The sermon post for today is the second part of our series on How A Minister of Christ Lives.
There are times that the world see us as fools. Even if the world see us like that, what are the things that we should exemplify in the midst of this?
Text: 2 Corinthians 11:1-16
Paul continues to defend his ministry. In the previous chapter, we have seen how he reasoned out to give a clear picture on how he and the rest of the apostles lived as ministers of Christ. In the previous chapter, Paul started to use the word “boasting” in the positive way. Now here in our passage, Paul will start to use “jealous and foolish” in a positive way. :
We have to take note too that in this chapter, Paul defended his ministry sarcastically. To which eventually showed that even in plain human reasoning, the “super apostles” cannot overtake the credibility of Paul and other apostles.
Foolishly Jealous Against False Teachers (v.1-6)
The context was that the Church at Corinth has been deceived by false teachers. Against Paul’s desire to present the Church as a virgin to one Husband which is Christ, the Church was deceived and probably was led astray from what is expected to them in their devotion to Christ.
Paul then said what he warned the Galatian Church (Galatians 1:8). There are three main areas where the Corinthian Church may be deceived.
1. Another Jesus – There is only one Jesus that is to be preached, and that is Jesus Christ that was recorded in the Bible. He is the only Jesus that we Christians have received and there is no other. Unlike today, there have been many cultic leaders who claim to be the “new Jesus”. Then again as Paul warned, we should not be accepting new Jesus other than the Jesus that we already received.
2. Another spirit – The Holy Spirit that Paul has been showing is accompanied by the evidence of the Divine commission. However, there are some who claims to have the Holy Spirit, yet does not possess any evidence that will prove that it is of divine nature. For this, we need to be careful in testing these claims.
3. Another gospel – What kind of gospel are we receiving? Are these biblically correct and was recorded in the Holy Scriptures? Or these gospels were just a mere opinion of men. Or was it only through traditions without a solid biblical basis? For the gospel which we should receive should first come from the Holy Scriptures.
“You put up easily enough” the idea is, if these “super apostles” preaches another Jesus, spirit, and gospel which is far better than the one that they already have received, then there can be an excuse why Paul should not be jealous. But since they know that there is no better Jesus, spirit and gospel other than the one they already have received, then there is no excuse why Paul should not be jealous.
As Paul is giving us a picture of husband and wife, the Church is the bride while the husband is Jesus. Yet for a little while, the Church at Corinth allowed themselves to be deceived by the “super apostles”.
Foolishly Serve Free of Charge At the Expense of Others (v.7-12)
This next point won’t be too pleasing to hear. It sounds like Paul has been counting what he has done for the Corinthian Church. But as we dig deeper on this part, we will be able to see what Paul really means.
Paul probably raised some funds earlier from other Churches for this missionary journey. But what we know exactly is that, the apostles use to raise funds from time to time for various purposes like feeding the hungry and helping the needy etc.
As Paul raised the argument; “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?”, there is a probability that some of these “super apostles” have been criticizing them on financial matters as Paul also made a point in chapters 8 and 9.
“I robbed other Churches” (Gk. sulao which means to “stripped of”) in order to give the Corinthian churches service. This is a reality of almost all missionaries, pastors, and workers who are engage in missions and Church planting. We raise funds, we ask our friends, ask people, and even beg other Churches to contribute (in financial terms) something for reaching other people and planting more and more Churches.
Many of us may not know this, but sometimes these people (missionaries, pastors, workers of the Lord, and Church planters) act as professional beggars (as others accused them for being so) just to put forward the ministry of Christ. And it really seems foolishness to the world especially if those that they have been ministering have been easily swayed by others who have not even shown extra effort in establishing a good relationship with them.
Paul here tries his best not to become a burden to the Corinthian Church. Being his mission field before, he had some funds coming from other Churches and some physical help coming from the Macedonian churches but none from the Corinthians.
For the world it is foolishness to ask for help in order to help others. Only those who have a deep compassion for the lost can these things. And yes, a minister of Christ is willing to foolishly serve people at the expense of others.
Paul also made it clear that he love the Corinthian Church. He is only boasting about this in order to prove that no one can equal with them in the things they boast about.
Foolishly Against the “Super Apostles” (v-13-16)
In connection with the previous two points, Paul is tremendously against with these false teachers. For he knew that they do not only destroy the faith of those they disciple before, the false teachers also tries to destroy the credibility of Paul and the rest of the Apostles.
False apostles were deceitful workmen. They appear to be apostles of Christ. They claim to be with Christ yet their deceitful ways can be seen by authenticating it to the result of their work and with the Holy Scripture. This is exactly what Satan does every now and then, masquerading himself to be an angel of light. The false apostles also masquerade themselves to be a servant of righteousness where. Their end will be what their actions means.
In our world today, there are lots of false teachers claiming to be Christ. Some claim to be the new Christ. Some claim to be a servant of this Christ, the last prophet. But all their actions can be seen and can be authenticated from what they do, from what they preach, and from what the Bible says. As millions of people being deceived by these false apostles, we ourselves need to be careful in believing these uprising teachers. We need to search through the Bible to whether or not what they say is true.
Other people may have believed the false apostles rather than believing Paul. This is why he may look to be foolish in their eyes.
Paul summarizes these things in verse 16; “I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting.”
The world may see us as a fool for doing what is right, for doing what is godly. If they do so, so be it that we may do a little positive boasting in our defense for our ministry for we teach what is right, we teach what is godly, and we teach what is biblical. The world may not understand it that much. But we know where we stand.