Sunday, November 29, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians Part 16 – The False Apostle

Paul's Epistles - 2 Corinthians
Part 16 – The False Apostle
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth began with letting the church know that Paul was happy to hear that the church had received and responded correctly to his first letter.

Remembering James 5:19, 20 " My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."  

Paul explained why he didn't visit them and that he was pleased they had responded well to his first letter, even though not all had repented.

Last week we looked at Paul encouraging the church to allow the offender of incest return to the congregation, because he had truly repented and turned away from his sin, therefore he had been forgiven. Paul said that his punishment by the church forcing him to leave the congregation was enough, and that since he had repented and was forgiven, they must allow him back.

Paul reminded them that it was not that long ago, they too were not living as God wanted them, and they repented, and were forgiven by Paul.

Paul reminds the church in Corinth, and us as well, that forgiveness to those who have repented is essential, not only because we are commanded to do so by Christ, but because when we forgive, we keep Satan from having a way to outwit us.

Satan will use our unforgiveness as a weapon against us in his schemes.

As long as we have unforgiveness against someone who has repented, we are being disobedient to the Lord, which in turn allows a foothold for Satan to work against us.

Satan is always looking for an area of our lives where we are being disobedient, which allows him room to work his schemes against us.

This week Paul speaks about the False Apostle  

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE II Corinthians 11:1-15
I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 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. 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. 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.

I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. 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? I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 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 as well as his ministry of the Gospel was under attack.

Some of his opposition were those who were making a living off God’s people, and claiming to belong to Christ, while Paul and his ministry did not.

Paul defends his position and ministry by the evidence which is in the faces of the Corinthian church.

a. I am jealous of you
                                                     i. With a Godly jealousy

                                                  ii. Not wanting their love for himself, but for how much they loved the Lord

                                               iii. Even when they were led astray, they never stopped zealously loving God

                                                iv. Their love was great, though they were mislead

                                                   v. There are many today who have a “form of religion”, loving God much, but in their own way instead of the way the scriptures tell us to.
1. This was Cain’s problem as well

b. But you were led astray
                                                     i. Like Eve, listening to the words of the devil over God’s Words

                                                  ii. Following any teaching other than that which was set as the foundation by the Apostles and Prophets is a foundation of sand.

c. Anything other than Jesus Christ and Him Crucified is another Jesus
                                                     i. Some teach Jesus was just a Prophet...this is a false teaching

                                                  ii. Some teach Jesus is not God...this is a false teaching

                                               iii. Some teach Jesus did not really die on the cross...this is a false teaching
1. The devil uses a perverted truth to deceive

2. Keeping the name of Jesus in his lies, however, removing Him as the Christ, and the One Crucified!

                                                iv. Just One Bite brand rat poison is 99.995% other ingredients, and .005% poison
1. This means in 1000 pounds of “Just one bite” rat poison, there is less than 1 ounce of poison!

                                                   v. How did Satan deceive Eve, “Did God really say that?”
1. Genesis 2:16-17

a. Paul’s “critic” claimed Paul wasn’t a real Apostle
                                                     i. An apostle must have been one who could personally testify to the risen Christ. This was Paul's argument in I Corinthians 9:1 which established his own apostleship: "Have I not seen the Lord?"

                                                  ii. This was also one of the requirements stipulated by the eleven for the replacement of Judas (Acts 1:21-22). 

                                               iii. The credentials of Christ's apostles also included the ability to perform miracles. Jesus Himself gave this power to the twelve when He commissioned them (Matthew 10:1). Again in defending his apostleship to the Corinthians Paul mentioned this as something which identified him as a true apostle: "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds" (II Corinthians 12:12).

                                                iv. Their function was basically to, 1) lay the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20, Matthew 16:18), 2) give God's revelation to men (Ephesians 3:5), and 3) demonstrate the truth of that revelation by the exercising of their sign gifts (II Corinthians 12:12). 

                                                   v. Paul, then, was the last man to enjoy the position of apostleship. He was "one born out of due time" in that he was a later (indeed, the last) addition to the apostolic company (I Corinthians 15:8-11). 

                                                vi. Because of this, evidently, some questioned his apostolic authority, which was no small matter to the apostle. Several times he was forced to defend his own apostleship ( I Corinthians 9:1, Galatians 2). In nine of his thirteen epistles, he is careful to identify himself as an "apostle of Jesus Christ" (e.g., I Corinthians 1:1). He does so most forcefully in Galatians, specifying that his apostleship is a commission of Jesus Christ Himself, not Paul or any other man (Galatians 1:1). It was a very important matter to him that it be recognized that his commission was indeed from Christ personally. He further emphasized that he learned his theology from the Lord first-hand, not from anyone else (Galatians 1:11-24).

                                             vii. God still performs miracles, but through the power of the Holy Spirit rather than a single individual, which is one of the reasons we pray.
                                          viii. Although there are Spiritual Gifts, an individual has no control over who receives, this is determined by the Holy Spirit.

                                                ix. Apostles, as representatives and founders, had the power of God in a  unique way, thus, were able to heal, raise the dead, and perform miracles at will, God’s will, for proving they were founders of the faith.

b. Paul reminds the Corinthian church how he treated them
                                                     i. When Paul first founded the church, they could not afford to pay him a living wage

                                                  ii. Paul received money from other churches while building the church in Corinth

                                               iii. He asked them for nothing

                                                iv. Paul even returned to making tents as a source of income until the church could pay a living wage to him

                                                   v. Paul makes a statement in scripture here...if these Super Apostles are really of God, why do they not offer to come to you for no money?
1. They were obviously after the financial gains

c. There were many “proofs” that Paul was who he claimed to be
                                                     i. Paul gave many proofs of his apostleship

                                                  ii. The fact he founded them without asking for money

                                               iii. The fact they were “changed” by the preaching and power of the Holy Spirit

                                                iv. The fact their spirits were “stirred” from his first letter, and they returned to the Gospel

a. Paul decided to stay the course
                                                     i. Paul states, simply by continuing to do what he has been doing, eventually, the ground his accusers stood on would be removed

b. What are the “false apostles” really after?
                                                     i. These false apostles, like in most cases, were after money

c. Deceitful False apostles are recognized
                                                     i. 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. 

CONCLUSION - Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.

But they will be revealed by their fruits...which are undeniable of what tree they come from.

Their words and actions rarely match, and if so, not for long.

Their true motivation eventually is revealed, whether good or bad. In Paul’s case, he had a long line of “proof”, a history of his true motivation, ever since his conversion...these accusers could not say the same thing.

Their end will be what their actions deserve.

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