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The Measure of the Man of God

"You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, 9 for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present." 
Good Morning Beloved, 
Welcome to worship, we're so glad you're here. 
As we come to this portion of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit has prompted so many thoughts in my mind, not the least of which I hope is this introduction, however, I suppose, we’ll just try to take it as it comes. 
The overall theme of Paul's letter, is a matter of discernment. Throughout church history, this has always been one of the most difficult challenges. And, I believe, in many ways, is just as important, just as critical, just as needed, yet today, in order for God's people to protect themselves and the church against false teachers and manipulated, twisted doctrine.
In this day and age, it is imperative, that we be capable of recognizing a true messenger of Jesus Christ from the wolves in shepherd's clothing. I have long suspected, that is one of the many reasons, many pastors, avoid this particular portion of Scripture. 
Let's bow our heads in prayer. 
Heavenly Father, 
Father, we thank You for your Word, the clarity of the unmitigated truth, it yields to us such richness. Thank you for those gathered with us today, here and around the world, those who know how important it is that they adorn the truth with their lives and have come to hear the truth. We pray that You would bless them, Lord, and grant to them the strength and the power they need to live out the truth You reveal to us today. 
Lord, we ask that Your Holy Spirit would help us to be discerning, help us to recognize Your true messengers, that we might not to be led astray by deception. Thank you for this wonderful impact Your truth on the church, their impact on the souls of men and women, whose lives they touch, that we might bring the lost to You to be saved, all for Your glory and increase. Use us Lord, broken vessels that we are, in whatever ways You find fitting, all for the furtherance of the gospel. 
In Christ's name we pray these things 
Today's Message: The Measure of the Man of God  
Today we come to a portion of Scripture, that is rarely preached. There is not really any doctrine here.

I'm fairly confident, the only time it is ever preached, is by an expositor, because we go through the Bible, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. When that is the way Scripture is being preached, there isn't any room for skipping over passages in the Word. Something we often find in today's modern preaching, many "pick and choose," what they deem to be "relevant" or worthy of teaching. That's not the call that we've been given. A true teacher of the Gospel, doesn't take it upon himself, an authority that he's not been given. The call is to teach the Word of God, in it's entirety! And quite frankly, I believe that is how it must be done.

On the surface, it's one of those portions of Scripture that you read it, and say to yourself, "Now what." There isn't really any theological instruction, no comforting words for your soul. It's a very personal section, in which the apostle Paul is speaking to the Corinthian believers, about issues with the church. However, we know that Satan thrives in anarchy, therefore, his great warfare is to destroy legitimate authority of the Word of God. And I am certainly going to do my part in making sure that does not happen!

That said, open with me your Bibles to the tenth chapter of the II book of Corinthians. Today, we'll be looking at verses 7-11, extracting as much as possible from our text. There must be something here to discover, or God would have excluded it from His Word. Right?

Let's begin. Follow along with me as I read to you II Corinthians 10:7-11, to set it in our minds.

"You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present."

As I read this passage, Paul's words, I am sadden at the attacks that were leveled at Paul and the pain he must have felt. What spiritual battles he must have fought yet he still maintained the meekness and gentleness of Christ.

All legitimate authority comes from God. God has given authority to governments and rulers and so Satan mocks them for he mocks people in legitimate authority who oppose his chaos, whether they're a president, politician, military commander, administrator, police officer, teacher, parent, husband or pastor. It is possible, that some para-church groups, which attempt to do the work of the church outside of the local church show the enormous effect of rebellion against the authority of the local church?

God gives His called-out servants authority to carry out His will. But those in Christian leadership who possess God given authority are not to "lord it over" others and, in a know-it all manner, impose their will on others

Mark. 10:35-45, teaches us, "James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Here in verse 7, Paul states that his leadership is fully justified because his authority has been delegated to Him by God’s call and leadership. "You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we."

A major contributing factor to the Corinthian dilemma concerning authority was their superficiality, their shallowness. They were concerned with the surface, the superficial, how things appear "outwardly." They looked at personal appearance, mannerisms, personality, and orator or preaching skills. However, some Corinthians continued to judge Paul and his ministry according to the standards of the time; they evaluated him according to his rhetoric, logic, and his reception by various leaders. They were still focused on externalities and worldly wisdom. As a result, the misleading teachers and legalists found them easy game.

How then are they to defend their authority? Paul here gives a worthy example of how those with God given authority within the church are to defend themselves and substantiate their legitimate authority.

Those called of God are to use their spiritual authority to build people up and not to tear down. It is far easier to tear others down. Just as it is far easier to be impressive with personality and speech or imposing with demeanor and attitude, than with a spiritual walk of kindness and meekness. Yet those that have been granted authority in Christ have within them the ability to call forth the true exercise of that authority.

How do you know that you are Christ's own? Paul tells the Corinthians that they are looking at things in a thoroughly superficial manner. If they would but look into their spiritual being and acknowledge their spiritual birth they would be forced to see that Paul was in truth their own genuine apostle God had sent to them.

How do you know you are in Christ? You know because Christ lives in you by the person of the Spirit of God. This same revelation of the Spirit who reveals to our spirit that we are children of God would reveal not only that Paul was in Christ but also the truthfulness of Paul’s ministry. Just because a person is Christ’s doesn’t give him the right to rebel against, oppose, or usurp God delegated authority.

Paul is indicating in verse 8, that his authority comes directly from God, that he can build up Christians in the faith. He says, "For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame."

In order to vindicate and establish his apostolic authority and personal integrity, Paul will engage in what he found repugnant, boasting or self commendation. However, his boasting is not hollow or self-centered, for its substance is what God did through him for the cause of Christ. He boasts in his authority, for it is not human authority but the Lord's. The fundamental reason for his confidence was that the Lord delegated his authority to him. It was not an authority he had usurped or took upon himself, but of the Lord.

Let's look at Acts 26:15-16, allow me to read this to you. "And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;"

The purpose of Paul's authority was for building up, for edification and not for destroying, which would be the result of submitting to the human authority of the false teachers. Paul used his authority to build up believers in Christ. These legalists used the church to buildup their own authority. We see in I Corinthians 8:11, that it takes love to build up, so they can grow in maturity in Christ's likeness. The Corinthians, however, had interpreted Paul's love and meekness as a sign of weakness.

The apostle Paul had restrained himself with his detractors, because he has an overwhelming desire to help them, not hinder them. Now, Paul might tear down false beliefs and everything raised up against the knowledge of God by his spiritual authority, but that would only tear away the false, that the true and eternal, might be put in its place. Paul tore down the false that he might build with eternal building blocks.

The faulty foundation of a rebellious mind must be cleared away before the work of building up can truly begin to take place. Much like one has to remove dirt until you hit solid ground, before you the foundation can be laid on which to build a house or building. So Paul tore down strongholds, arguments and pretensions of the enemy, but he built up believers in the most holy faith.

Paul defends himself, in verse 9, against the accusation that he was trying to frighten or intimidate the Corinthian believers with his letters. "for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters."

People often use scare tactics when dealing with eternal destiny issues. The intention of Paul's letters even when strong, was not to terrify but to bring about repentance. Paul wasn’t using scare tactics but he did want them to know the eternal seriousness of their decision.

Paul would preach hell as hot and horrid, and as eternal punishment for disbelief and an unrepentant lifestyle. He did teach that the believer will be judged also before the Judgment Seat of Christ. False teachers either preach all Hell and Judgment or no Hell and Judgment. Paul taught Hell and judgment because it is the bad news, however, he centered his ministry in the good news that he lived out daily.
It is believed, that Paul wrote at least two other letters to the Corinthians in addition to I and II Corinthians. The first letter, is believed to actually be the second letter, in which Paul wrote to them.

Verse 10 indicates that according to his opponents standards, Paul was not an impressive orator or preacher. "For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible."

Opposing leaders in Corinth, pointed out Paul’s failings, in order to undermine his authority within the church community. They disparaged Paul as being all bark and no bite, when with them he had not hounded them or thrown his importance around, but if he had the devil would make sure that they would have found fault with that. It would appear, that no matter what course Paul took, he would have been condemned.

In Acts 14:12, they condemned his personal presence since by biblical accounts he did not have a commanding appearance like that of Barnabas. Extra biblical literature described him as short, bowlegged, bald, prominent nose and thick eyebrows. The insult "unimpressive" was likely cast at his personality or demeanor, since he was obviously physically strong to have endured all the suffering that he went through. They interpreted meekness as weakness, patience as cowardice and gentleness as indecision.

They also belittled Paul's preaching skill. He cared not for Greek wisdom and eloquence for the sake of eloquence. He was not concerned with tickling the ear, but rather, with touching the heart by reaching the mind. He cast off superficiality, so that their faith would rest not in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Much like Christ, Paul was either ardently hated or passionately loved. Even today those that want to take charge or authority rave and tear down the personality, words, and deeds of those with God's delegated authority.

In verse 11, Paul assures his critics that his normally humble demeanor could be as intense as his letters. "Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present."

Paul warns the belittlers that what he stated in letters he was capable being in person. He who talked about handing men over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh was quite capable of doing it. There was no inconsistency between what he wrote and what he was. He would take no pleasure in coming with Christ’s rod, however, he would be willing to do so, if the situation continued to require it. Doubt not his sincerity and ability to be translated into actions.

The strength Paul demonstrated in letters, when absent and his deeds when present, are the same. Note how Paul waited, hoping not to use the authority that was available to him. Like a loving parent, he waited in patience, for repentance, however, he was prepared to act with determined authority. It takes more strength to wait rather than to strike. Mature leaders suffer while they patiently wait to act, on the other hand, immature leaders act impetuously and make others suffer.

We can find application in Paul's message. Are you following the authority of your pastor? How do you know that I am of Christ? By the same way you know you are of Christ, the living Spirit of God within you. If I am of Christ, then under the admonition of Scripture you need to follow the leadership of your Pastor.

Though my words may seem weighty and strong, because I preach the letters of Paul and of the other apostles, and my personal presence may seem weak and contemptible. Even though you are able to reason in the flesh "Why should I listen to him or Paul," you need to heed God's Word.

And if you worry that hearing or heeding the voice of authority will destroy you, let me remind you as Paul did, our authority is from the Lord for building up not destroying!

In Closing...

The only question should be is a pastor called by Jesus Christ our Lord, and is he under the authority of his calling in Christ? If the Holy Spirit within you says yes, then you need to be under the authority of the man called to lead you in Christ. Otherwise whatever you attempt to do for Christ will be out of a usurped authority.

Unfortunately, today, those who generate the most activity often receive the greatest attention and honor. However a big ego, charismatic and a flashy personality are not evidence of divine blessing.

Sadly, the world depends on human demeanor, and credentials, for their authority however the Bible warns against looking "at things according to the outward appearance." The real measure of leadership is whether or not it is in keeping with God's Word and is for His advancement rather than our own.

Make sure that whatever you do, you do for the Lord. Then when you glory, it will be in Him! Because you can't magnify self and Christ at the same time.

How a Christian uses authority is an evidence of his spiritual maturity and character. An immature person swells as he uses his authority, but a mature person grows in exercising of God's authority, and he seeks others to grow with him, in Christ.

Anyone can talk a good game, however, the life we live and the work we do for the Lord, is the evidence that God's hand is upon our lives. The true measure of a man of God, is how he responds to the Word of God.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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