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In the Flesh, But Not of the Flesh 

Second Corinthians 10 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 23, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 


  1. Remember that in chapters 8 and 9
    1. Paul showed what will happen 
    2. if you understand and know God’s grace in your life. 
  2. That was brought up because brethren in Jerusalem needed financial help. 
    1. However, Paul needed to make sure that everyone understood 
    2. that he was taking up a collection from the churches 
      1. for the poor saints in Jerusalem. 
      2. He had explained to them what needed to happen to keep everything above board. 
  3. Then he explained further the basis of his operation. 


  1. 10.1–2 • Meekness and Gentleness

    1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
    1. Paul did not overwhelm them with the authority that Jesus gave him. 
    2. How did he come across instead? 
      1. He pled with them by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. 
      2. Do you think of Jesus as meek and gentle? 
    3. Against what charge would Paul speak boldly? 
      1. The charge that he was walking according to the flesh. 
      2. Why would that prompt him to so speak? 
  2. 10.3–6 • In the Flesh, but Not of the Flesh

    3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
    1. That we are in the flesh cannot be denied. 
      1. Does that inherently mean that we walk “according” to the flesh? 
      2. Verse 2: What does walking according to the flesh mean? 
    2. If we did war according to the flesh, what would we do? 
    3. Describe the weapons of our warfare. 
      1. Like all warfare, we seek to pull down strongholds. 
      2. We do this mightily in God. 
      3. We cast down arguments. 
      4. We bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 
      5. We punish all disobedience. 
    4. How do we cast down arguments? 
    5. How do we bring every thought into captivity to Christ? 
    6. The Corinthians knew these things to be true, for Paul had done these things among them, and they knew that he was not working to fulfill his own flesh. 
  3. 10.7 • We Belong to Christ

    7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.
    1. Why do you think Paul asked that question on whether they looked at things according to the outward appearance? 
      1. Were they judging him by his appearance? 
      2. What about his appearance might they have held against him? 
        1. His size, because Paul means little. Or he could have been large and the brethren nicknamed him “little,” in an affectionate way like how we might call a big guy Tiny. 
        2. His eye problem (Gal 4). 
      3. His speaking ability seemed to lack. 
    2. If Paul’s critics were in Christ, would that exclude him from being in Christ? 
  4. 10.8–11 • The Use of Authority

    8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.
    1. Why did the Lord gave Paul and his evangelistic team authority? 
      1. Was it for destroying people? 
      2. No, it was for edifying people. 
    2. Why would Paul not use his authority? 
      1. He did not want to terrify them with his letter. 
      2. Remember the Lord wanted him to build people up. 
    3. What did Paul quote his critics as saying? 
      1. He was bold in letters, but weak in presence. 
      2. What did the critic think of his speaking ability? 
    4. What was Paul’s answer to the critic? 
  5. 10.12–13 • Do Not Compare Yourself with Others

    12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you.
    1. What were his critics doing? 
      1. They were measuring themselves by themselves. 
      2. Were they wise for doing that? 
        1. No. 
        2. What is wrong with doing that? 
          1. For one thing, it led them to misjudge Paul. 
          2. Christ is our standard. 
    2. Of what would Paul boast? 
      1. He would boast of the limits of the sphere in which God had them work. 
      2. That sphere included Corinth. 
        1. For that the Corinthian Christians should have been thankful. 
        2. They should have been taking advantage of having a living apostle among them. 
  6. 10.14–16 • The Work of Others

    14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.
    1. Paul would not boast of another’s work as though Paul had done it. 
    2. Paul preached the gospel of Christ in Corinth, but where else would he go? 
  7. VII.10.17–18 • Glory in the Lord

    17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
    1. Why do you think Paul ended this part of his argument with the exhortation that we should glory in the Lord? 
      1. Isaiah 65.16 
      2. Jeremiah 9.24 
      3. You will notice that any boasting Paul had made in his letters to the Corinthians was not about himself or his abilities or his accomplishments, but whatever he had in the Lord. 
    2. Who is the one who is approved? 


  1. How do you answer critics? 
  2. If we should not look at the outward appearance how should we look at things? 
  3. Is it ever appropriate to look at things outwardly? 
  4. Is there anything that you have started from the ground up and no one else gets any credit for anything along the way?