Fool for Love
Fool for Love
Words of Faith 12-27-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 12
 I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing.  The things that mark an apostle--signs, wonders and miracles--were done among you with great perseverance.  How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
The boasting was over. Paul had played the part demanded of him by the Corinthians, the fool. This whole boasting thing was not at all what he had wanted. But they had pushed him into it by listening to the innuendos and accusations of the false apostles and failing to come to his defense. The Corinthians had remained passive spectators, forcing Paul to offer his own defense. Because he loved them and did not want to lose them to a lie, he entered into this boasting.
Paul knew that he was more than equal to stand comparison with even the greatest of the Twelve, as shown by the catalog of credentials he had just given. But it was a foolish endeavor because these credentials were ultimately not his but God's. He was nothing. He knew that better than anyone. As he had written the Corinthians before, "I worked harder than all of them-- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me" (1 Cor. 15:10).
Apostleship is a gifting in the New Testament. But Paul actually claimed an office of apostle that was usually accompanied by supernatural acts accomplished through God's grace. These should have sufficed to quiet all suspicion about Paul's apostleship. Signs, semeiois, are miracles with emphasis on their significance such as Jesus' seven "signs" in John. Wonders, terasin, are unusual events that engender awe. Miracles, dynamesin, are wonderworks resulting from supernatural power.
Though no miraculous signs or wonders done in Corinth were recorded in the Acts account of Paul's ministry in that city, such miracles certainly occurred as Paul attested. Paul also performed miracles before and after the Corinthian ministry. A demon was cast out of the servant girl in Philippi, and Paul's ministry in Ephesus was marked by numerous miracles.
Of course the greatest miracle in Corinth was a church planted by Paul but given life by God. Remarkable too was his great perseverance, again a result of the empowerment of God. All these evidences pointed to Paul as a true apostle and to his opponents as "false apostles.”
In only one sense was Paul different from other true apostles, he was self-supporting and took no remuneration from the Corinthians. And he would not change his way, for he refused to be a burden to them.
There is probably a lesson here for us about Christian passivity.
There are times when it seems as if the Christian response is to not get involved. But what do we do when a group begins to gossip about a person, family or leader? It is easy to sit back and stay quiet. Just don't say anything. Don't rock the boat. Paul is saying that this passivity is what pushed him into a very awkward position where he was forced to defend himself. How much more powerful and dignified if someone else would just speak up?
It may sound difficult, but it really is not. When someone starts to gossip about a person, a fellow believer or leader, just stop the conversation and suggest a moment of prayer for that person and that situation. Folks who love to talk about people often hate talking to God.
If you hear a bad word and you know that person, why not speak up for them. "I am sure that there is another side to this story if only we knew it." "I happen to know her and I trust her choices and integrity." "I know that he has some faults, but I also have seen God in his life." "I am going to expect the best of her because she is my sister in Christ and she helped me in my faith."
Paul would have appreciated just a few words of testimony from these believers that he had poured his life into. He wouldn't have had to make such a fool of himself.
Father God, thank You for the witness of the Apostle Paul. Teach me from his life and testimony. Show me when to speak up for those who are being maligned. Give me the words. Give me the courage. In Jesus' Name.