Paul and the False Apostles
Read (2 Corinthians 11:1-14)
Paul was concerned about the Corinthian believers who were influenced by false apostles. The church was betrothed to one husband, Christ. He says “I am jealous of you with godly jealousy, 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 (John 14:1-3; Revelation 19:7-9). There is no greater illustration of intimacy with Christ than marriage. Corinthians were in danger of turning away from their love and devotion to Christ. Paul likened the false apostle to the serpent who deceived Eve. The Corinthians welcomed the false teachers who preached a different gospel than the one Paul preached (2 Corinthians 11:4). When believers receive another gospel, they are committing spiritual adultery. Corinthians were deceived and polluted by false teachers. They were seduced from their devotion and faithfulness to Christ. False gospel offers 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. The key to our undivided devotion and loyalty to Christ is knowing Christ intimately. False apostles boasted that they are better trained teachers than Paul who is unskilled in speaking and not impressive in appearance (2 Corinthians 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 Corinthians 11:13). Paul likened them to Satan who disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Ask God to protect you from false teachers. As we consider Christ's great love for us, we become more loyal to him.
False apostles will be judged
Read (2 Corinthians 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 any 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 evil nature and they will be judged according to their works (2 Corinthians 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 to defend his apostleship. 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 Corinthians 11:21). The Corinthians considered themselves wise yet enjoyed listening to false teachers (1 Corinthians 4:8). They had a faulty and warped brand of wisdom. The false apostles took advantage of Corinthians 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. Are you a generous Christian?
Paul’s Sufferings for Christ
Read (2 Corinthians 11:22-33)
Paul lists the afflictions to prove the argument of his apostleship here. They demonstrate his identity with Christ. 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 Corinthians 11:23). Paul shows his commitment to Christ by the list of afflictions he went through for the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 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 had a burden for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28). He was deeply concerned about weaker believers. Paul boasts about his weaknesses to show that God is able to make him strong in his weakness (2 Corinthians 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 Christ is gracious and sufficient for us. Pray God to show himself strong by doing great things through you despite your weaknesses.