Summary: In this sermon we learns some lessons about the way leaders and members are supposed to conduct themselves in the church.
A. The story is told of a mother who had her 18 month-old son strapped in a child-carrying backpack on her back.
1. She was rushing to catch the bus and stumbled and fell down an entire flight of stairs (13 to be exact).
2. She was bruised, bleeding and had torn her clothes, but her main concern was for her child.
3. Her fears and concerns were alleviated, though, when from behind her, she heard a gleeful giggle followed by, “Again! Do again!”
B. What are you concerned about?
1. There certainly is a lot that we can be concerned about, isn’t there?
2. There is so much going on in our world: volcanoes, earthquakes, oil spills, global warming, swine flu, cancer, gas prices, health care bills, terrorists, illegal immigrants, national debt, moral decline, nuclear destruction, obesity, and identity theft – how’s that for a short list?
C. So what can we do about our concerns?
1. As you know, one of my favorite comics is the old Peanuts cartoon.
2. One episode showed Linus stick his head out the door at wintertime and called to his sister Lucy, “Mom said to tell you it’s time to come in.”
3. Standing next to her snowman Lucy says, “Rats.” As she turns to go in she says, “Goodnight friend, I’ll see you in the morning.”
4. Standing at the front door Lucy again turns to her snowman saying, “Goodnight!”
5. Once inside Lucy takes off her coat and gloves as Linus watches TV in the background; going over to the window she looks out at her snowman friend and says, “I’m so concerned for my snowman; I hate to see him stand out in the yard alone all night.”
6. Can you guess what happens next? The next picture shows Linus sighing with a long frown on his face as he stands out in the cold next to Lucy’s snowman friend.
D. Paul was very concerned about the church in Corinth, and rather than send someone else, Paul decided it was time for him to go to Corinth and deal with the situation in person.
1. As we return to 2 Corinthians 12 today to finish the chapter, we realize that Paul is nearing the end of this letter.
2. As the letter is coming to an end, so is Paul’s defense of himself and his ministry.
3. The verses we will examine today read like the words of a weary man who has put forth some tremendous effort in the conflict he has endured.
4. Once again, Paul speaks with distaste of this whole wretched business of self-justification.
5. Ultimately, Paul’s concern was not for himself, but for the Gospel and the Church.
6. Let’s work our way through the text and see what lessons we can learn.
I. Understanding the Word
A. Look at verses 11 and 12: I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance. (2 Cor. 12:11-12)