Paul and the False Apostles
Read (2 Cor 11:1-14)
Paul was concerned about the Corinthian believers who were influenced by false apostles. He says “I am jealous for you, since I promised to present you as a pure bride to Christ”. The church is now engaged to Christ and awaits the day of marriage celebration at the bridegroom’s return (Rev 19:7-9). There is no greater illustration of intimacy with Christ than this. They were in danger of turning away from their love and devotion to Christ. Paul likened false apostle to serpent who deceived Eve. The Corinthians welcomed the false teachers who preached a different gospel than the one Paul preached (2 Cor 11:4). When redeemed people receive another gospel, they commit spiritual adultery. They were seduced from their devotion and faithfulness to Christ. false gospel offer deceptive promises of wealth, power and social status. Paul wanted to restore them back to Christ. The key to our loyalty to Christ is to know Christ intimately. When we were at our worst state, Christ died to save us from our sin. As we consider his great love for us, it will produce a sincere and pure devotion toward him. False apostles boasted that they are trained teachers than Paul who is unskilled in speaking and not impressive in appearance (2 Cor 10:10; 11:-6). Paul says, “They may criticize my style, but they could add nothing to my teaching”. They are false apostles who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ (2 Cor 11:13). Paul likened them to Satan who disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). Ask God to help you to understand the false promises of false gospel to spare us from false teachers.
False apostles will be judged
Read (2 Cor 11:15-21)
Paul preached the gospel to Corinthians without expecting anything in return. Paul worked to support himself while he was at Corinth so that he could preach the gospel to them free of charge. He did not want false teachers to bring accusation against him. Paul was honest and transparent in his ministry. Christ’s self-giving love motivated Paul to serve them. False apostles were acting according to their fleshly nature and they will be judged according to their works (2 Cor 11:15). Paul demonstrated generosity. He brought spiritual wealth to Corinthians. Paul considers boasting as foolishness. Yet it became necessary in light of the criticism he was facing from the false apostles. False apostles were boasting about their achievements. Paul found it hard to boast about himself and did it as a fool would in order to expose the foolishness of the false teachers (2 Cor 11:21). The Corinthians considered themselves wise yet enjoyed listening false teachers (1 Cor 4:8). They had a faulty and warped brand of wisdom. The false apostles took advantage of Corinthian's weaknesses. Paul admits that he is too weak to exploit them. Our weakness is not a hindrance to the work of Christ. Jesus demonstrates that weakness is power and generosity brings true wealth.
Paul’s Sufferings for Christ
Read (2 Cor 11:22-33)
False apostles boasted about their nationality that they are Hebrews. Paul says. “So am I”. They claim, they are ministers of Christ. Paul says, “I served Christ far more” (2 Cor 11:23). Paul demonstrates his commitment to Christ by the list of affliction he went through for the gospel of Christ (2 Cor 11:23-27). These are the proofs of his apostleship. Paul was willing to endure weaknesses so that the power of Christ may be displayed. He knew that discipleship is not cheap (Luke 9:23). He faced danger from Jews and gentiles. Often he went hungry and thirsty and lived without food. Paul went through winter without enough clothing to keep him warm (11:26-27). Besides all these sufferings, Paul was burdened for all the churches (2 Cor 11:28). He was deeply concerned about the weaker believers. Paul boasts about weaknesses to show that God is able to make him strong in his weakness (2 Cor 12:10). Paul gives his Damascus experience to show how God cares for his life. God allows trials in life to humble us and to teach us that he is gracious and sufficient for us. Pray God to show himself strong in your weaknesses.