Monday, August 17, 2009

We Need Some Background (part 2 of 6: "God's Power Manifested Through Weak Servants"-- Insights from 2 Cor. 4:7-12)

See part 1: Introduction (Click here.)

Disputes about personality figures was a persistent problem at the Corinthian church.

1 Cor. 1:12-13 : What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?

Their loyalty belongs to different church leaders. Kanya-kanya sila ng fans’ Club. Paul addressed that already by explaining that Christian workers are fellow laborers. Paul planted the seed; Apollos watered it. But he who plants is nothing; he who waters it is nothing. But only God who makes it grow.

Great teaching! But the personality cults in Corinth did not die. It is now worse due to the advent of “SUPER-APOSTLES” (2 Cor. 11:5; 12:11)-- Yun ang tingin nila sa sarili nila…Just as Superman is not an ordinary man so these super apostles claim superiority over the apostles).

They were persuasive; 2 Cor. 11:5 indicates that they are trained speakers. The worst thing is that, unlike Apollos they are not fellow workers; 11:4 is explicit that these Super-apostles are actually false teachers. They were preaching a different Jesus.

They are so influential and they have begun to discredit Paul. 2 Cor. 10:10: “For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing." When I was a kid, I saw video clips of Ninoy Aquino speaking. I was fascinated!!! He was both impressive in appearance and in speech. Those qualities are absent in Paul.

Because of the presence of these false super-apostles, Corinth’s reception of Paul is poor. In 2 Cor. 2:1, he mentioned about a painful visit. We don’t know the specifics, but surely it has wounded him deeply.

In this letter, Paul has to defend himself against these false super-apostles. He has to defend his credentials as an apostle of the Lord, yet he did so not by exalting himself but by laying bare his weakness. 2 Cor 12:9: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”

With that background, we are now ready to tackle the first principle drawn from our text. See next post.

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