March 9th, 2007
One of the facts of life is that you can’t just trust everything you hear. You do have to work out a way of choosing which voices to listen to, or you will just spend your life drifting from advertisement to advertisement, seeking ultimate fulfilment in a brand of toothpaste or a brand of laundry detergent. This is that issue that Paul addressed in today’s reading when he told the Corinthians that they had been too ready to accept the message of any visiting preacher, even if it was a corruption of the simplicity of Christ and the good news.
Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 11
11:1 Please bear with me while I indulge in a little stupidity, but indeed you are already bearing with me. 11:2 I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. I married you to one husband, Christ, so that I could present you to him as a pure virgin. 11:3 But I am afraid that somehow, just as the serpent in his craftiness deceived Eve, your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity of Christ. 11:4 If someone comes and preaches a Jesus different from the one we preached about, or if you hear about a spirit different from the one which you received, or a “good news” different from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 11:5 I reckon that I am not in any respect inferior to these super-apostles. 11:6 I may be untrained in oratory, but not in knowledge. We have thoroughly demonstrated this to you. 11:7 Did I commit a sin in humbling myself to advance you, because I preached God’s Good News to you free of charge? 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them so that I could serve you. 11:9 When I was present with you and needed things, I was not a burden on anyone, because the things I needed were provided by the believers who came from Macedonia. I kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and I will continue to do so. 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from making this claim in the regions of Achaia. 11:11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do. 11:12 I will continue doing what I am doing, to circumvent those people who want to claim that they are doing the same things we are doing. 11:13 Such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as Christ’s apostles. 11:14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 11:15 It is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their works deserve.
11:16 I say again, no one should think that I am stupid. But if you do, accept me as stupid, so that I can make a few claims. 11:17 I am not speaking now with the Lord’s authority; instead I am just making some stupid claims. 11:18 Many people make worldly claims, and I will make some too. 11:19 You happily tolerate stupid people, being so wise. 11:20 You tolerate someone who enslaves you, or who preys upon you, or who takes advantage of you, or who talks about his own importance, or who slaps you in the face. 11:21 I am ashamed to say that we were too weak to do that. Whatever claim anyone is bold enough to make — and I am saying stupid things here — I am bold enough to make also. 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I am still saying stupid things here — I am a better one. I have worked harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged countless times, and faced death repeatedly. 11:24 I have received the thirty-nine lashes from the Jews five times. 11:25 Three times I was bashed with sticks. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a day and a night adrift in the open sea. 11:26 During my many travels, I have faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the desert, dangers at sea, and dangers amongst false believers. 11:27 Through work and hardship, I have endured sleepless nights, hunger and thirst. I have often gone without food, and have been cold and unclothed.
11:28 On top of these things, there is the daily pressure of my concern for all the churches. 11:29 Who is weak, without me feeling weak? Who stumbles, without me becoming annoyed? 11:30 If I must make claims, I will make claims relating to my weakness. 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 11:32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas guarded the city in the hope of arresting me. 11:33 I escaped from his hands when I was lowered through a window in the wall in a basket.
Entry Filed under: Trust