2nd Corinthians 10:7-18

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I’m going invite you this morning to the book of 2nd Corinthians 10. And this is kind of a very self explanatory passage of scripture. Paul’s just sharing some wise words as it relates to leadership, because if you follow along on this book together for the first 9 chapters of 2nd Corinthians, Paul is focused much on just the body of Christ in general, particular to the Church of Corinth. But it’s very practical to just churches everywhere. And Paul shares his letter in a very personal way, because the church has started to malign and attack the apostle Paul. But Paul has laid down his life for them. He’s loved them. He’s given everything to serve them. And he won’t quit. He won’t give up on the church, even though they’re in a difficult spot, even though they’re attacking the apostle Paul. Paul is continue to pour out his life for their well-being. And so the first 9 chapters just deals with the health of the church. And then when you get to Chapter 10 and on, it still deals with the health of the church. But Paul is really focusing his attention now on the false teachers that have infiltrated the church and have poisoned the church against the apostle Paul. And Paul is not so much concerned with what the church thinks about him as much as he is concerned with what the church thinks about Jesus. But the Apostle Paul, when he’s addressing the church, deals with himself because Paul knows he’s an apostle. And to turn away from an apostle is to turn away from the message that God sent His apostles to deliver in this world. So it directly impacts their relationship with Christ. And so Paul goes after that. And in Chapter 10 to Chapter 13, he now deals with this these false leaders that are corrupting the church and doing damage to the body of Christ. And next week, we’re actually going to get into Chapter 12 and we’re going to deal with the idea of, the topic of Apostles and whether or not they are for today and what that title was intended for the church and what that might mean for us today.

So if you’re interested in the topic of apostles, I would tell you definitely come next week as we deal with that. But today we’re going to talk about leadership in general. Paul is going to turn his focus to the idea of leadership in general. And for us, in order for us to make application, we want us to recognize that as we engage this, Paul is going to talk about himself in light of Christian leadership and the things that he has learned according to Christ and these other leaders that are a part of the church. But I want you to know something. As we deal with this, that everyone that God calls into this world to live on a mission for him, which is every believer, is a leader for Christ in some capacity. Because leadership is all about influence and God has got you in a place in this world where you can make a difference in the lives of people around you. God has got you in a position of influence. And there’s a way to certainly expand that influence. But because you’re in relationships somewhere in this world with people, you have a platform to influence. And because you have a platform to influence, that makes you a leader. And so when we look at this, we’re going to recognize, as Paul talks about, good leadership and poor leadership, that not one of us in this room has fully arrived. And all of us are on a process of growing and what God desires for us in our lives. And so we’re not perfected yet, and we will not be there till we see Jesus face to face. But we’re on this journey of growing, right? And we get to do this together as God’s people and we get to do this in our relationship with the Lord. And so we’re going to see parts of our life that reflect that, what Paul defines as being godly and parts of our life that we might not want to address, that might be ungodly. But we’re going at this looking at following a pathway of a of a godly leader. Are you following a pathway of godly leadership? Are you a godly leader? What does that mean for our lives if we want to be of a godly influence? And this is where Paul starts with the Church of Corinth. He’s saying, okay, as we get ready to address this, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to look at what is before your eyes. Just consider the direction you’re going and who is helping you get there. Church let’s just evaluate this. Let’s just be honest with where we are. Really consider not just the enthusiasm of the moment, but long term. Let’s think about the. Pathway that we’re heading toward. And you personally, what’s your life set up for? As Paul wants to put his aim and attention there. He gives us this first point of your notes when you think about what it means to follow a godly leader. Point number one is this, (a godly leader) is known by their relationship with Christ. A godly leader is known by their relationship with Christ. You can’t lead well unless you’re being led well. Right? And this is where Paul starts. He’s saying, look, if anyone is confident that he is Christ, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ, so also are we. So Paul realizes he’s stepping into this discussion about leadership and he’s got these leaders at Corinth that are that are corrupt leaders leading the church down a path of destruction, and they’re claiming to follow Jesus. But Paul wants to also step in here and say, but so am I. All right. So I am definitely following Jesus. So we are going to just evaluate this for a minute, but I’m following Jesus. And I just want you to know, just because people say they follow Jesus doesn’t mean their intentions are always pure. In fact, in the Church of Corinth, they’re using the idea of Jesus simply to leverage Jesus as a tool to get something else that they desire. And what you find with these leaders is they just want the accolades, praise, and power. That’s what they’re interested in. And the Church of Corinth and not everyone’s motives in following Jesus are always pure.

This is Paul wants us to start, saying to us, can Jesus just be enough? Can your life pursuit really just be I want to know Christ and make him known. I mean, that’s what the Apostle Paul’s life was about in Philippians 3. That’s what he tells us. He forsook everything. He was the leader of leaders among the Hebrews. For one purpose, to know Christ and to make him known. If I could just tell you one thing in this world that just takes the wind out of masts sails. It’s to see people in positions of authority that leverage that for their own selfish promotion. That really does damage in the lives of others and especially takes the wind out of my sails when I see that in church community. When I as a pastor, have to deal with people, and I’m happy to do it, but when I have to encounter with people that have just faced a large amount of religious abuse in their lives. And trying to get past that hurdle to just experience again the joy of what it means to follow Jesus. It’s devastating. That’s how important it is when you say you represent Christ in this world, that you take it serious. That your pursuit of your life really be about knowing Jesus. And wanting through that relationship with Christ to make Christ known. Because while I think about. The negative consequences of just seeing a path of destruction of people who claim to follow Jesus, that their intentions weren’t really about Jesus, to then lead people down a path of just, darkness, of despair. I realize that also on the flip side of that. That when people really make their life about Jesus. What a joy it is to walk life with them. I mean, you might even think in your own life when you’ve been around someone that they just drip Jesus, just how joyful it is when you’ve walked away from them. I mean, think about your own. Walk with Christ and why you are where you are. It’s somewhere on that journey, most likely, you have met some Christians that have genuinely made their life about the pursuit of Jesus. And when you think about, you look back over things that have been transformational in your life, you really recognize that God really used those individuals to speak into your life at a point when you were vulnerable, at a point when you’re really open and they really represented Christ well and it really made a difference in your world. I can think for me as a lost boy that was just running the streets and just doing dumb stuff, that there was an older gentleman at the time in his late sixties who who would show up when he would see me out in the streets and would go toe to toe with me and talk about his faithfulness in Jesus. And I’m thinking, man, like most people, I would just knock over it this moment. But this guy did not care. He was bold, he was brave. And he talked to me about the Lord. And, you know, I would walk away scratching my head. I didn’t know what to do with this guy. But the Lord would use that just a brief interaction and I would see him fairly regularly. But that brief interaction, God did not let me get far from that. And the Lord used that as an instrument just to keep building His presence in my life until I encountered another Christian who who I was always rude to. And he would come to me and he would talk to me about the Lord, and I would always say things negative back to him and and just see how much I could just publicly embarrass him like that. That would be my goal. And then one day, I recognize just how broken my life was and the place that I wanted to go to meet Jesus. Was to them. How important it is that no matter what the circumstances in life are around you, that your pursuit is to be about Jesus. These religious leaders making arrogant claims about their own life and trying to promote themselves really over and above Christ, but still claiming to be a follower of Christ.

But it’s Paul that just he enjoys the simplicity of Christ. And he goes on from there. And in. Verse eight and nine, this is. The next point in your notes. That you then a godly leader. Uses position to bless, not abuse. They use their position to bless, not abuse. Maybe if I said a different way. They use power for people. Not power over people. And he describes it early eight and nine. He says, for even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. I do not want to appear to be frightened. Frightening you with my letters, Paul, saying, Look, I understand what my position of authority is about, like I’m an apostle, but the point of this position isn’t to leverage over your, power over you, to destroy you. But rather see this position for the purpose of building you up. To get beneath you. To help you become all that God has called you to be. In fact, if you just look in 2nd Corinthians 7:2-3, that Paul plainly says to us in this passage, he says:.

Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one. We have corrupted no one. We have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you for I said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together.

So Paul has expressed throughout this book his willingness to lay down him himself for the benefit of others. And I’d say this, I think mentioned it to you some time to time. I tell this to my boys regularly. God made you strong. And strength can be a dangerous thing. But dangerous doesn’t have to be bad. Dangerous when it’s used for the right purposes can be good for the protection of people to their benefit. God doesn’t give us people power for the purpose of of leveraging to push people down, to elevate yourself. When God created mankind, he created this in the garden and said, be fruitful, multiply and bless.

He gives us a position of authority to represent God in this world in order to leverage for his goodness, his glory to the benefit of others. Good leaders know that. Godly leaders know that. They don’t live for their personal success. They live for the success of others because they know when others become successful, they’re successful, too. And so Paul says use your position to bless not abuse. Now, let me just ask you, in your own personal relationships or maybe within your own family. Are your family members afraid of you? Or do they revere you? You know the difference, right? Do they have to walk on eggshells when you’re around because they never know what thing they might do or say that’s going to set you off. Or do they respect you because they’ve seen you live your life with the kind of dignity and they know that you’re the kind of person that is for them and they want their life to be like yours because they’ve seen the goodness of Jesus in who you are. Now I realize we’re not perfect in every situation. And when I look at this passage of scripture, I recognize we’re talking about the Church of Corinth here, and the Church of Corinth had totally maligned the Apostle Paul. But the Apostle Paul is teaching them about the idea of God leadership because he recognizes their days are not done and there’s still opportunity to live for his glory, despite anything they might have done in their past. If they just make their pursuit about God’s glory and His glory made known through their lives, and they’ll see their position in light of that, to not use for their own personal gain, but for the benefit of others. When others when they do too. If you want people to respect you, it’s not just about demanding it. So they fear you. If you got to walk in a room and tell people you’re in charge. You’re not in charge. But Paul wants us to realize the idea of leadership is, as he says in this passage, is for building up, not for destroying, to bless and not abuse, the power for the people, not over people.

Point number three, verse ten, he says, like this. Let me give you the summary. The notes here. First, you place character over charisma. A good leader will place character over charisma. When you live the Christian life, character is king above everything. The character is what you demonstrate in order to build trust. When you build trust, you have influence. And when you have influence, you’re being a good leader. And verse ten, This is what he says for they say his letters are weighty and strong. This is the accusation to make against the Apostle Paul. His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak. And his speech of no account. They’re saying about Paul. Look, the guy, you know, he talks like this, this godly character, but he lacks charisma. He’s not going to impress you with his presence. And then they go on to flaunt with this extravagance of how great they are. They these kind of leaders, they can get up and entertain you all day long. Their show. But when life gets hard. When life gets harder. They really are the kind of people you can count on. Paul’s elevating the importance of the idea of character far and above charisma. In our culture, we mistake one for the other. I think today we like to be we’re in an entertainment driven culture, and we were very much allured by the thoughts of charisma. We’re we’re attracted to those things, people that can make a tweet and sound cool, right? We like to follow those kind of things. You look good. And a one minute video, right? But Paul is saying. But. But in terms of really making your life matter. You need something good to model your life after. And it comes from those individuals that have the consistency of character throughout their days. Anybody can create a crowd. Anybody can create a show. But it’s godly people that have the consistency of character throughout their life. Those are the kind of leaders you should look for. That’s the kind of leader you should seek to become. That you get consistent with who God.

God calls you to be in. And we talked about this last week, but Paul’s accusers, they. They mistook his meekness for weakness. And they failed to see that the reason Paul was able to walk into the. Church with. Such a servant mentality, an attitude of meekness, is not because he was uncertain as to who he was. He knew. Exactly who he was in light of who Christ was, and he didn’t. Seek the approval of man. That’s the difference between these leaders in Corinth and the Apostle Paul. These leaders in Corinth are looking for the accolades and the praise of the people in the church. Because they have found their identity in it. But not Paul. He doesn’t need that. And that’s why he’s able to walk with a consistency of of his character, because he knows who he is in light of Christ. And not only that, he’s he’s he recognizes his life while he is in authority. He’s also under authority. And he wants to represent Christ well. So he tells us in verse nine, he talks about the writing of his letters, the importance of God’s word. His intentions are not to take God’s word and make you afraid of it, but to see the importance of what God’s truth should say in our lives. And as he writes God’s word, he realizes that he’s also accountable to it. Number four. A good leader is the same in public as they are in private. It’s the same in public and in private. And verse 11 he says this Let such a person understand. But what we say by letter when absent we do. When we are present. Paul saying he’s always consistent. The same person he is in public is is the same person he is in private. I know there’s a quote on on one of the first DC talk albums that says The single greatest cause of atheism are those that acknowledge Jesus with their lips but walk out and deny them by their lifestyle. That’s what an unbelieving world simply finds. Unbelievable. People want to see the genuineness. Of Jesus in a tangible way. And who we claim to be in Christ publicly should also be who we are in Christ privately.

Dl Moody says it like This character is what you are in the dark. Parents. Can I tell you maybe one of the most powerful tools you have? To help your your children follow Jesus. Is your consistent walk with Jesus in the home? Not just what you say about Jesus when you gather with the church. But how you live for Jesus in your daily life. That will bear more on their following of Christ. Then a gathering together publicly. Because you’re the greatest testimony to demonstrate the goodness of Christ in their lives. I’m not trying to undermine the significance of church. I think it’s important for God’s people to gather together. And I realize sometimes in our home we’re not always religiously aligned or belief wise aligned. But I’m just telling you for your sake, wherever you are. Moral Jesus. I can tell you, I know sometimes it’s hard when you got young kids and life can be chaos to just try to do your devotions, maybe in the morning when, when, when life seems a little bit insane. But but I can I tell you one of the one of the greatest practices you could do. Is to find a chair somewhere off the the side of your home where kids are interacting in the morning as they get ready for have cereal or whatever. They try to get ready for school, whatever breakfast you’ve you meet your kids. I’m sorry if the sugar of cereal offended anybody, but whatever. I think they spray those things with vitamins, don’t they? Even if it’s a little bit chaos, it’ll it’ll be chaos for a short period of a few years of life. But if they can just see you meeting with Jesus. And I see how important it is that you have that time with Jesus. It may not speak to them in that moment, but as they get older and begin to reflect on their lives, they will remember the time that mom or dad would take time to pray before dinner or in the mornings. When everyone got up as breakfast was served, they would have 510 minutes in God’s Word to meet with Jesus. A good leader. It’s the same in public and in private.

Such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent we do when present number five. A good leader measures success through their calling, not by comparing good leader measures success by through their calling, not by comparing. Let me this is a longer section of Scripture, but let me do this. This is fun. This week I had actually had a point, in some cases multiple points for every verse, but I thought this is too much. So cut it down to Lucky seven for you guys. So verse 12 to verse 14, now that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are committing themselves, but when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we. Will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us. To reach even to you. 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 of Christ. So, Paul, he’s talking about these religious leaders and comparing themselves to to one another to see how great they are, comparing themselves to other people and how great they are. But Paul, at the end of this, he’s listing his calling now. I was faithful to what God called me to do. Now, let me just say this. When I when we talk about when we talk about comparing and calling, if I could just say there is one word in Christianity that I feel is like a very abused word. It is it is the word calling. Some people tell me this this word. And I just think, oh, lord, what are we about to get into? If people come and say something like, This is my calling and I’m thinking, Oh, gosh, like, what? What does that even mean? It’s that is a scary word, because sometimes people use that as an as an abusive word to ramrod what is they want to do. This is my calling, right? I am to be on the music team even though I sound like a drowning cat when I sing right.

Like no one else thinks this is your calling. You’re better off finding a place for people who are blessed by what you do, not hiding from what you do. Sorry if that offends anybody. But. But I’m just like people will leverage that word to make it mean something that I don’t think scripture intends for it to mean. It may be what you want to do, but I can tell you people are not necessarily always blessed by you doing those things right. So so it’s important to find out where where is God, where is God gifted? You write, what is your calling? And I think even in our in our culture here locally. The word calling has just got different connotations to it. Right. But but when we ask just simply the question, what is it? What does a calling mean? Can I tell you that is the answer to that question is a journey that you get. To discover all the days of your life. And what I mean is sometimes in Christianity we are not very patient people. We like to treat our walk with Jesus as if it’s this. Microwaveable. Instantaneous. Discovery that you need to know the answer now so you can move on. Because we want to know God’s calling, because we want to know what God’s will is for our life. And we go around looking for God’s will for our life. Like it’s this dot that I’ve got to discover and I’ve got to stand on this and I’m never moving from this. And this is why God made me and I’m here forever, right? I’ve got to find my calling so I can find his will. And then I know I live my purpose. But. But your walk with Jesus does not work that way. Because your walk with Jesus is about a relationship that you get to grow in all the days of your life. And as you get to enjoy that journey with him, God starts to shape your heart for certain things. And as He shapes your heart for certain things, as you. Grow in him, you start to discover. Maybe some areas that God has called you.

So. Let me give you a if you’re if you’re wondering what is God’s calling from my life here? Here are some areas of your life that as you walk in these you start to grow. And by the way, you’re calling in life will expand because because your growth in Jesus expands, right? So so you start as you start pursuing the Lord in this world, your influence may look, you know, here it is a couple of people. But as you start to live your life and as you grow in a relationship and live on mission for the Lord, your ability to influence for him grows because you’re understanding of the Lord and his truth grows. And so when you try to discover God’s will for your life, God’s calling for your life, let me tell you, it’s not a dot. It’s more like a it’s more like a giant circle, a giant fence. And you just live in that because wherever you go in this world, the Lord wants you to influence people around you for His kingdom and glory. And sometimes in your life you might find the dot like like Moses. He had a bush burning bush experience, like when he was in his eighties or the apostle Paul, you know, the Apostle Paul was over a decade, over a decade before he went on his first missionary journey. So he was just serving in the local church, and God continued to grow him in that before the church commissioned him to go on a missionary journey. I mean, that’s like over a decade of just living for Jesus. And that parameter before he got a dot, you might get a dot in your life. But regardless of just fixating on the dot. Just live your life for the Lord’s glory. And eventually you might find a dot. But when you think about God’s will for your life, it starts in Scripture. If it doesn’t align with God’s Word, it is not God’s will. So so you got to you got to know God’s word and seek God in relationship through prayer. And as you do that, God, God begins to transform your heart to see this world as as God sees this world, He creates only this this personal desire to live for His glory.

You you might be inclined to some things over another. Like for me, I wanted to move somewhere in this country where I knew I could make the biggest impact for the gospel, that I could possibly do it somewhere that I knew I wanted to just give my life fully to the cause of Christ and where I would die one day. So if you don’t like me, I’m sorry, but. But I plan to be here forever. Or until you kicked me out, I guess. But so. So God grows your desire. And then you start to get experience and abilities as you’re serving. Like people start like, what do I do? And sometimes people want you to say, Look, here is your calling. I’m going to give you a calling. As a pastor, I just want you to know I’m not going to do that. And I don’t want to do that because I want you, as you grow in your relationship, to start developing your own personal desires and just start serving the Lord. And as you start serving the Lord, you’ll start to learn from that things that you like and enjoy more than others. And you’ll grow in your experience and your abilities. And it’ll be great. And as you serve, there should be a peace about it. There should be a peace about like when I told certain friends and family I was moving from my hometown to here. They some of them thought I was crazy, right? And they didn’t understand it. But for me. Nothing but satisfaction and joy and peace in that. I love living where we live. I love waking up every day and realizing I might be the only Christian someone encounters and I get to live in light of that. I mean, for me, that brings life into me just to be be able to be tangible hands and feet in Jesus and then then be affirmed by God’s people. And I think that’s important. Like sometimes you might think that you’ve got a certain ability and people are like, No, no, no, no, not so much that. But when you when you do this, this is what really this is what really.

Blesses me. And being able to hear from other people how the Lord uses you in their own life and then. Common sense. It’s not always going to make sense to everybody when you serve the Lord the way. You might choose to serve the Lord. But but God’s people should begin to understand and see those things. And so I think as we as we treat this like a journey, not. Like a dot, we start to discover this as we as we live. For the Lord. When we say things like we find our way, we measure our success through our. Calling, not not by comparing. We’re not here to beat people. God doesn’t call you to be like the person next to you. But comparing our our lives to them to think that we’re a better Christian than anybody else. That’s not our goal at all. Our goal is to be who God made us to be. And we don’t become that by looking at other people and trying to compete with them. We become that by looking to Christ and following after. Him and growing in that relationship. So it’s not about comparing, but but about calling. I’ve heard a story about Winston Churchill. It kind of follows this idea that you’re. You’re never as. As bad. As some people say you are. And you’re never as good as other people might think you are. You’re somewhere in between that right. And Winston Churchill, someone came to him one time and they said they said to him, Winston, when you put on these lectures, it must be amazing to you that, you know, before you walk in the lecture hall. It’s going to be completely full. And Winston Churchill says, you know, yeah, sometimes that I’ll think about that and it’s great. But then but then I quickly remember that if if I were being hanged, there were probably twice as many people there. So so it’s not it’s important not not to not to look at your success by looking at other people because God didn’t make you to be. Like other people. God made you for a reason. And understanding who you are in light of who He is and walking with him.

That’s the joy of the journey that the whole point of your life is not about. It’s not about achieving things. It’s being about living a life faithful to Jesus. And through that blessing others. God takes care of the results, not us. It’s not about accumulating stuff like we’re not going to get to heaven and being like, Tell me God’s going to be like, Tell me why you should be here. And you’re like, I’ve got, you know, a fat bank account, nice car. And I did 17,000 good works. I God doesn’t care about that. I think the question for the Lord. Is, are you faithful? Did you love me? I should move on. Point number six. A good leader. His mission minded, not self centered. A good leader is mission minded, not self-centered, verse 15, he says. We do not boast beyond limit and the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged so that we may preach the gospel and lands beyond you without boasting of work already done and another’s area of of influence. Pulsing the heart of God’s people really is is about mission. We’re not here to just latch onto what other people are doing and boast as if it was us ourselves. But rather we understand that God’s got a calling on us to think outwardly in this world. We’re not here to hoard the goodness of Jesus. We’re here to let the goodness of Christ be made known through our lives. There’s enough to go around for everybody. And when other succeed, we succeed, too. And so the heart of a good leader is to be mission minded, not not self centered. I say this for us as a church often, just so we retain it, but our church exists for the purpose of giving itself away. We don’t want to operate as an island into ourselves and the place that we live in. And the area of this world, it needs a powerful gospel light for the purpose of multiplying, not staying with us, but to take what Jesus is doing in our lives and and share it with with others.

I heard someone say like this. Someone asked a pastor, What do you do for a living? He said, Well, I’m a part of a global enterprise. And in, say, nearly every country in the world, it might be in every country of the world. But he says, and they’re like, Oh, really? What do you do? And he’s like, Well, we do all. Kinds of things. We we build hospitals and we we take care of orphans and we rescue people. In need and we feed the hungry. And we we build shelters and we offer counseling when we see marriages restored, basically from from birth to death. I mean, we are one stop shop for it all. He’s like, really? What are you is like. We are I am a part of the church. Right. It’s an incredible mission that the God has got us as we proclaim his gospel in this world to make that kind of difference in the lives of people everywhere, because we understand the dignity of worth of human life being made in the image of God and through the message of the Gospel, that that that power of the gospel is what demonstrates that people are worthy of not just physical life, but spiritual life in Christ. They may know him and live for his glory. And so in that. We as God’s people should be mission minded, other focused. That’s not what’s happening in Corinth. These leaders are all about themselves and what they can get. And how they can seem popular support. Number seven, we move ahead. Point number seven is this. We are driven by God’s glory. Not personal fame. A Godly leader is driven by God’s glory, not personal fame. Verse, verse 17. Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord, for it is not the one who commends himself, who has approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. Worship. Worship Paul’s teaching us is the key to good leadership. Because worship understands they’re not just in authority, but under authority and therefore held accountable and responsible. Worship is what transforms the life. Paul knows the world isn’t better. Because of his fame.

But rather crisis. And so in this passage, Paul. Paul is teaching us the importance of not him getting the glory. But the Lord. This is why Paul says in Galatians chapter six, verse 14. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. First Corinthians, chapter four, verse three. But wait until the Lord comes, whom will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s heart. And then each man’s praise will come to Him from God. Paul knows. The world is not going to be a better place because he gets famous. The world becomes a better place when Christ’s fame is made known. There is no greater worth or dignity or value a human being can find than what they can find in Jesus. Because Jesus created them and he gave His life for them. And any time we get into the Christian circles and we try to make it about ourselves or any circle to make it about ourselves, we are missing the opportunity to make God’s glory made known in the hearts of people. No one except the Lord has had more of a profound impact on the Church. Other than the Apostle Paul. Yet when you look in scripture, the Apostle Paul, he described himself in some insane ways. You think the Apostle Paul outside of of Jesus, no one else had a greater impact in history. Yet when you look at the Apostle Paul and you see the kind of things he wrote in scripture, listen to this. In second Corinthians chapter four, you’ve read this in verse seven, he describes himself as a clay pot, such as those used for the most menial, menial tasks in a household. In Romans Chapter seven, verse 24, he describes himself as a wretched man. And Ephesians, chapter three, verse eight, The very least of all the saints in verse Corinthians, chapter 15, verse nine, The Least of All the Apostles, and first Timothy chapter one, verse 15, the foremost the chief of all sinners. You know what’s incredible? When you go back and look at those references, and I think I provided them at the very bottom.

Of the notes for you when you go back and look at those references. While Paul identifies. Himself before the Lord with those terms, the chief of all senator is just a vessel or a clay pot, a wretched man. Within the context of all those verses. He’s also always quick to identify who he is because of Christ. Paul knows who he is without Jesus. But Paul also knows who he is because of the grace of God made known in his life. And Paul knows the reason he’s there is not because of him. But because of Jesus. So why would you ever boast in you? When you have the richness of everything you could ever want, not because of yourself, but because of Christ. Why bows in your goodness when the depth of God’s love is far greater? Why not share that which transforms people’s lives? It’s that message that makes a difference in your world, and therefore it’s that message that makes the difference and the lives of others. Hudson Taylor. Famous missionary to China did a lot of great works for the Lord. He he went on to to then see missionaries being become interested in coming to China and and doing the Lord’s work and, and especially in Asia, but, but particularly in China. And he would interview missionaries that wanted to go overseas. And we always ask them the question. He would say, Why do you want to go? Why are you mission minded? Why do you. What do you want? What do you want to do this? And they would they would often give answers to them. And they were good answers. They would say things like, Well, because Christ calls us to go, it’s the great commission, go in the world, make disciples. Others would say, because there’s a lost and dying world and we want to reach them. And Hudson Taylor, he would hear answer after our answer, and he would just say to them eventually, you know, all those are good answers when I tell you. But in life, here’s this quote. In life, all these motives, however good, will fail you in times of testings, trials and tribulations and possible death.

There is but one motive that will sustain you in trial and testing, and namely, the love of Christ. That’s it. We’ll never get over it. Never get over it. I know who I am without Jesus. But thank God I know who I am because of the grace of God. And why would I post in anything except the Cross of Christ? Martin Luther had the same thing. If you remember Martin Luther, he was led the Reformation in the 1500s and he did so at great risk to his life. He had to go into hiding a few times. He was brought before a council where he thought he was going to be burned alive at one point. But, you know, when Martin Luther. Died, he had a note in his pocket. His friends reached to his pocket and they took out the note and they discovered they didn’t know it was there, but they discovered it. And you know what was written on the note? We are all beggars. We’re all beggars now. I don’t want you to walk away feeling bad about yourself, but there’s something important about what you see here in the life of Martin Luther. You look at a man like that leading a. Reformation with with all the pressure on his shoulders and people that wanted to kill him. How did you do what you do? I would propose this. He never got over. The grace of God in his life. He knew leadership was ultimately about pointing to the greater leader. And using his life as an example for those. Let me just give you one last illustration to close. Let me you guys may have seen this before. I’ve seen a few people use this, but I think the last person was Francis Chan. So pretend I give credit to Francis Chan if you know that is. If not, who cares? But if you just use this rope for a minute and just pretend like this rope. It represents eternity. And there’s this whole spool down here. So you may not see this in the back, but look at this. There’s a whole spool. Here all, all of eternity.

And you think about the length of eternity. And then at the very end of this rope. This represents your life on earth. All of eternity that you have to live. And then you have here at the end your life here on Earth. And some people will live their life as if. This is the only thing that matters. They’ll make all their decisions right here. Some of them will live their entire lives with all these decisions here, just so at the very end of it, right? They can get a couple of years of doing something that they really wanted to do. Right? They’ll plan their whole life and then just get to the very end just so they can have some freedom to do something here that they may not have gotten to do. All the rest of them work themselves to the bone just just for this. And then but they have all all of this for the rest of their life. And and some people when when you live your life for the Lord, some people will look at you in. This space. And they will see the things that you’re doing for the Lord. And they will say to you, that is that is crazy. That is crazy. Why would you give up something. That you can have here? That’s crazy, right? But then you can look at them and you can say, no, no, no, no. No, you’re crazy. Well, why would you why would you focus so much on this just to get this little sliver here when you’ve got the rest of this or the rest of your life to think about like you’ve got just this life, this life to make a difference. And that difference. Can last for all of eternity. When you think about the position that God has you in. And the beautiful privilege it is to even be able to walk with him in relationship. Why not live in the transformation the Christ gives to you? Why not surrender your life to Jesus and just say enough is enough? Got to have your way with me. Here I am, working so hard for this little minuscule thing.

But you’ve given me the opportunity to make a difference for all. All of eternity. That happens in her life. Two ways to realize who we are apart from grace, and to recognize who we are.

2nd Corinthians 10:1-6

2nd Corinthians 11:1-15