2 Corinthians 12:11-21
Last week we saw the goodness of God through his giving
Paul grace to endure the thorn in his flesh.
We saw that God is good even when He says no!
This week we will finish looking at the 12th chapter of
Paul loves the church at Corinth.
He wants them to grow spiritually and to truly
understand the grace of the gospel.
Unfortunately the false teachers were defaming Paul and
putting doubt in the minds of the Corinthians about his
ministry and his love for the church.
What God is showing us in this part of the text is Paul’s
Pastoral care for the church at Corinth.
Let’s take a look at the first 3 verses.
A Reminder of Responsibilities
Paul truly believes that it is foolish to go on boasting, but
he says they forced him to do it.
The Church’s Responsibilities
In 2 Corinthians 3:2 he told the Corinthians that they
were his letter of recommendation, written on our hearts,
to be known and read by all.
They should have been commending Paul for obedience
to the Lord and for his faithfulness to the church.
But rather than defending Paul’s calling and ministry,
they bought into the lie the false teachers were selling
They should have been putting the false teachers out of
the church and telling them how sincere and loving Paul
was, but they remained silent.
Paul also understands that it is God who called him to
be an apostle.
Many of his letters begin with the introduction, Paul, an
apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
I like how he says he is not at all inferior to the super
apostles even though he is nothing.
He realizes that all of his power comes from the Lord.
Paul also understands that it is God who equipped him
to perform signs, wonders and mighty works.
Nothing they did was in their own strength. Every
miracle, every demon that was cast out, every soul that
was saved was because God ordained it and gave them
the power to do it.
The false teachers on the other hand were doing
everything in their own strength and for their own glory.
Paul’s Sacrifice for the Church
Paul uses sarcasm as he apologizes for not taking
money from the church for his ministry.
He asks them to forgive him of this wrong.
But he tells them that for the third time he is going to
come to them but he will refuse once again to be
compensated for doing the Lord’s work.
Paul shows his love for the church and his motivation to
serve and ministry when he writes “I seek not what is
yours but you”.
He wants their heart. He desires a genuine relationship
with them. In the same way God wants a relationship
with all believers.
Pastors and those in the ministry should have that same
burden for the hearts of the flock.
We should be willing to sacrifice our time to serve our
He then explains it using an illustration of parents’
obligation to provide for their children.
Paul sees them as his spiritual children.
He planted that church by God’s grace and wasn’t there
to get rich or even burden them at all.
Parents give up their needs to meet the needs of their
children. It’s what we do to show our love.
He also says “I will most gladly spend and be spent for
Do you remember Paul’s words to Philippi?
“Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering
upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad
and rejoice with you all.” Philippians 2:17
Paul knew the cost of ministry and didn’t just endure it,
he rejoiced in all of it. He was willing to give his whole life
to serve the Lord.
The false teachers accused Paul of being a shyster. They
insinuated that, in lieu of taking money for the ministry,
he would steal from the love offering collected for the
church at Jerusalem. As Paul would say, by no means
would he ever even dream of doing that.
Paul never took advantage of the people, he loved them.
He goes on to remind them of Titus who also didn’t take
advantage of them. Titus had the same spirit as Paul.
They both loved the church and genuinely wanted to
Paul Desires Edification but Fears Backsliding
Paul’s purpose is to edify the church and for them to
He uses the word upbuilding or edification.
It’s what every pastor wants or should want for his flock.
But he fears that some, if not many, in the church will
have fallen back into their old sinful ways.
That’s not how he wants to find them.
It’s why he wrote the severe letter and part of why he
hasn’t come again yet. He is hoping and praying that
they will truly repent and turn to God with a sincere
And he warns them that if he finds them in their sin they
aren’t going to like what Paul has to say to them.
Then he lists 8 sins that they are prone to and have
already engaged in previously.
His fear doesn’t end with catching them in sin.
He is also worried that God will humble him if he does
catch them in sin.
It would grieve Paul if he found them this way.
But all of it can be avoided with true repentance.
Repentance isn’t just a change in mind, it’s also a change
in behavior. One commentator writes “Repentance means
to change one’s mind; it does not mean to change one’s
I just don’t know how anyone could believe that.
If you have been saved, you have been transformed and
your life will be different. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of
you and helps change your life.