2 Corinthians 10
The Lord has given us mighty weapons for our spiritual warfare
1 Now I, Paul, myself, urge you by the meekness/humility and gentleness of Christ, I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold when absent! 2 I ask that when I am present I not need to be bold with the confidence with which I plan to be bold against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.
- Verse 10 shows these words of Paul were in answer to a criticism that he was weak when with them but bold when writing to them and that he was not an eloquent public speaker
- They were saying that Paul was out of fellowship and living in his old fleshly nature.
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 fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 and having a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
- Our life flows out from our thoughts.
- Prayer is the most advanced weapons system on the planet.
- God has placed something in the hands of His people that can accomplish the unimaginable without firing a shot.
- In 1984 a group called Open Door began a 7 year prayer campaign with the specific goal of religious freedom and Bibles for all.
- In 1990-1991 the iron curtain of Russia (whose goal was to wipe all religion from the face of the earth) unexpectedly came down without a shot being fired.
- John 14:14 If you ask any thing in my name I will do it.
The Lord gives authority for building up
7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If any man trusts himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so, we are Christ’s. 8 For though I boast more of our authority, which the Lord has given us for building up, and not for your destruction, I will not be put to shame: 9 so that I might not seem to terrify you by letters. 10 For they say, his letters are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
- Oratory skill was highly prized in Paul’s day. But Paul wanted all the power to be from God and all the glory to go to God.
- God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7)
- 1Corinthians 2:4, 5 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith would not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
11 Let this same one think that, as we are in word by letters when we are absent, that’s how we will be when we are present. 12 For we do not dare rank or compare ourselves with those that commend themselves: but they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast beyond measure, but according to the measure of the rule that God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even you.
- The Lord is the standard and we do not measure up except by what He has provided for us—Himself.
- Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
- Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
The Lord alone is worthy of our praise and boasting
14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you: for we were the first to come as far as you in the good news of Christ. 15 Not boasting beyond measure in the labor of others; but having hope, when your faith is increased that we will be enlarged even more by you, 16 to preach the good news in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished by another. 17 But he that glories/boasts, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For it is not he that commends himself that is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
- God made all things. He made us in His image. He gave life and breath to all. He sent His Son to die for our sins because His love is so great!
- Man’s opinions do not matter. What God thinks is what matters. God commends faith.
- Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned himself around, and said to the people that followed him, I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
- Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
2 Corinthians 11
1 I wish that you would bear with me a little in my foolishness: and you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have joined you to one husband so that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, your minds would be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
- Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
- Jeremiah31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you.
- Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye/focus is single, your whole body will be full of light.
4 For if one comes preaching another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you bear with him beautifully. 5 For I judge that I am in no way inferior to the highest apostles. 6 But even if I am unskilled in speech, but not in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things. 7 Did I commit an offence in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to serve you. 9 And when I was present with you, and lacked, I was not a burden to any man: for what was lacking to me the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so will I keep myself.10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows.
- 1John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
The Lord rewards evil according to its works
12 But what I am doing I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire opportunity; that in what they boast, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And do not marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also are transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end will be according to their works.
- Proverbs. 1:31 Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
16 I say again, Let no man think me foolish; but if you do, receive me as foolish, that I may boast a little myself. 17 What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as foolishness in this confidence of boasting. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also. 19 For you, being wise, gladly tolerate fools.
- In verse 18 Pail said many were boasting according to the flesh. He’s about show them that they aren’t as great as they think they are.
20 For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, if anyone devours you, if anyone takes advantage of you, if a man exalts himself, if anyone strikes you on the face. 21 To my shame, I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever anyone dares—(I say it in foolishness)— I also dare. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I am insane) I am more; I excel in labors more abundantly, beaten times without number, in far more imprisonments, in deaths often. 24 Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes minus one. 25 I was beaten with rods three times. I was stoned once. Three times I suffered shipwreck; I have spent a night and a day in the deep sea; 26 in frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from the heathen, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers in the sea, dangers from false brothers; 27 in pain and injury, in sleeplessness, in hunger and thirst, often in fastings, in cold and nakedness. 28 Apart from external things there is daily pressure on me, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I do not burn? 30 If I need to boast, I will boast of the things that concern my infirmities.
God knows our labors and troubles
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore, knows that do not lie. 32 In Damascus, the governor under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, wanting to capture me: 33 and I was let down in a basket through a window by the wall, and escaped his hands.
- Seven times in Revelation 2, 3 the Lord says, I know your labor, patience etc. He knows!
- Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you, neither forsake you: do not fear or be dismayed.
2 Corinthians 12
1 Indeed to boast is not profitable to me: for I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ over fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I do not know; or out of the body, I do not know: God knows;) such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I do not know: God knows;) 4 that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, too astounding to be expressed.
- In His word God speaks of three heavens. 1) The atmosphere above the earth where the birds fly. 2) The universe of stars and celestial bodies. 3) The ‘heaven above the heavens’ which is the throne and home of God).
- Verse 2 and 4 link paradise ‘where Adam and Eve fell’ now with the third heaven, the dwelling place of God.
- It used to be in the heart of the earth across the great gulf from the lake of fire (Luke 16:23, Ezekiel 31:16).
- At Christ’s victorious ascension, paradise and the residents of paradise went with Him into heaven.
- Sin was cleansed and sinners could be in God’s presence.
- Revelation 2:7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
- Psalm 68:18 You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive: you have received gifts for men; yes, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
5 On behalf of such a one I will boast: but I will not boast about myself, except in my weaknesses. 6 For though I desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I speak the truth: but now I will refrain from this, lest any man think of me above what he sees me to be, or that he hears of me. 7 So that I not become arrogant through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to strike me, so that I not become arrogant.
- God allowed a thorn in Paul’s flesh to keep him humble, to keep Paul depending on the Lord.
- Paul told us exactly what the thorn was. A demon was punching him, and giving him infirmities.
- Remember thorns first came into our world at the fall to humble man who had lifted himself up.
- Paul was the punching bag of a messenger of Satan every time he got proud in his heart about how much he knew.
The Lord’s grace is enough for us; His strength is made perfect in weakness
8 For this thing I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will most gladly glory in my infirmities so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 11 I have become foolish in boasting; you compelled me: for I ought to have been commended by you: for I am in no way inferior to the very chief apostles, though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience, in miracles, and in wonders, and deeds of power. 13 In what way were you treated as inferior to other churches, except that I was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
- Paul didn’t require money, food, or clothes from them for his support.
- They will not receive rewards then for helping him.
14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I do not seek what is yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up treasures for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
- They have treated Paul like we often treat God. They took him for granted.
- God has given us life, breath, the days of our lives, and all things (Romans 11:36) and yet He is often the last thing on our minds.
16 Be that as it may, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. 17 Certainly I did not take advantage of you through any of those that I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps? 19 Again, do you think that we are defending ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly loved, to build you up.
- Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
- Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being
20 For I fear that when I come, I will not find you as I wish, and that I will not be found as you wish: perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, anger, rivalries, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disturbances: 21 I am afraid when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I will mourn many who have sinned previously, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lustfulness that they have practiced.
2 Corinthians 13
1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word will be established. 2 I told you before, and declare beforehand, as being present the second time; and now being absent I write to those who previously sinned, and to all the rest, that if I come again, I will not spare.
- Paul will get tough with them if he has to come personally and straighten them out.
We live with Christ by the power of God
3 Since you look for a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but is mighty in you. 4 For even if he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For indeed we are weak in him but we will live with him by the power of God toward you.
- God wrote 14 of the 26 books of the New Testament through Paul.
- That was Christ speaking in him.
- God’s revelation is now complete.
- The last paragraph of the Bible is a strong warning not to add to or take away from what has been said by God.
- There are great deceptions today.
- One is that if we are Christians, what we say are the words of Christ.
- This is true only if it is in the Bible. Many Christians today do not know the Bible very well.
- The second great deception is that the words of the Old Testament are not the words of Christ. Christ’s words and God’s words and the Holy Spirit’s words are the same (John 1:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21).
- John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are disapproved? 6 But I trust that you know that we are not disapproved. 7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that you may do what is good, though we are considered disapproved. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
- John 17:17 Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
His love and peace are with us
9 For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong: but we also pray for this, even your perfection. 10 Therefore I write these things while absent, lest being with you I use sharpness, according to the power that the Lord has given me to edification, and not to destruction. 11 Finally, brothers, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints salute you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
SUMMARY: 2 Corinthians 10-13
- The Lord has given us mighty weapons for our spiritual warfare
- The Lord gives authority for building up
- The Lord rewards evil according to its works
- God knows our labors and troubles
- The Lord’s grace is enough for us; His strength is made perfect in weakness
- God knows everything
- We live with Christ by the power of God
- His love and peace are with us