2 Corinthians 12

 

  • 2Corinthians 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
  • 2Co 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.
  • 2Co 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
  • 2Co 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
  • 2Co 12:5 Of such a one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
  • 2Co 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
  • 2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Paul could not possibly become exalted in himself because he was constantly followed by an agent of Satan who persecuted him and caused the suffering he constantly suffered because of his faithfulness in spreading the gospel without fear or favor. He told the truth and never sought the favor of men. In doing so he was a great success in the spreading the gospel to the Gentiles. Yet in spite of all this he was constantly being beaten, shipwrecked and jailed for the cause of Christ. This he counted nothing wanting only to save as many as possible before going to be with the Lord where Satan could never touch him again.

  • 2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

Whether this was a physical infirmity or just the persecutions he suffered for the cause of Christ, we can't tell for sure. Some have said that it was his eyes. However, we see that whatever it was, it was sent by Satan to try to defeat and stop his purpose. God allowed it and didn't stop this from occurring because God saw that perhaps Paul would have gotten exalted in himself. Paul was given an abundance of Revelations and visible encounters with the Lord. Lets face it, if we saw visions of Jesus and many miracles were accomplished through our ministries, would we not be tempted to be exalted in ourselves as if we done something great? This we must resist and avoid. We have nothing that wasn't given to us. We also have nothing that other believers could not have if they were faithful and believed God.

  • 2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God will use the weakest one of us for His glory. Its not the strong self-made person that can be used by the Holy Spirit, its the ones who know that they are weak in themselves and could do nothing unless God anointed and gave them strength. We sometimes seek workers in the church who are talented, have high education in those areas and are highly trained and skilled. However, we overlook those that may lack all this yet are able to depend upon the Holy Spirit to use them to perform the will of God. Some churches pay their musicians, choir directors, etc. because they want professional talented people. I sometimes wonder if that is the way to true worship. I don't want to criticize but why can't we all just sit down and sing praises to God together? Why do we have to have all the fancy stuff to incite us to worship? Sometimes it seems as if we want entertainment instead of just all singing together in worship. Those lacking in education and talent may be left out.

  • 2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
  • 2Co 12:11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

It seems as if Paul is forced to defend himself against false accusations and critics.

  • 2Co 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
  •  2Co 12:13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.
  • 2Co 12:14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

He didn't see their finances and material support but he sought them that they would grow in love, truth, sound doctrine and walk in the will of God.

  • 2Co 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
  • 2Co 12:16 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
  • 2Co 12:17 Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?
  • 2Co 12:18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
  • 2Co 12:19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
  • 2Co 12:20 For I fear, lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

Paul would debate the truth if necessary and correct error so I don't believe he is speaking of correcting someone who is in error and has forsaken sound doctrine. He is most probably warning against debates on trivial unimportant things, envying, resentment, strife, gossip, backbiting, exalting one over another and such things that divide a church the wrong way.

He is not against all debate for the good of the truth or else he himself would be considered divisive for he corrected many times their errors. That is what these letters to the churches are all about.

  • 2Co 12:21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

Paul was concerned that they once knew Christ but some crept in and began to think they could be a Christian and still sin. Fornication was being practiced without repentance. This was not good and Paul warned them to stay true to the original gospel and not allow these sins to defile the whole church but reprove them. One man went so far as to commit fornication with his own father's wife. This was not to be. He could have lost his soul and influenced others to follow his ways had he not been corrected. Correction in the right manner is good and will save those that hear.

11 Corinthians 13

 

 
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