Summary: A Time To Boast – 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 1-33 – sermon by Gordon Curley. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


He boasts in his jealousy over the Church (vs 1-6)

He boasts in his generosity to the Church (vs :7-21)

He boasts in his Sufferings for the Church (vs 22-33)



• He looked down the lens of a TV camera and shouted out the words,

• “I am the greatest!”

• The media nicknamed him, "Louisville Lip"

• He called himself by another name,

• And throughout his career he boasted he was "The Greatest,".

• People either loved him or hated him;

• Some bought tickets to see him take one on the chin and be humbled;

• Others because they loved his showmanship.

• But one thing is for sure;

• In the world of boxing he was the champ!

• Muhammad Ali used to boast that in the boxing ring was that he could;

• "Float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee, the hands can’t hit what the eye can’t see".

• He knew how to brag in an attempt to psyche out his opponents.

• And his boasting was all part of that.

• He says in his book, ‘The Soul of a Butterfly’,

• That on one particular flight, that the flight attendant asked him to put his seat belt on.

• He said to her, "Superman don't need no seat belt".

• She smiled at him and said, "Superman don't need no plane, either."

• Well, if you will forgive the pun;

• I guess even Muhammad Ali had feet of ‘Clay’

• TRANSITION: This chapter is about boasting;

• You might not expect it from an apostle of God;

• But there is irony, sarcasm in his boasting.

• And as we look at this chapter;

• We will note the apostle Paul boasts regarding three areas of his life.


• Now if you were here last week;

• You might remember that I mentioned that the apostle Paul had experienced hostility.

• Opposition from within this Church at Corinth.

• That opposition was in the form of bitter criticism from some teachers in the Church.

• These false teachers showed joined the Church;

• After the apostle Paul had moved on to plant a Church somewhere else.

• Because they were new comers to the Church at Corinth;

• They did not know him and had no loyalty to him;

• Instead of recognising his apostleship, they just found fault in him and in his message.

• These false teachers were into showmanship, they were dynamic preachers,

• For them performance mattered more than substance!

• And the Church of Corinth had been won over by them.


• A Native American Indian in Arizona once listened to a politician give a speech;

• When someone asked him what he thought of it;

• He replied, "Big wind! Loud thunder! No rain!"

• TRANSITION: Lots of noise but no content;

• And for these false teachers performance mattered more than substance!

As the apostle writes to correct these problems, he uses ‘sarcasm’ in this chapter;

• The apostle Paul will turn his opponents allegations on themselves.

• To paraphrase he is saying:

"These new teachers who oppose me love to boast,

so I too will use their methods and do a little boasting too!"

• So the apostle has been forced to boast.

• He has been forced to defend his apostleship.

• And he will do it in an ironic way.

• He admits (verse 17) that he is not following Christ's example by doing this;

• Jesus had every reason to stick out his chest and boast - but he never did!

• Remember that the apostle is using sarcasm to make his point;

• And he knows that his boasting will glorify Christ;

• Because all that he boasts about will be about the work of Christ in him.

• So in boasting about himself he is ultimately boasting about Jesus.

Paul boasts over three matters.

(1). He boasts in his jealousy over the Church (vs 1-6)

“I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the snake’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those ‘super-apostles’.[a] 6 I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way”

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