Summary: A sermon on being a champion for Jesus Christ. Really these are credentials of every Christian but if we have these in increasing measure , we will be champions for the Lord. (Took outline and some illustrations from Steve Shepherd)
Sermon for 4/27/2008
Credentials of a Champion
Steve Shepherd- In 1974 when I went to try out for a church in Iberia, Montana, an elder introduced me. He said some things about my college experience and then said, “He says he’s a preacher. We’ll find out!”
A. Paul has a big dilemma here with the Corinthians. The Lord used Paul and his team to found the church in Corinth. Since they left and went to Ephesus, other preachers and teachers have come in and are trying to discredit Paul.
B. Some in the Corinthian church refuse to listen to Paul and what he has to say because of these new teachers that have come. Paul was a humble man. Listen to what he says in (2 Cor 10:17 NIV) But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
C. These teachers that have come in are not that way. They love to talk about themselves and their experiences, their visions and their greatness. This appealed to the Corinthians. In some ways it appeals to us today. In private we hate someone to give their resume. However, in the public sector this seems to be the way to do things. This is tolerated in our society and it is expected. Look at TV.
D. Listen to what Paul says of these guys in (2 Cor 11:5 NIV) But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."
I. All of this could and should have been overlooked by Paul. Why give a defense of his ministry at all? This verse show why: (2 Cor 11:4 NIV) 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 one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
Thesis: Our passage this morning from 2 Corinthians 11 gives 4 credentials of champions for Jesus Christ. (Really these are credentials for all Christians but if we have these in increasing measure we will be champions for Jesus Christ)
I. Honest but loving in our dealings (Read 2 Corinthians 11:16-21)
A. Focus in on vs. 20.
B. A true Christian will love people. This is the problem sometimes. We feel like we have not been to church unless the preacher beats us up. We do not take our Christianity seriously during the week and so for our penance in doing so poorly we come in here and expected the preacher to blast us. If he doesn’t he really isn’t preaching. Not that this changes our actions or that we really do repent, but it makes us feel better than we have endured our penance for the week. That’s not true Christianity!
D. Also, we have to speak the truth but do it in love. (Eph 4:15 NIV) Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
F. The chorus to Billy Joel’s song “Honesty” expresses a universal feeling: Honesty is such a lonely word Everyone is so untrue Honesty is hardly ever heard And mostly what I need from you.
G. Truth and love often are in tension with each other, but if we don’t maintain that tension, we most often end up with neither truth nor love. The loving person recognizes elements of the truth that are unpleasant and difficult. So they decide, "I’m just going to be loving." And they don’t tell the truth when it’s time to. On the other hand, the person who majors only in truth thrives on giving people tongue lashings. But to be loving and truthful together is the secret to true Christianity.
H. Look at vs. 21
II. Painful sacrifices (Read 2 Corinthians 11:22- 27, 32-33)
A. A true Christian is one who will sacrifice. Paul sacrificed a great deal.
B. In Damascus instead of being welcomed, he had to leave as a basket case.
C. Vs. 27- He sacrificed his energy, his sleep, his food, his drink, his clothing, his bed.
D. Vs. 26- He sacrificed his home, he sacrificed his comfort.
E. Vs. 24- 25- He sacrificed his safety, he sacrificed his body through stonings, canings, floggings, and whippings.
F. Vs. 23- He sacrificed his freedom, he sacrificed his very life.
G. I don’t know of anyone who has before or since sacrificed as much as the Apostle Paul (except for Jesus Christ himself). The doctor Luke was often with Paul, his own personal physician, because his body was so shot.
H. Notice this is what Paul boasts about. This is what he puts on his resume.
I. Notice that this is how the ancient world recorded things. Listen to this from the Acts of Caesar Augustus: Twice I received triumphal ovations. Three times I received curule triumphs. Twenty times and one did I receive the appellation of imperator.