2021-05-30 – 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 – Faithful to Christ
2021-05-30 – 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 – Faithful to Christ
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
This is Memorial Day weekend. I hope you are able take a few minutes out of your busy day and pause and pray in honor of those who died for our country.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, because many people visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes. We visited Oskaloosa, IA last week doing just that. Other ways people observe of Memorial Day is by:
-Flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon, or flying the ‘POW/MIA flag
-By participating in a “National Moment of Remembrance”: at 3 p.m. tomorrow to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day
-And by renewing a pledge to aid the widows and orphans of our fallen heroes, and to aid the disabled veterans of our communities. [VIDEO]
In John 15 Jesus Christ told us “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”, then He did just that, and so has many in uniform.
That is what Memorial Day is for, to recognize them. So let us encourage each other to consider observing and enjoying this national time of reflection. [Pause]
We are continuing in our study of the apostle Paul’s letters that he wrote to the church in Corinth. Last week we read from chapter 10 of his 2nd Corinthian letter. In that, my favorite passage was from verses 17 and 18 where Paul wrote, “So let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends.” As Christians, our value and our self-worth comes from God, not from man. We recognize that all we have, even the air we breathe is a gift from God. Therefore, we have no reason to boast, and all the reason to want to please the Lord and even boast in the Lord, amen?
Please turn now to 2 Corinthians 11:1, page 1028 in your pew Bibles, which we call God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word. Prayer..
Today in scripture we are going to see why Paul is bringing up that warning about boasting issue up. It becomes obvious that there were some false teachers who stepped-in when Paul stepped-out of the church in Corinth. They had planted some doubt in the minds of the young Christians there as to whether Paul was legitimate or not. The fact the Corinthian believers had questioned Paul’s intentions and teachings really hit him hard and it even brought him to tears. Now in this letter, Paul wanted to brace them up so they wouldn’t fall prey to such evil doers again. So now starting at verse 1 of chapter 11, Paul wrote:
1 I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me! 2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband—to present a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. [SLIDE]
4 For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!
In these first verses here you can feel the hurt in Paul’s words. He was hurt that the Corinthian believers allowed themselves to be taken advantage of. They were duped and they were led astray. You can also see in these first verses, Paul is writing as if he were the father of the bride. The bride is the Corinth church, and they were effectively hornswoggled or seduced by another but evil suiter, that being the false teachers. So what Paul is saying here is that he had hoped to present a pure bride, being the church, to Christ as an undefiled offering, but because they were gullible, that great intention was now threatened.
I think that there is point of clarification that might be helpful here regarding the bride of Christ. In the old Jewish pattern for marriage, when someone is promised or betrothed for marriage, there is then an expected engagement period. But unlike our engagements here in America today, in the old Jewish world the couple would actually be considered already legally ‘pre-married’. You might recall when Marry and Joseph were engaged, they were already considered betrothed or pre-married. Joseph therefore had a legal right to even put Mary away when he found that she was pregnant with baby Jesus. But thanks be to God, Joseph’s mind was changed.
How that applies to our verses today is in reference to the bride, which is the church. Although the church is referred to as the “bride of Christ”, it is actually only in the betrothal or pre-married status. That fact can also be seen later in book of Revelation 19 where John wrote about the “Great Wedding feast” and also the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” which hasn’t yet taken place.
So, in our text today, Paul is painting a picture of him being the father of the bride, which is the Corinth church, and he is wanting to present a pure bride to the groom, being Jesus Christ, on the actual day of the wedding which is yet to come. And Paul now is asking that the Christians in Corinth protect the church-bride from future smooth talking, false teachers that might want to woo them to go another way. I hope that is now clear for you to understand.
We too should endeavor to protect our church-bride from being over taken by smooth talkers and false teachers. And the best way we might protect ourselves is by knowing the Word and Will of God. Although we are supposed to have the faith of a babe, we are also to be shrewd and wise, especially as it relates to the world’s ways and the serpent’s schemes. Paul continues at verse 5:
5 Now I consider myself in no way inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6 Even if I am untrained in public speaking, I am certainly not untrained in knowledge.
Indeed, we have in every way made that clear to you in everything. 7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by taking pay from them to minister to you. [SLIDE]
9 When I was present with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, since the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. I have kept myself, and will keep myself, from burdening you in any way.
Have you ever met one of those so called “super-apostles”? Or how about a self-appointed “super-Christians” who seems to want to make everyone else smaller as they tend to puff-up their own egos. That is the type of false-teachers Paul was dealing with here. They generally have an agenda to destroy our fellowship out of spite or jealousy. Again, those are the schemes of the evil one and we must protect ourselves from being taken advantage of in that regard. Paul ran into those same evil characters in some of the other churches he started.
[SLIDE] In the letter to the Galatian church Paul wrote, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal 1:6)
I personally have seen this type of so-called “super-apostles” destroy churches. It is amazing to see how fast they create dis-unity and confusion in a church, and they leave a wake of destruction, ill-will and damaged souls that takes years to repair. As a pastor shepherd, it breaks my heart to see such turmoil and pain.
The apostle Paul was truly a very wise and caring church planter. He knew that the faith of those in Corinth was fragile, and so he did everything he could to keep them from having any doubt in his purpose. Paul went out of his way not to become a burden to them so that they couldn’t later accuse him of trying to take advantage of them. Even though he rightly deserved to receive financial support for his basic living, he instead mended tents on the side and received support from other churches for his basic necessities. I am here to tell you brothers and sisters, that ministry is not a get-rich scheme proposition. Although we all could all point to a couple bad-eggs who are getting rich off the generosity of the church, but by in large, pastors and missionaries are basically just getting by. They truly want to serve the Lord and reflect His love. Don’t let the sad-image of a few bad-actors spoil your idea of the true sacrifices of a lot of good ministers that are truly serving for the sake of the Gospel. Paul now continues at verse 10:
10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows I do! 12 But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to deny an opportunity to those who want to be regarded as our equals in what they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. [SLIDE] 14 And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no great surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be according to their works.
As satan was attacking the church by using false teachers then, satan is still doing that today through delusion, confusion and counterfeits. If you ever study history, you can easily see that satan has been attacking and dividing the Christian churches ever since their inception. Just looking back at our recent history, you can find so many counterfeit religions or cults I would argue.
Joseph Smith started Mormonism in the 1820’s. In the 1840’s the Seventh Day Adventists got their start. And then in 1869 the Jehovah Witnesses also sprung up. In each of these you can see a pattern where they were given some special revelation that brings new insight about God, and/or they attempt to claim that the Bible is flawed in some way, and they have a better testimony of some kind.
Let me be clear, that anything that takes away or adds to the Bible is a false religion and should be avoided. I appreciate and agree wholeheartedly with what Pastor John MacArthur wrote about this, he said “Scripture needs no updating, editing, or refining. Whatever time or culture you live in, it is eternally relevant.
It needs no help in that regard. It is pure, sinless, inerrant truth; it is enduring.
It is God’s revelation for every generation. It was written by the omniscient Spirit of God, who is infinitely more sophisticated than anyone who dares stand in judgment on Scripture’s relevancy for our society, and infinitely wiser than all the best philosophers, analysts, and psychologists who pass like a childhood parade into irrelevancy.” You can trust in your Bibles, God’s word is true and everlasting.
The main takeaway for us today in these verses is, don’t fall for Satan’s schemes brothers and sisters. Stay the course, put on the full armor of God, and dig deep in His Holy word so that you will not be defiled or taken advantage of. God’s Word is Pure, God’s Word is truly Inspired, Infallible and Living, and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. May I suggest that if anyone starts preaching to you a different good-news Gospel, or has a very convincing argument about how you are wrong and they are right about your Christian beliefs, come talk to me about it. I am not suggesting that I have all the answers myself but I surely can dig into scripture with you and help you navigate those treacherous waters. You are not alone. We have a strong church family here that loves the Lord and each other. And with all that in common, we will surely succeed, amen?
Next week we will navigate through the last part of this chapter 11, where Paul clearly conveys his credentials as a Christian leader so that there will be little doubt of his apostleship and purpose. It promises to be a powerful message.
The title of this message today is Faithful to Christ. That title reminded me of an old Marine Corp slogan that you might be familiar with, Semper-fi. Semper-fi is a shortened term from Semper fidelis, a Latin phrase that means “always faithful”. Always faithful to each other and to Christ. That is what I continuously endeavor to emulate, and I believe that you all feel the same. And I am proud to serve Christ alongside of each and every one of you.
In closing, on this Memorial Day weekend, we should all endeavor to remember those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for the cause of our freedoms. Also, as Christians, we should remember again the groom, being Jesus Christ, and the fact that He died for you and I as well. But unlike the fallen heroes of our nation, we look forward to the day that Jesus is coming back. And in that I pray, that you all will be ready and waiting.
Would you please stand now and let us close with prayer.
God be with you all.