2 Corinthians 11.1-15

Title: Instinctual Leadership

Text: 2 Corinthians 11.1-15

CIT: Paul’s boasting is with good reason. He is led to it by

Introduction: Pastor Joe Wright had been invited to serve as the House’s guest chaplain by Rep. Anthony Powell, a Wichita Republican who was also a member of Wright’s church. Accordingly, Pastor Wright composed a prayer, read it at the opening of the legislature on January 23,and departed, unaware of the ruckus he had created until his church secretary called him on his car phone to ask him what he had done.

Reportedly, one Democrat walked out in protest, three others gave speeches critical of Wright’s prayer, and another blasted Wright’s “message of intolerance.” House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (also a Democrat) asserted that the prayer “reflects the extreme, radical views that continue to dominate the House Republican agenda since right-wing extremists seized control of the House Republican caucus last year.” Rep. Jim Long, a Democrat from Kansas City, said that Wright “made everyone mad.” But Rep. Powell, who had invited Wright in the first place, claimed that House Democrats were only trying to make political points with their criticism and affirmed that he supported the theme of the prayer. What did he pray that was so bad?

Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. Lord, we know Your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. 

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism. 

We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism. 

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. 

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. 

We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. 

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. 

We have killed our unborn and called it choice. 

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. 

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem. 

We have abused power and called it political savvy. 

We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition. 

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. 

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore-fathers and called it enlightenment. 

Search us oh God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. 

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Amen.

R Kent Hughes tells a similar story in his commentary on 2 Corinthians. He writes: Many years ago a number of government officials in The Hague, who were more fashionable than religious, invited Van Courtonne, the famous court preacher of Paris who was of Dutch descent, to preach in their State Church chapel. But because Van Courtonne considered their interest more social than spiritual, more a curiosity than a zeal for truth, he declined to come. When the invitation was repeated several times, he agreed to accept—on the condition that all the government officials would be present. They agreed.

The famous Van Courtonne appeared and preached on “The Ethiopian” from Acts 8. His sermon had four points:

1) A government official who read his Bible—something rare.

2) A government official who acknowledged his ignorance—something rarer still.

3) A government official who asked a lesser person for instruction—something extremely rare.

4) A government official who was converted—the rarest thing of all!

Van Courtonne never received a second invitiation.

What is it about the Truth that makes people so mad? … especially those in leadership? Are we really so righteous and holy that we have a right to be angry when confronted with the truth? that is not what ‘above reproach means?” If anyone here thinks that he has obtained perfection, let me say: Get over yourself! Good! Nobody got up and walked out!

Yes, it is true that being confronted with our sin is painful. But as it says in Proverbs 12.15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Paul is hoping these Corinthians will listen to him. Look at 2 Corinthians. In chapter 10, He has just explained that boasting has limits – the limits of the work of God through the Apostle. After this passage that we’ll look at today, Paul will begin his boasting in v 22. But, only in his weaknesses! For today, he’ll explain where this boasting is coming from and just why he is driven to boasting. Namely, he describes three instincts:

  1. The Paternal Instinct of an Apostle
  2. The Pastoral Instinct of an Apostle
  3. The Prophetic Instinct of an Apostle

Transition: Let’s begin with the 1st instinct, the paternal instinct…

1.     Paternal Instincts (1-6)

exp.: it is interesting how many times we see the personal pronoun “I”; rd v 1-6 w/ emphasis; Parents don’t usually have to explain ourselves to our children; but, sometimes we do – especially if we think it’s going to help them; if we think it’s for their good; Paul is really hard on himself here;

  • I wish
  • I feel a divine jealousy is zealous;
  • I betrothed
  • I am afraid –
  • Even if I am unskilled: idiot; I told you Paul was being hard on himself! It simply means, Untrained or unskilled – not professional;
  • I am knowledgeable!

Paul’s use of parental terminology and illustrations is rather common; to make his point from time to time in the letters he compares his feelings and emotion to that of a parent;

  • to the Corinthians themselves, in 1 Cor 4.15; 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church
  • Phil 2.22 of his relationship to Timothy again; But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
  • Turn to 1 Thess. 2. He tells them of his parental instincts using both the father and the mother; Turn there:
    • Dare to share (2.1-7) – facing strong opposition
    • Care to share (2.8-9) – being affectionately desirous of you – to share our very selves. Like a mother
    • Go out there to share (2.9-12) – like a father; a hard worker; is not a burden to his children but is holy and righteous before them; exhorting and encouraging and charging his children to live in a manner worthy of the name we bear.

This is what our missionaries are enduring even now in Montenegro. This is what our missionaries will endure when they head out overseas.

  • And likewise, in Philemon 10 of his relationship to Onesimus; I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.

ill.: I have two fathers in the ministry; One who was a part of my conversion and growth (And, has kept up with me through the years) and another who invested heavily in my ministry.

  • 3 John 4 – John says: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. And often calls those he’s writing to my little children.

ill.: This is something we can relate to, as we consider what Paul is saying. We as fathers wish to present our daughters to their future husbands – pure and prepared. We have a divine jealousy for them. We want to protect them from those who would take advantage of them. I think of some dads who will do this sooner than later. You’re thinking, man I got years before that happens to me! Listen, the years pass so fast! David – to Ellie; Lee to Audry; Bob – to Abbey! And mothers feel no less toward their daughters: Dawn to Kristin; Melissa to Allie, Jennifer and her girls and the list goes on –

app.: you understand what he means – you get this illustration of a parent’s instinctual concern.

t.s.: Paul demonstrates his parental instincts through his concern for this church, his baby, if you will. Next, he shows us his…

2.     Pastoral Instincts (7-11)

exp.: rd v 7; a pastor knows he’s called to preach, at whatever expense he can; for Paul, he didn’t want the Corinthian church to be burdened; rd v 8;

ill.: Teen Mania has been in the news for the last few years because of their financial woes. In an article I read in World magazine, they were spending money in wasteful ways. One such report was that Ron Luce paid TD Jakes $100,000 to speak in New York at their BattleCry event in 2008. Jacob Morales (Luce’s executive assistant) says Teen Mania chartered a $21,000 private jet and spent more than $4,000 on a two-night stay at the Ritz Carlton for Jakes, whom Luce wanted as a Teen Mania partner. Morales says he had discretion over $10,000 in cash to buy imported flowers, chocolates, rare bread, candy, iPods, and other gifts for the Jakes family to find in their hotel suite, green room, and two Cadillac Escalade limousines.

app.: Now, I don’t want to disparage Jakes or Luce. I’m sure there are fans of these ministers here in this room. From what I understand, Jakes didn’t accept Luce’s offer to speak at first – it was only after much prodding and pressure to get him that he gave in to Luce’s advances. My point is that this isn’t anything new: the super apostles were an expense to the Corinthians. My guess is that Jakes had no idea of the financial struggles Teen Mania was experiencing.

What I do see is a man here who loves the people he’s trying to reach so much, that he took a hit financially to bring them the gospel. He even accepted gifts from others who saw his work as missionary and wanted to contribute so that he could forego making tents to spend time in ministry. And, that appears not to be the case with these so-called super-apostles.

exp.: and Paul declares this in the next verse: rd v 9; And the effect has been tremendous, rd v 10; But the Corinthians might not see this…they might see his refusal to accept payment as spite; rd v 11;

app.: a pastor loves his congregation. Just how to describe it? I’m not sure it can be put into words. Maybe love isn’t supposed to be expressed in words; maybe love is simply shown through the sacrifices made and the actions one takes to protect and care for others – like a father or mother, like a pastor and his church.

t.s.: finally, Paul displays his…

3.     Prophetic Instincts (12-15)

exp.: The role of a pastor is to wear many hats; gratefully, I’m blessed with many around me who help keep the ministry going. There is the pastoral role already mentioned, but there is also the prophetic role – the job of declaring thus saith the Lord. It involves the spiritual side of what we do. The prophetic instinct is to smell out unhealthy, unsound doctrine and those who lead the church astray.

rd v 12-15; he calls them false, lit.: pseudo apostles; he says they’re disguising themselves: is the word μετασχηματίζω; So you have this small schematic of a larger one; These false apostles are like the one they imulate, the one who disguises himself as a angel of light. Their end will correspond to their deeds. Like Satan, they’re fooled into thinking they’re something.

The prophet, using the Word of God as his standard, works to see that believers are being transformed into the image of Christ. There is a huge difference between the two. Note: There is a difference between a change that takes place with the believer vs. the non-believer. In Romans 12.2 Paul says: Do not be conformed (schematic) to this world, but be transformed (metamorphosis) by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

app.: Wow! Paul puts it so clearly: these super apostles were simply smaller diagrams, schematics, patterning themselves after the devil – and they probably didn’t even know it! Acting out of pride, selfishness and greed, they acted like the one they were following. That isn’t what we do as believers. It is God who works in us, transforming us, as we work out our salvation – with fear and trembling.

And isn’t that the goal of the parent, the goal of the pastor, the goal of the prophet who speaks the Word of God to you? – that you would be renewed, that you would discern the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Conclusion: Paul’s message has been much like Van Courtonne’s and Pastor Joe Wright’s prayer to the Senate. What would have happened if the leadership in Paris or in Kansas would have bowed their heads before God and asked for wisdom to see … what did he pray?… see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Application:

  1. A Heart of Humility: The church and its leadership must humble itself before the Lord. There is no place to stand before the Lord.
  2. A Zeal for Honesty: The church and its leadership must deal honestly with God’s Word. What does God’s word say? What does it mean? And what does it mean for me? What is God calling me to do in light of what I’ve just heard?
  3. A Spirit of Wisdom: The false apostles of today, who proclaim another Jesus and present a different gospel, must be identified. They are slick and smart. This calls for wisdom on the part of the believer.
  4. A Physical Boldness: We must confront false doctrine. We must speak out against the sin that is becoming commonplace in our society and culture. The days of being quiet about sin are behind us.
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Filed under 2 Corinthians, Bible Reading, Discipleship, Humility

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