Proverbs 30-31 2 Corinthians 11:1-15
“Such men are not true apostles but are workers who lie. They change themselves to look like apostles of Christ. This does not surprise us. Even Satan changes himself to look like an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14 NCV)
It’s amazing, but Paul had to defend his ministry to the very people who had come to Christ under his ministry. Perhaps the message going around the Corinthian Church was that Paul wasn’t all that and a bag of chips. He wasn’t forceful in person, he didn’t raise money for his needs from them, and, compared to some of those other speakers, Paul wasn’t much of a speaker. Paul reminded the Corinthians that whatever others said, he spoke the truth. He didn’t take money for personal expenses from the Corinthians because of his love for the Corinthians. It’s hard to believe, but the fact that he didn’t raise money to support himself from the Corinthians caused them to think that he wasn’t much of a preacher. Paul made the point that he wanted to cut off the bragging of the false preachers who came just for the money. The false preachers did all they could to make it look like they were God’s men, preaching the truth of the gospel, but they were fake messengers who thought of nothing but the money they could gather for themselves.
There have always been those who perverted the gospel for the sake of riches. Paul dealt with it in the Corinthian Church. He also dealt with in the Philippian church, although he mentioned that in Philippi, the gospel was being preached. It’s easy to make small changes to the gospel, to say things the right way, and to make people think they’re proclaiming the gospel when all they’re doing is lining their own pockets with the offerings from those whose trust they betray. They use the words of the gospel to attain what they really want: money. Money is their god and they act as if they believe that he (or she) who dies with the most toys wins. They measure the success of their activity by how much money they take in, while those who preach the true gospel look at how many lives have been changed as people leave their sins behind and live in the grace of Jesus Christ. Among those who preach the true gospel, money is used meet the needs of the people they serve, while those who would use the gospel for personal gain take the money and use it for self-indulgence. The message of the gospel hasn’t changed since the days of Jesus. There is no new and improved gospel that should cause us to discard our faith and follow the new ways. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. He rose from the dead to show His power over death. He appeared to many of those who had followed Him after His resurrection. He offers forgiveness of sins and a relationship with God through His grace – there’s nothing we can do to earn it. Anything beyond that as necessary for salvation isn’t a new gospel, it’s an old heresy that Paul fought in the early days of the church.
Lord, it’s so easy to give in to the temptation to gain wealth. It’s so easy to believe that we need to do something to earn Your love. Protect me from falling into those temptations. May everyone I contact learn and follow the true gospel.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.