"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Weapons Mighty In God (10:3-5) INTRODUCTION 1. In our text, Paul writes of a "war" in which Christians are engaged... a. A war where weapons are used that are "mighty in God" b. A war that has as its objective to: 1) "pull down" 2) "cast down" 3) "bring into captivity" 2. Exactly what is this "war"? What "weapons" do we use? 3. Understanding the answers to these questions can help us be more useful and productive "soldiers" in the "army" of God [Let's begin our study by first identifying...] I. THE SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN THIS TEXT A. NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THAT FOUND ELSEWHERE... 1. It is not quite the same war described in Ro 7:23 or 1Pe 2:11 2. In those passages, a different war is being discussed a. One in which there is a battle raging inside each one of us b. In those passages, the warfare is one that is INTERNAL B. THE WARFARE IN OUR TEXT IS EXTERNAL... 1. In which we are engaged in battle with OTHERS a. The context of 2 Corinthians should make this clear b. For Paul is defending his apostleship and ministry against false teachers 2. This "war" is one which involves: a. "arguments" b. "knowledge" c. "thoughts" -- Such is the "field of battle" in this war 3. This is a war that is fought whenever we try to... a. Lead a brother out of error b. Convert someone to Christ 4. The "objective" in this war as described by Paul: a. To defeat any argument or position which is "against the knowledge of God" (what He has revealed) - 2Co 10:5a b. To bring a person who has held such thoughts... 1) "into the captivity to the obedience of Christ"
- 2 Co 10:5b 2) I.e., to become a "servant of Christ" [Such is the "warfare" of this passage. You might not have thought of it in this way, but every time we are trying to teach someone we are engaged in a "battle" for Christ! How are we to "fight" this war?] II. THE "WEAPONS" OF THIS WARFARE A. WHAT THEY ARE NOT: "CARNAL" OR "FLESHLY" (4) 1. E.g., weapons that may be used "AGAINST" the flesh... a. Such as the sword, gun, bomb, etc. b. These weapons may take "people" captive, but not necessarily their "thoughts"! c. Their "bodies" may be enslaved, but not their "minds" -- This was the flaw inherent in the Crusades 2. E.g., weapons that are "OF" the flesh... a. E.g., hatred, contentions, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions b. Such emotions are "works of the flesh" and are referred to in Ga 5:19-21 c. Unfortunately, these "works of the flesh" are often used as "weapons" to win arguments 1) At best all they can do is silence the opposition (through intimidation) 2) But at what cost? a) The opposition is not saved (which should be our goal) b) And the Christian who uses such "weapons" falls under the condemnation of Ga 5:21 -- So our weapons are not to be "carnal", either against the flesh or of the flesh B. BUT WE DO HAVE WEAPONS, AND THEY ARE "MIGHTY IN GOD"! 1. First and foremost, we have "the sword of the Spirit" - Ep 6: 17 a. Which is the Word of God b. Unless we use this Word, all our efforts will be in vain c. For it is the Word of God that is... 1) Living and powerful - He 4:12 2) Able to produce faith - Ro 10:17; Jn 20:30-31 3) Able to save our souls - Jm 1:21 4) Able to cause one to be born again - 1Pe 1:23 2. We must also "speak the truth in love" - cf. Ep 4:15 a. I.e., presenting the Word with a Christ-like attitude b. This involves such qualities as: 1) The "meekness and gentleness of Christ" (as used by Paul himself, 2Co 10:1) 2) Also "patience" and "humility"
(as Paul taught in 2Ti 2:24-26) c. These "qualities of character" are indeed powerful "weapons" 1) They can do wonders to diffuse volatile situations a) Notice Pr 15:1 b) In contrast, consider Pr 26:21 2) They can make it possible for people to: a) Discuss controversial issues without controversial behavior b) Disagree without being disagreeable c) Argue without being argumentative d) Contend without being contentious C. TO BE EFFECTIVE, WE NEED THE "WHOLE" ARMOR OF GOD 1. As soldiers of Christ, we need... a. Not just the "sword" of the Spirit b. But also the "fruit" of the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:22-23 -- Otherwise, we might do ourselves harm in mishandling the Word of God! 2. We need to "adorn" the truth of God with meekness, gentleness, patience and humility a. Do not think that we are going to persuade people by the "force" of our actions 1) Such is likely only to intimidate them into silence or reluctant acquiescence 2) Unless they come to "believe with all their heart", any obedience is futile - cf. Ac 8:36-37 b. If they are teachable, they must be won over by the "truth" of our arguments, assisted by the "application" of that truth in our own conduct CONCLUSION 1. So the weapons that we have which are "mighty in God" include such graces as "meekness," "gentleness," "patience," and "humility" 2. Such "weapons" greatly enhance the opportunities for our greatest weapon (TRUTH) to do its job; and should be utilized whether it be in: a. Our evangelistic efforts b. Our Bible classes c. Our church business meetings d. Our personal discussions e. Public debates in defense of the truth 3. This is not to suggest there is never a time for "righteous indignation"; but I fear that what is often excused as righteous indignation may really be: a. SELF-righteous indignation b. Our CARNAL nature ...getting in the way of the progress of truth! May we be quick to use the "meekness and gentleness of Christ" in all our efforts to win others to the truth, for they are truly "Weapons Mighty In God"!