Read - 2 Corinthians 10
Message - Scott Woodburn
The world needs more people like you. You never make mistakes, your motives are always pure, you aren't like everyone else, let's say it again...the world needs more people like you. Perish the thought! Allegedly G.K. Chesterton responded to the question "What's wrong with the world?" with two words "I am". He may or may not have said or written this, but it doesn't rob the statement of its truth. Whenever we're tempted to believe in our own greatness, it's time to pause.
Paul understood this completely. He referred to himself as a wretched man and the chief of sinners and here he makes it clear that he certainly won't extol his own virtues like the false apostles. He will not boast beyond limits (v13a) but only speak of the area of influence that God Himself has given (v13b). Paul would never have set foot in Corinth without the Lord's will. Paul would never have seen a single sinner saved without the Lord's will. Paul would never have been the first to preach the Gospel in Corinth without the Lord's will (v14).
The false apostles took a different approach. They had arrived in Corinth and immediately set about destroying Paul's reputation. They boasted about themselves despite the fact that the Corinthian church had been built by the grace of God through the labours of Paul (v15a). On the other hand Paul hoped that the faith of the Corinthian church would increase (v15b). Not to see himself glorified but so that Paul could preach the Gospel far beyond Corinth (v16a). He had no desire for his name to be exalted or to build on another man's foundation (v16b) instead he lived his life to preach Christ and Him crucified.
This is a useful corrective to our natural attitude that says we are the centre of the universe. Everyone and everything must revolve around me...or else. Brothers and sisters we have nothing to boast about except Christ. If we are gifted with talents, they come from the Lord. If we are blessed with influence, it comes from the Lord. If we see much fruit from our labours, it comes from the Lord. No wonder Paul quotes Jeremiah 9v23-24 when he urges the boaster to boast only in the Lord (v17). The full verse in Jeremiah states that the one who boasts should boast of this "that he understands and knows me."
Understanding and knowing God is the only source of boasting. Boasting not out of arrogance or pride but out of sheer grace saturated joy that we have been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. We belong to Jesus! This is the difference maker. We can spend a lifetime trying to commend ourselves in the eyes of the world (v18a) but ultimately the only one who is approved, is the one who the Lord Himself has commended (v18b). This commendation comes only through faith in Christ which in itself is a gift of God so that no man may boast.
So to every "king of the castle" and every "daddy's little princess", the world needs much less of you and much much more of Christ. May we decrease as He increases, may He be gracious in giving us a platform to speak and influence among the nations, and when the God given opportunity comes, may we always proclaim "Behold the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sin of the world!"
Q20 Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery? God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.