The Folly of Foolish Pursuits
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
vs. 16-18, You have been patient with fools so will you grant me the same patience?
Paul is purposely going to act like a fool and boast.
Greek -> not according to the Lord, but according to the flesh.
Irony -> use of words and phrases to mean the opposite of what they normally mean.
weakness instead of power
trial instead of triumphs
Point taken: Paul is using the language of the culture.
- self praise
To reveal his genuineness as an apostle.
To show the absurdity of his opponents.
vs. 19-20, Unwise actions
The church in Corinth has not used wisdom to discern the purity and sincerity of these “super apostles”.
They did not allow time and character to reveal sincerity.
Character is revealed over months and years not days and moments.
5 description of overbearing and inauthentic leadership
- makes slaves of you
- devours you (taking their money)
- takes advantage of you
- puts on airs (promotion of self and demeaning followers)
- strikes you in the face
Galatians 2:4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—
Sorry we are not treating you as bullies. This does seem to be what you prefer, but I simply don’t have the stomach for this type of deception.
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain
“Telling the truth…is not solely a matter of moral character; it is also a matter of correct appreciation of real situations and of serious reflection upon them.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Defining salvation as an “arrival of wisdom” rather than a burial with Christ.
Creating false “spiritual achievement" in order to feel better about ones self and look down on those who don’t meet your criteria.
vs. 21, I’ll play your game, just for a bit, to prove a point. Paul will use his critics methods to beat them at their own game.
Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
vs. 22, Let’s take a look at your checklist…
Hebrew - directly related to those who endured the exodus
Israelite - directly related to Jacob / Israel
Descendant of Abraham - directly related to the patriarch and the promise given him (Genesis 12).
If there was a religious pedigree Paul was top dog. Yet Paul’s entire life mission was to live and teach that none of that mattered. The only thing that matters is Jesus.
Galatians 3:8, 28 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[a] free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[a] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
You boast in influence, wealth, status, and achievement. Let me join you for just a bit (as a mad man) for you to witness this ridiculousness.
Worked harder Endangered by bandits
Prison more frequently Endangered by fellow Jews
Flogged more severely Endangered by Gentiles
Exposed to death many times Endangered in cities
thirty-nine lashes five times Endangered in the countryside
Beaten with rods three times Endangered at sea
Shipwrecked three times Endangered by false brothers
Day and night in open sea Endured sleepless nights
Constantly moving Endured hunger and thirst
Endangered by rivers Endured cold and nakedness
Danger: Replacing the offense of the cross with power theology.
vs. 28, bearing the burden of community, leadership, and journeying toward health
Question: How often do I think about my brothers and sisters in Christ? How frequently is Second Mile part of my process (intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, physically)? What steps do you need to take to engage in church as your life giving family?
vs. 30-33, God alone is the source of Paul’s boasting.
Paul speaks of being lowered down the wall in a basket as opposed to scaling the wall first (in a time of siege) to win the prize / badge of honor.
Question: How are you humbly engaging in the mission of Jesus? How are you making a tangible difference (leading with the gospel) among the people and in the place God has strategically placed you?