far better if you're response to the word of God makes that entirely unnecessary. I don't intend to be bold and to exercise strong authority. Except when it's absolutely necessary. You think that's a mark of godliness.
I know that that's a mark of carnality. In most cases, and what we learn from this is that godly strength which all Christians ought to have.
And certainly all spiritual leaders ought to have godly strength must be carefully controlled and should not be exercised often but we must not be unwilling or unable to exercise it when needed.
That's what Paul is saying here you've accused me of being weak. Yes, thank God I am too weak to act like this, but you can be certain he's already said this before, this is just reiterating you can be certain that I'm strong enough and I'm bold enough to confront those who are deceiving you and to confront those in your church, you are sinning and to carry out whatever is necessary to deal with such situations, but oh how much better if you're response to Christ and to his word would make that unnecessary. It's a good lesson for parents sometimes parents have a hard time finding the right biblical balance. Some are too harsh, not tender and loving and considerate enough and that's not good.
Others are frankly too weak. All they can do is just offer a soft approach, no matter what the offense, no matter what the need no matter what's appropriate. May God give us his parents wisdom to know what is needed at the right time with our children how to be tender when that's appropriate and it should be.
Most of the time, but how to be bold in the language of Paul how to be strong out to be authoritative when that's needed because that is needed at times and your children will suffer if you don't exercise that when it is needed but oh how much better it is. That is not needed, how wonderful it would be for never needed. That's the ideal.
That's what Paul is saying regard to the Corinthian congregation. But the same principle is true for parents. It's too true to. I suppose a lesser extent to teachers, it's true for pastors and spiritual leaders. The meekness of Christ should be the prevailing position, but strength and boldness. When that's needed in order to maintain godly order in the church when it's being threatened in some way. So Paul expresses his concern number three, Paul enumerates his credentials in this is this section where he goes through all of these things that I kind of broken down. Though there is some overlapping Paul enumerates his credentials.
First of all his good Jewish credentials.
Secondly, his ministry credentials credentials and thirdly what I called a shepherding credentials in his ministry. She is so Jewish credentials convert first verse 22. Are they he Bruce or Mike are the Israelites all my are they the seed of Abraham saw my know this is helpful because this really, I think, gives us more insight into who these false teachers were than probably anything else in the whole book just that one verse tells us something about them where they they were Jews. Clearly Paul is responding to that they were boasting in their Jewish credentials and were apparently saying Paul doesn't have the same strong Jewish credentials that we know we are Jews born in Jerusalem and raised up in Jerusalem. We are papers of the Hebrews.
We are Israelites of the highest degree. The seed of Abraham, and Paul is a Jew parses the dispersion among the Gentiles and he doesn't have the same credentials we do know it might be thought strange that such strong Jewish credentials would be considered important Gentile church but these Gentiles recognized that the gospel would come to them by way of the Jews. They recognize that their Savior was a Jewish Messiah. They recognize that those who first preach the gospel to them.
Would you they recognize that the apostles of Christ. Roger Apollo was a Jew of the highest credentials as he's going to make clear here.
He says something similar to the Philippians when he says I became a ghost or a list of his Jewish credentials there, and yet he says for the cause of Christ. I count all those things is loss.
I can't count the they really don't matter, they're not important or not impressive.
Doesn't matter anymore. In Christ there is no Jew and Gentile. There is no bond slave and free, there is no the rich and poor. All of these distinctions are erased in Christ. But here were these false teachers elevating the very distinctions the Christ was racing and they were saying that we have greater credentials to be authoritative leaders in this church than Paul does, because our team through sweetheart Israelites, we are the seed of Abraham to claim to be.
Hebrews apparently is a reference to language. We are Semitic, not Hellenistic. We are we are Hebrews who speak Hebrew not like those Jews out of the dispersion that whose first language is Greek. They may learn to speak right it is. It's not a sin to God so they could read Hebrew Scriptures. But that's our first language and policy, you're wrong.
Yes, I was born and toss it parses. But guess what, in my home. We spoke, probably Aramaic, a derivation from Hebrew. We spoke Hebrew. We were Hebrew Hebrews and furthermore, when I was very parents that make the Jerusalem so that I could train in the school of Gamaliel, the highest credentialed teacher in Jewish society living at that time in one of the half a dozen. Most most important Jewish teachers in all history and you Big be more Hebrew than that are the Hebrews saw my are they Israelites that probably is referring more to the nation national connections will I am to. I had to say. National Heritage are they the seed of Abraham are the inheritors of the Abraham a covenant I am to they don't have anything over me on that I can match them .4 point are they Hebrews yes so much are they Israelites yes so my are they of the seed of Abraham. Yes, so my but as I say this really begins to reveal to us who these false teachers work, they are what week we've come to call Judaizers there the same bunch we find in Galatians and that seems to pop up in other places. Paul often makes reference to these false teachers that are in the various churches. The various towns were established churches but he doesn't usually clarify exactly what their nature was who they were, what they're teaching, but this tells us now. We can be almost 99% certain we know who they were and what they were teaching.
They were Jewish people who said they trusted in Christ. You've got reference to these types of people, but they didn't really understand the gospel and they were out teaching wherever they could find people who claim to believe the Bible they were teaching.
Christ isn't enough, except to be circumcised after the law of Moses, you shall in no wise be safe corrupting the gospel. They didn't make a single convert from a pagan Gentile, because those people didn't have any interest. It ended how one would be saved.
Whether circumcision was necessary or not but they could find a hearing among among Christians. These false teachers have never planted the church anywhere because they didn't have the ability to do that they did have a message that would be blessed of God to do that but they sure did keep a close eye on the apostle Paul and where he planted the church they showed up and they started draining away people from that church and draining resources from that church and they were living off the finances of these people. Paul wouldn't take a penny from them. As we learned earlier and they were glad to take money from them and Paul is just of May that these Corinthian Christians are so gullible, so deceived, so foolish thinking themselves to be wise Paul Jewish credentials.
Secondly, he listened to his ministry credentials. It's interesting in verse 23 he says are they ministers of Christ. I speak as a fool I am more notice the change in language when he said, are they Hebrews he didn't say I am more, he said, so my are they Israelites saw my are they the seed of Abraham, my are the servants of Christ. I am more and in the first time I read that many times and I read that I thought he was single and the better servant of Christ and they are but I think what he saying is they really aren't servants of Christ.
I really am.
I am more a servant of Christ than they are because they aren't they just claim to be.
Then he lists credentials he talks about his work ethic.
He talks about his persecutions. He talks about his deprived nations. Are they ministers of Christ.
I speak as a fool I am more and then this phrase in labors more abundant said let's just just look at their work ethic. Compare with mine, who is the most committed to working for the Lord. They claim to be servants of Christ who puts in the most hours, who works the hardest.
You know in labors more abundant and then a persecutions stripes five times as the Jewish quip they they quip people as a punishment and they did a 39 times because in Deuteronomy 25 three they were told that they couldn't exceed 40 and being meticulous keepers of the law in certain areas. They said will you know if we miscount we might think we reached 40 and might really be 41 so let's just put a limit on 39 to make sure we stay within the law.
Very meticulous with the law.
So five times Paul was beaten like this, whipped like this by the Jews three times with rods that would be the Romans they use rods. The Roman licked Doris and they beat Paul with rods on three occasions he was shipwrecked. He tells us three times and I'm one of those occasions. He spent hours in the ocean before he was rescued and was in constant dangers because of false brethren.
He goes through a whole list of things you don't have time to go. They make a very interesting study, but what is notable is that only a few of these, only three or four of these are recorded in the book of acts in the in the life of the apostle Paul. He mentions here having been stoned once we know where that happened, happened in Lister shipwrecked that even happened yet. We have one shipwrecked record of the Paul that doesn't come until acts chapter 27 that's after this epistle was written. He had been shipwrecked three times by the time this epistle was written. We don't have any record of that we don't have a record of these five lashings by the Jews of the three beatings by the Romans licked Doris and and what's the point of all that will couple things number one there's a whole lot about the possible that we do not know we have no idea what all he went through. It's not all recorded only it's only so much space how long you want the book of acts to be not that it's up to us is only so much space I like John said about all the other miracles that were performed by Christ. He said why they should all be written a book. I don't think so the world could contain all the books would have be written to record all of these mere we get that idea here with Paul. There were so many more shipwrecked. So many more persecutions so many more imprisonments we don't know anything about, but it does tell us that Paul, who according to the record.
We had suffered an awful lot for the cause of Christ suffered really a whole more you have any. His life was more one of suffering and sacrifice and persecution preservation and hardship than we have any idea and he says do you see these guys been willing to suffer for Christ like that. They claim to be ministers of Christ where there beatings where there lashings where there imprisonments where are the things that they have been willing to subject themselves to for their cause.
That gives you shepherding credentials in verses 2231 he said. Beside all this. I have the concern of the churches. Verse 28 that comes upon me daily. My deep concern for all the churches, which by implication seems to be a greater burden than all these others, always other things are bad enough, but I want to tell you what's even a heavier load heavier emotional load heavier spiritual load heavier weight upon the it's my concern for these churches that God has allowed me to establish and I am concerned for every one of them and I II carry a heavy burden whenever I see any of them not developing the way they should not only concern for churches, but a concern for individuals verse 29 who is weak and I'm not weak who was made to stumble and I do not burn with indignation when I know of Christians in these churches who are demonstrating weakness. I felt their weakness when were talking about illness or something else when I become aware of Christians of these churches who are who are filled with shame because they fallen into sin. Something else I I feel the shame as well. I life I burn. Similarly, we don't know what that indignation is exactly he can be admitted indignation toward the tempter, Satan, who dragged these people down into sin that may be indignation toward other seducers who have deceived them, misled them in some way. Then he kinda winds up is shepherding credentials with this confession of weakness verse 30 if I must boast I will boast in the things which concern my infirmities, and he follows that with a strong oath in verse 31 certified by by God himself. So it's interesting now that he's listed his credentials certainly has listed them all. You take a look at them. They look like he's boasting more weaknesses than strengths more defeats than triumphs. More of his sufferings than his accomplishments when his listing his credentials. He didn't say I planted 15 churches. How many do they plan he implied that earlier. I have seen X hundreds of people rescued out of pagan idolatry.
How many of the rescued he doesn't mention that either, though he's employed when it comes on the listing his credentials.
It's not the kind most people would list yet they are credentials, but only the spiritually minded would probably think to list them as so and would appreciate them because only the spiritually minded would understand that these are the true could credentials only a true servant of God would be willing to work this hard.
Only a true servant of God would be willing to suffer this much. Only a true servant of God would be willing to put up with all of this again for the cause of Christ and for the spiritual welfare of man. Nicholas is out. The chapter surprisingly, with one more episode that he hadn't listed earlier and you think will he.
It's almost like it slipped his mind and now he wants to stick it in the end one more one more in Damascus.
Verse 32 the governor under Arita's the King was guarding the city. The city of the Damascus demo scenes with the garrison desiring to arrest me, but I was let down the basket through a window in the wall and escape from his hand. Here's an attempted arrest and city Damascus left Texas clear back to the beginning of his life when he was first saved on the Damascus road and spent his his first months in the city of Damascus. There Damascus who was it that was carrying out this major operation, it was the governor under the authority of the king and they had a garrison of Roman soldiers so big number.
No doubt they were put up to it by the Jews. But you can see this a major operation and it looked like that was insurmountable. And Paul said I got out of that one pitch by friends let me down from the wall enough basket.
Most commentators say with probably a fish basket. I don't know if so that makes it all the worse. He was smelling that fish but anyway Gary has gone down the wall in this basket to escape.
And he did escape successfully and we say why did he stick that when in the end Wendy had something and I don't know that one is probably his first occasion of persecution. That's when the persecuted tour. Saul started to become the persecuted Paul, and it's interesting. One of the things that all seems to keep before him, and always persecutions is I don't resent this and I don't ask God why I deserve this. This is what I was doing to Christians before I was saved I know what they're doing to make because I was doing it myself. I have no complaints. I'm willing that was his first occasion persecution in Damascus that was his first occasion of divine intervention in Damascus were God took him out of a tight situation looked like certain capture probably execution and that was a foretaste of things to come. A pattern of a lifetime of similar events, close calls impossible situations. Divine rescue again and again and again and again and again. Another close call another Divine rescue.
Another possible situation. Another divide rescue sometimes by amazingly ordained circumstances that are human, and yet the coincidences are more think you could probably explain any other way than God's hand at work in some of them a course are absolutely miraculous, like the earthquake that shook the Philippian jailer jail and through the doors open and all of that so buses about you know what they're boasting. I don't have to remind you that here's my list, which looks the most like a man of God, which looks the most like a true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, which looks the most like genuine possible, which is the most spiritually oriented, and God honoring you beginning to see what's wrong with your thinking Corinthian will to just wrap this up with a few thoughts. What we learned in this passage number one.
Be wary of boasters should learn that number to be wary of abusive leadership though.
Don't confuse abuse for godly strength and that's what many people do they seek this abusive behavior. They say that's a strong leader. That's a strong, strong leaders are acting that way except on very rare occasions when all absolutely necessary, and then by the help of grace of God. They rise to the occasion and stop the assault forcefully would necessary but they don't act like that all the time. Come on folks below more deserting. Beware of being misled.
The only way you can keep from being misled is to be committed to Scripture and saturating yourself in it all the time and being fervent prayer before the Lord regularly diligent to acknowledge and confess and root sin out of your own life and mindful of the blindness of pride. It's pride that blinds us to truth. It's pride because the Corinthians to two misled in this way into two diminish the true authority and blessed help. Dick was given to them by Paul is Christ sent Paul to them and to diminish that on the one hand, and to exalt those who had nothing to give them from Christ. Nothing from the word of God nothing to help them and yet somehow they were being misled. It was their pride. Remember, you think yourselves wise all year so you must be puffed up with your thoughts of how wise you are, how knowledgeable you are, how much smarter you are than other people. You idiots if you were so wise he would be this way and we've got to be on constant guard as well. Shall we pray for father, you who created this universe you hold this world and all worlds in your hand, you who control all things and guide them according to your perfect will. The Lord God teach us to know Christ.
The right teach us to know your word right, teach us to know ourselves a right for we are so easily self to see teachers to recognize godliness right not be misled by those who are counterfeit leaders teach us. These things will Lord, we pray in Christ name