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Passionate for the Gospel – 2 Corinthians 11:1-15


Lord’s Day 29th September 2013

Service Theme: An Insight into Paul’s Zeal for the Gospel

Praise: Psalm 1

Hymn:  How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

Hymn: In Emmanuel’s Land

Reading 2nd Corinthians 11:1-15


Paul is still speaking to the Corinthians about their pitiful lack of discernment, when it comes to recognising who is a true disciple, a true preacher of the gospel and a true apostle of the Lord.

1. What makes Paul Anxious?  v1-6.  Watching Christians lose their eternal reward through following false teachers!

Paul’s great anxiety, his great worry, is that the Corinthians will be wooed by these men and deflected from their true destiny, which is to be wed to Christ, to be presented to him, at the marriage feast of the Lamb as a pure, holy, chaste, perfect virgin church.   Like a jealous lover, he does not want the Corinthians to be lured away by the attentions of another suitor.  Look at his argument:

  1. He has arranged their marriage!  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  They were like a daughter to him, whose marriage he had arranged.  He has chosen the right husband for them – a man who is perfect, who has deeply loved them, given all for them, who will care for them for ever and ever.  But something was going wrong!
  2. He has witnessed their self-deception!  They were allowing themselves to be deceived by Satan!  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  Very subtly, a third party had entered the engagement, and was corrupting their minds against their future husband.  In Corinth, Paul knew the proposed marriage was being attacked…
  3. He has seen the methods they used!  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.  The message of the super-apostles is critiqued by Paul here, but look at its awful faithlessness:-
    1. They preached another Jesus!  Not the biblical, historical resurrected saving Jesus, for that was the Jesus that Paul preached Matthew 24:24  
    2. They received a different spirit!  It was not the life-giving, transforming Holy Spirit of God.
    3. They proclaimed a different Gospel! It wasn’t the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, for that was Paul’s gospel, and theirs was different.  Do you know what the out-spoken Paul says about people who preach another Gospel, in Galatians? Galatians 1:8-9  

Is it any wonder that Paul was anxious and fearful, that these impressive preachers with their false message would add deception to self-deception and draw the Corinthians away from their true goal in eternity, to be the bride of Christ!  That had been Paul’s desire for them.  He says,  For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest (hyoer) apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.


2. What makes Paul Adamant?  v7-12. People who can be bought off, and fail to preach the truth of the gospel

Now this is an extremely interesting passage.  The Corinthians had offered Paul a wage, and he had refused to take it!  To the Corinthians:-

  • This was an insult!  The Greeks had a system of patronage, in which wandering philosophers would be paid by wealthy people to say nice things about them.  Paul wasn’t in the habit of complimenting people about their spiritual wealth when what they really needed was a good dose of strong medicine!  The Corinthians were greatly insulted!
  • The insult was compounded!  Paul was actually demeaning himself by sustaining himself by working with his hands.  A Greek hated physical work, that’s what slaves were for. Acts 18:3  
  • The insult was compounded further!  Paul HAD taken a small sum from the Macedonians, who were a lot lower down the social scale than the Corinthians!  The Corinthians would be claiming that Paul must love the Macedonians far more than he loved them! The super-apostles weren’t like that.  When they were offered money, they never refused!  But then the Macedonians wouldn’t expect Paul to compliment them, and soften his preaching and compromise his message, just because they are paying his wages!  Like the Corinthians would.

So Paul explains his actions in verses 10-12.  You can’t silence Paul!  He will continue to tell the truth, no matter what the financial cost of that would be!


3. What Makes Paul Angry?  v13-15. He must forthrightly denounce those who lead people away from the Lord and His Word!  To sum up this little passage, Paul acts in accordance with what he has just said and launches a verbal broadside on the hyper-apostles!  Paul is literally saying that there are people occupying pulpits in the visible church who look like ministers, who look like gospel preachers, but who are actually the servants of Satan himself!  They’ve never known God’s salvation, they bring no message of hope for eternity to their hearers, and they never preach the Gospel of saving grace.

  • They are false!  They have transformed themselves into preachers!
  • They imitate Satan’s methods!  You see Satan can look very good, and very enticing, and if the very personification of evil can do this, how much easier is it for one of his children, an ungodly man or woman, to appear to be ministers of righteousness, when their hearts are far from God, and their message reveals their true condition.
  • They have an awful end!  Paul says that their end shall be according to what they have done.  They will suffer in eternity for their sinful deception!   Do you know that there will be ministers in hell?  Jesus said so in Matthew 7:21-23

So, Paul is very anxious and worried about this church and its people.  He is worried that they may miss out eternally because they are allowing themselves to be deceived, by time-servers who just say what the people want to hear, whose professional status and the perks of the job prevent them from ever speaking out against sin, pointing out false doctrine or proclaiming the true gospel.  May God help us to be as discerning as Paul wanted the Corinthians to be!


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