Tag Archives: Authenticity

Jude 3-7

Title: Beware of False Prophets

Text: Jude 3-7

Introduction: Start the Recording; Read the text: v3-7; Last week we simply took time to look over Jude’s introduction and greeting. We answered the questions:

  1. Who is Jude?
  2. Who are we ‘in Christ’?
  3. What do we have ‘in Christ’?

At this point of the letter, Jude, the little brother of Jesus, turns his attention to the purpose in writing his letter. This is the 1st point of my message today. A simple breakdown of the passage would look something akin to this:

  1. The Purpose: A Call to Contend
  2. The Warning: False Teachers Clothed as Sheep
  3. Three Reminders: Jesus Punished Those who rebelled against Him.
    1. Jesus Destroyed the Hebrews who rebelled against him.
    2. Jesus has kept the angels who rebelled in chains until the Day of Judgment.
    3. Jesus has set before us an example of punishment in Sodom, Gomorrah and their surrounding cities.

Just reading this outline already has me ruffled. I can feel my spirit beginning to move and wonder if some of you are thinking the same things. Let me take a moment to pause and say: if this is happening to you, take a breath. Let’s not miss the intent of Jude because we are angry at the Supreme Court. Let’s not use this as fuel to feed the fire already kindled in our hearts. There is a danger we must keep before us as we move forward: Legalism is as dangerous as liberalism.

Ill.: In the days of Christ, he faced both ends of the spectrum in the Pharisees & Sadducees. Both groups hated him and both groups wanted him gone. A simple way to describe them would be with the words: Laws & License.

  • The Pharisees: loved the laws. They had hundreds of laws to describe the Law of Moses. In their eyes, everyone needed to be like them. They set the standard. They tithed everything, even down to their spices: mint, dill and cumin. They fasted not just the one time a year, but 2x’s a week! And on and on and on – ad nauseam. The missed the Law of Grace. For them, salvation is something you earn.
  • The Sadducees: loved their freedom. They didn’t believe in anything. Not angels, not in afterlife, not the resurrection. If you asked, well, what do you believe? They’d say: I believe I’ll have another drink! They were the exact opposite of the Pharisees. The Sadducees would do well in San Francisco or Hollywood today.

Most of us would bristle at the thought of being labeled the same as a Sadducee. But I’ve got to admit that a Pharisee doesn’t turn me on either!

And I think that’s sort of the way we’re supposed to feel when we begin to read Jude’s letter – not anger, not pleasure, but concern. Let me show you a way to get the flow of a message. If you read the passage with only the subject and verb of each sentence, you’ll see that Jude isn’t angry at all.

  • I found it necessary to write.
  • Certain men have crept in unnoticed.
  • Let me remind you about Jesus: He destroyed, detained and demonstrated.

Wow… I think Jude displays for us a deep reluctance to write what he had to write. He wanted to write about something totally different: rd v 3; 

The Purpose: A Call to Contend

exp.: The subject is Jude; he’s writing to the ‘beloved’ in God (v1); The verb is found or lit.: have necessity; Jude wanted to write about ‘our common salvation’; lit.: the shared of us salvation; κοινή; not common as in ‘everyone around here has it’ but rather common as in shared. But he was pressed to write about something else: he needed to change the subject to encourage them and warn them to contend for the faith.

He continues: I found (have: vb; aor act ind) it necessary to write (nfn) appealing (pres act ptc) to you to contend (nfn) for the faith (note the def. art. which describes not what we believe but rather the content of that belief) that was once for all delivered (aor pass ptc) to the saints. He describes this Faith as that which was once (and not needed again) delivered over to the saints.

Do you see the difference? We’re not talking about the manner in which each one comes to a place of belief and surrenders their lives by what they now understand in their minds. No, Jude here is talking about an objective reality of the truth of the Gospel.

Gal 1.23 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” – ‘the faith’; Gal 1.6 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel here it is termed the Gospel; This faith is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are the facts:

  • Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life. Thus, qualifying him to serve as our Passover lamb.
  • He died on a cross, shedding his blood to pay the penalty for our sin.
  • He was placed in a borrowed tomb where his dead body lay for three days.
  • He rose from the dead and lives now in glory and honor.
  • He ascended to the right hand of the Father where he makes intercession for us.
  • By placing your faith in him, you can receive the forgiveness of your sins and the hope of eternal life.

This is the objective reality of the Gospel and it is what Paul is telling the Galatians not to abandon. It is the passionate plea of Jude to these recipients, and to us to contend for this Gospel. Don’t tamper with it, Don’t dilute it to make it palatable and don’t distort it to make generic – contend for The Faith!

ill.: Bob Woods tells the story of a couple who took their son, 11, and daughter, 7, to Carlsbad Caverns. As always, when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface. The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry. Immediately was heard the voice of her brother: “Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.”

app.: In a very real sense, that is the message of the Gospel: Light is available, even when it seems that the darkness is gloomy and overwhelming! And Paul and Jude are saying – you know how to turn on the lights! This is the Gospel, which you have received! Don’t change it…Don’t let it be changed by others!

Point # 2:

The Warning: False Teachers Clothed as Sheep

exp.: rd v 4a; The subject is men – specific or certain men; he doesn’t name names, but he tells them, and this is the verb: Certain men have crept in unnoticed; one word in the Gk, 4 words in the English.

This word appears only here in the NT. It’s related to many words with similar structure. A similar word ἔνδυμα/ἔνδυω which means clothing and to cloth; Mt 7.15: 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. This word in Jude means to cloth oneself in such a way that one might be able to blend in and go unnoticed. But the motive of this one is to bring harm to those who are unsuspecting.

These people don’t come into the church through the front door and announce they’re here to challenge the sufficiency of Scripture, or to shed doubt upon efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice.

But don’t be afraid! God knew about them long before they even breathed a breath. Rd 4b; 4 Descriptions:

  1. Who long ago were designated (pft pass ptc) for this condemnation, Prophesied about – Maybe Peter in 2 Peter; Maybe a common source for Jude and Peter; Maybe an OT Source or extra biblical literature, like Enoch; Dunno – but I do know that God has already known about it. He’s not surprised!
  2. Ungodly people; godless – not atheist per se…Douglas Moo writes: The word connotes a person who is “without religion” who ‘fails to worship.’ Hellenistic Jews used it especially of irreverence in an ethical sense: not theoretical atheism, but practical godlessness. In other words, their lives were filled with immorality. Their actions are the actions of someone who doesn’t have God in their lives; however their speech probably does. And this comes through in the next statement:
  3. Who pervert (pres act ptc) the grace of our God into sensuality; this could be sexual misconduct, drunkenness, gluttony, and so on. Sins of the flesh, if you will.

I wonder if this fits with Gnosticism. You know, you can do anything with the body because it is separate from the spirit. Someone would ask, as in Romans 6: Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound? Yes! Absolutely!

I wonder if there were these men pushing for all the men to be circumcised. A procedure done in the flesh, but not necessary any more; however, these teachers wanted adherence to the Law. I don’t know; Jude doesn’t tell us. Maybe that is why he doesn’t name them – we can apply this principle across the board. But he continues…

  1. Who deny (pres mid ptc) our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. There is one def. art.

Point #3

Three Examples of Punishment

exp.: rd v 5a; Now I want (vb; pres mid/pass ind) to remind you, although you once fully knew (pft act ptc) it, …

  1. Jesus destroyed the Hebrew slaves

exp.: rd 5b; The subject is Jesus; The verbs are destroyed, has kept, has set

…that Jesus, who saved (aor act ptc) a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed (vb: aor act ind) those who did not believe (aor act ptc). You and I know this is the exodus from Egypt (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and into Deuteronomy).

  1. Jesus has kept and is keeping the Angels

exp.: rd v 6;And the angels who did not stay (aor act ptc) within their own position of authority, but left (aor act ptc) their proper dwelling, he has kept (pft act ind) in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— This is one of two stories:

  1. The Rebellion in heaven and the fall of Satan and his followers.
  2. Genesis 6.1-4; Elaborated on in 1 Enoch. Which Jude refers to in v 14;
  3. Maybe they’re one and the same;
  1. Jesus has set Sodom, Gomorrah, surrounding cities before us as an example of punishment

exp.: rd v 7; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged (aor act ptc) in sexual immorality and pursued (aor act ptc) unnatural desire, serve (pres mid ind) as an example by undergoing a punishment (pres act ptc) of eternal fire.

So Jude is saying: Let me remind you that this Master and Lord of ours has destroyed, is detaining and has demonstrated for us the punishment that awaits those who rebel and lead others astray.

Conclusion: Some years ago, when I was really struggling as a pastor, Lisa asked me to take a moment – she wanted to share something she’d read in her quiet time. She told me that she doesn’t go looking for messages for me in her quiet time, but this was something that really stuck out. So, I listened. She took me to Galatians 5.7ff – 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? She said, that verse was a picture of my life: I had been running this race, but something happened – someone cut me off. Then she read verse 8 – 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.

That truth hit me hard: I had indeed let others cut me off and they were keeping me from obeying my calling. That sort of thing wasn’t from the Lord. I needed to do a serious gut check. Lisa doesn’t know this, but I returned to that verse many times. The context was different, but the principle was the same. God had called me and I was letting people move me away from that calling. The passage continues: 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.

Satan is good at using people to derail your movement and obedience. The sinful nature of a person causes that person to seek prestige and power – and they’ll use that to get you to follow them and not the Lord.


  1. Do not lose the sense of urgency Jude had. He could have acknowledged to himself that there were indeed false teachers around, but he would write about them later. NO. He changed his plans because he sensed the urgency of the moment.
  2. False Teachers abound in this day and age. We need to be diligent. Set up barriers and alarms. Can you identify when something isn’t just right in what you’re hearing?

Ok, let’s make it personal:

  1. Are you listening to the Lord or pursuing your own passions? Are you one who is leading others astray? This is a very serious matter – to be so head strong about a program or ministry that you’ll sacrifice relationships to get your pet project off the ground?

Some years ago, our little church where I was serving was doing a Bible Study which was also a weight loss program. I was involved and was dropping a few pounds myself. It was all about portion control – and eating only when you were hungry. Good principles! However, some things were said in the Bible study time that bothered me. A couple of people noticed it, too and asked me about it. I did a little research and found that one of the tenets in their statement of faith was that Christ was the 1st Created being. According to their statement of faith, they did not believe in Christ’s eternal existence – He always has been and always will be. This group didn’t believe in the Trinity – they couldn’t conceptually grasp the idea of the plurality of the Godhead. I met with some of my leaders and made a decision that we would not host that Bible study anymore. Fssht – cancelled.

Do you think everyone was ok with that? No, there was one lady in our church was very upset. The mother of this family just happened to be losing more weight than she had ever experienced before. For her, that success was a litmus test – it was good enough. She was so angry with me. And her argument was very emotional: for the first time in my life I’m experiencing real weight loss. Fortunately for me, she found no followers interested in my lynching.

Each of us as believers is called to faith and called to service. In your service, are you listening to the Lord or pursuing your own passions? I’m not just asking if you prayed about it – What does the Lord say through His word.

  1. Note the three examples and what exactly were their egregious offenses? Why did they not follow the Lord?
    1. Rebellion due to a lack of trust.
    2. Rebellion due to a sense of pride.
    3. Rebellion due to selfish lusts and desires.
  2. You know how to turn the light on. There are others around you who live in darkness. What are you going to do?

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Filed under Jude, Scripture, Sermons

When J.I. Packer Walked Out

I wanted to repost an article by Sam Storms. My lack of blogging skills has me fumbling around, trying to get this right. I apologize if you see this done in a poor fashion. For me, the message is what I’m trying to focus on. The original article can be found here.

“Why I Walked”

In 2002, the synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster

authorized its bishop to produce a service for blessing same-sex unions, to be used in any parish of the diocese that requests it. A number of synod members walked out to protest the decision. They declared themselves out of communion with the bishop and the synod, and they appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican primates and bishops for help. (1)

J. I. Packer was one of those who walked out.

When asked why he walked out, he answered, “Because this decision, taken in its context, falsifies the gospel of Christ, abandons the authority of Scripture, jeopardizes the salvation of fellow human beings, and betrays the church in its God-appointed role as the bastion and bulwark of divine truth.” In other words, it was Packer’s confidence in the functional, life-directing authority of Scripture that led to this decision.

“My primary authority,” wrote Packer, “is a Bible writer named Paul. For many decades now, I have asked myself at every turn of my theological road: Would Paul be with me in this? What would he say if he were in my shoes? I have never dared to offer a view on anything that I did not have good reason to think he would endorse.”

Here we see that, for Packer, affirming biblical authority is meant not merely to provoke a debate but to give ethical direction to life. Regardless of what personal preferences one might have, irrespective of the cultural trends in play at the time, the Bible is the ethical standard by which Christians such as Packer judge their responsibility.

What’s Really at Stake

Packer then proceeds to exegete Paul’s thought in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 as justification for his decision to lodge this protest. There are only two ways in which we might miss Paul’s point and his directives. One is to embrace an artificial interpretation of the text in which Paul is conceived as speaking of something other than same-sex union.

The second approach, notes Packer, “is to let experience judge the Bible.” Experience suggests that homosexual behavior is fulfilling to some; therefore, the Bible’s prohibition of it is wrong. But the appropriate response is that “the Bible is meant to judge our experience rather than the other way around,” and “feelings of sexual arousal and attraction, generating a sense of huge significance and need for release in action as they do, cannot be trusted as either a path to wise living or a guide to biblical interpretation.”

What is at stake in such a debate is the nature of the Bible itself. There are, notes Packer, fundamentally two positions that challenge each other:

One is the historic Christian belief that through the prophets, the incarnate Son, the apostles, and the writers of canonical Scripture as a body, God has used human language to tell us definitively and transculturally about his ways, his works, his will, and his worship. Furthermore, this revealed truth is grasped by letting the Bible interpret itself to us from within, in the knowledge that the way into God’s mind is through that of the writers. Through them, the Holy Spirit who inspired them teaches the church. Finally, one mark of sound biblical insights is that they do not run counter to anything else in the canon. . . .

The second view applies to Christianity the Enlightenment’s trust in human reason, along with the fashionable evolutionary assumption that the present is wiser than the past. It concludes that the world has the wisdom, and the church must play intellectual catch-up in each generation in order to survive. From this standpoint, everything in the Bible becomes relative to the church’s evolving insights, which themselves are relative to society’s continuing development (nothing stands still), and the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry is to help the faithful see where Bible doctrine shows the cultural limitations of the ancient world and needs adjustment in light of latter-day experience (encounters, interactions, perplexities, states of mind and emotion, and so on). Same-sex unions are one example. This view is scarcely 50 years old, though its antecedents go back much further.

That this is more than an intellectual battle is seen in the spiritual dangers to which the latter view ultimately leads. Packer believes that to bless homosexual behavior is an explicit deviation from the biblical gospel and the historic Christian creed. The doctrines of creation, sin, regeneration, and sanctification are necessarily distorted in the effort to justify same-sex intimacy.

Worse still, if, as Paul says, those who practice such sexual immorality will not “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:10), it puts the eternal welfare of the individual at stake. Finally, says Packer, “it involves the delusion of looking to God—actually asking him—to sanctify sin by blessing what he condemns. This is irresponsible, irreverent, indeed blasphemous, and utterly unacceptable as church policy. How could I do it?”

Captive to the Word of God

The manner in which Scripture functions as authoritative in Packer’s belief and behavior is best seen in his appeal to Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521. Said the Reformer:

Unless you prove to me by Scripture and plain reason that I am wrong, I cannot and will not recant. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe [it endangers the soul]. Here I stand. There is nothing else I can do. God help me. Amen.

“Conscience,” Packer explains, “is that power of the mind over which we have no power, which binds us to believe what we see to be true and do what we see to be right. Captivity of conscience to the Word of God, that is, to the absolutes of God’s authoritative teaching in the Bible, is integral to authentic Christianity.”

He quotes a statement often attributed to Luther (here slightly paraphrased):

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point that the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages is where the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point. (2)

The issue beneath the issue—namely, the nature and functional influence of biblical authority—is the watershed issue not merely for Anglicanism, but for Christianity as a whole.

The belief that what God has revealed in the written Word is binding on the consciences of all Christians and gives shape to their behavior on every issue, not merely same-sex marriage, is the foundation for Packer’s approach to living the Christian life.


(1) This and subsequent excerpts are taken from Packer’s article in Christianity Today, “Why I Walked: Some- times Loving a Denomination Requires You to Fight” (January 1, 2003): 46–50 (emphasis in the original).
(2) The oft-quoted statement reflects Luther’s ideas as expressed by a fictional character named Fritz in a historical novel by Elizabeth Rundle Charles, Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1864), 276. It also captures the spirit of what Packer believes. See also http://creation.com/battle-quote-not-luther.

Sam Storms (PhD, University of Texas at Dallas) has spent more than four decades in ministry as a pastor and professor. He was visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000 to 2004, and is currently senior pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is the founder of Enjoying God Ministries and the author of numerous books, including Chosen for Life, Tough Topics, Kept for Jesus, and Packer on the Christian Life.

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Filed under Church History, Gay Marriage

2 Corinthians 10.12-18

Title: Boasting: Some Ground Rules

Text: 2 Corinthians 10.12-18

CIT: the super apostles had set themselves up by making comparisons to themselves and to Paul. They were enjoying the fruit of Paul’s labor in Corinth and were leading the Corinthians astray.

CIS: Boasting has ground rules;


Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist pastor in London, England, had a pastor-friend, Dr. Newman Hall, who wrote a book entitled, Come to Jesus. Another preacher, writing an editorial for a local paper, wrote a scathing and lengthy article that ridiculed Hall. Hall bore it patiently at first, but over time the article gained steam and popularity. Hall decided he would sit down and write a letter of protest in his defense. His answer was full of retaliatory rhetoric and inflammable invectives that out did anything the dastardly article had done to him. So, before mailing the letter, he took it to his good friend Spurgeon for his opinion and proofing.

Spurgeon read the letter carefully and handed back to Hall. While the letter was passing back to Hall, Spurgeon asserted that it was indeed a well-written letter. He said it was excellent and the writer of that article deserved everything that letter possessed. “But,” he added, “It just lacks one little thing.” After pausing in thought Spurgeon continued, “Underneath your signature you ought to write the words, ‘Author of Come to Jesus.’”

The two godly men looked at each other for a few moments. Then Hall tore the letter to shreds.

I want to talk to you today about boasting; about pride; about glory; about authenticity. There is a level of authenticity that should bring you pride and even cause you to boast. However, just where does that happen? In the OT, there is a word: Hallal. It can mean to shine, to praise, to boast or to glory. It has other meanings as well. If you think about it for a moment – wouldn’t you say that there isn’t too much difference between these words?

  • Shine
  • Praise
  • Boast
  • Glory

Are there ground rules in the Bible for such behavior? Are there times that is it ok for us to boast? What about boasting in matters that aren’t yours – boasting in other’s accomplishments and authenticity…

In our text 2 Corinthians 10.12-18, Paul outlines this matter of boasting and sets some ground rules – rules that he will follow as he begins boasting in the next chapter. Here is his outline, as I see it:

  1. Boasting within the Limits
  2. Boasting within the Labor
  3. Boasting within the Lord

Transition statement: Let’s look the 1st section here in Setting the Ground Rules for Boasting:

1.     Boasting within the Limits (12-13)

exp.: rd v12a; Paul comes back to this ‘commending’ again, showing us that he is taking about these super apostles. Paul never refers to these super apostles by name. He never addresses them straight on. Instead, it’s as if they’re in the room and Paul knows they’re listening. He address the Corinthians, with the full knowledge that these others are listening in; Let’s look at a few words; you wouldn’t notice it in the English, but there is a play on words in these words we just read; ἐγκρῖναι ἢ συγκρῖναι; Classify or compare; It’s like he’s saying you’re not the standard and someone else is not the standard; You don’t compare within and without;

  1. You’re not supposed to compare yourselves with others
    1. not to their work;
    2. not to their accomplishments;
    3. not to their standards; Rd v 12b; Two more words; Measure – meter; Boasting by way of comparison to others is outside the limits;
  2. You’re not supposed to compare others to yourself; you’re not the standard either! When people do this, Paul says, they are without understanding.

This is our 4th word; συνίημι; Lit.: to set together; The idea is that the puzzel pieces are coming together in your mind piece by piece and wah-lah, you understand; Really to the point of insight; There is intelligence intimated here – that is, the capacity to understand;

ill.: In the 80’s, there was a slogan pushed by Nancy Reagan: Just say no. She was determined to get out the knowledge that drugs are bad for you and that would lead to people no longer using drugs. She felt that knowledge was the key. But we’ve learned that knowledge alone doesn’t stop drug use. There is a 2nd step to knowledge – the application of knowledge. It’s called Wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

The funny thing about it is that Tomatoes were considered fruit until the Supreme Court ruled in 1893 (Nix vs. Hedden) that tomatoes were vegetables. Scientifically, they were wrong. They did it because the ruling allowed the tomato to be taxed under the Tariff Act of 1883. Since then, many have assumed tomatoes are vegetables. Scientifically though, they have seeds – which make them fruit. But I digress…

app.: the point is that knowledge isn’t anything unless it’s used correctly. Knowledge would be the directions. Wisdom is following those directions. Paul says these guys are without understanding. They may act like they know a whole lot – and they probably do; but, really, they just don’t know how all of the pieces fit together. They’re foolish. Rd v 13;

t.s.: Boasting can be done within the Limits. Well, what are those limits? He actually states it right there in v 13 – that work that has been assigned to us, namely – the labor; And that’s our 2nd point, 2ndly,

2.     Boasting within the Labor (14-16)

exp.: with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, rd v 14; For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. This area of influence is the Corinthian church! Paul was commissioned by God to go. Paul states clearly that he and his team of missionaries were the ones to plant their church. I’ve been racking my brain as to who could have been considered the planter of this church before Paul. Think of the division: “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

  • Christ – we’ll yeah, but he wasn’t the missionary – he’s the boss who does the sending.
  • Apollos – No, he doesn’t appear until after Paul establishes the church in Acts 18;
  • Cephas – Maybe… We don’t know when he came through; but maybe the argument from the super-apostles is that they get their ‘commendation’ from Cephas;
  • Paul – seems to me to be the 1st one on the scene.

So here’s what I think: I don’t know this, but this is a theory I have: the super-apostles were disciples at some level with someone like Cephas (Simon Peter) or Apollos. And, they used Cephas or Apollos or some other Apostle or even church to commend themselves to the Corinthians. That’s my guess. Truth is, we just don’t know.

So, to be clear now, Paul clarifies for us in v 15-16 that this boasting can be done within the area of assignment from God; rd v 15-16; this boasting, as it were, was in this foundation that they’ve become a base of operations – not boasting in them, as much as boasting in what will be done through them – taking the Gospel even further from Jerusalem. At one point, Corinth was the boundary of how far the Gospel had been taken. Now, they created a base of operations that enabled Paul to take the Gospel further. Paul didn’t have to boast of what anyone else had done – there was plenty of boasting to do in what God had done in Corinth and what God was doing through them to take the Gospel further. And, just as Paul didn’t need to boast of anyone else’s work – so they shouldn’t be boasting in the work that he had done. That’s just wrong – that’s outside the limits.

ill.: It’s like if you take your compass and pencil and draw a circle from Jerusalem, the outside line of how far the Gospel had gone would go through Corinth.

app.: Paul has bragging rights, as it were, because this labor, established by God was his. No one else could possibly say what he could say. And, Paul says: so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. He won’t take credit for someone else’s work. That would just be wrong – out of limits, so to speak.

This is precisely what he tells the Christians in Rome when he writes to them and says in 15.17:

17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” 22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.

t.s.: So, boasting within the limits, within the labor and finally,

3.     Boasting within the Lord (17-18)

exp.: rd v 17; his reference here is from Jeremiah 9.23-24; 23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

If you’ve missed it to this point, he makes the context of this boasting so clear:

  1. It is limited:
    1. Do not boast in your wisdom. Stop there. Wisdom is a good thing. But, to boast in YOUR wisdom isn’t.
    2. Do not boast in YOUR
    3. Do not boast in YOUR Rd v 18;
  2. It is in the labor of the gospel
    1. Boast in that he understands me.
    2. Boast in that he knows me.
  3. It is only in the Lord
    1. Who is perfect in all he does (He practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness)

Conclusion: the following comes from the Preacher’s Commentary, 2 Corinthians, written by Kenneth Chaffin

Cliff Barrows is one of the best-known musicians in the Christian world, having led great crusade choirs all over the world for more than a third of a century. I have come to know him very well through the years and am constantly amazed at both his ability and his spirit. Through his many years of close association with Dr. Billy Graham in the work of evangelism, in addition to directing the music for the crusades he has produced both the radio and television programs and has carried countless other leadership roles within the team and the association.

Cliff is an excellent speaker, and when I was leading the schools of evangelism for Dr. Graham, I made every effort to get him to speak at each of them. The first time he spoke I discovered by his reaction to my introduction a very interesting thing about how he viewed his work. My usual routine was to tell something about what each speaker had done that would be interesting to the audience. Since most of them knew Cliff only as a Music Director, I took a moment to tell of his other activities and to comment on his great value to the team and its ministry. My introduction so embarrassed him that he had a hard time getting started with his talk. Afterwards I apologized and asked what I had done wrong. He said, “Kenneth, I appreciate your inviting me to speak and I know that you were sincere in your remarks, but it just makes me uncomfortable when someone tries to give me credit for things that God has done.” That is boasting in the Lord.

Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord! Let him sing:

Revive Us Again

Chorus: Hallelujah Thine the glory, Hallelujah amen! Hallelujah Thine the glory, Revive us again!

Verse 1: We praise Thee O God For the Son of Thy love; For Jesus who died and is now gone above.

Verse 2: We praise Thee O God For Thy Spirit of light who has shown us our Savior and scattered our night.

Verse 3: All glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain, who has borne all our sins and has cleansed every stain.

Verse 4: Revive us again. Fill each heart with Thy love. May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, Boasting, Scripture, Sermon