Paul and the False Apostles
11 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I 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. 3 But 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. 4 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.
5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”[a] 6 I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. 7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And 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 you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
12 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. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
Paul Boasts About His Sufferings
16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
“Super Apostles”. That is my fun take away from this chapter today. And it parallel’s a similar danger we still have in the world wide church today. People who come in and sound highly educated, are very dynamic speakers, have all the bells and whistles to make themselves very attractive to whoever is listening. But is Christ, and the true Gospel message being preached, or just some form of it? It is an unfortunate danger in our society that we must be entertained. Paul himself admits he is not a trained speaker or educated or flashy. The others have come and preached a different Christ. And it seems they did not realize it or maybe didn’t care. This is not different than today either. How many sitting in our church pews (or chairs in our case) would not catch it if the message preached was inaccurate? How much complacency is there towards reading and studying the Word and getting on our knees and praying? False teaching can infiltrate a church and cause incredible damage very quickly. I would dare say this is an even bigger danger in the world of social media. There is millions of sermons online, you may find speakers you like to listen to, but will we catch it if the teaching is not right?
As much as we love our pastors, they will be the first to tell you it is very biblical to hear the message they preach and check it against the scriptures to ensure they are correct. Admittedly, I don’t often do this, but this is a practice we should all have. Take notes, check the verses used, check context. This is part of our duty and part of growing in our walk with the Lord. Even though no one loves to be corrected, your pastor will appreciate feedback if he is off course. That being said though, don’t just give feedback when something is wrong, encourage your pastor every week. He needs and covets your prayers and support.
Lord give us discernment to see when false teachers attempt to infiltrate our personal world. Give us the desire to be in the Word consistently, give us understanding of your Word. God we thank you for our pastor, bless him and guard his mind and heart. Protect him from the enemies deceptions and from discouragement. In the name of Jesus, amen.