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Paul, the Bold

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 27, 2021 8:00 am

Paul, the Bold

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 27, 2021 8:00 am

As the young church in Corinth grew in size, its membership faced new struggles on the path toward holiness, just as believers and churches do today. The Apostle Paul sent the letter we know as II Corinthians to encourage these believers to grow up in their faith. Dr. Boice illuminates all of Paul’s key points, including God’s comfort in affliction; forgiving people who have hurt us; the blessings of generosity; and why God allows thorns in our lives.

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Welcome to the Bible study, radio and Internet Ministry of finance of convincing evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically. It's a difficult thing to be a leader. I suppose sure to be prominent in any way because the more prominent you are, the more criticism you get one sort or another. That's certainly true of politicians even when they haven't succeeded or criticized by those who are running against them and if they finally succeed in or elected to the office they are seeking there the bottom of constant criticism, until eventually somebody displaces them and they return to a normal way of life's true in the church. True in the family person takes a position of leadership in the family father or mother. Criticism is always there if it comes from nobody else. It comes from the children and it's really great mark of maturity and of blessing on a life to know how to take that criticism and remain firm and serve in a way that continues to glorify God. People react in different ways to criticism that one is to become antagonistic and we see enough of that.

Somebody criticizes me, so I talked him and so many of the unpleasant things that go on as a result of that some people retreat from criticism.

Someone pointed out years ago when newspaper article that I read how common this is the presidents when they first begin their term as president of the United States. They want to be available to the people they enjoy people. They must've enjoyed it, or they wouldn't have run for office because you have to be with people constantly shaking hands eating chicken dinners appearing at one club after the other, giving the same speech over and over again. After like people or be crazy in order to do that and I assume that most of them just like people, but the article went on to say that as the office wears upon them, and as the years go by pattern with presidents to become increasingly remote. They withdraw behind the walls of their office press conferences become less they even take the flying around in their airplanes because well up there up in the air flying somewhere people are getting out them and for a few moments at least a few hours at least. There beyond criticism on either of those ways appropriate responses in here in the 10th chapter of second Corinthians as Paul begins again in this letter to talk about himself in a personal way. We see how one should react to it. This is the third section of the letter you recall from our earlier study that in the first portion of second Corinthians, Paul deals with the number of things the way he does in different letters. He talks about his change of plans in the gospel and the Christian ministry in the sort of things we might expect him to be saying in chapters 8 and nine. He shifts gears and begins to talk about this offering that he was receiving from the Gentile churches is change here is so abrupt that some scholars have said well this is as a portion of the letter that doesn't really belong here because Paul refers in these letters to another letter he had written there was all kinds of speculation about where that real letter is in attempts to break up the second letter in order to provide a portion of it that can be identified as that letter anyway when we get to chapter 10 Paul Stone changes again and talking in chapters 8 and nine about this offering.

Now he changes and is nowhere else in his letter goes on at great length about himself. Matter fact, there is hardly a portion of Paul's extant writings in which he is so personal as he is in these last chapters of this second letter to the Corinthians talks about his ministry talks in great detail about his sufferings. The 12th chapter he talks about the sport of the flesh which is puzzled scholars for a long time and then finally he ends in a very personal word of commitment and reading to these questions but see begins chapter 10 therefore begins his new section of this letter, he is dealing with a kind of criticisms which had come to him from some people that were there in Corinth really a bit of a puzzle to figure out who these people were. I suppose the greatest effort to do that the most effective effort in any of the commentaries that I've read is in the commentary that I mentioned favorably before by Philip Hughes now retired but pressure Westminster theological seminary. He is just analyzed in these letters of various things that Paul says in passing about these men has a number of points to be made about them. Paul never analyzes their approach for their identity in any direct way because of course they were known to the Corinthians neighbor known to him. Didn't require that. But through these incidental references when you put these things together you find out some things about them. They were apparently people who had come in from outside but is it it was a little movement that grew up within the crisp Corinthian church but rather there were people who would come outside, the same way Paul had come originally and it was these people that were stirring up trouble when Paul writes about them. He writes about them in quite a different way and he writes about the Corinthian church itself.

Very hopeful for the church but he is very hard words for these people who were disrupting it and then secondly they apparently came great boasts of authority they came making themselves out to be what we would call super apostles old Paul was an apostle lease claim to be Wotan but we they say have greater revelation have far more authority than he does have to be aware and warned of anybody who acts that way in the church of Jesus Christ. There is a genuine authority gives authority in the church as we believe through a plurality of leadership elders being established in local churches. I think that's a biblical pattern when anybody comes whether it's within the eldership without her claiming to be a prophet or have a special revelation or something like that is something we must always be warned against God speaks through the Scriptures. That's the ultimate authority and there is a need for a plurality of eldership as we analyze this and try to exercise it together but it would people who are operating quite a different way. Also what we would call libertines. This made them very popular in the day they said well you see what matters is what you believe, not what you do and as long as you believe the right things as long as you have the right knowledge as long as you receive the kind of doctrines which we been given and are imparting view. Well, as long as you do that you can pretty much do what you please. Because after all, were not under law or under grace, all face that kind of problem elsewhere, and these people were doing that here were probably also gnostics follows from what I just said because the Gnostics were the people who believe that salvation was by knowledge and not something achieved in any tangible way through the work of Jesus Christ. They also seem to have been money minded because as Paul says in these books, they seemed to be after the Corinthians for what they could get out of them mention those things. Because each one of those traits is visible in people within the church of Christ today people to come with this superior claim to authority people were libertines people are money minded people were Gnostic in their basic theology. These are the people that were there at the point in these early days as they confronted the authority of the apostle Paul was the founder of this church. They did we discover everything in their power to undermine him and they began to criticize it in ways that eventually got back to the apostle Allie said things that we think are hardly worthy of being mentioned. Yet it's those things and hurt things that are dangerously said. First of all, all, he isn't impressive.

Why would he come see us just short little man. Not all like that kind of person you expect to be a leader, we remember that the Greeks glorified human body lay carve these magnificent statues which we still see in our museum statutes that I suppose portrayed the human form and is glorious. Perfectionism has ever been done in Western history, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, they appreciated somebody who looked good, with strong, well proportioned, handsome men had bearing here was Paul this little guy came along. Even his name meant little you know Paulison Latin means little I do know that I was given to them as a nickname or not it's possible, but he certainly lived up to his name. All the little one and they said, why should you pay any attention to him. You say will goodness who would pay attention to that slander like that of man's appearance is what counts is what is inside. And then you look at television in the newspapers and the politicians and the people of importance. Those who get noticed me say that something that's not very far from our culture, is it see what they were saying was the same sort of thing American culture is say they were saying.

Why should you pay attention to anybody who doesn't look like a movie star and they had a hearing and then they said about Paul know he is an even output doesn't mean that Paul did know how to speak obviously did was a preacher.

He had some ability to communicate with people you have to get your thoughts in order To present them with the right words time Jeff illustrates that you have to know your audience. We know that Paul could do that because when we read his letters is perfectly evident that that's the way his mind worked. He had a very keen mind see the Greeks had a certain standard of eloquence that came from a tradition of oratory going way back to the great golden age else to the audience, the silver, set the pattern for that and then along the come the public, lecturers and politicians who won their way by having the right word and the dramatic flair and here was Paul and they looked at Paul and they said can even speak like the poorest of our orators.

Why should anybody pay attention to him and then they said you know when Paul is here he is a weak figure, but when he goes away, and he has an opportunity to write letters. He writes letters in which he sounds so full, but if you only know you know that there is no real man. The backup those bold words. That's what Paul's talking about.

You see is not taking this personally, but he says so I've heard it. I Paul's appeal to you.

I who am in the new international version doesn't rightly quote the word I Paul, who am timid that's what they're saying is that timid when face-to-face with you but merely quoted again bold went away. Yes, this is all about on their speaking goes on to say how it really is with him and demonstrate in the way he responds. How he handled and how we should handle criticism. I just notice these things briefly. First of all Paul begins as we must always begin in the spirit of Jesus Christ, and make any difference whether they praised him or criticized, whether they were harsh or gentle, whether they were extreme or overstating in their case it doesn't matter.

Paul says I'm appealing to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. In other words, he says this I respond to this. I want to respond in the spirit of that one whom it's my privilege to serve meekness and gentleness are interesting, terms, and they certainly characterize Jesus meekness has to do with one stance before man, but it's related to one stance before God, you look to that word in the Scriptures, you find that Moses is described as the meekest man whoever lived.

He was meek, above all the men of his day, says back there in the Old Testament, and yet Moses was the matter was able to march in the presence of the likeliest monarch of his day and thunder out in the name of God Almighty let my people go, and he stood by meekness isn't lying down and doing nothing but maintenance rather is balling solo before God in his service that one in the strength of God is able to stay in high before man is what weaknesses gentleness, gentleness is primarily a characteristic that has to do with the way we handle others see you do the right thing, but do it in a very un-gentle manner.

Jesus though he certainly knew how to be bold and act boldly, even in his meekness was at the same time the most gentle of men. Paul says I want to be like Jesus when Jesus had to Jesus would march into the temple and drive out the money changers because they were sullying the area where worship was to take place. And yet Jesus was a gentle man.

And when people came to him as God was working in their hearts. He could minister to them that kindness which flowed from the fullness of his divine nature.

Paul says you see and whenever I do it and whatever I say. That's the way I want to operate.

I want to be is the Lord Jesus Christ in your midst, and secondly Paul was aware that this battle in which he found himself was not a personal thing and certainly not a temporal thing in the sense that he had to win for his own success in the days that he had for his ministry. Paul is aware that it was a spiritual battle and that if a spiritual battle is to be wanted, must of necessity be won by spiritual methods. That's what he's talking about versus four and five. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ as a powerful military image. Paul is saying, were engaged in warfare and more than that, it's offensive warfare set a goal to be captured their walls to be knocked down their prisoners to be taken Charles Haddon Spurgeon always love that kind of thing and in the sermon that he has on this particular text. He plays with it at the beginning, saying, isn't it interesting that here you have the minister of the gospel engaged in warfare mantelpiece trying to tear down strongholds of an enemy and that he says yes but you see it's not physical encounter. It's a spiritual one. It's not a material battle.

That's a spiritual one. What Paul is doing here is carrying on that great warfare which is the warfare of this great warfare between good and evil is trying to win it in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ with the armaments that he provides the greatest commentary on this passage is that description of the Christian warfare that you find in the last chapter of Ephesians where Paul talks about dye warfare being against the principalities and powers, spiritual warfare, he talks about the Christian armor and he gets in his description about armor to the one offensive weapon that were given and he says says he writes event.

Take the sword which is the sword of the Spirit namely the word of God. That's what Paul has in mind here. See Paul is talking about arguments and pretensions that set itself up against the knowledge of God, you attack arguments.

If you're a Christian, you attack and overcome pretensions to do it by word of God by the logic of the word of God that's found there. You try to make that word is clear as you possibly can. So you see what Paul is saying Paul is saying in this battle and this criticism and this thing, in which I'm engaged by these people from outside were trying to tear down my authority in order that they might tear you down and harm you and take you away from Jesus Christ. I'm not going to reply on the human level tit-for-tat using their arguments against him said no. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual Paul as he does in this letter uses word of God. You do that if you use the word of God in your dealings with other people, even when dealing with those who are your most about enemies find that God has a way of using that blessing. Breaking down those pretensions of the human mind owes strongholds of human arrogance say well I don't need God. I can get on without God. God can't be known. What is God have to do with me and all those things find God uses word to break those barriers down and sometimes even those who are most critical to viewing of the gospel will end up on their knees before God of grace. Paul says that's the way I operate. That's what I done. That's what I continue to do as God blesses beginning in verse six. Going through verse 11. You have Paul saying at some length that another thing he tried to do was be consistent say they were accusing him of inconsistency. They were saying. He says one thing when a series is another thing when he's away. Paul says no, that's not the case by gentle with you, it's because I care about you. I'm trying to imitate Christ. And if I'm with you in my language or my actions which I will be when I comment this is not repented of its for the same reason because I care for you and because I want to imitate Jesus Christ. Now he says there's no inconsistency when we are engaged in the Lord's work in one criticisms, we need to search our hearts in this area and say are those criticisms throw my being inconsistent what I say or do. And if that's the case then copy the apostle Paul in that area.

The verses that follow that Paul talks about his own task and there's another principle here Paul says that he is willing to concentrate on the work God has given him say verse 13. We however will not boast beyond proper limits but will confine our boasting to the field. God has assigned us in field that reaches even the you know what he's talking about.

There is the Lord's call to him to be a pioneer missionary Paul says that he had made it his boasts not to plan or plow were somebody else had been before him if there was another missionary who had gone to a particular area.

Paul would rejoice in what that person did not any go on somewhere else.

He said God gave me the task of being a pioneer missionary, so if I came to an area where the gospel it already been preached. I would pass beyond that to an area that had it not been preached in in their I would extend my ministry. My goal is to cover the whole Gentile world.

I went as far as those of you who were at Corinth and blesses and perhaps through your prosperity and giving to the work I'll be able to go on even beyond Corinth. We know that Paul had in mind. Getting eventually to Rome and beyond Rome to Spain which perhaps the actually did, but wasn't against other people, building on his foundation or people building on another foundation are people reaping where somebody else and so that's quite alright, but you see if that's the task God had given them. It's all right.

What Paul is saying is that she was most content to do what God given them to do. I wonder if we are no God can give us a great work to do and we can really be effective in that know it's yet because of the way the human heart works. We look at somebody else is doing something else and we say, but I wish I could be like that.

I wish I could do that.

I wish I had the talent that person has. I wish I had the opportunity, that person has. I wish I had the success that that person has great evidence of the grace of God in the life of a Christian when a Christian does what God has given them to do and finds himself or herself content and that kind of work. Paul was God richly bless them and continues to bless and do our own hearts and minds the final principal.

The fifth one comes at the very end of this chapter is Paul says look you're going to boast, make sure that your boasting is in the Lord doesn't say so, but he must've had his critics at Corinth and he was. He said that because they were boasting our boasting of their authority.

There were boasting of their accomplishments and they were boasting above all that they were more impressive and more eloquent than Paul well more impressive. Perhaps more eloquent perhaps, but not more effective than the service of God and the contrary, they were tearing down the very thing the God through Paul was building up. Paul says this look if you're going to boast stone boast that you're better than someone else. Don't boast that you're more eloquent or better looking your brother or your sister let your boasting be in God because everything you have comes from God given talents from him and human ability is from him at their successes from him. So when you boast there is a proper boasting that your boast in God and say all is in it wonderful what God is done is exciting what God is doing, because when you take that stand, and when you make that boast, then God himself is pleased and he works through you effectively in the lives of other people. I think that story of our Lord's about the service were given talents and who were commended or disproved by her master when he returned one entirely discredited, cast out the others approved by God as God said to them, well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord's in the final analysis, it's not what other people say about us, though it may be true, and if it is true, then we should learn from it. But what really matters in the final analysis is what God thinks of us. That should be our constant daily, hourly and momentary concern, old Lord Jesus Christ my doing here what is really pleasing you are in my trying to please myself, or am I reacting to what other people of said RMI coveting the blessing that you given someone else or God. I really want to please you and I want to come before you one day in here. Those words spoken to the profitable servant well done, well done. Give me grace to do that, we pray. That way God will give us grace and we will be properly bold and gentle and meek at the same time and God will bless our efforts. Let us pray father. These practical words so are often things that seem less appealing docs then more theological or abstract passages.

Father, they are where the Christian life is that we would ask for grace to learn and assimilate and apply what Paul so clearly taught and illustrated by his own example. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who was both his Savior and his you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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