REFLECTIONS FOR LIFE
Boasting the Gospel
2 Corinthians Series: PERFECTION IN WEAKNESS
2 Corinthians 11:1-35
Pastor Lou Gallo
December 27, 2020
How will the lost people that God has put in my life see Christ in my life in 2021?
How will I seek to make my life a banner for the Lord?
How can you lean into your weakness this coming year so that Christ’s power may be seen?
As we’ve been going through 2 Corinthians, Paul is has been exhorting the Corinthians to follow Christ and not the slick, easy, popular teachings of the false apostles.
Here in chapter 11 Paul gets very sharp in his criticism of both the Corinthians and the false apostles.
Chapter 11 is what commentators and theologians call the ‘foolish discourse.’ Paul uses the word or something like the word – fool, or refers to himself as inferior in some way, 5 times in the whole chapter.
But Paul is using irony to make a point to the Corinthians. He says in verse 6, “I may indeed be ‘untrained’ as a speaker.”
Why is Paul saying this? Why is Paul agreeing with his opponents?
He is using irony as he is mounting a defense of his apostleship. He is defending himself against the accusations of the false apostles.
In verses 21b – 23a Paul says, “But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I.23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman…”
In light of the gospel of Jesus Christ – Paul’s heritage or ethnicity, or anyone’s for that matter, is of little value in matters of salvation and in advancing the gospel.
But Paul’s next defense seems to play into the hand of his opponents.
Let’s say it this way; It’s not the kind of defense you or I would think about.
He spends about 7 verses detailing all of his hardships. He details 19 different hardships; not the least of which are his; imprisonments, beatings, stoning – then left for dead, shipwrecks, dangers in the rivers, dangers from robbers, danger from the Jews, danger from the Gentiles, danger in the city, the wilderness, at sea, dangers from false brothers, toils, hardships, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, and exposure to the cold.
Add to that, the anxiety he experiences for all the churches.
Of course Paul is boasting in his weakness, while the super-apostles are boasting in their ethnicity, their abilities, successes, fantastic visions…boasting of things that show their strength.
Which, ironically highlights their ineffectiveness and their foolishness.
Paul’s strength comes from outside of himself.
His opponents strength comes from themselves – which again is weak and ineffective and pales in comparison to the divine power of Paul.
Paul’s weakness is actually where his effectiveness comes from. If he is weak, he is strong.
If he is weak, than God’s power has room to work.
Paul’s life boasts the gospel! Because Paul is weak, because Paul’s power comes from outside of himself – he boasts the gospel.
How about us? Do we view our weaknesses as failure? Or, do we view our weakness as the clay jar to incarnate God’s power – for His glory!
You see if you lean into your weaknesses and God uses you – who gets the glory? God!
As we end 2020 – I pray that we’ve learned some things about God and about ourselves.
I pray that we would learn from our experiences in 2020 and seek for ways to glorify God in 2021.
I want to urge you to seek the Lord; Ask Him, how do I fulfill the Great Commission in 2021? Cry out to Him!
We must continue to live for Christ in all the ways the Bible encourages us to live for His name and glory! The last time I read Matthew 28:19 and 20 it does not read like this;
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. [Unless your life is completely turned upside by a pandemic then you don’t have to].And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I think even more so when our lives are turned upside down – we get to boast the gospel. We’re different, we process life differently than the world, all our joy is in Him.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
On Christmas we talked about Joy to the World – a circumstance-proof, COVID-proof joy.
As we live in the joy and good of the gospel, we boast the gospel.
In today’s Daily Bible reading of Psalm 40, verses 9& 10 says,
Psalm 4:9-10, ”I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
We are called to boast the gospel. Not drawing attention to ourselves but rather drawing attention to Christ.
What do you boast in? What is the basis for your boast? May it be the “glad news of deliverance.
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.