The Second Sunday before Lent, 2017


The Epistle. 2 Corinthians 11:19-31

The Gospel.  St. Luke 8:4-15


In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.


O LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


This Collect, following on the heels of last week’s lessons and theme, are perfectly ordered.  Last week the emphasis was on the work that we do in thanksgiving and out of gratitude for what God has done for us in Christ…

and that our living out the Christian faith and life is absolutely vital and necessary…for faith without works is dead…


However, this week’s Collect and theme of lessons gives us perfectly the other side of the coin.  Works without faith are just as dead.


And the faith we are called to this week in particular in our lessons and prayer, is a trusting faith in the grace of God.  In other words, “not trusting in anything we do.”


Not falling into self-righteousness. 


And though the Collect draws our attention to not trusting in anything that we do but rather trusting in the defending grace of God against adversity…

our lessons seem to broaden the lesson to not just adversity, but to trusting in God and not ourselves in many other things…to bearing fruit with patience.


This time, Pre-Lent and especially Lent itself, sets us in a place where some sort of self-sacrifice is the goal.  Yet our giving up something for a time or adding something to our life that is a bit inconvenient very much pales in comparison to the life …the Lenten life Paul lived on a daily basis from the day of his conversion to the day of his death.


In other words, we have no idea.


This passage of Paul’s today is quite interesting.  Paul’s use of sarcasm and wit.  Comparing himself to others who take advantage of the Corinthian Church…and yet they seem to allow it to a great degree.

As we should all know, in the Galatian Church and addressed in the letter to the Galatians, Paul is severely confronting and rebuking the people of that church in that they were allowing or falling for the tyranny of the Judiazers.


Recall these were the guys who would come in at some point to a church congregation and tell them that they needed to do certain things other than put their faith in Christ for membership in His Church and for salvation.


This is the circumcision party. They required obedience to the Law in its ceremonies in particular


It seems to be that this bunch was sort of like them, teaching similar requirements showed up in the Church at Corinth to wreak the same sort of havoc.   


They may not have been the same as the Judiazers exactly, calling for circumcision, but more like men who (Paul calls them “super apostles”) were projecting an image of Christian leadership and Christian living as powerful and strong.  Slick, successful and popular.


In either case, be it Galatia or Corinth, the issue was not one of humility and sacrifice and but of doing something or acting in some sort of self-righteous way, that was contrary to the Gospel and contrary to the life that Christians are called into.


So Paul gets very sarcastic with his beloved Corinthians.  He loves them as we can see in his tone as well as he says… “there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”






that was characterized by power and personal proficiency…rather than the weakness and dependence on Christ’s strength that were hallmarks of Paul’s ministry.   









2 Corinthians 11:19-31


[19] For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! [20] For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. [21] To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!


But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. [22] Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. [23] Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. [24] Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. [25] Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; [26] on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; [27] in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. [28] And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. [29] Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?


[30] If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. [31] The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. (ESV)


Luke 8:4-15


The Parable of the Sower


[4] And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, [5] “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. [6] And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. [7] And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. [8] And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


The Purpose of the Parables


[9] And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, [10] he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ [11] Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. [13] And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. [14] And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. [15] As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. (ESV)





In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.