Paul is distressed by the report of the Corinthian church listening to and following false teachers. Why can’t they see them for who they really are?
Satan is cunning. He proved that with Eve in the garden. He tried to use that skill with Jesus in the wilderness. And he was using it with this body of believers. Plus he is still using it today. He knows God’s word and he knows how to twist it. The truth is not in him but he knows how to cozy up to it to take on a few aspects of it. Knowing God’s word yourself is the best way to combat his lies.
This body of believers had heard the truth from Paul. He wasn’t an eloquent speaker but what he shared was pure truth. It wasn’t flowery or showy. After he was gone there came others who were able to use persuasive speech and subtle shifts to convince many of the believers to follow them instead of Paul. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they were “building on Paul’s work” to bring this group to a “deeper relationship” with God. Their doctrine though was taking the people away from Jesus, not towards Him.
Another difference between Paul and those who were deceiving the church was their demand for payment for services rendered. Jesus clearly told His disciples “The workman is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). This meant that those sharing the gospel were perfectly within their rights to ask for support from those they were ministering to. Paul knew of this provision but he didn’t take advantage of it with this body of believers. He supported himself as much as possible and the Macedonian church helped him when he fell short. But the group of false teachers were getting rich off the Corinthian church. Maybe that was why their pledged gift was in jeopardy.
Paul was concerned for this body of believers, more for their spiritual wellbeing than their monetary one. They were being led astray! They were buying into this false teaching. He would NOT stand by and let that happen. They were his beloved children! Paul was determined to stop these wolves in sheep’s clothing. He had to open the eyes of this body of believers.
“For is someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, of 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” (verse 4). The last part is where the sin came in; “you put up with it readily enough.” I wonder if Paul had delivered this rebuke in person if his voice would have turned that into a question or an exclamation. “You put up with it readily enough?” Or “You put up with it readily enough!” “Why?! How?! What did I do or not do that would leave you so open to such an obvious attack of Satan?”
I can see Paul crying over this distress. He loves this group and they are being fooled and made fools of. I can see Jesus crying over them as well. He is crying over so many of us today too. Our world is FILLED with people proclaiming that evil is good and good is evil. People are flocking to the places where their ears are tickled and are happy to pay for the newest spiritual thing. Satan doesn’t even have to come close to the truth now to lead people astray. He simply has to tell them that THEY are gods.
I’m going to say it just like Paul. If anyone comes preaching any other Jesus than the one found within the bible, RUN the other way. If I ever proclaim any other Jesus, or another way into Heaven but Jesus Christ, RUN away!
Father God there is so many false doctrines out there today. Satan didn’t even wait to begin his campaign. He started in the garden. He has had a lot of practice at distorting the truth. I know it has to get worse before Jesus comes back but that doesn’t mean I have to like it or sit still for it. Please protect my family from the false doctrines. Please open the eyes of them that are already blinded by Satan’s lies. Help me speak truth to them. Bring someone into their lives that they will hear that can open their eyes. They have heard me for so many years that my voice doesn’t carry the weight I wish it did. I pray that my actions speak for me though. Please Lord, remove their blinders! Expose the lies for what they truly are! Again, I commend them into Your hands.