2 Corinthians 10

2cor10.jpgGreetings!  Paul’s ministry was under attack so he had to defend his credentials.  That is an awkward position to be in.  We don’t want to be proud, because all we have, including our faith, comes from God.  But there is a time to set the record straight on things.

Paul’s Defense of His Ministry

10     By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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 Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Strong words!  Christianity has gotten too wimpy in many places.  People are afraid to boldly declare that Jesus is the way.  They have no concept of church discipline, so all sorts of bad theology has crept into the church – so much so that the false teachings are considered to be the true teachings! 

7 You are looking only on the surface of things. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as he. 8 For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

It appears that Paul was not a particularly gifted speaker.  That may have been for the best, as he had to rely on the words of God to make his points.  So many churches and teachers get in trouble by thinking it is by their cleverness and speaking skills that people are converted.  God may use those, but it is God’s word that does the ultimate work.  He promised that his word would accomplish what He desired and achieve the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55), but He made no such promises about my words.

12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man’s territory. 17 But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What do we concern ourselves with most – what we think of ourselves, what others think of us, or what Jesus thinks of us?

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