jump to navigation

The Face of the Enemy (2 Corinthians 11:1-15) February 22, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in False Doctrine, False Teachers, Religion, Satan, Second Corinthians, Sermons, Spiritual Leadership.
trackback

THE FACE OF THE ENEMY

(2 Corinthians 11:1-15)

The hardest enemy to face is the one that you do not recognize. This is what Paul fears in this passage. He identifies both the characteristics of the enemy as well as those of the true preacher of the gospel, so that the Corinthians might not be deceived by the enemy. He begins by asking them a very interesting question…

I. Why do you put up with the enemy (verses 1-4)?

A. Their teaching is defiling (verses 2 and 4).

Paul emphasizes the importance of a pure message. There were those in Paul’s day who preached an impure message. Paul describes this as “another Jesus”, a “spirit” and a “gospel” of a different kind. This was a huge problem in those days. It is still a problem today. In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul describes those who preach a different Jesus as storeowner who waters down the wine that he sells.

This is a serious charge. In 2 Corinthians 10:6, Paul says that he was ready to punish, to take vengeance on those who pollute the gospel of Christ. Paul is not having an intellectual debate in this book. He is battling for the purity of the church.

In 2 Corinthians 2:17, Paul mentions that his gospel message was unadulterated. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: “What adulterates the gospel? What makes the true gospel another gospel?” Based on 2 Corinthians 11:4, I would say any of the following adulterate the gospel:

1. Any presentation of Jesus other than what is presented in the word of God corrupts the truth. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God who became man, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for my sins as predicted by the Old Testament, was buried and rose again according to the Old Testament, and ascended to heaven to take His rightful place as Lord of the universe. Any direct or even indirect denial of Christ’s character defiles the truth.

2. Any reception of a new Spirit other than that taught in the Scriptures is also suspect. When I hear that I must have some experience with the Holy Spirit that is superior to trusting Christ and receiving the indwelling of the Spirit, I have reason to doubt the truth.

3. Finally, when I see a list of what one must do to be saved, even if the list is of good things, I am aware that another gospel is being preached. In other words, an addition of any means that makes salvation possible other than solely by God’s grace. This applies to those who believe you have to live righteously to stay saved. If I teach that I have to live right to be saved or to stay saved, then I am adding a human means to my salvation. That, in God’s estimation, is rotten fruit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

B. The enemy is deceptive (verses 3-4, 13-15).

In this way, Paul connects these people with Satan. In the same way that Satan deceived Eve, these false teachers try to deceive God’s people. He says that they like Satan transform themselves. They are not what they appear to be nor are they who they say they are. They are liars and are not to be trusted. They are deceptive. This should not surprise us. Satan’s tactic never really changes. He deceived Eve in the garden and since that day he has continued to deceive the world, being so effective at it that Paul says, Satan, the god of this world has blinded their eyes.

C. Their end is destruction (verse 15). They share not just their character with Satan but also their end. Jesus warned in Matthew 25:41 that those judged by God will have their place in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his messengers. Although there are multitudes who are following Satan and his messengers into the lake of fire, it is specifically reserved for Satan and those who preach for him, even if those messengers are naming the name of Christ.

II. The other side of the question is this, why do you reject your spiritual father (verses 1-2 and 5-11)? You should trust me to put a stop to Satan’s doomed deceivers who are trying to destroy your purity.

A. Why? Because I have been a jealous father to you (verse 2).

What was in those days the great desire of every father for his daughter? That she be taken care of, that she given to a man, to a husband, who would care for her, protect her. Great gifts of money as a dowry were provided in order to guarantee that the daughter would have a good husband. Paul is saying, I greatly desired to find a husband for you who would care for you, who would protect you. I have labored and sorrowed, preaching Christ at every opportunity, just so that I might present you pure with a full dowry to Jesus Christ. Paul took his responsibility for the church very seriously.

The pastor or missionary and other ministers of the gospel often have two families, the physical family and then the people for whom he cares spiritually. That is a very difficult task to handle and Paul chose not to get married for that very reason. He had his hands full with his spiritual family.

B. I have also been a generous father to you (compare verse 3 with verses 5-9). My knowledge (verse 6) and my sacrifice (verses 7-9) speaks for itself.

We reveal through our knowledge of God whether we are true ministers or not (verse 5-6). This is a constant. Effective ministry is not based on numbers of attendees or whether people like us or not. It is based on God revealing Himself through us. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:5-11. If people do not see Christ revealed in our lives and our message, our ministry will be in vain. People have to see more than good morals. That’s why Paul condemned these false teachers. They made themselves the standard of good morals. That’s why upholding the Ten Commandments as a standard to live by is, in and of itself, a dead end. The best they can learn through the Ten Commandments is how evil and vile they are. People have to see Jesus in us.

Jim Elliot once prayed, “Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road. Make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”

How then do we make sure than not only our message but also our lives reveal Jesus Christ? One way is through sacrifice. Paul mentioned several times throughout his epistles, that he did not take advantage of those to whom he ministered because he feared that would hinder the ministry. Paul is not saying that ministry does not deserve or need money. What is saying is this, our ministry must not be motivated by money or the need for money. To the extent that our ministry is money dependent and not God dependent, to that same extent our ministry will be suspect.

C. I have been a loving father to you (verses 10-11).

There was nothing more important to Paul than to please His Lord. He had a passion for preaching the gospel because he had a passion for Christ. He also had a passion for people because he had a passion for Christ. That, of course, is why he was passionate to protect those people from the false teachers. He was looking out for them to protect them because he loved them.

NEXT WEEK: WHEN CAN YOU BOAST IN SUFFERING? (2 Corinthians 11:16-33)

 

Advertisements

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: