Thursday, May 16, 2019

2019.05.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

Questions for Littles: Who is speaking in 2 Corinthians 10:1? What kind of speaking is it? Whom does he remind them is also meek and gentle? How was Paul’s manner among them? How is his manner while absent from them? What is he begging them in 2 Corinthians 10:2? With whom would he have to be bold? How do the apostles not battle (2 Corinthians 10:3)? What are their weapons not (2 Corinthians 10:4a)? What kind of power do they have (verse 4b)? What do the weapons do to strongholds? What do the weapons do to arguments (2 Corinthians 10:5)? What else do the weapons cast down? What do the weapons do to every thought? What is the apostle ready to do (2 Corinthians 10:6)? When will he do it?  
In a church context in which church discipline is almost unheard of, this passage may not make much sense. The apostle is leading up to his visit with gentleness in a letter, hoping that he will not have to be bold in person. Back in 1 Corinthians 4:21, he had given them a similar option—implying that it really is not up to him. Church discipline is so demanded by Christ that if there is not repentance, the under-shepherd has no choice but to use the rod.

Apparently, there are some in Corinth who don’t take this very seriously. This connects well with the experience of those who live in days in which people who are in danger of discipline just jump to another church.

But the apostle highlights this as a grave mistake. For, though he is a mere man, his ministry is Christ’s ministry. After all, Christ by His Spirit has used Paul’s plain speaking of the truth to take down the darkness and bondage inflicted by the devil himself. There are no powers or ideas that can survive a battle against the words of Jesus.

If this is true of the words of Jesus, then it must also be true of the discipline of Jesus. Apostles and elders are not only to teach authoritatively, but they are also to lead authoritatively. “Let no one disregard you,” the apostle would tell the elder that he later mentors (cf. Titus 2:15).

This, of course, is not license to be brash and heavy-handed. If the authority that is exercised is Christ’s, then let the manner that leads up to it be “the meekness and gentleness of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1), and let it be conducted by someone who is pleading not to have to do (2 Corinthians 10:2) what he is yet ready to do (2 Corinthians 10:6).

How sad it is that very few are the churches in which there is such authority, or such manner in exercising it, or such reluctance to have to do so. For each of these are different types of displays of Christ, the Good Shepherd. The church exists to display His glory!
What would it look like for you to expect the results of preaching or discipline to be supernatural?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH244 “A Mighty Fortress”

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