Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
2 Corinthians 11:3
I. There is simplicity in Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, as the Servant of the Father, as the Substitute, Surety, and Saviour of the guilty.
II. As in His own finished work of righteousness and atonement, so in the free offer of the Gospel as connected with it, we may see, and seeing bless God for, the simplicity that is in Christ. How simple, in every view of it, is the Gospel message. God has but one argument: the argument of the Cross, a full atonement made for guilt of deepest dye, an everlasting righteousness brought in, a sufficient satisfaction made to the righteous law, and a welcome, without upbraiding and without reserve, awaiting the very chief of sinners.
III. As there is the simplicity of actual reality in the great atonement and the simplicity of earnest sincerity in the Gospel offer, so in respect also of the completeness of believers as one with Jesus we may note the simplicity that is in Christ. The perfection of His righteousness, the fulness of His grace and truth, the holiness of His Divine nature, all His possessions, in short, and all the pure elements of His own inmost satisfaction, His rest, His peace, His joy, all, all, He shares with us simply, bountifully, unreservedly, and all upon the same footing: our only being in Him and abiding in Him.
IV. The same simplicity is apparent in His guidance of us as our Captain and Example.
V. The simplicity that is in Christ may be noted in connection with His second coming and glorious appearing. What really is to produce the right moral and spiritual effect upon our souls is not the crowded canvas and scenery of a picture embracing all the particulars of a world's catastrophe, no, not that, not that at all, but the one dread and holy image of Jesus as He was taken up to heaven from Mount Olivet, so coming again even as He was seen to go. Be that coming when it may, it is still as the polestar of the Church's hope and the spur of her zeal, simple, solemn, in its very standing alone, isolated, solitary, separate, and apart from all accessories of preceding and accompanying revolution.
R. S. Candlish, Sermons, p. 43.
The Simplicity that is in Christ.
I. This simplicity of Christ is most markedly set before us in our holy religion. First, in its doctrine. All doctrine is derived from Christ Himself; and if we go up to the fountain-head, there we see that, while never man spake like this Man, that which characterised Christ, like nature itself, most of all was His simplicity. It is true that He often spoke deep and profound things, and that, as in all Scripture, so we have from the lips of Christ Himself heights which no man can reach, depths which no man can fathom, lengths which no man can span, and breadths which no mind or intellect can grasp; yet this arises from the infinitude of the subject more than from any lack of simplicity in Him who expounded it.
II. Again, secondly, this simplicity applies to obedience. Philosophy was so intricate and so subtle that very few could follow it, and very few could understand it; but when God, by His Son Jesus Christ, would teach the world the most royal law of greatness and obedience, it was this: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, and thy neighbour as thyself."
III. This subject speaks to us of simplicity in our worship. Man loves novelty; man loves novelty in everything, and not less in his religion than in any other thing. This is the reason why the mind of man is ever open to some new form of faith or some new form of error, just for this reason, and we are here recalled from it all by the simplicity which is in Christ. Be simple in everything: simple in your repentance toward God; simple in your faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ; simple in your mutual intercourse with one another; simple in all the work that you are honoured and permitted to put your hand to for the Lord in His vineyard.
J. Fleming, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 28.
2 Corinthians 11:10Fancied Wisdom.
I. The influence exercised by the Judaising teachers at Corinth was so noxious that the Apostle found himself most unwillingly driven to the ungracious task of boasting of his services. Such a necessity must have been peculiarly repulsive to him, because a great part of his own special teaching was directed against any self-complacency or assertion of personal merit. He introduces it, therefore, with reluctance and apology. Such boasting, he says, becomes a fool rather than an Apostle, but the perversity of the Corinthians has left him no alternative, and he feels obliged to give them a picture of the man whom they are deserting for their new and unworthy favourites.
II. (1) The text accounts for certain forms of unbelief. There is a certain pleasure in appearing cleverer or more profound than our neighbours or feeling able to despise them as the bigoted votaries of a worn-out creed and lingerers behind the age. Thus we are led by our own fancied wisdom to suffer fools gladly. (2) The fancied wisdom which leads us to suffer fools gladly may be, not of an intellectual, but of a religious, character. The man gladly tolerates the groundless fancies of some new teacher who casually crosses his path, or perhaps himself seeks one out; he adopts in his ignorance untenable interpretations of Scripture. Thus he too suffers fools gladly.
III. If any one is disposed to lament the licence of modern criticism, the hundred forms of modern sectarianism, the readiness with which men are carried about with divers and strange doctrines, the perils to which their faith is exposed, let him consider whether his own conduct is such as to strengthen or weaken that faith. Remember that every Christian, whether qualified or not to solve Scriptural difficulties and answer sceptical arguments, is able in this way to prove the truth of Christian doctrine by the beauty of Christian life.
G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons on the Epistles, vol. i., p. 180.
References: 2 Corinthians 11:13, 2 Corinthians 11:14.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 81. 2 Corinthians 11:19.—W. C. E. Newbolt, Counsels of Faith and Practice, p. 238. 2 Corinthians 11:22.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 158. 2 Corinthians 11:23.—F. W. Aveling, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 100. 2 Corinthians 11:24.—A. Maclaren, Sermons in Manchester, p. 14; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 56. 2 Corinthians 11:26.—Talmage, Old Wells Dug Out, p. 26; Church of England Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 224; A. Rees, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 243. 2 Corinthians 11:30.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 89. 2 Corinthians 11:32, 2 Corinthians 11:33.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 540.
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.