1. Paul continues to boast Vs 16 – 21
  1. Paul is having to defend himself
    1. Paul is definitely using sarcasm and showing his humility of having to talk about himself.
    2. He would rather talk about Jesus, but this is getting int he way so he is spending time on it.
      1. Our calling is to speak about the cross. (We do not speak about ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord 2 Corinthians 4: 5)
      2. Don’t get sidelined by other questions unless they are legitimate problems that are standing in front of our relationship with Jesus
      3. EXAMPLE: Letters from a Skeptic Why did your mother die?
  2. The super Apostles are putting people into bondage Vs 20
    1. Don’t know exactly what this is, but they are concerned about outward appearances so it probably has to do with legalism.
    2. Five words are used here to help us.
      1. Enslaves – tyranny
      2. Devour takes everything you have.  maintenance required from the people
      3. Takes advantage. fishing analogy but the catch is illegal
      4. Exalt himself arrogance in front of others
      5. Slaps you in the face.  Indignity shown to others.
    3. More concerned about how people act than what is in their hearts.
    4. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount hit the importance of dealing with heart issues over outward appearances.
  3. Paul apologizes that he never thought of doing these things to them.

2. Apostolic Credentials. 22 – 29

  1. Paul’s authenticity is not what others think of him but the marks he bears in service to Jesus.
  2. He is a true Jew Vs 22, 23
    1. Not an immigrant to Israel, but born there with Judean parents
    2. Descendant of Abraham
    3. All of this is fleshly so SO WHAT!
  3. Paul is a servant of Christ Vs 23
    1. Word is minister which means menial worker.  The Apostles claimed that servant meant exalted one, but Paul is showing that servant means not looking for their own promotion.
    2. Paul is saying a minister works harder than others to see the kingdom advanced.
  4. Results of this service for others.
    1. Beaten five times with 39 lashes 1/3 on breast 1/3 on right shoulder 1/3 on left shoulder.
    2. Three times Paul was beaten with rods
    3. Once he was stoned.
    4. Three times he was shipwrecked.
      1. We know from Acts Paul took 18 sea journeys and 1/2 of them were before this letter to the Corinthians so the one at the end of Acts was not even included in this list.
    5. Once he spent a day and a night at sea.
    6. I traveled on many hard journeys (Compare that to travel today and how wearing that can be)
    7. Now hardships from others
      1. Robbers
      2. Riots in the cities
      3. Wilderness
      4. In the Sea
      5. False believers
      6. Sleepless, cold and hungry.
    8. Key thoughts.
      1. Many have hard lives, but Paul’s were chosen because of his desire to Spread the gospel
      2. The book of Acts is incredible, but remember it is an incomplete book as many of these stories did not make the book of Acts.
      3. He was not weak in his faith that he dealt with these things.
        1. He burned with a passion for the people he ministered to.
        2. He grieved when they stumbled.
        3. God is faithful in all of this.
        4. EXAMPLE: Exodus 16: 1 as soon as we are in a desert, we begin to grumble and complain.  How did they get to the desert? the cloud led them.
    9. How did Paul endure?
      1. He had died to himself Galatians 2: 20
      2. He practiced what he preached as he gloried in tribulations Romans 5: 3
      3. Our light and momentary troubles 2 Corinthians 4: 17, 18

3. The sustaining Power of Christ 11: 30 – 12: 10

  1. Paul boasts in Christ power to sustain him in this battle. Vs 30
    1. Paul had a vision of heaven
      1. This sustained him even in battles he did not understand.
    2. He saw things he was not allowed to talk about. Vs 4
      1. Daniel not allowed to tell 12: 9 
        1. But revelation will come at the end. Vs 10
        2. We will understand some things at the end Revelation 22: 10
      2. John not allowed to write things down he heard. Revelation 10: 4
  2. Paul doesn’t know what form he was in for this vision. Vs 2
  3. Paul is so cautious about pride he does not even speak about himself in the first person in this vision.
  4. This vision is definitely the motivation for his zeal.
  5. No glory for himself in comparison to what the super apostles are looking for. Vs 6, 7
  6. He does not want to be judged by his experiences, but by his work for Jesus Christ. 
    1. The super apostles are showing Paul contempt for his appearance, but he has an incredible revelation of Jesus Christ
  7. Attack from satan in the midst of these revelations. Vs 7 – 10
    1. Don’t know the source of this attack which is probably good so we can apply it to any situation
      1. Physical
      2. Emotional
      3. Spiritual
      4. Fleshly attack by others.
    2. Three times Paul sought deliverance but each time refused.
      1. Grace given to endure these situations.

4. Our Hope

  1. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4: 6
  2. Patiently trust God to sustain us until his light shines in our hearts and empowers us.
  3. We have something Paul did not have, We have the complete Bible.