Paul and the False
1Please put up with a little of my foolishness. 2I am as concerned about you as God is. You were like a virgin bride I had chosen only for Christ. 3 But now I fear that you will be tricked, just as Eve was tricked by that lying snake. I am afraid that you might stop thinking about Christ in an honest and sincere way. 4We told you about Jesus, and you received the Holy Spirit and accepted our message. But you let some people tell you about another Jesus. Now you are ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message. 5I think I am as good as any of those super apostles. 6I may not speak as well as they do, but I know as much. And this has already been made perfectly clear to you.
7Was it wrong for me to lower myself and honor you by preaching God's message free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by taking money from them to serve you. 9 Even when I was in need, I still didn't bother you. In fact, some of the Lord's followers from Macedonia brought me what I needed. I have not been a burden to you in the past, and I will never be a burden. 10As surely as I speak the truth about Christ, no one in Achaia can stop me from bragging about this. 11And it isn't because I don't love you. God himself knows how much I do love you.
12I plan to go on doing just what I have always done. Then those people won't be able to brag about doing the same things we are doing. 13Anyway, they are no more than false apostles and dishonest workers. They only pretend to be apostles of Christ. 14And it is no wonder. Even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light. 15So why does it seem strange for Satan's servants to pretend to do what is right? Someday they will get exactly what they deserve.
In the movie The Passion of Christ, Pontius Pilate asks his wife: “What is truth, Claudia? Do you hear it, recognize it when it is spoken?” We live in a day and age where there is a whole range of differing beliefs about God, scripture, and other spiritual matters. Things really don’t change that much, do they? In this chapter, Paul is confronted with a church that has been led astray by false teachings.
The best way to identify that something is false is to study only that which is true. For example, by studying only genuine money one can then identify counterfeit money. If it does not measure up to the standard of a real dollar bill, it is a fake. When you immerse yourself in truth, that which is legitimate, you can tell when something is false.
Satan will do anything he can to lure us away from God. He masquerades as an angel of light. So how do we know whether or not something is of God? Does it sound like something Jesus would say or do? Does it line up with the word of God? Jesus said that his sheep would respond to his voice (John 10:27). Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV). Biblical truth is a person: Jesus. When we choose to follow him, we follow truth. The Bible is God’s Word; it is the Living Word, Jesus. We are made clean by the reading or “washing” through the Word to be made ready for our Groom, Jesus (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Paul defends his ministry against the super-apostles (vs 5,6) because his record has proved him as a faithful disciple of Christ. We can be faithful to the Lord as well, preparing ourselves for our Groom (v 2), by spending time in his word, praying, reading daily devotionals, going to church, and using the gifts he has given us to serve others. Staying close to Shepherd will ensure we do not wander off (Psalm 23).
Written by Rob Longley and Annabel Robinson.
Lord Jesus, I praise you that you are my good shepherd. Thank you for your living word that washes over me and keeps me close to you. Give me ears to hear your voice as you call me closer to you. In your name I pray. Amen.