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Untitled Document
2nd Corithians 1:1-7
2 Corinthians 1:1-14
2nd Corinthians 1:15-24
2nd Corinthians 3:1-18
2nd Corinthians 4
2nd Corinthians 5:12-21
2nd Corinthians 6:4-18
2 Corinthians 7:1-16
2 Corinthians 8:16-24
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
2 Corinthians 11:1-33
2 Corinthian 12:1-21
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2nd Corinthians 10:1-18

 

“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you; but I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do nor war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations [margin: reasonings], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, they say, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”

 

Paul Defends His Ministry

 

“2nd Corinthians 10 to 13, ah, Paul spends a good portion of that defending his calling, now not because Paul is an insecure man, but because those who are attacking Paul’s apostleship were doing so to undermine the Gospel that he was preaching. They were doing so to undermine the truth of his message. [And what “Gospel message” would that be? Cf. 1st Corinthians 15:1-5, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm] Over in chapter 11, verse 3 he said “I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicities in Christ.” There was a fear attached to it, Paul wasn’t just defending himself because he’s an insecure man and he hates it when other people pick on him. Ah, Paul is defending his ministry because he knows it is God-given, and the truth that he was communicating was that of the grace of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. There were both heretics [as there are now] and Judaizers that were attacking him and his message in different ways. So he steps into that defense mode as he moves through these pages. And again it is more in defense of the truth [of God, the Gospel message] than his own person, it is the truth that he is communicating through his ministry. And I think there is a warning here, too, just beware of those who seek to raise the value of their own stock by talking down on someone else. Beware of those who are involved in some subtle form of self-exaltation at the cost of someone else. And you can tell, it’s a subtle thing. Sometimes, sometimes it’s very overt and obvious, it’s someone whose badmouthing and gossiping, but other times it’s couched in spiritual terms, and someone is very condescendingly talks about ‘Oh yes, yes, they’re spiritual, but they haven’t learned, or they haven’t seen, or they don’t understand,’ or you know, kind of undermining. And Paul warns against that, and as we go on in the chapter and into the next chapter we’ll see him taking the time to do that. He begins by saying “Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:” Paul says, ‘I beg you by the very meekness and gentleness of Christ,’ certainly two attributes that these false teachers were not esteeming. Paul was having trouble in church because they were talking about what a profound and great orator that Apollos was, and Peter, evidently being a large man, his presence. And part of their criticism of Paul was he wasn’t a great speaker, that his stature, he was small, and you know, they’re taking time constantly to pick on him. There’s an old proverb that says “He who throws mud looses ground,” and they do that as this Epistle moves forward. “But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.” (verse 2) Now what he’s saying is ‘Now look, I’m begging you by the very meekness and gentleness of Christ,’ that was the Messiah, he was the Son of God, and yet he said ‘I am meek and lowly of heart,’ the only self-autobiographical characteristic that Jesus attributed to himself in the Gospels was meekness. And it was the thing that stumbled so many of the Jews, because they’re looking for The Deliverer, they’re looking for power, they were looking for someone to overthrow Rome, and God was working in a vastly different way. And Paul says now he’s going to defend his own ministry. He had no desire to come to them with elegance of speech and, you know, overwhelming people with his diction and enunciation and five-point sermons. Paul was there to communicate truth. And he said he didn’t want their faith to stand in the wisdom of man but on the power of God. And he says, ‘So there are those who accuse us of not being authoritative, not having any power in our ministry, that only our letter-writing is that way, but in our particular presence gives no hint of the great words they accuse us of using when we write letters.’ Paul says, ‘I don’t have any desire to come there and be bold among you and be forceful among you, that’s not why I come.’ But he says, ‘I would like to be forceful among some of those who accuse us of walking according to the flesh.’

 

Our Warfare, Is Not After The Flesh, But Is Mighty

 

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:” (verse 3) We walk in the flesh, we don’t war after the flesh. Paul’s saying that his ministry was not based on his height, he was glad of that, his stature, it wasn’t based on his IQ or his diplomas, his ability to speak, his knowledge of large words, vocabulary, it wasn’t based on his wisdom, it wasn’t based on human appraisal. It wasn’t based simply on carnal means, on natural means, not even carnal means in a negative sense, but just a natural ability, Paul’s ministry wasn’t at all built that way, and it wasn’t being established that way. He said, ‘particularly we don’t war that way, our war,’ he said, ‘is not after the flesh, we don’t war that way, though we walk in the flesh.’ “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (verses 4-5) Now, the weapons of our warfare, tells us a few things. First of all, you’re in a warfare. I appreciate that verse in Ecclesiastes that says there is no discharge in that war. I thought for years there was. There isn’t. [yes there is, at death, and then during the 1st Resurrection to immortality, when we all head up to the Sea of Glass for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. But there isn’t as long as we draw breath, which is what Pastor Joe means.] We spend a lot of our Christian experience looking for that phantom break. ‘Oh, when I get a break, I just need a break, I’m waiting for the break.’ There ain’t no break, [chuckles] we’re in a warfare, we’re in a struggle. This is not our home. We are ambassadors here, strangers, and pilgrims, and there is no real place where we completely settle here, because we have been ruined for this world, we have been sealed with the Spirit of Promise, we long for something greater as did Abraham, walking in the land of promise, never settling down, looking for a City whose builder and maker was God. And you and I are in a warfare. We are touched and sealed by God’s Holy Spirit. We are challenged by his Word. We are given a different set of standards than worldly men have. We’re to go the extra mile, we’re to turn the other cheek, we’re to not let imaginations that would exalt themselves against the knowledge of God float around in our lives. No other people can’t see that, but God can see that. We’re not to allow bitterness and venom and gossip, we have this warfare that we’re in, because it is the nature of Christ being formed within us. Now, in that warfare, he says we have weapons. Ephesians 6 lists our armour, but he’s talking about the weapons. And it’s important to have your armour on. But the best defense is a good offense. And it says in Ephesians 6 that our offense is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying always”, stedfastly. The Word of God and prayer [i.e prayer and Bible study]. And he says, ‘Those weapons are not carnal, but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.’ Not the pulling down of apartments, not the pulling down of pup-tents, the pulling down of strong holds, strong holds.’ And we have different strong holds in our lives, in the Church corporately in places, and in our individual lives. And the problem today is, and you know I’m thankful for the tools we have, we’re Americans, so we have Christian radio and Christian television and Christian bookstores, and all different translations of the Bible, and all different kinds of Christian books, and we need all of those tools because of the carnality of the place that we live in. Life is much simpler in other places. We saw again these two girls that were in Afghanistan that were taken captive. They weren’t worrying about some of the things that we worry about everyday. But because we’re in this freedom and this mishmash of carnal ideas, and advertising and billboards and the soup that swims around us, we need to be able to turn on a Christian radio show, we need to be able to look at a Christian book, we need Christian music, we need those, those are wonderful things. But of coarse what happens is, what gets mingled in with all of that, because Satan is never content to let us have something, and a little leaven leavens the whole lump, what he loves to sow in with that is carnal means, so that the Church begins to be seduced by all of this psycho-babble, all of these methodologies, all of these supposedly spiritual “solutions” for everything. I mean, you just look at the Bibles, we have, you know, The Addict’s Bible, The Husband’s Bible, The Wife’s Bible, The Kid’s Bible, The Marshan’s Bible, The Living Bible, the Dead Bible, The Marriage Bible, the Divorce Bible, you know just, what about the Bible? And we have all of these carnal means, the bookstores are full of them. And Paul says, ‘that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they’re mighty through God, they’re mighty through God, they are mighty vertically, from a source, not horizontally from a source. They are mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds.’ And the Lord knows I need that in my life, and you need it in yours, and the Church in America needs to return to “the Faith that was once delivered unto the saints,” to be dependent upon the Word of God and prayer, and the Holy Spirit of God. And not continually looking to be patched up with Band-Aids from some carnal easy fix, the latest book on this and the latest book on that. This [the Bible] is the latest book, it’s the first book, the latest book, it’s the book that’s going to be around when all other books burn and heaven and earth passes away, this is the one that abides forever, right here. [applause] The Word of God and prayer, the weapons of our warfare, not carnal. And by the way, I think our warfare differs. We have different chinks in our armour. Job, if the Lord tarries, we’ll get there on Sundays. God says to Satan, ‘Have you observed my servant Job?’ It’s a military word, ‘have you scrutinized him? Have you found any chinks in his armour? You seen any weaknesses?’ I mean, I know people that have problems with rage. And things happen to them that never ever happen to me. You know, they walk down the street, and somebody will throw a beer bottle at them. That never happens to me. Satan knows, ‘Wait till you see this, I’ll set this guy off right here.’ [laughter] Some people have a problem with bitterness and unforgiveness, and just the warfare comes and has its way of stirring up old coals and trying to breathe them back to flames again, when you’re saying ‘Lord, I need to get this bitterness out of my life.’ Word of God and prayer will do that. ‘Lust, oh Lord, help me, I’m wrestling with this, help me, I’m wrestling with this.’ You know, today, you almost have to turn off the commercials during a football game. I don’t need any help from the enemy. We’re billboards, and there’s a warfare. With some people, it’s gossip. Their mouth begins to water over a juicy tidbit, the way mine does over a rack of lamb. [laughter] ‘Did you hear,’ and you see them start to drool, ‘What? You’re what, really? Oooh,’ And you know a secret is something you just tell one Christian at a time. [laughter] Weapons of our warfare, not carnal, mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds. What does the Word of God say about that? ‘I know what the Word of God says, but I’m still struggling with it.’ Praying always, without ceasing. ‘I just looked at it this morning, angry, and I saw what the Word said, and I’m praying for God’s strength, and by 10 o’clock somebody cut me off in traffic…’ then you pray again. And by lunch you pray again. And by dinner you pray again. That’s warfare. It doesn’t say ‘encounter,’ it says “warfare.” That means all day today, all day tomorrow, all day next week, next month, next year, that’s warfare. If this war on terrorism is going to go on for a long period of time, how long do you think the warfare against the “terrorists” we fight is going to go on? You can’t see them, you can’t blow them up, you can’t find out where they are, they ambush you. And this is part of the Christian experience. It doesn’t say, you know, and when we get to Galatians, people make this mistake, you know, they think you kind of rehab “the old man” with his lusts, rehab him. There must be a clinic, there must be somewhere I can go. The Bible says ‘crucify, consider it dead, bring under the blood and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, crucify the old man with his lusts. Consider him dead.’ But we kind of give into this ‘I can’t think about that, you know, I can’t think about it, I’m going to go to hell, I can’t think about that. I can’t let that thought come into my mind. You know, every time you think of a red balloon, you know, every time you think of a red balloon you’re going to go to hell, so I can’t think of a red balloon…’ We obsess. You know there’s a place we come to, to the Word of God, the truth is, that he who knew no sin became sin, that we might be the righteousness of God. That’s not through our sweat. That’s through faith. And we come before the Word of God with our hearts, and before the throne of God on our knees, with broken hearts, and say, ‘Lord, make these things real in me by your power, not by my wisdom, not by my education, not by any natural means, Lord, but by supernatural means.’ And that was the basis of Paul’s ministry. It’s the basis of effective ministry. The weapons of our warfare, they’re not carnal, they’re mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (verse 5) It starts in the mind, doesn’t it? Bringing into captivity every thought. Our weapons, the Word of God and prayer. Those are mighty through the power of God. Not for anything that we provided in this context. Even to the point, you know, when we get saved, there’s a lot of things that change in our lives immediately, and they should. If we see somebody who says they’re saved and we see no change in their life, and they’re still living in immorality and one thing or another, you know, it says in the Bible, “let a man examine himself, to see whether he’s in the faith or not.” (2nd Corinthians 13:5) There should be a change. But even though there’s a change, we switch from one warfare to another. We switch to all of the warfare we were going through in the world, with emptiness and futility and trying to fill our lives with one thing after another after another and another, and constantly being empty, and people have suicidal thoughts, and they’re at the end of themselves, and they’re tired of the vanity and the emptiness and the phoniness of life, and that’s a warfare, that’s a struggle. But then we get saved, and then we’re translated into the Kingdom of Light [spiritually, in our minds and thoughts], and now there’s a whole different struggle. And now that there’s light in our lives, it says in Ephesians “anything that doth maketh manifest is light.” If we can sit there and say ‘Wow, this is wrong, shouldn’t be doing this, shouldn’t be thinking this.’ We cut all those things out of our lives when we first get saved, but isn’t it interesting, as we go on with the Lord, he’s refining, he’s getting down to thoughts, he’s getting down to attitudes. ‘Don’t go there, Lord. Let’s work on something else. Do we have to talk about attitudes, it’s the Christmas vacation, I get off from school, can’t I get off from you, just this attitude thing for two weeks?’ And it’s in those realms where even the imaginations, and again, we can’t stop some weird thought that goes through our heads. You know that. You know that if you ever meet Billy Graham in person, and you go to shake his hand, some weird thought is going to go---eek---right through your head…no, you know, fiery darts [of the devil], we can’t keep that from happening. It was Luther that said, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep him from building a nest in your hair.” And there’s a difference between having a thought that we wrestle against, and sitting alone and imagining and imagining, and sowing the seeds of action, and allowing desire. Because desire, the heart will always make a convert of the mind as time goes on. And the most brilliant people end up doing the most stupidest things, because desire is such a more powerful force than IQ or thought. And human beings have this incredible capacity of imagination. We’re created in our Father’s image and likeness, he is a Creator, cows, dogs, beasts have no imagination. Have you ever raised a dog? There’s not a stitch of imagination in that creature, just carnal, just flesh. For human beings, imagination is a wonderful thing, but a realm that kind of has an antenna, that there’s warfare, there’s thoughts, there’s different things ‘Pulling them down, bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ,’ that’s through the Word of God and prayer. You’re ready to scream at somebody, you’re ready to chew somebody’s head off, they stabbed you in the back, they did you wrong, and the thing’s ready to explode. And a verse comes into your mind, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” And then the warfare begins, ‘I don’t want to turn away wrath, I want to turn on wrath, here, Lord.’ “The wrath of man” James says, “worketh not the righteousness of God.” ‘I knew you were going to say that to me, Lord.’ But then, bringing those things into captivity to obedience, the obedience of Christ, his Word. Not being feeling-driven, being Truth-driven. And then our feelings will become subjected to Truth.

 

Do You Look On Things After The Outward Appearance?

 

“Having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (verse 6) Paul says he’s ready to deal with disobedience, “when your obedience is fulfilled.” (verse 6). “Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?” (verse 7a) Do you look on things after the outward appearance? Pretend that’s not in the Bible, just let me ask you. Do you look on things after the outward appearance? Too often, I wrote in my Bible, too often. You could write in yours ‘Not as often as Pastor Joe,’ obviously [laughter]. You know, Paul’s appearance, short, you know, there are some early records, tradition, Church fathers, that say Paul was short, that he had a large hooked nose, that he had a squeaky voice, that he was bowl-legged, that his eyes were oozing from a disease, that he was given to fevers, not the kind of guy you’d want to hang around with tonight after church. But when his head went off under the axman, a giant, a giant left this world. How often, when I think of how many mistakes I have made in life by judging somebody by their appearance, first impressions, only to discover how remarkable a person it was that I had misjudged, just because of what struck my eyeball when they walked up. Aren’t we glad that God doesn’t judge us that way? Do we judge by outward appearance? You know, Jesus would look at the church at Ephesus and say, ‘Oh, you know, you look great, good works, judging those that say they are apostles, finding them to be false, doing all kinds of good things, but you know what? Your fire has died out, you’ve left your first love.’ It’s not apparent to the human eye. ‘The church at Laodicea, you’re rich, increased with goods, everything going on, but you’re cooling, you’re lukewarm,’ Jesus would see something different. He’s going to challenge them not to judge the way people judge, by outward appearance. “If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.” (verse 7b) Because they were saying, ‘Paul’s not really a believer, Paul’s not preaching the truth, this and that,’ ah, don’t judge by outward appearance. It doesn’t say we shouldn’t be ‘fruit-inspectors.’ Because some people are going to love this right away, if you see somebody living in sin, you see bad fruit, it says the spiritual man discerns all things, it’s not talking about that. If there’s obvious transgression of God’s Word in someone’s life, you, it says, in the spirit of meekness, should have the freedom to challenge somebody you love, and to talk to them about it. That’s not what he’s talking about here. He’s talking about making judgments of people by outward appearance without any spiritual grounds of what their life might be like. “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:” (verse 8) Paul says, you know, ‘We have authority, and there’s a difference between authority and power.’ Authority, spiritual authority, is determined by the throne that you bow the knee to. It isn’t asked for, it’s something that is given, it’s something that is acknowledged, it’s not something that’s demanded. Power can be a completely different thing. “I should not be ashamed: that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.” (verses 9-11) ‘I’ll see you when I get there,’ he’s saying to these critics. [how many of us have had dads that have said that to us over the phone as kids, leaving us quaking in our little shoes?] Paul did have the capacity to be authoritative when he wanted to. You remember on his first missionary journey, in Acts chapter 13, verse 11, there was a man there who was a sorcerer who was trying to turn one of the civil leaders that Paul had led to Christ away from the faith, and Paul just turned around and said ‘The Lord strike you blind until you straighten out,’ and the guy lost his sight. Paul says, ‘We have authority, but it’s unto your edification,’ that’s the authority Christ has given us, just to build up. Not to tear down. If somebody comes and says they’re a prophet or they’re a pastor, or they’re an evangelist. The gifts of the Spirit, we know, are to edify, to build up. Not to tear down. Paul says, ‘That’s our authority. And these people that all they want to do is criticize us, and say we can write strong letters, but there’s nothing of strength in our presence, we’ll see them when we get there.’ “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (verse 12) I’ll read that again, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” We don’t want to join that club. You’re using the wrong standard, that they are comparing themselves among themselves, to comfort themselves, comparing themselves among themselves. Now, in one sense, you can always find someone who looks worse than you [physically, spiritually]. [At 1:33pm, a B-17 bomber just flew over the house at Kittery Point, right in front of the terrace, at about 200 to 300 feet up, the engines rattling the windows as she flew over, apparently headed for Pease, probably to top off fuel tanks, headed for an airshow. Guess the Lord is still backing up the Memphis Belle analogy for the website.] No matter how bad you think you’re doing spiritually, you can always find somebody you can say about, ‘Well, I’m glad I’m not like that jerk.’ And you shouldn’t be saying that, but you can always find somebody, and think that imagination which you should pull down. Satan knows our propensity to compare ourselves among ourselves. Madison Avenue, he knows our propensity to compare ourselves among ourselves, what we drive, what we wear, what we listen to, what we say is cool, what we say isn’t, what we say is “in”, what we say is “out,” how accepted we are amongst our peers, Satan knows all too well how to merchandise this kind of a mindset, ‘I have to look this way, I have to listen to this, I have to drive this, I have to act this way to be accepted, because then they’re going to think that I’m on their level, there will be more acceptance, and I can be part of them.’ And the world is merchandised that way. Look at the trends, look at things that go on in the world, style---this is the wrong way to make an assessment of where we are, spiritually, because the assessment we’re to make spiritually is ‘How accepted am I Lord, with you, not with peers?’ But human beings are so tangible. Relationships are so wonderful. But the truth of the matter is, it’s this way [I think he’s pointing upward, straight up] that we should be making that assessment of how we measure up. Legalists [and they can be both Sunday-observers and Sabbath-observers] love to have these kind of mutual admirations clubs, you know, ‘Well, we don’t do this. But we don’t do that either. We don’t do that either.’ ‘Well you don’t do that, well we don’t do that either.’ I’m never going to know what anybody is by what they don’t do, I’m going to know who they are by what they do. And legalists love to say, ‘You know, over there they do, you know, yea, I heard. They kind of dress however they want, you know. Yeah, yeah, I heard what they do over there. Drums, they got drums over there. Yeah, I heard.’ [laughter] ‘’Yeah, I heard, they’re big, you know, we’re small, but we’re pure.’ No, if we want to make the comparison, the image that we’re being conformed into is the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. How far along are we in the process? Are we committed? Are we warring a warfare with the weapons that God has given us? Are our thoughts and our hearts kept in line with the Lord, with the Spirit, with his Word? Are we willing to stand alone in our generation, does that make us measure up then so that we can compare ourselves with others and look down on others? Remember in Isaiah, ‘Woe unto those who build house upon house, woe unto those who call right wrong and wrong right, woe unto those do this, woe unto those who do that, woe unto those who do this, woe unto those who do that…and finally in the year of king Uzziah, I lifted up my eyes and saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and his smoke, his train filled the Temple. And when I saw him, I said, Woe is me.’ No longer was it ‘Woe is them,’ ‘Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.’ Daniel, one of the most sterling characters in all the Old Testament, and he says, ‘When I saw the Lord, all of my comeliness turned to ashes.’ John the apostle, ninety years old, on the Isle of Patmos, Revelation chapter 1, verse 20 he says, ‘When I saw the Lord, I fell down like a dead man. He put his hand on me and said, Fear not.’ That’s the comparison. If we want to compare ourselves to see how far along we’ve come in the process, we compare ourselves this way [upward]. That will keep us from doing this, with everybody this way [horizontally], because we’ll all realize how far we’ve still got to go. I mean, is anybody here completely conformed to the image of Christ? Yeah, thank you. There’s always one, that gives us all hope [one joker who puts his hand up J ]. I’d rather have somebody joking than a screwball that’s stands up and is serious, you know, that does happen too. That’s the comparison that is to be made. But again, Satan knows how prone we are to use the wrong standard. He knows how prone we are to get caught up in man’s opinion, what other people think about us, and comparing ourselves among ourselves, and there’s such tremendous pressure there. Because we long for acceptance, and we long for love, and we long to “fit in,” and we long not to stand alone. But God is calling us to stand alone. With him, in that aloneness, there isn’t anything that we can do that is more beneficial to the people that we love, than to stand with Christ. There isn’t anything more beneficial that we can do for the lost world we live in, than to stand for Jesus Christ. Paul says, ‘We dare not join that club of those who are constantly comparing themselves among themselves.’

 

Be Careful About Building On Someone Else’s Foundation

 

“But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule [margin: line] which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:” (verses 14-15) What Paul is saying is, ‘Look, God has stretched out a line to us,’ the idea is, ‘God has measured out something to us, he’s measured Paul’s ministry. Paul said ‘that line has reached as far as you.’ ‘Where were the Judaizers, where were the heretics, where were the people that were accusing us when we pressed through this territory. There were no Christians and there were no churches, and we came here and we planted a church, and there was nobody around.’ So, only as the church grows, it’s only as people start to come in, it’s only as there starts to be growth and money and resources and numbers, then all of a sudden critics begin to come, that’s when the Judaizers begin to come, that’s when the heretics begin to come. You know, Paul speaking to the elders of Ephesus on the beach at Miletus says, ‘I ceased not to warn you over a period of two to three years, with tears, that after my departure grievous wolves would creep in from the outside, not sparing the flock. And then would be arising out of your own midst, not leading disciples after Jesus Christ, but after themselves.’ [Comment: This is common wherever a genuine ministry has grown large and successful, whether it be Sabbath-observing or Sunday-observing. This whole scenario Paul outlined often comes to pass, and it is those often arising from within, using heretical beliefs, trying to separate out for themselves a following, and it is usually out of greed for some of the financial resources they hunger after, which the genuine Christian leader’s work has created a flow of to support a genuine Christian work and ministry. In the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God we have experienced that, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm.] And Paul says, ‘No, we’re not boasting of something else, we’re not boasting of something that was measured, we’re just boasting about something God has measured to us, the line that he’s laid out for us, of the ministry and the calling he’s given to us, which brought us as far as you,’ Paul says (verses 14-15). Paul was beat up when he first went to Corinth, read it in the Book of Acts, it was no picnic. The false teachers, the blab-it-and-grab-it guys are not around when people are getting persecuted and martyred. Paul says, ‘We’re not bragging about something we haven’t done, you are our evidence, you’re our brag.’ The Corinthians were his field, Paul in Romans chapter 15, verse 20, would say this, ‘Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation.’ Paul said, ‘I didn’t have any desire to build on somebody else’s foundation. I was striving to preach Christ where Christ had not yet been named,’ “Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.” (verses 15-16) It’s typical of wolves and false teachers to work in the Church [or within a particular denomination], they don’t go to the lost world. ‘Oh God’s called us to this work.’ Really? ‘Yes, we have this insight to straighten out the Churches all over Philadelphia.’ Oh, uh-huh…The Great Commission is to go all the world to preach the gospel to every living creature. If you have a calling on your life “to fix” the Church, I understand. Those are rustlers, not fishermen. [Comment: This website’s goal is to help nourish the Body of Christ, those who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes that involves teaching out of the Word of God which has the effect to correct and fix where needed. But let it be known, I receive no money from anybody, and I am decidedly not after a following. People who use this site are encouraged to either remain where they are, or move to healthy, Holy Spirit indwelt denominations that are spiritually alive and on-fire for their own spiritual edification. Twice, when I met Pastor Joe personally, I asked him permission to transcribe and post his sermons on the site, and twice he said, ‘By all means, go ahead.’ But I have had my own personal run-ins and encounters with those effected by heretics and heretics themselves, who attempt to develop of following for themselves, and yes, they have come out of a church denomination that was already well-established. It does follow a pattern. Ultimately, it is Satan who seeks to destroy from within and without, those parts of the Body of Christ who have become established and planted, whether Sunday or Sabbath-observing. It is my belief heretical ministries are to be marked and pointed out wherever possible. If you honestly think something’s wrong with the denomination you attend, politely write the leadership and tell them what you think, and then back off and let God work. It may be that your input will be useful, or it may be rejected. God’s in control, you’ve done your part, get busy on your own life and overcoming, and the job Jesus has given you to perform and leave things alone. That is what I do.] Jesus said, ‘I will make you fishers of men,’ not cattle rustlers. And you know, we have it here all the time, people want to come here and change everything that God’s done here, because they have a greater insight, they understand what’s really spiritual, what really needs to happen. They want to take Calvary Chapel and conform it to their own image and their own likeness and their own bent. And the truth is, if you’re not happy here, there’s a place for you somewhere. It just ain’t here. This is a big world and there’s all kinds of churches out there, you can jump up and down and be happy in some places, and you can sit very stoically in other places. You know, we’re kind of like, if you can’t make it here you can’t make it anywhere, we’re the kind of last stop along the way. But there’s all different flavors out there, and God uses them. They’re not any less or more spiritual. This is the measure that God has measured to us. So be careful, building on somebody else’s foundation, building on a foundation that you haven’t laid. He says, ‘We’re not boasting outside of our measure, outside of the things God has measured to us, that of other men’s labours,’ “But having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast of another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.” (verses 15-16) ‘That’s what we want to do, we’re after. We see the growth in your life, we want to press onward, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s, again, line, or rule that’s been measured out to somebody else, of things made ready to our hand.’

 

But He That Glories, Let Him Glory In The Lord

 

“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” (verses 17-18) Let them glory in the Lord. If somebody wants to be braggadocios, let ‘em brag about Jesus. Don’t you get sick of listening to people brag about themselves? ‘I’d do this,’ and ‘I’d do that,’ and ‘I made this sacrifice,’ and ‘I made that sacrifice,’ and ‘I accomplished this,’ and ‘I did that,’ and ‘I told them this…’ man, it’s a good thing when we get to heaven [right after the 1st resurrection, going to the Sea of Glass and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb] that no flesh is going to glory in his presence, because imagine being in eternity and having that guy follow you around. [laughter] That would be a bummer. “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” Paul said in Galatians 6 ‘God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of Jesus Christ.’ Jeremiah said this, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches, but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD, which exerciseth lovingkindness and judgment and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” If you’re going to brag about something, let it be, ‘I know God.’ Now that’s something to brag about. ‘He ain’t ashamed to call me his son.’ That’s something miraculous to brag about. If you’re going to glory, glory in the cross of Christ and what he’s accomplished, what he’s done. “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” (verse 18) Paul says, ‘The guy whose approved,’ and that’s a word used in metallurgy sometimes, tested out, tested sometimes by fire, to test. “For not he that commendeth himself is tested out, to be worth something, approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” Paul says to the Corinthians, ‘You’re our fruit. We don’t have to brag in another man’s ministry, we came as far as you, these other false teachers, they didn’t have any interest of jeopardizing their lives, or labouring to the point of exhaustion or getting stoned, we’re the ones that came first. And if somebody’s going to glory,’ Paul says, Don’t let them glory that they’re taller than us or they speak better than us, they’re wiser than us, let them glory in the Lord, because they’re just sinners saved by grace, like everybody else. And what matters is whose approved by God, not who approves himself.’ Jesus said this, ‘As the Father has sent me, so send I you.’ And Jesus said, ‘I don’t bare witness of myself, but the Father who sent me, he bares witness of me.’ If God sends us, we don’t have to spend half our life telling other people that fact. It is evidenced by God working with us. Not by natural means, but that in the warfare that we walk in every day, that the weapons we use, simple, pointed, powerful, the Word of God and prayer. The offensive [as opposed to defensive] things of our lives, spiritually, they’re mighty through God, not by anything we could ever brag about of ourselves, mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds, bringing every imagination, every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Great stuff. [transcript of a connective expository sermon on 2nd Corinthians 10:1-18, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]

 

Related links:

 

What is the Gospel? See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm

 

An example of a heresy that some use to attempt to divide the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God. See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm

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