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So we're in second Corinthians, Chapter eleven. And Paul Paul stepping up to the plate, if you will. Paul is stepping up to the plate and he's gonna play play the Corinthians game. Ah, here's what happened in Chapter ten in second Corinthians. Paul basically kind of went head to head with some of these people who are opposing Paul in the church in Corinth, and he gave a couple different teachings. The first one was that if you're going to boast, you should boast in the Lord. And if you want to seek approval from something, you should also seek that approval from the Lord. And then he he also gave this teaching that those who compare themselves, he says with one another ah, our without understanding. And so he clearly sets up these these things, boasting and talking about how good we all are to other people as foolishness and things that people who are without understanding dew. And then and then he's going to turn around and Chapter eleven and he's going to do it, which seems kind of hypocritical. It seems kind of like Paul, What are you doing? Like you just been a whole chapter telling these people how ridiculous these things were and then on Ly to turn around in Chapter eleven and just do exactly what you said we probably would be unwise to do. And we talked about last week how Paul is setting this up with the Corinthian church, and he's saying, Basically, I think this is foolish. I think boasting in yourself is ridiculous. I think people who are without understanding do these type of things. But here's what he's also seeing with the Corinthian Church. They're responsive to people who do this. However their maturity level is. They're responding to these people who are in the Corinthian church who are opposing Paul and who are going around telling everybody how great they are, how authoritative they are, how many accolades they have and why you should listen to them. So Paul's going to do what they d'oh not because he thinks it's the wisest thing to do. But because like we talked about last week, he's willing Tio. He wrote them in the first letter. He's willing to become all things to all people for the sake of the Gospel. He's saying to himself, If some people come around because they see my authority because they see what I've been through because they see what I stand for. If even some people come around, then I guess I'll do it. But make no Dalli, don't be mistaken. He knows that he thinks this is foolish when he thinks that this is ridiculous, but he's willing to do it. He's willing to give his his resume, if you will. What we're going to read this this week is kind of the first part of Paul's resume. It's going to go on into Chapter twelve, and they're going to see kind of Paul's full resume. But this first section at the end of Chapter eleven is arguably is the beginning of Paul's resume. Maybe half of Paul's resume, and he's going to do what he's just told them. He thinks this foolish, which is boast in his own accolades in his own authority. But he's going to do it a little bit differently. I told you that last week. He's goingto start out looking a whole lot like them, and then about two verses in he's going to switch and he is going to sound very, very different from thes Corinthians, and I'll show you that as we go. And then at the end, we're just going to take a step back and kind of look at this list of Paul's resume, if you will. So we ended halfway through Verse twenty one in Chapter eleven last week, So we're going to start halfway through Verse twenty one second Corinthians, Chapter eleven. This is the first part of Paul's resume, if you will. His his foolish boasting and you see him reference that multiple times pulse is this. But whatever anyone else dares to boast of, I'm speaking as a fool. I also dare to boast of that, speaking as a fool because we just talked about in Chapter ten, he already said to compare ourselves to one another. The only people who do that are people who are without understanding, and yet he's about to do it. So he puts this phrase in there. I'm speaking as a fool, and then he goes on. There's twenty two, he says. Are the Hebrews So, my Are they Israel Lights? So am I are the offspring of Abraham. So am I. Three things that maybe these opposers were claiming about themselves, that we're giving them authority. Where Hebrews, where Israel lights, were part of the chosen people of God to begin with offspring of Abraham. Okay, he's saying so my soul, my soul, my comparing himself to them just in the same way he thought was ridiculous to begin with. But he's willing to do it. Twenty three are the servants of Christ, he says. This is what the people who are opposing him were claiming that they serve Christ, He says, I am a better one. And then he says, I'm talking like a mad man. This is crazy to go on, comparing ourselves to one another, as if you're a better follower of Christ, or I'm a better follower of Christ. Here's the reason why it's craziness to say, Are they servants of Christ? I'm a better one. And we talked about it in Chapter ten. I know it wasn't up here with you guys for Chapter ten. But the whole reason that comparing ourselves to one another is craziness is because in the first letter Paul goes through that everybody has a role in the body of right, that some people are feet and some people are hands and some people are eyes and some people are ahead. And so if the head compares himself to the hand, that's ridiculous because the head is not supposed to function like the hand, the hands not supposed to function like the foot. So there's no point in me standing up here and looking at Doug and saying, Well, I need to become a better singer because Doug's such a great singer and I need to be able to do what he does because I don't do. But Doug does. I can't do what Doug does. Doug can't do what I do. The whole point is that he has a role and I have a roll. And if we're just comparing ourselves to each other the whole time, we never actually do our role and do it well. So he's going through these things saying, I'm also one of these. I'm also one of these. I'm also one of these And if we're talking about who's the better servant of Christ, he says I am. But that's completely ridiculous because they have a roll and I have a role. But if you want to know who serves Christ more, he's going to tell them. He says. This is the standard by which he can conclude that he is a better servant of Christ, not because he does what they're supposed to do better than them, but because he's actually performing his own duties. And he gives these descriptions with far greater labors, far more imprisonments with countless beatings and often near death. So that's Paul's rubric for why he's a better Christ follower than them. He works harder. He's been imprisoned more times. He's been beat more times and often near death. Next week, two weeks from now, we're going to talk about this paradigm that Paul has for evaluating whether or not you're a good follower of Christ, this paradigm of weakness. But but we'll get to it in Chapter twelve, So I'm going to spend, ah, hold a lot of time talking that. But Paul is going to take this thes things that they would call weakness. Being imprisoned, being beaten, being near death, having to work really hard for what you have. What the Corinthians in the church who are attacking Paul are going to call weakness. He's going to flip on its head and he's going to call those things evidence that he works for Christ. We're going to get to that more in later chapters. Um, when he says far greater labors what he's meaning is that going back to the last chapter? Actually, it's not even the last chapter. It's this chapter where, he says, where he talks about having to work for them and share the gospel free of charge. You see what the thieves Corinthian boosters would do is they would stand in the marketplace and they would work, but they weren't really working. They were really just jabbing. But then they wanted people to pay them for it. So when he says far greater labors, he's meaning No. I actually preached the gospel to you for free, and I had to work a side job to make a living. It's the difference between him and then in the in the next descriptions. As we go along here, what you're going to hear is Paul described things on extremes, so he's going to describe one end of the spectrum that he's going to describe the other end of the spectrum. What Paul's getting at is that I've been through the whole gamut and you go to see that as he goes back and forth, I'll show those to you, so let's keep reading. Verse. Twenty for Paul says this five times I received at the hand of the Jews, the forty lashes minus one. If you want to know what the forty lashes minus one are or where they come from from the Jews, go back to do Toronto ME twenty five. We're not gonna go there, but you could go back and read it. It's in Deuteronomy, Chapter twenty five. A few different hypothesis is as to what? Why forty lashes minus one. Forty lashes was the maximum punishment you could give. That wasn't death. So it was the worst punishment that could be offered for doing something that wasn't punishable by death. Some people thought that it was if the number of lashes anyone could take before they would die. Why forty lashes minus one? Some people thought it was to keep someone from dying, in case they wouldn't case, they couldn't quite get to forty lashes without dying. Some people say that it's forty lashes minus one because they weren't very good counters. And, you know, they didn't wantto over punish someone so they would do thirty nine just to make sure in case they missed one, because the loss of that, if you were, if you gave someone more punishment than that, then you were in danger of being convicted by the law, So they don't want to do that. It was like, if you're doing that, we're doing the punishing. I'm just going to do one less just to make sure I don't get in trouble, too. I don't know. Forty lashes minus one. Okay, the the amount of pain and recovery it would take to recover from forty lashes minus one through the roof five times, Paul says. I received this at the hands of the Jews. So when he was with Jews, he was being punished three times. Verse twenty five, he says. I was beaten with rods that was a Roman form of punishment. So, Paul says. When I'm with the Jews, I'm punished. When I'm with the Gentiles, I'm punished Jewish forty lashes plus minus one Roman being with rods that the goal that he's trying to get at is it doesn't matter who I'm with. I'm punished for the sake of the Gospel. Once I was stoned. Okay, So if forty lashes minus one is the maximum punishment that can be inflicted without causing death And if you were in Rome and you are sentenced, not death. But you needed to be punished. You were beaten with rods. OK, so these air two examples of things that were meant to punish but not kill stoning is meant to kill. Okay, So I was punished by the Jews by the Gentiles to the point of for the sake of not being killed. But I was also once stoned for the sake of being killed. And yet he wasn't. You can go find all these things in acts, by the way. If we wanted to, we could spend a whole lot of time going back to axe and looking at all these things. But I won't because we don't have that much time. Once I was stoned, he said in verse twenty five, three times I was shipwrecked. A night and a day I was drift adrift at sea, basically meaning the ship. We're shipwrecked. And he was holding on to something adrift at sea a day and a night okay? I don't know what it's like. I don't know what it's like for you. Teo, Get or hear something from God and get a plan, and you're like, I'm going to go here. I'm going to do this because God told me. And then And then as you're going, you get on this ship. You're like, I'm gonna go here. This is what God told me to do. I'm going to go do it and you get on the ship and the ship is shipwrecked. And what must Paul have been thinking floating on the sea going? Maybe I misheard like maybe this isn't what I was supposed to dio three times shipwrecked a day and a night adrift at sea verse twenty six, Paul says on frequent journeys. Which basically just means he didn't have the comfort of home. He was constantly on the move. A lot of us go off and we like to travel. But then after I don't know, given a certain given amount of time, maybe it's a week for you. Maybe it's a few days for you. Maybe it's a month for you. At some point you're like, how do you like to be home. I'd really like to be in the comfort of things that I know are secure. I'd really like not to just have to be on the move all the time. Paul says. I was on frequent journeys and then you go back, and then he goes back to the extremes in danger from rivers and in danger from robbers. Meaning Whichever way Paul travelled, he was in danger. If he was on the river, he traveled by boat. He was in danger. If he traveled by land, he was in danger from robbers Paul saying anyway, that I traveled. I was endangered. So so far, any people that I've been with, I was receiving punishment for sharing the gospel anyway, that I traveled. I was in danger, not comfort. Danger from my own people and danger from the gentle same thing. He's already described the Jews, his own people and the gentiles. Curiously, here, he might be talking about Christians when he says in danger from my own people. I don't know. Danger in the city. Danger in the wilderness. Danger at sea. It didn't matter where I stayed Geographically I was in danger. If I tried to go in the in the ocean in the sea I was in danger. If I tried to stay on land, I was in danger. If I try to go out in the city, I was in danger. If I try to go out in the wilderness in danger you hear the comprehensiveness of the description. He's basically saying Everywhere I went, every people that I met, no matter how I chose to travel, there was always, always, always a level of danger for me. Do you get why I've said in the past that life is a Christian's? Not all kicks and giggles. I mean, this is the Apostle Paul. This is maybe possibly one of the most gifted people that the God has ever sent to the church to be able to write scriptures, to be able to evangelize early churches to share the gospel toe initially start that spread. And this is the guy saying that I've been in danger in danger, in danger, in danger, living as a Christian. And the last description in verse twenty six is in danger from false brothers, meaning even the people that I thought. For my brothers. I was in danger from them, too. Could be a description of the people in the Corinthian Church. Could be description of these people and how they treated Paul when they were there in Corinth with him. And they listened to him speak and they saw him. And they hurt him. And they played brother with him all. Paul, you're so great. We love you. You're awesome only to have them leave in them, attack him. And it gives this description here in danger from false brothers. It could be a very description of the Corinthians there that he's fighting against. Never is twenty seven, he says, in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure, toilet hardship. We kind of already talked about that. He had to work toe live, okay. He didn't go from city to city to city and get an offering or get support everywhere he went. Some churches did support him, but a lot of places he went, he worked. This would be like the pastor who starts a church and they have to teach on Sundays, but then they I gotta work a normal job throughout the week. They work, they work, they work, they work, they work and and somehow they gotta find time to prepared to teach at the same time. That's toil and hardship, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food meaning no shelter, not enough shelter. Not enough water. Not enough food. Not enough sleep. Anybody want to be a Christian? This is what Paul chooses to boast in. We're going to see in the next chapter of why Paul chooses to boast and this is This is a curious twist in his resume. This is not what people would have expected when you say stand up and tell me why you're a Christ follower or how your life exhibits that your Christ forward that this is not whether Corinthians would have expected him to say. And it keeps going. And apart from other things, there is the daily pressure verse twenty eight on me of the anxiety of my anxiety for all the churches, so on top of not always being sheltered on top, of not always having enough to eat on top of always not having enough to drink on top of being in danger. Everywhere I go, there's the daily anxiety of wondering if the people that I share the Gospel with that I've tried to set up to be Christians are staying on track. If the places that I've been, I've walked away and now hoping that they're not just wandering off in being led astray, he says. I wrestle with that daily. First twenty nine is kind of a weird rhetorical question, A couple of them policies who is weak and am I not weak? What I think he's trying to do is he's trying to tell people, Can I not relate to you? If you feel weak or you feel in danger or you feel abused or you feel like you don't have enough to eat or you don't have enough to drink or you don't have the proper shelter. He's saying, Who out there feels like that? Am I not like you? See the Corinthians were all about elevating themselves above everybody else. We're so much better than you. We look better than you. We talk better than you. We sound better than Yu. We should make more money than you. And we're going to going to go from city to city because we're well traveled like that. And we're great. Instead, Paul's saying, Look, am I not like you? The normal people, every day? Knowing what it's like to work and work and work and work and still feel like you don't have enough to make ends meet. And then the second rhetorical question who was made to fall. Am I not indignant? He cares for them. There's someone in the church who he's afraid is causing the Corinthians to fall miss the mark, toe, get off on a different path to go astray. And he says, Am I not indignant? Is there not something inside of me that's like, Stop leading my people astray? There is. That's the answer to a rhetorical question. He cares for them, doesn't want them to be led a stray by these false apostles that he's talking about the universe. Thirty, he gives it. He gives it to us the reason he's listed all these things or what he's actually doing. Maybe not the reason yet until Chapter twelve, he says in verse thirty. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. We're going to come back to that next week and the week after The Godfather in Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying in case some people in Corinth were sitting there thinking, Okay, Dude hasn't really experienced all that mean. You'd probably be dead by now. That's kind of a That's kind of a really long list of stuff that maybe not that plausible in case they're questioning his authenticity or his truthfulness, he says. And God knows I'm not lying. Oh, and one more thing that maybe I forgot to mention that will show pose submission. Post weakness, Paul. Submission to the people around him to helping verse thirty two at Damascus. He says the governor under King Array tas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me. But I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands. OK, so in case you were wondering if I'm strong enough to do all these things on my own, I'm not. Because when this guy was after me and he pinned me down, somebody else had let me down through a basket in the wall so I could run off. No, I'm not self sufficient. No, I can't do all these things on myself. No, I don't do them all in my own power. Do you see? Do you see what he's working towards? It's coming in Chapter twelve. It's coming. It's coming. We'll get there in Chapter twelve. We'll get two returning. We'll get back to what it looks like. Toe actually boast in our weakness because I think this is different for us. I think it's a paradigm shift for us. If somebody asked you Teo to give your resume as to how you're a Christ follower, I don't think many people's resume would look like this, so we'll get back to that in Chapter twelve. But here's what I want to do. I want to just zoom out for a second look at Paul's life is a hole. Anybody question who who Paul followed. I mean, anybody question how committed Paul was? Does anybody look at Paul's life and think, Well, I'm just I'm just not quite sure that Paul was really all that strong of a guy. Did you look at a list like this? And the crazy thing is, is all Paul's doing is talking about his weakness. And yet I don't know anybody that would read this list and walk away thinking that maybe Paul's not so devoted to Christ. Maybe Paul doesn't really understand the God Russell. Maybe Paul. I mean, maybe Paul trust God like this much, but maybe he really doesn't trust got this much, and he probably can't relate to me because he just has everything worked out for him, and God just blessed them so much. Here's a question I want to ask today if if you had to make if you had a look at a specific area of your life and you had to make a list of what is that area of my life look like parenting or being a spouse or working at a job or loving your neighbor? Being a good friend, if you had to take one just aspect of your life and look at it and make a list of what does that look like for you? What people read that list and would they say that's a follower of Christ? Paul is giving his resume here and we can read it and we're reading and we're saying, and I don't think anybody's questioning the question is, how do you get to that point? How do you get to the point of if I through my resume out there? Of getting to the point where nobody's questioning anymore who you follow. Nobody's questioning anymore who your loyalty goes to. Nobody's questioning anymore whether or not you follow the truths of the Bible or whether you're trying to walk in the footsteps of Christ. Like, how do we get to that point? We're like, we're reading your resume, and everybody in the room is saying, Yeah, that dude follows Christ, that dude lives it out. I think the key is one area of our life at a time you can't walk out of these doors and just say, You know what? I'm going to follow Christ and everything. And I wanna be just like Paul from now on. Okay, Not realistic. Table can choose the one area of your life today. You could choose tow, walk out and say for the rest of my life, if someone asked me what my marriages has been like by the time I get done describing it, they're going to say, I'm pretty sure that due to Christian or that woman follows Christ. Does how you raise your kids say to the world, we follow Jesus. Does who you choose to be involved with or how you choose to spend your free time Does what you say with your mouth. Scream to the world we follow Jesus. We're saved. We're redeemed like pause. Resume death. I'm not asking you to be Paul. I mean, not many of us in this room are called toe. Just pick up and go to a foreign country and share the gospel with people who you know are going to reject you. I'm asking, What can you do and your life so that if people ask you how do you live this area of your life by the time you get done describing it, People say, Well, that's not what I expected because that person falls Christ. Question is what? What's the first step of faith for you? What's the first area of your life that you know that? God saying, I want this area of my life to point to me so that when people come and ask you co workers, how do you work? How do you navigate this work job thing? By the time you get finished describing it, they say, Man, he works differently than everybody else. I think it's because he's a Christian. Family job, spouse money, time, talent. My challenge to you is to ask what area of life does God want me to work on? Which area of life does God want me to develop to the point where I can say this is how I live? What is this who I follow and people could just see it just reading it. Words on the page.
Pastor Anthony Whitlatch

I was born and raised in AZ (Chandler/Gilbert), and accepted Christ as my savior at summer church camp in 6th grade. In 2012, I graduated from Grand Canyon University (GCU) with a BA in Christian Studies. Shortly after graduating (9 days), God gifted me with a wife, Karissa. Karissa and I have been to 9 different countries doing international missions. We spent thirteen months in Vienna, Austria with Surge International (soccer based missions organization). While in Austria (2012-2013) I played professional soccer for FS Elektra in Oberliga B and we partnered with a local church in Vienna. After returning, Karissa and I are both graduated from Phoenix Seminary, Karissa (2016) with her Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) and me with a Master of Divinity (MDiv) in Biblical Communication (2018). In 2019, God blessed us with a baby boy, Archer. The verses God used to call me to ministry are 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…”

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