Wednesday after the Ninth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 (NKJV)
1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed—9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.
17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
Watching the bird feeder attract the various birds in our area, we frequently get out a bird book for identification. “That’s a blue bird.” “No, I think it is an indigo bunting…” There are certain identifying marks which determine, and the book settles all our disputes.
There were some who had infiltrated the Christian congregation at Corinth and were despising the Apostle Paul, contradicting his teaching. These false teachers were “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves.” The Holy Scriptures are the final rule and guide for judging all teachings. The Scriptures teach us about the law which shows us our sins, and the Gospel which presents the forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. When St. Paul speaks about his authority in the apostolic office, he explains that he has the Lord’s commendation. Not only does St. Paul’s teaching agree with the Old Testament prophets, but he has been sent by Jesus Himself to preach the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. St. Paul had not overextended himself into another man’s sphere when he originally brought the Gospel to them.
We are to hold to the Word of God alone, trusting in Christ for full salvation. We have been sent a man who holds the pastoral office and has been given Christ’s authority for the edification of the body of Christ. We, too, are to judge our pastor by the prophetic and apostolic Word of God. Pastor, people, and Apostle Paul—we should all agree. “Just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.”
We pray: O Lord, we give You thanks for the clear teaching of Your Word preached by the pastoral office. Amen.