VI. The Evidence of his authority presented. 2 Corinthians 11:5-13:10
Paul set forth the following evidence and arguments for his case –
A. Financial accountability. 2 Corinthians 11:5-12
B. False Apostles exposed. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
C. Fair hearing requested. 2 Corinthians 11:16-21
D. Faced adversity. 2 Corinthians 11:22-33
E. Favour of God upon him. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
The final argument that Paul presented to the Corinthians was that –
1. God had protected Paul and enabled him to serve Him. And along with that protection –
2. God had prepared him. In these verses Paul speaks of three things – Truth, Trials, and Trust.
a. Truth. 12:1-6 He had been blessed with an abundance of knowledge of God’s will revealed.
1). He had a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 9
2). He had personal instruction from the Lord –
Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
3). He had a personal view of the Paradise of God. 12:2-6
When Paul said that it was not lawful for him to speak of the things that he saw, it was with the same reasoning that the Israelites were forbidden to make any graven image of what they thought God looked like. For the image, there is nothing that will do God justice – everything will come short of depicting Who He is. It is the same for Paul, but instead of drawing images, it was images painted with words. It was best just not to say anything as it could not be explained in such a way to bring complete glory to God.
Paul is telling them something like this “I could tell you of the amazing things that God has given me the privilege to experience. As an apostle, He has prepared me to preach and to teach His truth to you all. But – I will not go on talking about these things that set me apart as an apostle. I want to tell you about things that He has done in my life that He will also do in yours – give you grace in your life to accomplish the ministry that He would have you to do. I want to tell you about the things that we can all identify with!
b. Trials. 12:7 (Favour?)
The fact that we do not know what the “thorn in the flesh” was is a blessing in that all of us can identify with his unnamed affliction as being the same as that which we may suffer from. This being true, we can also look for the grace of God to be sufficient for us as much as it was for Paul and glorify the Lord for His blessings in our lives.
Galatians 4:13-14 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
c. Trust. 12:8-10
Paul learned that the Lord’s power working through his weakness brought glory to God and not to Paul, yet it did identify him as the Lord’s servant! He represented the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember Paul’s command to Timothy as he pastored the church in Ephesus –
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word;
Timothy may have written to Paul and said to him, “but I am sick – I don’t feel good”.
Paul had instructed Timothy in his first letter – 1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
Take your medicine and – “be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Paul knew that the Lord would use Timothy’s weakness to prove His grace!
To be a faithful witness for Christ often involves these three conditions.
Do you know the truth? Have you received it in your soul such that it is part of who you are, impossible to separate your life from God’s truth?
Do you receive trials as exercises of your faith? Are you growing stronger in the Lord? Or do you often think or complain “Why me”?
Remember that in the moment that the world thought our Lord Jesus Christ was at His weakest –
They tied him with ropes – the same kind of ropes that He had given Samson power to break out of so easily, yet Jesus submitted to them.
They tried Him by His own law, which they had corrupted and He could have corrected, yet He answered them not.
They took Him before the Roman governor of Judea, Pontias Pilate who said – , Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.?
They thrust a crown of thorns upon His head, putting a robe of purple on Him which became spotted with the blood that He had come to shed for these very people – for all people!
They tortured Him, beating Him without mercy with whips, paraded Him through the city carrying His cross to Golgotha, nailed Him to a cross and left Him there, watching as He suffered and died.
Mark 15:29-32 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
He was at His strongest!
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you trust God’s working in your life as that which is best for you? Can you say with Paul –
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.