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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

2 Corinthians 11

Verse 3

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.

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 11:10

Fancied 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.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11". "Sermon Bible Commentary".