(BASIS FOR HIS BOASTING IN HIS AUTHORITY = THE MARKS OF HIS APOSTLESHIP)
HUMILITY IN MINISTRY (DEMONSTRATED HERE BY PREACHING THE TRUTH WITHOUT CHARGE) DIFFERENTIATES THE TRUE FROM THE FALSE APOSTLE
I. (:1-4) REALITY CHECK –
DISCERNMENT SHOULD ANCHOR BELIEVERS IN THEIR DEVOTION TO CHRIST
A. (:1-2) Paul’s Appeal Springs From Godly Jealousy Not Personal Pride
1. (:1) He Deserves a Fair Hearing
“I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me.”
2. (:2) His Passion is for Their Faithfulness to Christ
“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”
Gromacki: A person should be jealous when he sees a loved one being turned away from obedient faith by false attractions.
B. (:3) Paul’s Concern is that the Corinthians Have Proven Susceptible to Deception
“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
Stedman: You can lose it in the pressures of daily living. You can get so busy and so worried and so anxious about yourself and the things that are happening to you that you lose the sense that Christ is with you and he is adequate. This is the beautiful, “simplicity that is in Jesus.” Here in Corinth they were assaulted with these teachers who were exposing them to things that caught their attention, but they were drifting from that central point. They were involved with fascinating philosophies based on the Word of God, but which went off on side tracks and rabbit paths of thought. They were being challenged with certain ego-appealing experiences which if they could just grasp would make them feel so great, so wonderful, so God-possessed — just like people today who are invited to explore strange and wonderful mysteries all involved with Christian faith — but which tend to move them away from the simplicity that is in Christ.
C. (:4) Paul’s Sarcasm Highlights Their Lack of Discernment –
3 Christian Fundamentals:
“For if one comes and . . . you bear this beautifully”
1. Truth about Jesus –
“preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached”
Allon – another of the same kind – Why does he use this word here?
2. Truth about the Holy Spirit –
“or you receive a different Spirit which you have not received”
Heteron — Another of a different kind
3. Truth about the Gospel –
“or a different gospel which you have not accepted”
Heteron – Another of a different kind
II. (:5-12) COUNTERFEIT TEST –
HUMILITY IN MINISTRY (DEMONSTRATED HERE BY PREACHING THE TRUTH WITHOUT CHARGE) CAN NOT BE COUNTERFEITED
A. (:5-6) Make Substance the Benchmark – Not Style
1. (:5) No Inferiority Complex … No False Humility
“For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.”
2. (:6) Excelling in Knowledge (and Christian graces) vs. Oratory
“But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.”
B. (:7-9) Appreciate the Extent of His Humility in Ministry
1. (:7) Thesis expressed with Sarcasm
“Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?”
2. (:8-9) Humility Demonstrated in Allowing Other Churches to Support Work in Corinth
“I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia, they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.”
Kent: The figure of robbing other churches is, of course, hyperbole. It was robbery only in the sense that the churches who gave to Paul’s support were not presently receiving the benefits and hence had no direct obligation to give.
C. (:10-12) Understand the Motivation for His Humility in Ministry
1. (:10) Humility is Grounds for Boasting!
“As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.”
2. (:11) Humility Motivated by Love
“Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!”
3. (:12) Humility = Distinguishing Mark of Genuine Apostleship
“But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.”
III. (:13-15) DECEITFUL DISGUISE –
FALSE APOSTLES MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO LOOK LIKE THE REAL THING
A. (:13) Exposing the Counterfeits
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”
B. (:14-15a) Explaining Their Craftiness
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness”
C. (:15b) Emphasizing Their Condemnation
“whose end shall be according to their deeds.”
* * * * * * * * * *
1) In what specific ways did Christ humble Himself and prove a model for genuine spiritual ministry?
2) How deserving is Christ of our total faithfulness in our marriage relationship with Him as His bride?
3) Examine the ministry of Christ to highlight His emphasis on truth, light and righteousness – areas where the false apostles fall short when examined on the basis of their deeds.
4) How is the Jesus preached by Paul and the genuine apostles different from the Jesus preached by the counterfeit apostles?