It’s hard to believe that a man who was so important to the formation of the church had so many problems with the churches he founded.
Many of Paul’s letters came about because he had to correct errant churches.
Paul felt a great weight of responsibility to make sure that the churches he founded reached their full potential. He didn’t need troublemakers and false teachers, who billed themselves as “super-apostles.”
Traitors in God’s Kingdom
One author described three kinds of people in the kingdom of God.
There are loyal followers of the King of all kings. They are the “bride of Christ,” who live in a love relationship with him.
There are prisoners of war. For any number of reasons, they have been captured by the enemy and are no longer connected to Jesus and his mission.
Traitors in God’s kingdom comprise the third possibility. The super-apostles, who were pretending to be followers of Jesus but were actually leading the people astray are an example of this category.
Paul confronted super-apostles because they were being used by the evil one to make the Corinthians prisoners of war.
— 2 Corinthians 11.2-3 – I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
We become prisoners of war or traitors in God’s kingdom when our thoughts are led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Interestingly, the best way to avoid these two problematic behaviors is to engage in sincere and pure devotion to Jesus.
From the early days of the church’s formation, there have been traitors and enemies in God’s kingdom. The ability to discern sound teaching from what is false is needed.
— 2 Corinthians 11.4-6 – 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 a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily
I think that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.
Even if I am untrained in speech, I certainly am not with respect to knowledge; certainly in every way and in all things we have made this evident to you.
The super-apostles fit the mold of the kind of preacher the crowd wanted. In essence, they were popular and entertaining speakers.
They appealed to the crowd on several levels, but their teaching was false because it led the church away from a pure love for Jesus.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross and I talk about a very influential speaker and writer, Dallas Willard. I have fallen asleep while listening to Dr. Willard.
He does not fit the mold of the popular, entertaining communicator. However, he is one of the most grace-filled and wise speakers I have ever heard.
On the other hand, there are some speakers who are great communicators. They push all of the right cultural “buttons.” Their podcasts and YouTube videos have millions of subscribers.
I am not the judge of the unnamed speakers who come to my mind, but we all should be discerning.
Here is a good question to ask about any speaker we allow to have access to our minds. Does he make me want to love and partner with Jesus more?
Where are You?
I listed three possible places where a follower of Jesus could be; a devoted follower, a prisoner of war, or a traitor in God’s kingdom.
Think seriously about which one best describes you. Here are some questions to help process your answer.
(1) Am I growing closer to Jesus on a regular basis?
(2) Is my life aligned with the plans and purposes of God as they are revealed in the Bible?
(3) Am I captive to an attitude or behavior that is contrary to God’s will?
(4) Are there people whom I am helping grow closer to Jesus?
(5) Am I satisfied and no longer pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus and his mission?
Please check out the YouTube video that Rudy Ross and I have produced on this passage. It is on the Bob Spradling channel.
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