For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or 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. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:4-6
The lights were turned down low and the music played softly. The pastor entered majestically through the church doors and immediately all the beams of light were turned on maximum strength and focused on him.
There was an expectant hush in the crowd. The anointed “Man of God” (as the pastor liked to call himself) had arrived.
His teeth sparkled and his eyes twinkled as he reached the golden pulpit.
God had revealed to the pastor the secret of walking in His favour and blessing.
The pastor didn’t need a Bible as God revealed his Prophetic Word – sometimes contradicting the Bible – directly to the pastor; but that was no problem as the Spirit was clearly at work.
The pastor’s sermons were awesome: Jesus died for your sins, sickness and sorrow. No more suffering. No more second-best. No more sub-standard Christianity. You simply need to have enough faith.
This was real, victorious, triumphant Christianity!
God was clearly working through this Man of God and the church was growing.
Another man, known as the Apostle Paul, had started the church, but it turned out that he was a bit of a loser. He was constantly suffering, continually facing hardships, not a great orator, not a rich man, always working, and he never even asked for money.
What kind of a church leader is that? No thank you, not for us.
We want a super-sized Christianity. Not the weak, suffering, faith-without-sight Christianity the Apostle Paul had to offer.
Does this sound at all familiar?
So-called super-apostles had infiltrated the church in Corinth and were drawing people away from the true gospel, the real good news about Jesus.
These super-apostles were using Christian words, were great orators and were very popular; but their message was unchristian and had no power to save or transform people.
The Corinthian Church was in danger of departing from the true gospel of the suffering Saviour. They were in danger of forsaking this gospel, proclaimed by the weak and suffering Paul, and following the false teachers with their fake, glory-now gospel.
The false teachers looked successful by worldly standards, but their gospel ultimately divided and damaged people.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that suffering and sorrow doesn’t disqualify one from gospel ministry, as the false teachers were insisting. Suffering and sorrow are badges of true gospel ministry and true Christian living.
God’s power is not seen in our supposed strength, but in our real weakness (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
“Super-apostles” and “Men of God”, who seem successful and who despise suffering, besiege the church today.
2 Corinthians is a book for a time such as ours.
May you increase in grace as you read it and pray through it.