Read - 2 Corinthians 11v1-13
Message - Scott Woodburn
There were some in Corinth that considered Paul a fool. Worse than that, a fool who wasn't pleasing on the eye and a fool who didn't have much to say. "If you consider me a fool" says Paul "then bear with me a second as I explain my foolishness." (v1). Now, of course, the apostle was no fool but the Gospel has always been foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1v18) and so now Paul speaks against those who are the real fools.
Paul loves the Corinthians, they are like his daughter who he has presented for marriage to Christ (v2). They have believed the Gospel and called upon the Lord but Paul worries that they are now tolerating the foolishness of the false teachers. Just as Eve was deceived by Satan so Paul worries that the Corinthians are being led away from Jesus by those who look and sound much more impressive than Paul (v3). Sadly, they might sound the part, but they are preaching a different Jesus (v4a), they are proclaiming a different spirit (v4b) and they are publishing a different Gospel (v4c). Tragically the Corinthians are tolerating this false teaching (v4d).
Many may consider Paul a fool and much inferior to the so called "super apostles" (v5) but Paul is the real deal. He might not be a wonderful preacher but he doesn't lack knowledge and the Corinthians are certainly witnesses to this truth (v6). Paul has met the risen Christ and been appointed by Him. He truthfully bears the title "apostle" and therefore carries weight and authority. He might lack "fleshy" attributes but he lacks nothing from God.
The Corinthians should know this. Paul took no financial gift from them even though he was entitled to do so (v7). Indeed such was his desire not to burden the church in Corinth, Paul was supported by the poorer fellowships in Macedonia (v8-9). The truth of this won't be silenced in Corinth or in the surrounding regions (v10), Paul loves the Corinthians (v11)! None of this in normal circumstances needs to be said and yet Paul is forced to defend his ministry in order to undermine the foolish claims of the super-apostles (v12).
These men are false teachers, deceitful in all their ways and have merely disguised themselves as apostles of Christ (v13). It should amaze us that a congregation who knew Paul personally could be so quickly and easily led astray but it was certainly so. Today there are no apostles in the church of Jesus Christ. The office of the apostle was foundational and with the death of the last apostle so the foundations were complete. Yet today, we would be fools to think that the church is never in danger from false teaching. It can come from every corner. It infects the pulpit, it spreads through the pews, it is propagated in bibles studies, it is imbibed over the internet.
Let me ask you a question. Why do you believe what you believe? Is what you believe found in the pages of the Bible? Can you give a reason for the hope that you profess? Flee from the arrogance that says you will never be led astray! Run from the pride that says you've mastered the Bible! Sprint from the notion that you can only be taught by the famous internet preachers! Brothers and sisters, knowing that we are enemies of Satan may we shut the door to his subtle attacks as he seeks to undermine the Word.
Finally, if your pastor preaches faithfully, if he opens the Word truthfully, if he labours week after week diligently then I beg you to pray for him. Preaching and teaching is his primary work and he needs your help. Many pastors struggle on Monday to recover from Sunday. Many pastors increasingly have mental health concerns. Many pastors have experienced months away from the pulpit on stress leave. Pray for these men, ask God to protect them and may this island be filled with churches devoted to the teaching of the apostles.
Q22 How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man? Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.