Posts Tagged ‘False teachers’


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 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. 13For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

One Jewish writing (the Apocalypse of Moses) says that the story of Eve’s temptation includes Satan masquerading as an angel. Paul may have been thinking of this story, or he could have been referring to Satan’s typical devices. In either case, nothing could be more deceitful than Satan, the prince of darkness (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13), disguising himself as an angel of light. In the same way, these false apostles were pretending to be apostles of Christ, “servants of righteousness,” while in reality they were agents of Satan.

Satan and his servants can deceive us by appearing to be attractive, good, and moral. Many unsuspecting people follow smooth-talking, Bible-quoting leaders into cults that alienate them from their families and lead them into the practice of immorality and deceit. Don’t be fooled by external appearances. Our impressions alone are not an accurate indicator of who is or isn’t a true follower of Christ; so it helps to ask these questions: (1) Do the teachings confirm Scripture (Acts 17:11)? (2) Does the teacher affirm and proclaim that Jesus Christ is God, who came into the world as a man to save people from their sins (1 John 4:1-3)? (3) Is the teacher’s lifestyle consistent with biblical morality (Matthew 12:33-37)?

Paul reminds the Corinthians that for the false teachers and hypocritical leaders, “their end will be what their actions deserve.” The principle of judgment applies to all who speak on God’s behalf. The apostle James said that teachers will be judged by the Lord with closer scrutiny than will those who sit under their teaching (James 3:1).

Lets Bring it Home: If it is not already your practice, each time you sit down with the Scriptures to prepare a lesson or a sermon, spend some quiet moments in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide your preparation.

 


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 11:7-12 7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9And 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 your in any way, and will continue to do so. 10As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12And 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.

The Corinthians may have thought that preachers could be judged by how much money they demanded. A good speaker would charge a large sum, a fair speaker would be a little cheaper, and a poor speaker would speak for free. The false teachers may have argued that because Paul asked no fee for his preaching, he must have been an amateur, with little authority or competence.

Paul could have asked the Corinthian church for financial support. Jesus himself taught that those who minister for God should be supported by the people to whom they minister (Matthew 10:10). But Paul thought that asking for support in Corinth might be misunderstood. There were many false teachers who hoped to make a good profit from preaching (2:17), and Paul might look like one of them. Paul separated himself completely from those false teachers in order to silence those who only claimed to do God’s work.

Lets Bring it Home: Believers today must be careful not to assume that every speaker, preacher, or evangelist who is well known or who demands a large honorarium necessarily teaches the truth.

 


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 11:04-06 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. 5I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

The Corinthian believers were falling for smooth talk and messages that sounded good and seemed to make sense. Today there are many false teachings that seem to make sense. Don’t believe someone simply because he or she sounds like an authority or says words you like to hear. Search the Bible and check his or her teachings against God’s Word. The Bible should be your authoritative guide. The false teachers distorted the truth about Jesus and ended up preaching a different Jesus, a different spirit than the Holy Spirit, and a different gospel than God’s way of salvation. Because the Bible is God’s infallible Word, those who teach anything different from what it says are both mistaken and misleading.

Paul was saying that these marvelous teachers (“super-apostles”) were no better than he was. They may have been more eloquent speakers, but they spoke lies and were servants of Satan.

Paul, a brilliant thinker, was not a trained, eloquent speaker. Although his ministry was effective (see Acts 17), he had not been trained in the Greek schools of oratory and speechmaking, as many of the false teachers probably had been. Paul believed in a simple presentation of the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 1:17), and some people thought this showed simple-mindedness. Thus, Paul’s speaking performance was often used against him by false teachers.     Content is far more important than the presentation. A simple, clear presentation that helps listeners understand will be of great value. God’s Word stands on its own merit and is not dependent on imperfect human beings to create its own hearing. Many people feel that if they can’t sing, speak, teach, or preach as well as their idolized heroes, they are insecure about saying or doing anything.

Lets Bring it Home: Don’t apologize for your inadequacies. Accept your limitations with the same humility that you accept the strengths God has given you.


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 11:1-3 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness, but you are already doing that. 2I 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. 3But 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.

Paul asked the Corinthian believers to bear with him as he talked a little “foolishness.” In other words, Paul felt foolish rehearsing his credentials as a preacher of the gospel (11:16-21). But he thought that he had to do this in order to silence the false teachers (11:13).

Paul was anxious that the church’s love should be for Christ alone, just as a pure virgin saves her love for one man only. By “pure virgin” he meant one who was unaffected by false doctrine.

The Corinthians’ sincere and pure devotion to Christ was being threatened by false teaching. Paul did not want the believers to lose their single-minded love for Christ. Keeping Christ first in your life can be very difficult when you have so many distractions threatening to sidetrack your faith. Just as Eve lost her focus by listening to the serpent, you, too, can lose your focus by letting your life become overcrowded and confused.

Lets Bring it Home: Is there anything that weakens our commitment to keep Christ first in your life? How can we minimize the distractions that threaten your devotion to him?