The Blessings Of Consistent Living
Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 10
The word “consistent” means “fixed”; or “firm”.
“Living” means as we understand it here means “as a living principle”, or “living our faith”.
The truth is there were some at Corinth who had been trying to overturn Paul’s authority and destroy his influence in the church. Notice Paul no longer says “we” but now he says “I” as Paul will now begin to deal with his critics.
The truth of most Christians is that we do not acknowledge our true enemy!
The Bible is specific about who the enemy of this world is and especially to the Christian.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We already know that the root of evil is the “love of money” , “covetousness”.
Our enemy is the influence of evil on God’s people!
We must never be careless nor casual in our spiritual battles!
Our power is in our “consistent living” for the Lord and by wearing the armor of God at all times!
Our power in this life comes from pleasing the Lord by being His true disciples!
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
*****2Co 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
2Co 10:2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
If we are to be like Christ then we need to know our Savior. Jesus Christ was known for His “meekness” and His “gentleness”.
Isa 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
Isa 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
We should clearly understand “meekness” does not mean some sissified, limp wrist man but “meekness” is “strength under total control”.
Meekness is a “grace” which Jesus alone impressed as a Mighty God presented as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and He remained that way all His days.
“Gentleness” goes with the meekness of Christ because it best represents this time period we call “Grace”!
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Paul had followed the example of Christ Jesus in addressing the insults, the attacks, the rumors, the outright lies, and the evil that had been done to him!
There was at one time a bracelet for kids that had WWJD printed on it. It stood for “What Would Jesus Do” to remind them of what to do when confronted.
It would pay for us all to ask ourselves this question, “What would Jesus do”, when we are confronted with evil!
What was Paul’s goal for his ministry?
1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1Ti 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, “that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting”.
We see that Paul had personal experience with the meekness and the gentleness of Christ and wanted to show that to the world.
Remember Jesus Christ was meek, “not because he was weak” but because He was so strong, after all Jesus had all the power of God within Himself!
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
This should be our goal, to be so strong in our faith that we can show meekness “and it be clearly understood”.
For instance America is still known as a Super Power but America can show meekness because of control of that strength. For many years now we have not seen this as the truth because our strength and meekness has eroded!
God on the other hand has all power that will never erode and He can show meekness in His terrible strength!
Paul said we should all remember the absolute power of our God at all times.
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.
Meekness and gentleness are directly opposed to the love of displaying that strength. No doubt if God showed just a part of His strength the churches could not hold the people who would want to get closer to the Lord.
God has no desire to show His pre-eminence at this time because our righteousness depends upon our “faith” and not our fear of Him!
Again this is God’s plan and He wants us to be a part of His plan and not have a plan of our own!
What Paul is saying if his critics would return to God then they would never seel “what the Christian says today” Paul get in the flesh. Paul had a great desire to not have to confront his critics in boldness and strength.
Again we should remember the 12 Apostles had powers that we can only imagine and those powers were to be used to build up the church, not to tear it down but Jesus would stand by any decision that they made.
Those 12 Apostles had powers that we may never understand till we get to Heaven.
Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Joh 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
There can be no Apostles today because no other men have been trusted with such power as these men were!
Paul was just saying “compliance or non-compliance of his requests” rested entirely upon his critics.
We should understand that Paul was only a human and like as today as we all say “you do not want to see me get in the flesh”.
It should be very clear that we must have patience and we should give everyone time to repent of their sin with loving kindness!
*****2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2Co 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
We should all remember even after we are saved we still “walk in the flesh” because we are not yet perfect, we are not yet glorified.
As along as we are in this flesh we are subject to all the weaknesses of our flesh.
We still age, our flesh is feeble, our minds can fail(we are subject to error in judgment), we are subject to disease, and we are targets of Satan and of the unbelievers of this world. Then there is also our conduct and our temper.
The truth is if we will study the Word of God and apply it to our lives then we will not war after the flesh.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Our flesh is useless in our spiritual warfare!
Our enemy is Satan and Satan’s influence on this world!
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
**What are some of Satan’s strongholds?
We live in a world where it is becoming even more willful to be ignorant of God’s Words:
2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The world has turned this around against us and now claims that the Christian is willful ignorant of the truth of the modern philosophy and have convinced many with their false agenda.
But this same world teaches infidelity, where revealed truth is just rejected!
This same world teaches prejudice against all the doctrines of Jesus Christ!
The same world teaches superstition and idolatry!
The biggest stronghold is that of a depraved heart and depraved mind where we find our refuge when all other things fail for us!
Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weapons!
1) We must cast down imaginations!
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
2) We must cast down everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God!
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
3) We must bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ Jesus!
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
**And then there is another very important thing:
We must have a readiness to revenge all disobedience!
**We must always be ready to administer church discipline!
The “grace” of God is completely in disagreement with the ways of this world we live in.
**We must deal immediately with false teachers and false preachers!
This is not just for the Pastor to do but the Church must step forward and insist on it!
“This is where the Church is failing terribly today”.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
**We must take a stand on the “Doctrine of Jesus Christ”!
**We must also allow some time for repentance!
This is the state of “God’s Grace” we are in today. God is allowing this time for repentance!
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
God is allowing a time of repentance that only He knows and we are wrong if we do not allow a time of repentance in Church discipline but even that time must end at some point.
No matter what this world says, The Lord is coming and He has already given His warning, there will not be another warning, God’s patience does have a point of ending!
And Paul continues:
*****2Co 10:7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
Paul is saying that if you insist on looking at things with an outward appearance and not look into your hearts then go ahead and look and they would see what Paul’s ministry had accomplished.
Every Pastor has the right to be accepted if he belongs to Christ, these things are hard to hide!
A true man of God should be welcomed and the church should help him through every problem!
The trouble makers at Corinth had said that Paul just did not measure up, but Paul said look at what was accomplished through Jesus Christ.
Those trouble makers had not planted a church. They had not won souls to the Lord. They had no Apostolic powers. They were just trouble makers!
“They were just doing what trouble makers do”.
Paul said if he was to judged by outward appearance then look at what lies plainly before your eyes.
1) Paul was indeed the founder of this church at Corinth.
2) Paul had refused to be maintained by this church, for his own particular purpose.
3) The way Paul lived was proof of his sincerity.
4) The Holy Ghost conviction of this church also vouched for him.
These things were certainly all true of the Apostle Paul but Paul said we still need to look much deeper than what is seen on the outside.
None of these things would be true if Paul had not belonged to Jesus Christ!
Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Those men who are not seeking to destroy what Jesus Christ died for but to see it grow, should be honored with the love of the church!
*****2Co 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
No doubt that the 12 Apostles had been given powers that no other men have been given and we are wrong if we think this is not true.
Paul had a supernatural endowment from the Lord. In this Paul was certainly superior to all who questioned his sincerity to the church. Paul felt that if he wanted to boast of these things then there was nothing wrong with that boasting.
Paul also insisted that he might use or not use this authority”because this power did not infringe on his freedom to do so”.
Paul also knew that this authority, this power was given to him to edify the church and not for destructive purposes!
God had done such things with Moses, and Joshua, and Elijah and Elisha and the other 11 apostles but if we study we will see that they were free to use it or not to use it.
God has instilled in us all to be useful and not to be destructive if at all possible!
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
The truth is the more gifts God gives to each of us the more we are exposed to the hatred of this world.
When Paul mentioned his authority given to him by the Lord, he was by no means telling a lie, these things were true!
*****2Co 10:9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.
2Co 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
Paul is described as a short, thin headed man, with crooked legs, whose eyebrows met and had a hooked nose but no one knows the actual appearance of the Apostle Paul.
Paul’s critics said he was a poor preacher and not an eloquent speaker.
They would recall how some would even fall asleep while Paul preached and we all know the story of Eutychus how he fell to his death while Paul was long preaching and Paul revived him.
They had said it would be a waste of time for Paul to return to Corinth.
And they made compared all these things to Paul’s writings.
So we can see that Paul’s critics said that these letters might be weighty and powerful but he was truly a very weak man and his speech was contemptible.
Remember Paul had said that if he returned to Corinth he would use the authority given of Christ if need be:
Refer back to verse 6 and add this one:
2Co 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, “lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction”.
We can see the these critics in the Corinthian Church did everything they could to discredit Paul and Paul was aware of it all!
But Paul said you need to keep this one thought.
*****2Co 10:11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
Paul’s critics denied his authority given to him of God.
Paul’s critics ridiculed Paul’s appearance.
Paul’s critics said Paul was just a coward, because he would threaten at a distance but was silent and weak when he was present.
We can understand that all these things had to hurt the Apostle Paul but he did not give up on himself and he did not give up on this church.
Paul was making it very clear that all those that made these statements would see him just as he had written not in weakness, but bold with the authority of God!
Paul insisted that he did not make idle threats that he could not back up with the power of God!
*****2Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
2Co 10:13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
The truth is when we judge ourselves using ourself as the standard we are foolish.
We can only judge ourselves using Jesus Christ as our standard to get an accurate picture of ourself!
Nor should we ever judge ourselves by the character of some other human being!
We have the owners manual for our guideline and it is called the Word of God!
When we use some one other than Christ to look up to, as our standard, then we have given that person the authority to run our lives.
Only God through the Lord Jesus Christ has that authority!
God says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”
Jesus said: “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”
The Bible simply says when we compare ourselves among ourselves “we are not wise”!
How can we ever boast ourselves against someone who is measureless in the eyes of God.
We already know that most every man has no limit to his high opinion of himself.
What does God say is the truth of each of us?
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
We cannot use another human as our standard of excellence, we must use the rule (or ruler or measuring device) that God has distributed to us!
God has a plan and a purpose for each of us and we are to always follow the lead of the Holy Spirit.
Paul had not chosen to place a church in Corinth, God had.
God had chosen Thessalonica, God had chosen Berea, God had chosen Philippi to place houses of worship!
Paul did not take it upon himself to go to other places and Paul did not go to where other missionaries were working.
Paul was the missionary to the Gentiles!
*****2Co 10:14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
2Co 10:15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
2Co 10:16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.
We must remember the command of Christ Jesus:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
What Paul adds is, that there is no room for division or competitiveness in the church.
Jesus Christ sends His disciples throughout this world. If we go to where the Lord has called us to go and not pile on top of each other then the “Gospel message” will one day reach every human being and they will get their opportunity to accept it or to deny it.
In fact, we should not worry or wonder if the “Gospel” will reach the world because that is God’s responsibility. We “must” fulfill the purpose that He has for our lives!
We are never to stretch ourselves beyond our measure!
These false men who had come to Corinth with a “different gospel” were not sent of God, because it goes against God’s purpose!
All those who preach other than the “Gospel of Christ Jesus” are false men and women who serve the god of their belly or Satan!
God has His own methods of directing His servants, His missionaries, His Preachers, His Teachers!
God has His own methods to dictate when that mission is to end and move on to another place but “God does not ever change His command to go”!
The truth is, anyone that goes without the guidance of the Holy Spirit will have very little, if any good results!
We may also not ever understand that some people just love misery too much to give it up!
Psa 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
In other words, the people that hate the Lord, love misery!
We should also clearly understand that when God establishes a new Church in an area, He has a specific purpose for that place and that area, but He also still gives the commands of the Lord Jesus to all the “body of Christ” everywhere.
God does not leave any room for us to tear down each other and we are not in some competition for the same people!
It is a fact that the troubles in this Church at Corinth had actually hindered the work of God through the Apostle Paul and this is another lesson for all of us to learn.
Controversy in one house of worship can hinder the work of God in other areas!
We should also see that when the Christian community of one area has allowed the world or the government to dictate the “gospel message” then it will affect the work of missionaries to found another church in some other area chosen by the Lord!
What we do in our local church and our local area has some effect on the spreading to the “Gospel” around this world and we must always keep these things in consideration!
God has a plan and He just wants to be a part of His plan. We are never to come up with our own plan!
God says that in every way possible “the body of Christ” in every location, is to assist in the means to preach the “Gospel in the regions beyond their own location”!
**We are under no circumstances to ever be a hindrance to the spread of the “Gospel”!
**We are never to glory in our selves because we must give God the glory, after all we are already on the winning side!
*****2Co 10:17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
2Co 10:18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
What does this mean?
Let God explain Himself:
Jer 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
In the Book of Genesis, in the creation of man, God said “let’s make man in our image”.
When God made Adam he took delight in loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness because this is the nature of our God.
It was sin that changed Adam!
God said if we are glory, then glory in understanding and knowing Him on a personal level and in this we would know His ways.
God says when we glory in our wisdom we will fail.
God says when we glory in our own strength we will fail.
God says when we glory in our riches we will fail.
It is these people who have already chosen their god and it is the same in the world we live in today!
Jer 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
The world may think that success lies in the wisdom of man but the world is wrong!
There are those that think success lies in the might of man but they are wrong!
There are those who think success lies in the riches of certain men but they are also wrong!
**We can only glory in the knowledge of the Lord and His ways to succeed in this life and obtain everlasting life!
God is already our Creator we must also realize Him as our King, with absolute power (for He is)!
Psa 105:3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Psa 105:4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
Psa 105:5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
We must stand before the Lord at the cross to be saved.
We must stand before the Lord in judgment even after salvation but not for our sin.
We must stand before the Lord in this life to have the joy of the Lord.
If we cannot do these things how can we say we love the Lord?
Joh 5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
Joh 5:43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Joh 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
If you want to know the real truth, the Lord will not accept anyone recommended by some man!
The Lord Will Only Accept Those That He Recommends Himself!
Those the Lord recommends are only those who have repented and given themselves over to the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!