A fool for Christ!

Scripture reading for September 10th: 2nd Corinthians 11:16-33

Paul continued to write to the Corinthians about the contrast between his ministry and that of the false teachers.  He was jealous for them as one who had promised them to Christ.  (2nd Corinthians 11:1-3)  Paul turned to the use of sarcasm and boasting to try and open their hearts again.

“I repeat:  Let no one take me for a fool.  But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting.  In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool.  Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast.  You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise!  In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.  To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!” (2nd Corinthians 11:16-21)  Paul admitted that boasting was not from the Lord.  He was using the world’s ways like the fools who had used these methods to enslave the Corinthians.  He sarcastically remarked that they put up with fools because ‘they were so wise’!  Paul himself never exploited them or took advantage of them.

Paul’s credentials as an apostle were then laid out for them.  He was a Hebrew and a descendant of Abraham.  He was a servant of Christ who had endured prison, flogging, beatings with rods, stoning, and shipwreck.  He had been constantly on the move, avoiding bandits, persecution from other Jews, false brothers, and Gentiles.  He went without sleep, was hungry and thirsty, and cold and naked.  All this he had endured for the cause of Jesus Christ!

A greater concern than the physical dangers he suffered was his care for all the churches.  (2nd Corinthians 11:28-29)  Paul hurt with those who were weak and in danger of leaving the faith.  He felt a deep burden when one of the brothers or sisters was led into sin by Satan or false teachers.  His boasting was not of his great strength, prophesies, preaching and powerful miracles.  He was boasting in his weakness and God’s faithfulness to bring him through!   Do you boast of your weakness and trials, or of your own accomplishments?  May we all be ‘fools for Christ’!

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