2 Corinthians 11
by Philip Layton
Paul warns the church about false teachers
What does the term ‘angels of light’ in verse 14 mean (vv 1-15)?
Is it possible that there are people ‘masquerading’ as Christian teachers and preachers in your community who are actually ‘false apostles’ and ‘deceitful workers’? If so, what can you do to guard against this, protect yourself and proclaim the truth?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
It can be very difficult to receive criticism. If it is done in a constructive way, it can be very helpful. But often a criticism can overtake us, and we forget all those people who do appreciate what we say or do. Critical remarks can consume us, eat away at us.
Paul let the Corinthians know that he was hurt by some of the critical comments he had received from them. Most of the time he simply ignored the harsh jibes from people. Such things never stopped him from speaking the truth about his Lord. He loved the Corinthian church. Rather than retaliate, as their spiritual leader he felt the need to carefully point out where they were going wrong. This meant making himself vulnerable. Yet he was mandated to speak truth into their lives as God’s servant.
Paul attributed their critical attitude to false prophets who had infiltrated the church – to the detriment of all. Now he was forced to defend himself; but it was not easy. It even seemed like he was boasting about his human accomplishments. But that wasn’t his intention at all, which he makes clear to them. He simply wanted the church to come back to the fundamental truths of the gospel:
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 one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough (v 4).
They had criticised Paul. He felt it. But now he was showing his spiritual concern as a parent to a child. It cost him, for he often did not show his inner self to others. He had been attacked, criticised; and he knew that the Corinthians might not receive his message in return. But he spoke to them with care – pointing out truth over falsehood.
When criticised, we must look at the source and bring it to the Lord. When we offer criticism we must do so with love and with care, calling on God’s wisdom. For we preach and live a gospel of love, care, forgiveness and freedom. This is worth everything!
Beverly IvanyTags: 2 Corinthians