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Self Appointed Teachers

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I once heard a story about an Amish farmer who bought a new pair of overalls. Of course, the Amish are famous for their simplicity, and trying to avoid pride. As he put on his new overalls and looked in the mirror, he said, “Oh, this will never do! I’ll be proud in the … More

Deceitful

Paul says, as the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia (v. 10). Why? Because I do not love you (v. 11)? God knows! But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast (v. 12).

Up to this point Paul has been dealing graciously with his enemies, but now he lays everything on the table and says what he really thinks of them. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (v. 13). Who are these false apostles? We  cannot be absolutely sure but several factors suggest that they were Palestinian Jews and members of the Jerusalem church. One of the things that points to this is that they carried letters of commendation from the church, possibly under the auspices of the Jerusalem Council (II Corinthians 3:1). That they were self-appointed teachers to enforce Mosaic ordinances is certain (Acts 15:24).

It is interesting to note that Paul did not contest their appeal to be under the authority of the “super-apostles” (Jerusalem council). But he did refute  the value of such an appeal and stated that this was a matter of human association rather than proof of divine accreditation. It is really no surprise that these false teachers have been able to deceive the Corinthian believers,"for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (v. 14). Like whitewashed tombs, they may have looked righteous but inside there was only death and decay (Matthew 23:27-28). Don’t be fooled by eternal appearances. One day their true character will be revealed and their judgment will be according to their works (v. 15).

Application

I want to be able to recognize a false teacher if he presents himself as an angel of light. Then I must be able to warn other believers about false teachers who try to infiltrate the Church.

II Corinthians 11:10-15 (English Standard Version)

As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

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