2 Cor. 10:1-6
When you serve the Lord, there will always be opposition. You will be involved in spiritual battle whether you like it or not. I’m not telling that only those who are actively serving the Lord who will be at war but all of us Christians. However, those in the front lines, pastors, missionaries, evangelists, deacons, Sunday school teachers, etc., will experience more opposition from the
enemies. The Apostle Paul here tells us his experience and how he dealt with his enemies. Paul is being accused of being a courageous writer but weak when he was among the brethren. He is going to take the first six verses to clarify his meekness and the source of his might.
Illustration 1: Bull Moose
Recently National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk. There is a lesson here for us.
Spiritual battles await. Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious, or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now—before the wars begin. The bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they’re needed.
Craig Brian Larson
I. His meekness (2 Cor. 10:1-2)
A. His model for this was Christ. Christ’s meekness. Christ never “lorded it over” people; His power was exercised in meekness and humility. Meekness is not weakness; meekness is power under control, the ability to be angry at sin, yet willing to suffer abuse for the sake of Christ.
B. Gentleness, “graciousness,” occurring in the NT only here and in Acts 24:4) is the active corollary to this meek disposition. This was the attitude in which Paul ministered, a spirit which could easily be construed a s weakness and timidity by the world’s standards.
C. “I beseech you…” (2 Cor. 10:2): He begs that, when he comes, he will not have to be bold when he faces his opponents. He wants to be lowly and gentle even in the presence of his enemies.
Illustration 2: In Himself Nothing; In God, Everything
A. W. Tozer once wrote, the meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto.”
II. Spiritual Weapon (2 Cor. 10: 3-6)
A. Simply because Paul did not use carnal methods and exert the power of a “strong personality,” the believers thought he was a weakling! His weapons were spiritual, not fleshly. Like all of us, Paul “walked in the flesh” (that is, had all the weaknesses of the body), but he did not war after the flesh by depending on fleshly wisdom, human abilities, or physical prowess. The Word of God and prayer are the only effective weapons in this battle against Satan (Acts 6:4).
B. “For the weapons of our welfare…” (2 Cor. 10:4) The weapons by which Paul is waging his spiritual warfare are not worldly and carnal, in contrast to those used by the Corinthian enemies. Their character is spiritual, or “mighty through God.” “For the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds.
Paul enumerates them in Ephesians 6:13-18 as “the whole armour of God” namely, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.
C. “Pulling down” is a military metaphor and as “casting down” (verse 5) may allude to the crow, a large military engine with a great claw to it, which was used to pull down the walls of castles, forts and strongholds.
D. “Casting down imaginations…” (2 Cor. 10:5). Thought here is the same word for “mind”. Speculations, ideas, philosophies, reasonings, and false religions are the ideological forts in which men barricaded themselves against God and the gospel. Reasonings that are opposed to the truth of God’s Word. Pride of intelligence that exalts itself. Paul was not attacking intelligence, but intellectualism, the high minded attitude that makes people think they know more than they really do (Rom. 12:16).
Judicious use of our spiritual weapon, especially the offensive weapon “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17), will result in opening of the “blinded minds” (2 Cor. 4:4) of those who have rejected God and His Word and capture them for Christ. Thus, we are not to use such carnal weapons as bullets, or even ballots, in our battle for human mind but the mighty spiritual weapons in “the whole armour of God” (Eph. 6:11).
Illustration 3: Eyes Opened
A Christian worker in Arizona tells of a fierce looking cowboy who came to him asking for copies of Mark’s Gospel, and who told him this story: “I went to San Francisco and threw away much money in rough revelry. I slept late after a night of dissipation. When I awoke, I saw a little Book on the table near my bed: The Gospel of Mark. I angrily threw it on the floor. I did the same thing the second morning. Awaking the third morning, I saw that same little Book. This time I took it with me to a nearby park and began to examine it. I spent the day reading it. I heard the Son of God say to a ‘Be thou clean’ (1:41). I heard him say to a paralytic, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee’ (2:5,9). I heard
him commend the widow for her mite (12:43). I saw him take little children in his arms and bless them. I heard him say, ‘Couldst thou not watch one hour?’ (14:37). I saw him die. It broke my heart and changed my life. I am a different man. Now, Stranger, I spend much time giving away copies of the Gospel of Mark.” Heart-warming Bible Illustrations
III. Obedience (2 Cor. 10:5b-6)
A. “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The object of Paul’s warfare was to make people obedient. Paul was not interested in making them subject to himself or any other man after the manner of the world (cf. 2 Cor. 1:24; 11:20; Luke 22:25). Like Paul we must submit all things to Christ. “Before we go anywhere, or do anything, or before we plan or think” we should be submissive to Christ.
B. “And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience…” (2 Cor. 10:6). Whatever disobedience might exist in the Corinthian church, Paul was quite ready to show his power. His approach to this particular confrontation in Corinth was twofold. First, it was necessary that the Corinthian church express their subjection to Christ by demonstrating loyalty to His representative Paul (2 Cor. 5:20). In this way their obedience would be complete. Second, when Paul was sure they had repudiated his opponents (2 Cor. 6:14-18), he could then deal directly with the false apostles, knowing that the church supported him. He was ready to punish their acts of disobedience to Christ. The word “punish” (ekdikesai) could more forcefully be translated “avenge” (1 Cor 3:17). In other contexts, it describes the wrath of God directed against the enemies of His people (Num. 31:2; Deut. 32:43; Rev. 19:2).
Illustration 4: Blessing Through Obedience
The doctor demands entire obedience from his patient in all that pertains to medicine, diet, rest, exercise, etc. The patient’s friends may wish for him to take a little of this or a little of that, and the patient himself may wish it, but the doctor’s orders override these. Why? Not because the doctor loves to lord it over people, but his care for his patient’s health demands it, and the more he cares for them the more relentless will he be. All our Lord’s orders for us are doctor’s orders, the orders of the great physician to whom our soul’s health is His supreme desire. It is Divinest love speaking in the imperative mood and saying, “Thou shalt not,” and giving the reason “Do thyself no harm.”
Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today
Paul’s meekness was not weakness. Like Christ, His power was exercised in meekness and humility. Real Christians are all engaged in Spiritual battle which can be fought only won through Spiritual means. Are you fighting a spiritual battle too? Repent from your sins and receive Christ as your personal Savior and be victorious in this spiritual battle