2nd Corinthians 11:1-15

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I’m going to invite you to second Corinthians Chapter 11, as we’re going to be today, second Corinthians Chapter 11. And I want you to know, today is going to be a little bit different in its style of deliverance, because we we are dealing with an issue that Paul has taken all the way to this point, a letter to to get with, because he’s dealing with as he’s written this letter, he’s dealt with his relationship with Corinth, but now he’s specifically going to deal with the heresy that’s taught by religious leaders in the Church of Corinth that’s brought really destruction into the church and hurt their relationship with the apostle Paul. And so Paul is coming after this, and he’s now going to deal with the very specifics of of some areas that they are buying into a lie rather than walking. In truth, and this is an important passage for us as a church, because for us, this gives us a place this morning to stop and to think about what we stand for as a group of followers of Christ. When a group gathers, if they have no purpose behind their gathering, no intentionality, there isn’t a reason for their existence. And so for us as a church, there is a a conviction that we walk in that defines everything that we do as people. In fact, it becomes the basis for the value of who you are as a human being. It’s everything to do with who Jesus is.

And because of who Jesus is, it defines who you are and because it defines who you are. It gives you worth, value and meaning and ultimately purpose in the way that you live in this world. And so Paul sees today as as central to the message of Christianity, and he doesn’t just want to ignore it, he goes for it. But one of the things I really appreciate about Paul leading up to this is that he didn’t just come at it like a bull in a china shop. He talked about the the effects that this these leaders have had within the church, these false leaders have had within the church. And he deals with the relationship that he’s got with the Church of Corinth as he peppers it with truth in terms of that relationship. But now he goes directly after what’s caused the conflict with he and the body of believers there in Corinth. And the last three chapters of this book, this is where Paul really hones in and focuses on that. And so then we’re going to talk about taking a stand and what it looks like for God’s people to take a stand. When we talk about the problem and we’re going to look at Paul’s position in the problem, how he postures himself, which is the same attitude that we should carry in this world. And then we’re going to look at the problem makers. He’s going to deal specifically with those individuals.

And and this is how the Apostle Paul starts. He says in second Corinthians 11, verse one, I wish you would bear with me a little me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me. And so Paul is saying, look, I know people have called me crazy. These these leaders that have crept into your church, that have led you guys astray, they’re calling me crazy. And so okay, fine. Let’s just say it. If it’s foolishness, just bear with me a little bit more because we’re really we’re going to get to the significance of what this message is. And then, Paul, as he talks about this and then deals with his attitude towards the situation, he says, for I, I feel a divine jealousy for you. So Paul wants him to know where his heart is wrestling in this. And I appreciate that he doesn’t just say jealousy here, but he refers to it as divine jealousy. And we should ask the question, okay, what’s the difference between jealousy and divine jealousy? Because when you think about in terms of just just jealousy, you typically start to think, well, at least for me anyway, I shouldn’t put words in your mouth. I start to step back from that kind of word. I’m going to come at you jealously. If I was just to say that you want to step back from that word, because you’re typically dealing with someone that feels grossly inadequate for some reason and unstable to some degree.

Right. There’s something that they want and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it. And they’re thinking ill will about someone else and what they have and how they want it and how they’re going to get it. And they will stop at nothing to do that. Right. And it becomes destructive. Jealousy typically is a word that is very destructive. In fact, the Dictionary.com defines it this way. It’s a feeling of resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success or advantages. It is characterized by or proceeds from suspicious fears of envious resentment. It’s a it’s a word of destruction. You have what I want. I will take. I am jealous, right? This is mine. And you start to to diminish someone else in their worth and value in order to elevate yourself. And you will treat people like a tool to better serve you. That is. That is jealousy. But, Paul. Paul here talks about a divine jealousy, which perhaps is saying to us, maybe there is a position of jealousy which isn’t always destructive. In fact, the same same dictionary, Dictionary.com says another definition of jealousy being solicitous or vigilant in maintaining and guarding something. And more specifically, I think in dealing with God, we could say it’s something that belongs to him, something that he pursues for really ultimately we find for its protection. God’s jealousy is about His glory. Certainly in Scripture we see that in the very beginning.

X is chapter 20, when God introduces Himself to to Israel as a whole, as they’ve left Egypt as slaves, and God is giving to them the law. In Chapter 20, verse five. It’s the first time He tells us that he is a jealous God. It is for His glory, right? And and without knowing anything about the nature of God that were jealousy, should cause us to step back and think, are you unstable, emotionally about to go off and destroy things for your own purpose? And and what’s the intention behind this jealousy and motivation? And as you start to learn the character of God and the nature of God, you discover that this divine jealousy, while for His glory, is also to the benefit of of his people. And this is the way that Paul then, as he describes this divine jealousy in relationship to the church, we start to see how God’s jealousy works for for their good, even, even when they don’t understand what should what is good and healthy for themselves. And so what we discover is we read a little bit further is that God doesn’t give up on his people. That even while the Church of Corinth has turned against God, they belong to him and he cares about them. And Paul is aligning his heart with God’s heart for the church saying, look, God is a jealous God and I’m carrying this divine jealousy towards you, not for your destruction, but for your good.

My desire is what God desires for. For you. And so as Paul approaches this, he’s not coming to this in the church in order to beat the church over the head, to make them feel bad and just to walk in guilt and shame. But he he wants them to experience the relationship which they were created in God. And he goes on from there and he says it as such as he starts to give us a further example. He says, Since I’ve betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. Paul, he gives us this illustration. I think it’s a beautiful, brilliant illustration he uses here. He he starts to refer to to the church as being betrothed. And really, he is an example of a father who has betrothed this church to Christ. And this this idea of betrothal. We we try to compare some time within our culture because we we we don’t have, I think, something that equates entirely to betrothal. We oftentimes might say, well, it’s it’s like an engagement and it’s similar to an engagement. But I think the idea of a betrothal has a little bit more power behind it than even what our culture carries in engagement. In Paul’s day, Jesus’s day, when someone was betrothed, they would come to an agreement for a young man, young woman to be married, and they would reach this agreement and they would seal that agreement.

And a young man would pay a dowry on behalf of his future bride, and he would walk away. And legally, at that point, they were viewed as if they were married, even though there was not a marriage celebration yet and the marriage had not been consummated yet. If that young man were to leave and that young man were to die, the young woman would be looked at as a widow because she was in the formal form of betrothal. There was this legal agreement towards the marriage, though the celebration still had to take place and the union between the husband and wife. And so when the Bible refers to us, it refers to us in the sense of a betrothal with the looking forward to the consummation of our marriage. And when you read the end of scripture, that’s what you see. In fact, the Bible ties this theme together from the beginning to the end, that when God created us in the beginning, He created us for relationship man abandoned that relationship for God. And the rest of the Bible is God’s pursuit for your redemption to belong to Him by him giving himself as a dowry on your behalf that you could become his, you would be betrothed to his. And when you get to Revelation Chapter 19, you see the marriage supper, the lamb, the consummation of that as the bride has adorned herself for the presence of of Christ. And Paul says, you have been betrothed to Christ.

That’s where you belong. You want to understand what you’re about. It is everything that Jesus is. That’s. That’s what you stand for. That that’s where you find your identity. And you find your relationship and your worth and your purpose. All of it. All of it comes from here. And then Paul goes on to describe himself as one who presents them as a pure virgin to Christ. And so Paul’s playing the picture here of a spiritual father, because it was the it was the father’s responsibility. Once a bride was betrothed to to her future husband, it was the it was the father’s responsibility to make sure that that young lady remained pure until the marriage celebration. And this is what Paul’s saying. This is my heart. My concern for you. It’s the same heart as God’s concern for you, this divine jealousy. It’s that you really understand who you are in light of who Christ is that you you really live in relationship to Jesus. And Paul goes on further and he says, he says, But I’m afraid. That has the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning. Your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion. That is in Christ. And this is really the foundation for Paul has just kind of focused the rest of his discussion is on the idea of what Eve represents here. He’s going all the way back to the illustration of the Garden of Eden, where where the relationship with God was broken because of sin.

And as he thinks about the Garden of Eden, he says, you know, all Satan did. All Satan did. Was just twist the truth. To God really say. Just to get Eve to question the goodness of Christ and her relationship with him to God, to God really say. Surely God didn’t mean that. And he began to take what God had declared as true and just started to pervert it and and just believing the hint of the lie. You know, this world is filled with all kinds of religions and they teach all kinds of truths about God. And I know Universalism just wants to say, you know, pick one. And in the end, as long as you just try your best, you’re okay. But but just it’s important to say, look, every religion in this world cannot be right because they teach something different about God. They can all be wrong. But they can all be right. But the reason people I think belong to religions is because there’s there’s at least a hint of truth within them. And it’s the same thing here in the Garden of Eden and Paul saying, Oh, the purity of truth and how significant it is for your life. And. And all Satan did. He just corrupted it with just a little bit of a lie. And I’m saying I’m just worried that you’ve been devoted to Christ. And it’s my responsibility as a sort of a spiritual father in your life to talk about the significance of Jesus, that you could walk in the purity of that because that’s where the power is possessed.

It’s not about just believing whatever you want because you weren’t created for whatever you want. You were created for Christ. And and to diminish the significance of Christ in your life is to diminish the significance of who you are. Just believing a lie. Can lead to such destruction. But my interest is in that pure devotion that’s that’s in Jesus. And He says it like this then. And verse number four, he. He says if someone comes and proclaims. Another Jesus and the one we proclaimed. If you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Now, there are three things here that Paul identifies for us, that one, in terms of believing in a lie, how when they start to pervert this foundation, we start to believe a lie and pervert this foundation, that it leads to a destructive path. And he tells us here, and I’m going to just deal with two of them in your notes, the one I’m going to deal with at the end. We’re going to talk about the spirit here at the end. But but there’s two that I want to talk about. There are two things in church history that that are attacked over and over again.

And it becomes important for us as followers of Christ if we’re going to take a stand to to take a stand in these truths and to let these guide our lives, not to not to embrace whatever you want, but to understand our identity is founded here, and there is no going back in that end. It doesn’t it doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean as we go in the world and we take a stand on these things, that you then be a jerk with it. Right. Paul took 11 chapters to get to this point in dealing with his relationship with Corinth. When we engage this world and we take a stand on these things, it doesn’t mean that we beat people over the head with it, but rather what it means is we see the significance of what it is and we refuse to go anywhere else that these thoughts I want to share with this morning. This becomes the the foundation. And we tend to corrupt these these two truths in two ways we tend to put it in two extremes. And I’m going to I’m going to deal with all that in your notes. So in your point, number one, you’re going to see these blanks. The two things that we tend to do, and Paul’s mentioned it for us in church history, we we number one, we tend to diminish the significance of Christ. And number two.

We tend to corrupt the gospel. And I don’t just mean the church, I mean people in general. We tend to take away from the significance of Christ. And number two, we tend to to diminish the gospel. And Paul says it at the very end of this verse four, he says, For if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. And he’s really chastising the church. There’s the church’s willingness to tolerate error in the name of unity. But in doing so. The removing from themselves the entire purpose of their existence. And Paul here is going back to the importance of truth. Church. Don’t cripple yourself from the significance of who you are. By letting go of these two things. We can still love people. And disagree with them. And that’s okay. Like I’m going to stand for Jesus and this is why I stand for Jesus. And we as a as a church, we’re going to have a truth claim and the gospel as it relates to who Christ is. And when we make a truth claim, we need to be able to defend that truth claim. But as as we engage this world with that truth claim, it also doesn’t mean that we have to be unloving to people. We can stand for truth and still love people. But the way that we tend to diminish Jesus, let’s deal with him first. Point number one and two, A and B under your notes is this.

And by the way, the verse reference under point number two is wrong. You need to flip it the two BS on your notes if you grab those. But there’s two ways we diminish from Jesus. And if you study church history, you’ll find this happens over and over again every time that the church wrote a creed. If you read the early creeds of Christianity, they’re typically dealing with one of these two things they’re taking away from Jesus and one of these two things, and it started from the very beginning, we either diminish Jesus and his deity or we diminish Jesus and his humanity. That’s usually when when heretics arise, they go after one of those two. Sometimes both of those they’ll take away from the deity of Christ, diminish the deity of Christ in some way, or they’ll diminish from the humanity of Christ. And just a couple of passages. You see that in the New Testament. They’re dealing with those in multiple places in the New Testament. But some of the popular verses in John ten and verse 33, Jesus claimed to be God and verse 30 and they asked the Jews, Why were they so mad? And they answered him, It’s not for a good work that we are going to stone you Jesus, but for blasphemy. Because you being a man, make your self God. And we talk about Jesus being God. We don’t talk about Jesus becoming a God.

We mean Jesus has always been eternal God. And John 858 says, before Abraham was, I am. I mean, he talks about as eternally or in Hebrews Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His nature is not changing from everlasting to everlasting. He has been God. And so the significance of who he is, is and his deity is important. I’ll tell you why in just a minute. But also also his humanity. That Jesus took on flesh, he was 100% humanity. And first, John John not only deals with the death of Jesus, but in his day. Also in first, John dealt with the humanity of Jesus because there was a group of people that came along and said, You know what? The flesh is corrupt. Therefore, because Jesus lived the perfect life, he couldn’t have really come in the flesh. He sort of came in a spirit like figure, but not in the flesh, because the flesh is bad and therefore that would make Jesus bad. So Jesus didn’t come in as humanity. And first, John Ford, he says this beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this, you know, the spirit of God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. Theologians have words for this. I’ll just tell you a couple. And if you forget them, that’s okay.

There’s no quiz. But but there’s there’s what’s referred to as the kenosis of Christ, how God has emptied himself and the forms of of human flesh. And then what they call the hyper static union, how Jesus lived his life in the flesh as 100% God and 100% man. And you need both. You need both. And here’s why. Jesus would never be a sufficient sacrifice for you. Leslie was 100% man. How could he cover your sins unless he became who you are? He had to be 100% man in order to be sufficient in his sacrifice. But. But not only that, he has to be 100% God. Otherwise, how could his sacrifice be sufficient for you? You think about this when you as a finite human being. Commit a sin against an eternal God. You pay for that consequence for eternity. But when eternal God takes on your sin, eternal God can pay for your sin in a finite moment because he is eternal. Jesus must be 100% God and 100% man to be a sufficient sacrifice for your life. To diminish that is to diminish the value of your salvation and who you are in light of who Christ is. And Paul says to the church, it is vitally important. You’re not back away from the significance of Jesus. Because it not only not only takes away from from his character in everything he is, but it also takes away from the gospel. I mean, Jesus said in John 824, Unless you believe that I am he.

You will die in your sin unless you believe that I am he. Well, Jesus thing is, you need to understand exactly who I am. Because it has everything to do with why I came and why I have the ability to do what I promised to do. Or and John 14 six. I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father, but by me. It’s the exclusivity of Jesus that gives us the access to to eternal presence before the Lord. It’s the importance of who he is. Which then has everything to do with the gospel, and we tend to diminish from the gospel in two ways. We either make it about religion or religion. We make it about really in religion, we could also call liberalism or anti-communism. That’s lawlessness. Right. And we typically say like this, God is love, God is love. It’s okay, God, God is love. You know, just do what you want because God is just this loving God. But. But the importance of thinking about and it is true that God, God is love. I mean, first John tells us that, but to the exclusivity of ignoring the justice of God. It’s dangerous. And the reason for that is how can God really be ultimately loving? Last TV just. Like How loving is it when someone has done something wrong against you and the person that loves you does nothing about it? In order for God to be loved, God must ultimately carry his his justice in this world.

Romans six Paul even says, like, as he’s talked about in Romans, about the grace of God, the question that becomes because God is gracious to us in our sin. How about we just keep on sinning? Right. So. So it just shows how gracious God is by forgiving us for our sins. And these Paul’s answer is like, Are you nuts? That’s what he says in Romans six one and two and and 15 and 16. He asked the same question twice, but was, shall we say then, are we to continue in sin? That grace may abound? By no means. How can we who died to sin, live in it? I think God rescued you from something. It’s not simply about just this this love of God or this religion. It’s it’s to recognize that God’s justice is important as well. And then and then dealing with the religion. Religious people. This is people that tend to promote moralism or legalism. And they typically say things like this as long as you’re good. As long as you’re good, that’s all that matters, right? And it’s just this idea of moralism. Just live a good life. That’s all that matters. You pick whatever you feel is good for you. And as long as you’re good, that’s all that matters in this life. But, I mean, we could just logically just ask the question, why did Jesus die? Why did the disciples die? If if just being good is all that matters.

When Jesus came, he entered the world with one of the most religious groups of people on the planet. You had tons of religious laws and they were doing all right and religious living. And Jesus could have just said, Hey, you’re doing pretty good. Just keep doing better being good. Right. And just applauded that along. And the disciples when they traveled along the world, they could have gone to all the different religious groups in different areas of the world in which they lived. And and rather than take a stand against Jesus, which are for Jesus, that would ultimately lead to their death, it could have been like, Hey, what’s the Buddhist religion in your area? And a Buddhist isn’t a word, but you know, what’s what’s the best thing you got here? Hey, let’s just try to make it a little bit better, because as long as you’re good, that’s all that matters. But the reality is, and the reason we emphasize good is because we see the importance of justice. And can I tell you, there is not a person in this room. That hopes God gives them what they deserve. To emphasize one of these attributes love or justice over and above the other is to annihilate what the gospel is. You need both. You need both. I need the love of God experienced in in as justice and as I live in the justice of God, I need to walk in his loving grace.

Right. That’s what I need. And and there is nowhere else that. That comes into a collision together better than the cross of Christ. The Cross of Christ is the place where God poured out his chest as the Father poured out His justice against sin on Jesus. And the grace of God extended to you in Christ. That you could experience both the love and justice in his good hand of favor. So the significance of Jesus has everything to do with that and his deity and humanity and the gospel for which he lived in his life, that we could find freedom in him both the love and justice colliding in Christ. And in that, we find we find the ability to to to approach the the wrong that we’ve done in this world, the sense that we’ve done like we don’t have to hide it. We don’t have to try to perform to make it better. We we get to come directly to God. And lay down our guilt and shame. And in his grace, take on a new nature. Because we’ve been betrothed in him. We have to be honest about who we are apart from Christ. And completely embrace now everything that we are because of Christ. And this love and justice and and for us as God’s people, then we have a third option to invite people to.

It’s not is religion or religion, it’s relationship. It’s relationship because I think in a gospel mentality, people tend to think like this. They tend to think, you know, let’s let’s live a good life. And as long as you live a good life, you ultimately get where you want. And the goal of what they want is a destination. It’s a destination. I want to get to heaven. I’ll lead a good life and I’ll get to heaven. But that is not the picture of Scripture. Our goal is not a place. Our goal is a person. Because wherever he is. That’s heaven. That’s heaven. That’s why John says and John, chapter 17, verse three. This is eternal life, he says. And he doesn’t say being in heaven, but he says, this is eternal life. Knowing him. Knowing him. Its relationship. Eternity is not about just a quantity of life. It’s a quality of life. Lived in the presence of God because you belong to him. And the story in which Jesus gives us is that gospel message in Galatians two, verse 16. Yet we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, is not simply do good, but through faith in Jesus Christ. So we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, but because by works of the law, no one will be justified. So the ball goes on, he says in verse five.

Indeed I consider. But I am not in the least inferior to the super apostles saying, look, I know people have come into the church and they have said that there are these great leaders, but I want you to know, I’m not bowing down to them. I am not in a position where I’m inferior to these guys. And here’s why. Verse six Rather than listen to their authority and this is typically what people do. Right? Here’s here’s why you should listen to my opinion. Because I’m more of an expert and I’m better than you. But Paul saying, no, no, there’s something that trumps that and there’s something that’s far more important that should lead our lives. And in verse six, he tells us, he says, Even if I am unskilled and speaking. I am not so indulge. Indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. Paul saying, Look, I’m not ignorant to God’s word. I’m not bowing down and giving credence to what they say, because I know what God says, because I’m a familiar with God’s word. And that that, Paul says, will lead my life. And so Paul is taking a stand not only for himself, but he’s fighting on behalf of the church. To see the goodness of Christ made known in their lives. Because it has everything to do with their identity and purpose to. And Paul, then in verse seven, we’ll read through this fairly quickly.

He then goes on in verse seven and he wants to show in the next few verses his posture, his position in the midst of the circumstance. And I want us to identify here because I think everything that Paul demonstrates in his character in these moments is also what we should carry in this world, knowing that the world does not always agree with us. And what Paul is doing when he starts to demonstrate his character in verse 7 to 11. He’s also contrasting this with the super apostles. He’s intentionally identifying character that’s important for God’s people to carry everywhere. But he’s also identifying a character that is in juxtaposition against what these super apostles represent. And Paul wants us to to recognize that these super apostles, these religious leaders, are coming to them to get something. But Paul’s heart has been about coming to them to give something. So they’re all about their power, their fame, and what they can get, what they can receive. Poor Paul has found his life completely filled in Jesus and therefore doesn’t want anything from them, but rather to give to blessed to see them become what God has made them to be. And in verse seven, He gives us these words That should be our posture as well. He says, and I highlighted them for us. Or I do. Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself? So that you might be exalted because I preach God’s gospel to you free of charge.

I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden. Burden anyone for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. Sorry your frame and will refrain from burdening you in any way as the truth of Christ is in me. This boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Acadia. And why? Because I do not love you. God knows I do. So Paula sarcastically asked at the end. But this region that Paul is talking about, the Corinth is the capital of it. And Paul saying, I’m not stopping, I’m I’m going throughout this region. Here in Corinth is the capital. I’m proclaiming this message, and here’s the attitude I’m carrying. I’m living this life as a servant in love and truth. I’m not here to beat people up and I here to prove people wrong. I’m here to represent Jesus and in representing Jesus to love you well, to care for you in one of the best ways to care for you is to also share the truth with you that you can find your identity in Jesus. And He’s contrasting this with the false apostles because they’re coming in and leveraging themselves for the accolades, for the power, the money, the fame, the wealth, whatever comes with that, that’s that’s their interest. And because when we think about our position in Christ, when we go into this world and similar attitude to Paul, we don’t go into this world to obey Jesus.

And in order to get things from people, I don’t I don’t need anything from you. We go into this world. To point people to Jesus. They may discover the truth of who he is. It’s not a. Power, fame, prestige. It’s about the importance of Christ and the freedom people find in that. And so then Paul, then he gets to the problem maker. And let me jump into that and it goes on in verse 12 and what I am doing, I will continue to do. In order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. But these people have come into Corinth and they’re saying, I’m Christian, too, and saying, No, they’re not. Just because you follow a Jesus doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s important to talk about who the real Jesus is. The most important question you can ask, I think, is, is who is Jesus? Who is Jesus? And just because people come in and wear the Christian label doesn’t make them Christian. Has everything to do with their understanding of Jesus and not just in an intellectual ascent, but do they really have a relationship with him. And so he goes on and says this for for such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ, and no wonder for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

So it is no surprise if his servants also disguised themselves as servants of righteousness, their end will respond to their deeds. Some heavy words talk about Satan in a second. But but let’s look at this for just a minute. I’m going to deal with verse 13 and 15. He talks about these these apostles as as they come in and they present themselves as these super apostles and try to present this authority. And and I just want to ask the question just a couple of questions for you. It’s in your notes here, but should we have present day apostles? There’s something that exists today. And let me just give you just a few thoughts related to that. And let me tell you, as you read these thoughts, if you disagree with me, that’s okay. I still love you. Somebody is wrong. But I still love you. All right. I have taught on this once in our church’s history, and I got out of here one day, and I got a nasty response from somebody. And I tell you, I don’t really care. You can give me a nasty response. You don’t do that if your God’s people don’t do that. But whoever whoever did that, you just kind of shed it. But you remember like, wow, there’s very passionate about this, but should we have present day apostles? Well, if you read in the New Testament, they just give you an argument from silence.

You read in the New Testament. If we were to have present day apostles, you would expect if you read the epistles somewhere along the lines, Paul would write a letter saying, Hey, church, because you should have present day apostles. This is how you set up present day apostles, right? But there is nowhere in the New Testament where you find that which might give the indication, I don’t know, just go out on a limb here that they’re not for the future. In fact, church history would say as much if you read after into the early church. So so there’s that suggestion that you do have church leadership talked about, like Paul tells us how to appoint elders and deacons within the church, but he doesn’t talk about epistles, which leads into the idea or the apostles, which leans into the idea that they’re not intended for the future. In fact, there is one time in in the Book of Acts where an apostle is appointed and they give the description of how they’re to appoint that apostle and why they are appointing that apostle. If this is not a prescription for the church, it’s just a description. The Book of Acts as a historical book. It’s just giving you a description of what happened. It’s not saying you have to do this in every instance. It’s just simply saying, This is when we appointed an apostle and this is why we did it.

And they tell us the reason they’re replacing Judas and the reason they did it, it tells us in this passage is because they’re fulfilling what the Old Testament said. There was a prophetic statement saying they needed to replace Judas. So that’s what they do. And then they give the qualifications for how they replace Judas. And the qualification is they needed to see the resurrected Jesus. And so since no one here has done that right, it’s even an impossibility. And then verse number three is to say this Paul refers to himself as the last of all the apostles and first Corinthians 15. So Paul saw himself as one, he says, born in undue time. So there was an exception to his birth as an apostle. Now, I’ll tell you, sometimes in Scripture, it’s a little confusing with the word apostle, because it uses one word to refer to two different groups of people, just like the word Elohim in the Old Testament. The word Elohim can mean literally the one God, or it can mean just rulers in general. It can mean earthly rulers, right? It’s a word that the context matters and the word apostle is used the same way. There’s the capital, a apostle like you think of the 12 apostles and Paul. But then there’s the lowercase apostle, which just simply means a sent one, a missionary. And so that’s sometimes can be confusing, but in Scripture there is certainly a place for the capital, a apostle.

And then the next question is this then what should we what should be expected from an apostle like, you know, someone may disagree with me and saying, oh, apostles are for today, right? Like, okay, well, let’s just let’s just pretend like I don’t even want to fight that. Okay, positive for today. What should you expect from an apostle? Well, in Scripture, it gives you several passages. And here’s just a few of what an apostle did. They one witness the resurrection of Christ. Paul said that he did that which qualified him as an apostle, first Corinthians nine and then acts. We’ve already talked about the number two apostles perform signs and wonders, right? I mean, they were like the Barnum Bailey circus coming to town sometimes and some of the abilities they had to to demonstrate their their truth. And the number three apostles lived poor lives among the least rich. In fact, in first Corinthians four, Paul says the apostles are the least among all peoples on earth, and he goes on to describe all the things that they went through. Sometimes when I hear people use the word apostle today and I look at their life and then I look at the apostles in the first century and the things they went to. They went to the front lines of places in this world where talking about Jesus would result in immediately having your head cut off.

That’s how they live their lives. They lived impoverished, abused and beat up. They didn’t live in luxury homes, in the nicest clothing, making tons of money. That was not their lifestyle at all. They understood that their mission in the world was to go to the darkest places on this planet and talk about Jesus. And number four, they had accurate teaching of Christ, which is what Paul is talking about today. So when you think in terms of a of the idea of an apostle, if one should ask the question, should they exist today? And if someone becomes adamant about that, just look to see if their life even lines up with what an early apostle was about. I say all that to say? Because people are going to. Come into our lives and pretend to have this position of authority as religious leaders in order to get us to buy into what they believe. And we should. Understand what exactly they’re saying about that position and make sure we know the truth of what God communicates, which is point number four. Does it align with what God’s word said? Which brings me to this last point that Paul brings out. He’s saying, you know, why these false apostles are doing this? No wonder for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of of light. And I know when we start talking about spiritual things, especially Satan, people sometimes can start getting paranoid about that. Like he’s still around, right? He’s still influences people.

Oh, my goodness. How do I know I’m not being influenced this morning? You start stressing. How how do I know even what you’re saying? You become very skeptical about everything. Don’t trust anyone, anything, ever. Right. And you get a little paranoid about that. And and I think there’s a healthy posture to take towards some of this stuff. But but first, let me let me just talk about Satan’s appearance here and then we’ll deal with the paranoia for just a minute. You see in this passage, how does the describe Satan’s appearance? Do you see this? How does it appear here? As an angel. Of what? Light as an angel of light. Notice he does not appear as red horn pitch forked serpent tail being right. He does not appear that way. And you know why it doesn’t appear that way? Because no one in this room would listen to him if he did. If he came here this morning, said, I got a great idea. Lie still kill and destroy. Let’s do it right. And he’d be like, I just have this general rule in life. Don’t believe people with horns, right? You wouldn’t you wouldn’t believe that. And and Satan knows that. And so Paul is saying to us, look, that’s how we characterize him, maybe in our culture, but that’s not who he is. He shows up as an angel of light. And you know what? When I think about an angel of light, you know what an angel of light want you to really experience? Positive feelings.

That’s this passage I think about this passage when people sometimes tell me, you know, I’m doing this because it feels right, like or, you know, I had this spiritual whatever come over me and this is what God wants. And I’m thinking, oh, my gosh, how do you how do you know what spiritual feeling this is? Because even Satan can appear as an angel of light. That’s not that is not necessarily the best basis for a it’s not a good basis at all for doing what you do because even Satan appears as an angel of light. And as Angel of Light. Well, Paul wants us to know, just all the way back to the Garden of Eden is what Satan loves to do. As he loves to twist truth. He loves to twist truth. So if Satan is an angel of light. How do I know if I’m being deceived? And this is where you get you get a little paranoid and worried. How do I know if he’s an angel, if he’s still walking around today? How do I know I’m not being deceived? Let me just tell you this. There isn’t this place in your life where you’re living, and all of a sudden Satan shows up and you’re in this spiritual realm. And all of a sudden, now that Satan’s here, you’ve been deceived. Like everything that you do in life is spiritual.

Everything that we do in life has spiritual implications. There’s not this spiritual that we do on Sunday, and then we go live our physical on Monday. The spiritual and the physical is intertwined. Everything that we do in life is spiritual. So how then, if Satan is actively working this world, he’s called the prince of the power of the air. The ruler of this world. How do we know that we’re not being deceived? And how do we know? And people start getting a paranoid about that. The key to defeating Satan, let me tell you. It’s not to obsess about Satan. The key to defeating Satan is not about focusing on Satan at all. The key. Is to focus. On the truth of Christ. Who is Jesus? Satan’s power is only as strong as a lie believed. But if you don’t believe the lie. He has no power in your life. The way. To stop. Satan, whatever. Negative spiritual influence. It’s not to focus. On the spirit of Satan. But the focus on the spirit of truth. Who is Jesus. That’s why when Jesus encountered Satan in the garden was Temptation and Matthew four A Satan came to tempt Jesus, he said, and Matthew four four. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. In John 73. This is eternal life. That you may know him. Not just intellectually. But relationally.

Jesus. Is that freedom from bondage? Jesus. Is that freedom from destruction? The truth of who Jesus is matters. Let me give you this last illustration. Here are these three young boys. Fighting with one another. You know how young boys are. I’ve got four. So they never. It’s never ending. Right. And. Finally the two older brothers picking on the younger brother. They came to the younger brother and said, Hey, nobody really loves you. The only reason you’re in our family is because Mom and Dad just happened to find you on the porch one day. And. And little Billy upset by this. He takes off crying, running to Dad. It’s true. He says, Billy, son, I love you. I’ve always loved you. You’ve been mine. And I have known you from the time you were born and never stopped loving you. And Dad turns to the to the boys and he. He whips them for lying to their brother. But the brothers, they thought it was worth it because they made Billy cry. It was good for them. And then the next day rolls around. They thought that was worth it so much they tell Billy. Billy, you know what? You don’t really belong. The only reason you’re here is because, well, you were crying under a bush and the parents couldn’t stand the crying. So they went out and grabbed you. And that’s. That’s the only reason you’re here. And Billy’s crying again. He goes to to Dad.

And he said, Dad, is this true? He’s just crying. And he says, Son, I loved you and I will always love you. I will never stop loving you. You are mine. And he looks at the two boys and he spanks them on the rear end. And the two boys say it was totally worth it because Billy cried. Right. And finally, finally, the third time the brothers come to Billy and they say, Well, Billy, time’s up. You didn’t know this, but you were only going to be with us for a little bit. And so in just a few days, you’re going to be gone from us. So and Billy all of a sudden gets worried and he’s crying and he runs to Dad again and he says, Dad, is this true? And finally Dad looks at him and says, Billy, I’m not going to spank your brothers anymore. I want you to know I have told you who you are. And if you don’t believe it, the next time I’m going to spank you. And as I say, all that to say. Jesus is the foundation of our life. And he has communicated to us everything that he is and everything that we are because of him. And there are times in our life where we need to to question that in order to learn and grow. But then there are other times where you need to stand up on your own. Because you have found yourself secure in Jesus. And it’s that foundation that gives power to this church to make a difference in this world. And may we walk faithfully with.

2nd Corinthians 10:7-18

2nd Corinthians 11:16-28