2 Corinthians 11:
I want to finish this section of 2 Corinthians 10 first and then begin the first part of chapter 11 as they fit together.
“And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete (fulfilled, KJV).” 2 Corinthians 10: 6
The question you must ask yourself is- are you ready to punish every act of disobedience? Are there areas in your life which are either questionable, or sinful? But you are not ready to punish those acts of disobedience. The walls of resistance built up in our minds are like the walls of Jericho and to have victory in the battle they must be pulled down. What are these walls in your mind? They are reasonings that are opposed to the truth of God’s Word. The question the Holy Spirit asks of you is the same question Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to be made whole?” (John 5) Sometimes we want to hold on to a pet sin, or attitude which is wrong.
*Once the walls of the mind have been torn down, the door to the heart is open.
Jesus warned his disciples not to pattern their leadership after that of the Gentiles. This teaching came as a result of James and John asking Jesus to put them in the positions of power and authority at this right hand and left, when He established His kingdom. Jesus them what spiritual authority was all about. He said “the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise their authority over the people. Not so with you. Instead you must be a servant and whosoever wants to be great must first be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Mark 10)
Paul said his authority was to build them up not tear them down. Paul wanted to use his authority given to him by the Lord to build up the church. The Judaizers wanted to use the church to build up their authority.
Paul says these men measure and compare themselves with statistics and with other churches. Baptists are known for measuring the success of their ministry with the “three B’s” – baptisms, budgets and buildings. The bigger – the better.
In Revelation 2 and 3 Jesus measured the churches by a different standard. To the church in Smyrna, Jesus says: “I know your afflictions and your poverty, yet you are rich.” (Rev. 2:9) And conversely Jesus measures the church at Laodicea: “You say I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3: 17)
The Judaizers were using a false measurement. They were measuring external activities rather than internal transformation. All the Judaizers belonged to a mutual admiration society and used the same standards of external measures to measure their success. They boasted of their success. If we would be honest, most people look at the big ministries, and want to know and copy what they have done in order to duplicate their growth. Not all of it is bad, but it is very difficult to carry a full cup. The praise and flattery and recognition that come from growing big ministries can create a ‘big head.’
Paul suggests three areas of measurement to measure our ministries by the will of God. In verse 13, Paul says we will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us. I am not competing with other Sunday School classes, and West Jackson should not be competing with other churches. We are competing with ourselves. God is going to judge me and measure my success based on the field of service He has assigned to me on the basis of the gifts and opportunities He, the Lord has given me.
Can you imagine at the Southern Baptist Convention how the bi-vocational pastor of a church of 100 members is made to feel when comparing himself and the church he serves to the mega- churches? Will he ever be asked to speak to the national meeting about church growth? About how to build large Sunday School classes? Yet the Lord has put him there in this seemingly unimportant field. And based on the measures others use, he must feel like a failure.
The other true measurement of a ministry is that God is being glorified. This may not be known until we are before the Bema, the judgment seat of Christ where our works will be tested for rewards. Many a pastor and teacher who never had the large churches, the big budgets, but were faithful in little, may well be recognized for the faithfulness to glorify the Lord, never complaining while toiling in the field they were assigned as humble servants. Those who received praise of men for their successful building of large congregations and beautiful buildings and wrote and sold many books may see some of their works burn up. For their motive was to be seen and recognized as a leader in their field.
Now this leads to another true measurement- can the Lord commend me for the work I have done with the gifts He has given me, in the field He has assigned me to work. The word, “approved” used in verse 18 means to approve by testing. There is the future testing at the Bema, but there is current testing in the present. God permits difficulties in the local churches in order that the work might be tested and approved.
These difficulties can come in various forms- financial difficulties, false doctrine, proud leaders who want to run the church, and the challenge of change. If we stay true to our calling, trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean to our own understanding, God will direct our path. The ministry will survive having become purer and stronger and most of all, God will be glorified the most!
Now beginning in Chapter 11, Paul wants to convince them of his love for them and out of his love and jealousy for them, wants to warn them of false teachers. Here Paul compares the love he has for the church at Corinth as loving father of a daughter about to be married. Paul is using a picture of a proud, loving father presenting his pure daughter to be the bride of Christ.
So as their (the church at Corinth) “spiritual father” he wants to make sure the bride to be keeps herself pure for her husband to be, the Lord Jesus.
Like any parent, Paul is concerned for the welfare of his children. Viewing the church at Corinth as his spiritual children, Paul‘s role as father is to raise them up in the fear of the Lord and present them pure to the Lord Jesus. His concern is they remain faithful and pure while engaged to the Lord Jesus. So we must keep ourselves pure as we prepare to meet the Lord, Paul’s fear is they be deceived as Eve was deceived in the Garden by the serpent. He speaks of his cunning and how he leads minds astray. Remember, every sin starts as a thought. So Paul’s focus is on the mind for Satan is a liar and wants us to listen, and ponder in our hearts, entertain the idea of temptation, which will if not taken captive will lead us into sin. James tells us “each one is tempted when by his own evil desire; he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death.” *(James 1) If we look at the deception of Eve we see the steps of this deception:
1. Satan questions God’s word (Has God said?)
2. He denies God’s word. (You shall surely not die.)
3. He substitutes a lie for the truth. (You shall be as gods.)
Satan is an imitator. He copies what God does and then tries to convince his offer is better than God’s. Satan says the chief end of man is to enjoy himself and lead a life of pleasure. This enemy of your souls claims he provides greater enjoyment, pleasure and a better life. He is the ultimate smooth talking salesmen with a marketing plan for his product which uses false advertising in order to convince you. He reduces the risk, which in turn, increases the interest. After all, if I can enjoy this sin without consequences, why wouldn’t I enjoy it? But there is the hook. For although we have the freedom to choose and make our own decisions, we are not in control of the consequences and results. Then, we discover the consequences of sin are under the control of God. Sin when it is full-grown gives birth to death. As I have told you before: sin will take you further than you wanted to go; keep you longer than you wanted to stay and cost you more than you wanted to pay.
Judas wanted to return the money to the chief priests for his sin- but there is no money back guarantee from the father of all lies. He lied to you in order to get you to sin against God. Satan hates you. He hates God. He is out to attack God so he attacks God through us.
Satan uses false teachers who offer a false gospel, which is no gospel at all. It is usually a mixture of law and grace, of truth and lies. But there is only one Gospel and only one Jesus. There is only One Spirit, One Faith, One Baptism, and One Lord.
A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR ENEMY
Just as they will publish pictures of criminals wanted for crimes and often warn us if we see this person, call 911 and do not approach them for they are considered armed and dangerous.
We must be able to recognize these who the enemy uses to aid and abet him in the crimes he commits. We are told by the Lord Jesus to “watch and pray.” We are told to be alert and vigilant for our enemy goes about seeking whom he may destroy.
Those two men in the small town in middle Tennessee, who recently apprehended those two dangerous escaped convicts, offer a real life example for us. These men were warned ahead of time. They knew how dangerous these two men were. They were armed and they were on guard and alert. They had a description of them. They were also a close knit community ready to help one another. They were in a way a description of what the church is supposed to be and do.
Here is the description of these men who are false apostles, deceitful workers masquerading as apostles of light. They claim to have special revelations. They are often gifted speakers who can speak with the tongues of angels. They claim they want to glorify God, but their personal gain is by capturing converts to a false gospel. They promise a life of prosperity and a Christian life superior to what others teach in the true gospel. Notice how infrequently they speak the name of Jesus Christ.
They are not empowered by the Spirit of God; they are energized by the spirit of the enemy, called the Prince of Power of the Air. And they love to use the air waves of television to spread their gospel, which is not a gospel at all.
They disguise themselves, because Satan never appears in his true character. They appear as well dressed, handsome men, or attractive women, who say they represent Jesus Christ. They do not mention or condemn sin, because that “hell-fire and damnation” of those old time preachers is a turn off and this is the 21st century. They speak of prosperity and possessions, wealth and health are yours if you believe. When one does not find what they said they would find- they tell them it is their faith which was not strong enough.
They have redefined the meaning of the abundant life. Although Jesus said “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Go back to what Jesus said about leadership: ‘whoever would be great among you must be your servant, whoever wants to be first, must be slave of all.’ See if this describes their ministry and their lifestyle. You shall know them by their fruit.