BEWARE OF IMPOSTERS
Help me Lord to connect with your heart and to mean what I say when I pray.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 11:1-15
Paul and the False Apostles
11 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”[a] 6 I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. 7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
- 2 Corinthians 11:5 Or to the most eminent apostles
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAsk the Lord to teach you his truths.
Does it seem an extreme reaction of Paul’s to call the false apostles servants of Satan (v 15)? He is distressed about the danger that they pose to the church at Corinth. Are we, too, ready to accept false teaching as mere differences of opinion?
Paul is not defending himself because his feelings are hurt. He is afraid that the Corinthians are being led astray from the true faith. He has previously spoken of them as his children in the faith (e.g. 2 Corinthians 6:13); now he pictures himself presenting them in marriage as the bride of Christ (v 2; see also Ephesians 5:27). For the church to follow false teachings would make them unfaithful to the Lord. Just as Eve was deceived by the serpent, the Corinthians risk being led astray by false teaching. Notice how right thinking and devotion to Christ go together (v 3). How can we assess the truthfulness of teaching?
The false teachers were skilled in the rhetorical techniques of their age. In our media-driven age, does style sometimes triumph over substance in preaching? They also argued that Paul could not have been a good teacher because, unlike them, he did not ask for payment when he spoke (v 7). Although Paul argues elsewhere that church workers have a right to payment (1 Timothy 5:18), he had not accepted anything from the Corinthians, to avoid being a burden (v 9).
Are there those around you who are young in faith? Encourage them to seek sound teaching; provide them with the resources needed to grow.
Lord Jesus, you are the faithful King; I trust and honor you alone.
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