Summary: In disrepectful times, we can turn to the example of Paul and of Christ in order to be found respectful.
“Dear Wakelee Church…Sincerely, Paul”
The Corinthian Connection Series
“Being Respectful in Disrespectful Times” II Corinthians 10-13
Wakelee Church ~ July 18, 2004
(All verses are New King James Version unless otherwise noted. Underlines added for emphasis.)
THEME: In disrespectful times, we can turn to Christ to find our justification and respect.
illus. Vacation Bible School – During vacation Bible we had over 10% of those attending come to
Christ for the first time. (Amen?) And while I was talking to one of them, I made a simple
comment…”Well, now that you’ve accepted Jesus, you’re a part of God’s family.” Sounded innocent enough to me, almost welcoming…but the child’s response was interesting… “as long as I don’t have to take out your trash!”
Respect…or lack of it. Paul struggled with a certain lack of disrespect with the Corinthians.
Now, to be real, Paul probably deserved some of it. His first letter to the church was scathing,o say
the least, and some in the church hoped to never hear from Paul again.
Paul knew this, that’s why he wrote, “For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority,
which the Lord gave us for edification and not for you destruction, I shall not be ashamed.” – II Corinthians 10:8
Paul told the church in the second letter that his mission was to edify, or give knowledge to, the church, not to destroy them, but to build them up. And he was not ashamed of telling the Corinthians the truth.
As I’ve been studying for this sermon series, I’ve come across the inevitable question of what a letter
to the Wakelee Church, from Paul would look like. Today, the church, inside and outside of Wakelee, finds itself in a position where we are not always respected, especially as much as we once were.
Some of this is because of our own doing. Some of this is not. In these three chapters, Paul offers some useful connections to help us to deal with this situation in which we find ourselves…in short, to be more respectful in disrespectful times. We’re going to look at four of them this morning.
I. Connection: God’s grace is always sufficient.
“And (Jesus) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you., for My strength is made perfect in your
weakness.’” – II Corinthians 12:9
illus. Paul’s thorn in the flesh has been identified as many things by different commentators. One of the
thoughts was that Paul was speaking of the Corinthian church itself. They told Paul that he was a
hypocrite. They told him that he was overemphasizing his authority. They told him that he was
unimpressive in appearance and terrible, uninspiring preacher…sounds like a thorn to me!!!
But whatever the case, Paul made it clear that even in the midst of the disrespect, we are still called to be
respectful. Paul heard from Christ himself that grace would be sufficient, but that comes with our ability to be respectful.
Let me put it like this….
God’s grace is always sufficient especially when we own up to our faults, when we are able to say
you are right and I am wrong.
God’s grace is always sufficient especially when we humbly stand firm when we’re right, with grace
and respect for others
God’s grace is always sufficient especially when we calmly allow our Lord to defend us instead of us
trying to defend ourselves.
God’s grace is always sufficient in times of trial, but its especially sufficient when we show the same
respect shown to us by Christ, to others.
II. Connection: When we are at our weakest, God is at God’s strongest.
This is one of Paul’s reoccurring themes in Corinthians. Paul never denies the pain and pressures of life. Paul never denies that this Christianity thing is often the opposite of the fantastic, problem-free life. But he does give hope…
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – II Corinthians 12:10
Chuck Swindoll once said, “When you’ve suffered like Paul, your faith is moved out of the theoretical
realm and into the practical. It becomes real. When you’ve been weakened, you understand a person in weakness. You don’t look over your critical glasses and ask, “When are you gonna snap out of it?” When you’ve been there yourself, you’re concerned, not condemning.” (from his sermon “The Flip Side of Fantastic”)
When we become weak, we become more respectful of those who are weak.
When we become strong, we do so only in the strength of Christ.
illus. – debriefing after 2 year old being killed Saturday - had no clue what I was doing…I admitted that to God up front…and allowed him to lead.