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Summary: Paul's Change of Plans. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 12 to chapter 2 verse 4.

Ill:

• A man working in a green-grocers shop;

• Was asked by a lady if she could buy half a head of lettuce.

• He replied, “Half a head? Are you serious?

• Why, the good Lord grows these in whole heads and lady, that’s how we sell them!”

• She persisted and said to him; “You mean that after all the years I’ve shopped here,

• You won’t sell me half-a-head of lettuce?”

• “Look,” he said, “If you like I’ll ask the manager.”

• She indicated that would be appreciated, so the young man marched to the front of the store.

• “You won’t believe this, but there’s a miserable, pernickety lady back there;

• Who wants to know if she can buy half-a-head of lettuce.”

• He noticed the manager gesturing,

• And turned around to see the lady standing right behind him,

• She had obviously having followed him to the front of the store.

• Without him realising it.

• Quick as a flash the shop assistant spoke;

• “And this nice lady was wondering if she could buy the other half”.

Later in the day the manager cornered the young man and said,

• “That was the finest example of thinking on your feet I’ve seen for a long time!

• Where did you learn that?”

The shop assistant said;

• “I grew up in South Wales, and if you know anything about South Wales,

• You know that it’s known for its great rugby teams and its ugly women.”

• The manager looking angry interrupted and said, “My wife is from South Wales!”

• Quick as a flash the shop assistant said; “And which rugby team did she play for?”

It’s one of the smallest muscles in the human body, but it is also the most destructive:

• Medically they say it's only a two-ounce slab of muscle,

• Mucous membrane, and nerves that enables us to chew, taste, swallow food & articulate words.

• Redefined it is a beast, a mighty midget!

• The Bible says concerning it, that it:

• Frames deceit (Psalm 50 verse 59).

• Devises destruction (Psalm 52 verse 2).

• Devours (Psalm 52 verse 4).

• Is a sharp sword (Psalm 57 verse 4).

• Breaks bones (Proverbs chapter 25 verse 15).

• Backbites (Proverbs chapter 25 verse 23).

• Flatters (Proverbs chapter 28 verse 23).

• Poisons (Romans chapter 3 verse 13).

• That’s quite destructive for a small piece of protein!

• Yet, the tongue can ruin a reputation, malign a motive, and destroy one's dignity.

Quote:

“The tongue is a lethal weapon which is often wielded publicly without shame.

But more often it is a dagger cloaked in secrecy, stabbing its victim in the back.

Surprisingly, the fingerprints on this dagger often do not point to a hardened criminal but to some haloed saint who only minutes before might have sung the sweetest song, uttered the most beautiful prayer, or spoken the most encouraging words.”

Quote:

• The problem of the tongue is nothing new.

• James in the third chapter of his book rebuked & warned the Christians about it (vs 8-10):

“But no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. 9Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. 10And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right”

ill:

Nadia (5) at kids club:

• “I know a rhyme to say when people say nasty things”:

• So I asked her to tell it to me and she quoted:

• "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

• I would guess that we have all chanted it at some stage in our lives”.

• The trouble is words do hurt!

• Some verbal attacks inflict wounds as damaging as any bodily ones.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 1 the apostle Paul was experiencing ‘word’ problems:

• Some Christians were using their words to turn the Church at Corinth against him;

• They made statements against his conduct - that is the things he didn't do;

• Against his words – that is things he didn't say;

• And against his motives – that is the things he didn't mean.

• Paul’s conduct, words and motives are being openly questioned;

• And in our section tonight from 2 Corinthians chapter 1, we will see his rebuttal.

• I want to look at three accusations made against him.

• And three ways in which he refutes them.

(1). In Defence of True Character.

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