Paul addresses the Corinthian church teaching them about the real credentials of a faithful servant of Christ.
We have observed how Jesus did not meet the preconceptions of the Jewish people that he came to save. They expected someone bolder, taller, better looking, a warrior who would exalt them and conquer their oppressors. They were not looking for someone to save them from their sins, they were looking for a champion to make them feel better by knocking down the other guys for a change.
In much the same way, Paul did not meet the expectation of the Corinthian church and, in fact, some other false preachers had entered the scene who better met the image they had in mind. The other “super apostles” were better looking, more eloquent, dressed nicer, were friendlier. In other words, from an earthly perspective, they had better credentials to preach. Paul helps enlighten the church (and us) what real credentials look like.
3. 11:24 39 lashes; 11:25 beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, lost at sea; 11:26 homeless, dangers of loss of life from nature (sea, rivers) and men (bandits, Gentiles, own countrymen); 11:27 labored, sleepless, hunger, thirst, cold, naked; 11:28 anguish for churches; 11:29 tempted; 11:33 humiliation of being lowered in basket; 12:10 insults, hardships, persecution, difficulties
4. a. In 11:28 his anguish in concern for the church is greater than the physical abuse
b. Do I shrug when I see false teachings in the church and people being led away from the true word of God for a watered down version or does it cause me pain on par with physical beating?
c. This suffering was not a trivial thing, nor was it something put on display, it was simply who Paul was as a servant of the Lord. He didn’t cover it up but nor would he allow others to diminish it. If you fight the battle, you get scars.
Conclusion: How foolish we are if we believe there were false preachers in the early church and not today.
In attempts to reach to the unchurched or those that had been disillusioned by the church, rather than delivering the message of the rock and firm foundation, too many deliver a watered down gospel that, while it won’t do you much good, is really easy to swallow. They look the part, they dress the part, they read from the bible (selectively), they raise lots of money and sound really good. We all know them and the “churches” they form. But here is the deal. When we don’t stand up and speak out in the truth of the gospel, we allow them to dishonor the battle scars of great soldiers like Paul, James, Stephen and most importantly, Jesus Christ. The next time you hear a preacher say the words, “now the bible doesn’t really mean…” keep this in mind.