2 Corinthians 10

 

  • 2Co 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
  • 2Co 10:2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
  • 2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
  • 2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
  • 2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

To truly walk in the spirit and not be in bondage to the flesh, one should strive for this goal to cast down imaginations. Our imaginations get us into trouble. We can imagine ourselves too high or too low. We can imagine that we are great and imagine ourselves accomplishing great things and exalt ourselves too high or we can imagine ourselves hated or persecuted when in reality it is not happening. This is called a persecution complex. We can imagine things mistakenly thinking it is the Holy Spirit. This is why we have to try the spirits, even if it comes from within ourselves to make sure what we think is from God. Our imaginations give us trouble and hinder us. If we pray and study the word and keep ourselves in the love of God, we can cast down imaginations and learn to hear the voice of the spirit. Examining our motives is a good way to discern what we think is from God or not. A self-exalting motive is never a good one.

Every thought can be brought into subjection to the authority of Christ. False teaching starts from the imagination. He or she may think it is from the Holy Spirit. Every thought we think is not the Holy Spirit. We have to face that reality. Sure the Holy Spirit resides within each believer but we still have trouble in the flesh. Our imaginations still rule if we don't constantly cast them down and refuse to listen to them.

Fear is from the imagination. The fear and awe of God comes from the Holy Spirit. There is a difference and we need discernment to know that difference. Discernment is not only necessary in church among believers but within ourselves for we still are not perfect and are tempted in the flesh many time.

Some things to look for:

  1. Is our thoughts self-exalting? 
  2. Do our thoughts accuse someone?
  3. What is our motive?  
  4. Is our thoughts producing ungodly fear? 
  5. Does our thoughts glorify God?
  6. Is our thoughts for good or evil? 
  7. Will acting on our thoughts serve the will of God?

These are just hints of how we can discern. Still if we give ourselves to prayer and study God's word, more and more we can hear from God instead of our own imagination. Once we are sure its our imagination, cast it down and refuse to listen to it.

Imagination exalts itself against the knowledge of God. God and the carnal man do not agree. It scares me the way we put so much trust in man's knowledge in the secular world but also we tend to trust in man's knowledge of those claiming to know God's will. We must study ourselves and be careful to check out everything by the word of God.

No true bible believing preacher, teacher, prophet or apostle will fear his congregation or church checking out everything he says by the word of God. If they discourage that and want us to blindly trust in them, something is wrong. If they are afraid of us reading the word ourselves, then they may not be teaching the truth.

The Catholic church for years forbade their people to read the word with the excuse that they could not possibly interpret it right and only those authorized could properly interpret the bible.

The trouble with that is, who appoints the ones authorized? One could be faithful, pray and get the right interpretation but what about the next one that comes along. This can apply to protestant church leaders also. Evil leaders and rulers rise up all the time. There have been good popes but plenty of bad ones throughout the years. Why trust one's eternal salvation to a mere man who can sin and be subject to his imaginations as well as we?

Read and study the word for yourselves and pray for discernment.

  • 2Co 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

When spiritual leaders cast down imaginations, examine their motives and make sure they are not influenced or biased the wrong way, they can correct those that are disobedient to the word. If our motives are not pure and we just are given to our own imaginations and assumptions, then we can't judge fairly.

  • 2Co 10:7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.

Basing judgments on outward appearance and assumptions are usually wrong. Jesus said to judge righteous judgments. For instance we could see someone outwardly raise their hands in worship and show outward signs of devotion to God. That is great and I'm not putting it down, but we can't assume they are holier than the quiet person sitting next to them who never shows any outward sign of worship but may be worshipping in their own way quietly. Neither type of worship is to be criticized or condemned. There are quiet people, lets face it.  Its okay to be quiet. Its also okay to make a joyful noise unto the Lord.  In either case we can't assume that someone is more spiritual than the other by the outward appearance or the way they worship. We can't assume they are spiritual by the way they dress, give in the offering or any other outward sign.

Jesus said by their fruits we shall know them. What kind of life do they live when they are not in church? How do they treat people? Do they love in deed, not always in words and outward greeting? There are shy quiet people who never outwardly show any emotion but just may be on their knees in prayer praying for the pastor daily.  Who knows?

I remember once that a person in a church I was attending at the time, named some people and had them stand up to publicly to show the church that these were the prayer warriors of the church. I wondered at the time, "How could he know?" How many prayer warriors are going to go around and tell people they are prayer warriors? Jesus said to enter into our closets and pray secretly, not announce it to the church. I believe looking at the outward appearance is the type of judging Jesus told us not to do. 

We have to make judgments at times and discern what is right and what is wrong so Jesus couldn't be talking of judging by the word of God.  If a person is committing adultery and it is a true known fact, the person needs correction. That is not judging. Making assumptions though about things we don't know for sure is making unrighteous judgments.  If we don't know for sure, then we must be careful not to say stupid things to hurt people. 

  • 2Co 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

Spiritual authority is given for edification, correction, instruction and for the good of the hearers. Never is spiritual authority given to steal, kill and destroy. That is the work of Satan.

Those that use to torture, beat, imprison, and kill heretics were never in the will of God. They harmed more innocent people than guilty. Spiritual authority is never to be used to cause physical harm. Because of the misuse of this, we now have to keep church and state separate. Because men have bungled this power in the past, only Christ can set up a kingdom that is perfect and spiritual in nature. Man cannot do it. They tried and failed miserably.

It is a shame that we have to allow the secular rulers to enforce the law but that has to be until the return of Jesus Christ because spiritual leaders have tried and failed in this area. Once spiritual leaders lose their pure motives and desire power, they are subject to imaginations instead of the spirit of God. See the importance of casting down imaginations and keeping ourselves pure in our motives. We must exalt Christ and not ourselves. Spiritual authority is also not to be used to draw followers after one's self. 

We are to get people to Christ, even if they go to another church after they receive Christ.   I see a true church as one which preaches the gospel, disciples those who receive the gospel and then sends them out to preach the gospel somewhere else.  I don't see us hoarding and holding on to every convert that comes in the doors of our church buildings.  If the first church had of stayed in Jerusalem and just started a big mega church, none of us would have heard the gospel.  Instead persecution drove them out to different places so that the gospel spread out beyond Jerusalem.

  • 2Co 10:9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
  • 2Co 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
  • 2Co 10:11 Let such a one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
  • 2Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themseves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
  • 2Co 10:13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
  • 2Co 10:14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
  • 2Co 10:15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
  • 2Co 10:16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.
  • 2Co 10:17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
  • 2Co 10:18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

Paul was wise to teach this chapter and instruct in this manner. We see from church history how men corrupted the work of God because they did not do the things Paul is writing of here. Do all for God's glory. We must cast down our own imaginations and desires and seek for the good of the gospel. Jesus Christ must remain our priority. Our desire should be to win souls to Christ and instruct all to hear the word of God and keep the word of God. Our own desires must take a back seat to the will of God. Desiring the praise of men, desiring power over others, desiring authority that should belong only to God must be removed from our thoughts. Desiring to see people saved from sin and inherit eternal life is our goal. We must desire to see others blessed. We must desire to see others receive good. When we begin to desire bad to happen to our enemies, that is a dangerous temptation we must avoid. Again we are reminded of the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians. Love, love, love with a pure motive and desire to see all come to Jesus. Jesus doesn't want to see any one person perish and neither should we. Our motives must be for the exhortation of all, not just those that like us. 

11 Corinthians 11

 

 
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