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Summary: No matter how diligently you walk with God, some people within a congregation may look down upon you and falsely criticize you. Sometimes you should ignore the criticism and move on. At other times you need to respond. Paul provides a case study of fight

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Playing the Fool to Defeat the Fool

(2 Corinthians 11:1, 5-15)

1. A Louisiana man has been released from death row, becoming the 300th prisoner nationwide to be freed after DNA evidence showed he was innocent.

Of those 300 prisoners, 18 had been on death row, according to lawyers from the New York-based Innocence Project. [source: Good News Network].

2. It is sad to be accused of something you have not done. It is tragic to be sentenced when you are really innocent.

3. Paul’s detractors were trying to do just that. They were making all sorts of crazy accusations against Paul, and Paul had to determine how to respond.

4. Proverbs 26:4-5 presents a couplet, two proverbs that take us in opposite directions: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

5, Paul has decided that the latter proverb applies, and so he fights fire with fire. He is combatting false apostles who are immersed in Greek and Roman culture with its emphasis or oration.

Main Idea: No matter how diligently you walk with God, some people within a congregation may look down upon you and falsely criticize you. Sometimes you should ignore the criticism and move on. At other times you need to respond. Paul provides a case study of fighting back against the false charges made by his enemies.

I. Charge One: Paul Was A Poor SPEAKER (1, 5-6)

What makes a good preacher is a matter of opinion. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

A. Paul chooses to answer FOOLISHNESS as a fool (1)

B. Paul would not be RANKED under the other apostles (5)

Sirach 4:28-29 shows the thinking among the Jews about self-respect at the time of Christ: "My son, in all modesty, keep your self- respect and value yourself at your true worth. Who will speak up for a man who is his own enemy, or respect one who disparages himself ?"

C. He would compete on the basis of SUBSTANCE, not image (6)

• Moses thought he was a poor speaker, so he wanted Aaron to speak; but Aaron made the golden calf, Moses remained true

• Absalom was good looking and young and knew how to talk to people

• Paul’s opponents accused him of being a poor speaker based upon Roman standards; Paul seems to acknowledge this. Ben Witherington quotes Quintilian, a good delivery “…is hampered by incurable impediments of speech... Physical uncouthness may be such that no art can remedy it, while a weak voice is incompatible with first-rate excellence in delivery…”

1. Romans emphasized technique, motivation, and EMOTION

2. Paul emphasized the KNOWLEDGE of God’s Word

Applications:

1. Better a poor speaker who preaches the Word accurately than a great motivator who is a joy to hear but doctrinally off or shallow.

2. Substance matters much more than image

3. Don’t let others set the rules for you; play by God’s perspective

II. Charge Two: Paul Was a CROOK (7-15)

A. Paul took SUPPORT from other churches to make his motives clear (7-11)


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