2 Corinthians 11:1-15, Fortify Yourself Against Deception
1. Maintain The Simplicity Of Sound Doctrine (v1-4)
2. Develop Maturity In Evaluating Leaders (v5-8)
3. Appreciate The Sacrifices Made For You (v9-12)
4. Expect Deceitful Workers To Look Awesome (v13-15)
2 Corinthians 11:1-15, Fortify Yourself Against Deception
2 Corinthians 11:1-15, Fortify Yourself Against Deception
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As we look at 2nd Corinthians Chapter 11 verses one through 15 tonight, I've titled The Message Fortify Yourself Against Deception. Fortify yourself against deception here in this closing part of Second Corinthians, the apostle Paul is coming very strongly against. The false teachers that have set themselves up there in Corinth and Chapters 10/11. 12 and 13 really focus on that, that message to bring about this correction to call out the real issues that are going on and to call the people to faithfulness to what God had spoken originally and the the message that Paul had brought the. Image as he mentions at the end of our passage this evening, there are false apostles that have come in and these false apostles are setting themselves up as really high apostles. They're setting themselves up in a way and presenting themselves in a way that the people are meant to be very impressed. With their credentials, with their abilities, with their insights, and they're setting themselves against the apostle Paul in that calling into question his authority, his ministry, his giftings, and challenging, really, the Corinthians who disregard Paul and to submit completely. To them, instead of the apostle Paul. And so Paul here, in these closing chapters, has to. Come in. Very. Strong and clear against these false teachers. And of course, these the apostle Paul. So he does so magnificently. And these are really powerful passages for us to consider. But here, as we look at just Chapter 11. Versus one through 15. Looking at this deception that is coming and how to protect ourselves and strengthen ourselves, fortify ourselves so that we don't fall prey to the same situation that Corinthians fell prey to you. Now we might automatically think. We're not really in great need of this kind of thing. We don't have the situation, we don't have these kinds of false apostles. We don't have this kind of thing going on like the Corinthians did, but I would suggest to you that we do. And there is a need for us to fortify ourselves. And there is. Always going to be the threat and danger of deception, so there is always the need for us to fortify ourselves against deception, no matter how long I walk with the. Lord, I am vulnerable to deception and I need to be vigilant. I need to be on guard and I need to be paying attention to what the Lord is saying in order to protect myself from it. And so, you know, Corinthian Church hadn't been around that long a few years and so. You know, we might think that's, you know, not a big surprise if they are deceived and start having these false apostles and stuff. But throughout history and even in our own lifetime, we've seen people in the church. Start to deceive, start to raise themselves up and so it is a real danger for us to be concerned with, to be concerned about, to fortify ourselves, against not to be paranoid, and to be like panic mode. Like everybody's trying to deceive us, but at the same time, having our, you know, Holy Spirit antenna up. And being checking, you know the the things that we're hearing with the word of God to make sure that what we are being taught and the things that we're being told, the things that we're being LED in are consistent with. With the Scriptures and that's really where we're going to begin. As we look at verses one through 4 with point #1 and that is maintain the simplicity of sound doctrine to fortify ourselves against the possibility of someone rising up in living water and bringing forth deception or to fortify ourselves. Against the possibility of Jerry going sideways and starting to bring forth deception, the best thing that we can do is to maintain the simplicity of sound. Sound doctrine going back to the simplicity that is found in the word of God and and many times what happens with deception is not a simplicity but a duplicity. Idea here and the understanding of simplicity is that genuineness and honest iness and. False doctrine always has to be dishonest with the scriptures always twists, it keeps some parts, and ignores, distorts, perverts other parts, and so the simplicity of sound doctrine is about taking in the whole Council of God's word and and keeping ourselves. Consistent with the scriptures as. And verse one, as Paul continues his argument to the Corinthians, he says Ohh, that you would bear with me in a little folly. And indeed, you do bear with me as he dives into this. He's expressing reluctance. I don't really. Want to get into all of these things, and in fact it's silly that I. You have to get into all of these things here. You have these false apostles who have risen up and calling into question the apostle Paul. And Paul says this is silly. I shouldn't have to deal with this with you. Well, I was there in Corinth and began that ministry and and I was with you for a year and a half. And I taught you the scriptures. It's silly that I have to walk through this and defend myself and go into these details, but it's also necessary in order to defend against what the Corinthians are believing in, the deception that they are falling prey. To you, Pastor David Guzick puts it this way. He calls it folly because he does it reluctantly, knowing his time and effort could be spent on far better things. He calls it folly because he knows that the things he believed to be honorable about his apostleship would be regarded as foolish by some of the Corinthian Christians. He calls it folly because. Really want to do this. This is silly. We could be talking about so much better things using this time to deepen our spiritual understanding and the the wealth. Of blessing that we have in Christ, but instead I have to walk through these essential things, these basic things. That's oh man, it's not the best. I would rather spend time in other things, but I have to do this. But he also calls it folly because he knows no matter how much he says the truth. There are those who are just going. To reject it. And sometimes it feels like folly to bring forth the truth when you know that there is going to be a rejection of it, and yet he finds it necessary to bring forth the truth. And to deal with the situation that is happening there in Corinth, he says I'm jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I have to do this. It feels like foolishness, but I have to do this because I'm jealous for you. And this is a godly kind of jealousy. Where we understand from the scriptures that God is a jealous God, that is, you shall have no other gods before him and he will not put up with and he will not allow for you to try to approach him while maintaining a pursuit of something that is contrary to him in a similar way Paul says I have that same kind of godly jealousy. I'm jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I am wanting to keep you pure. That's why he goes on in verse two to say I've betrothed you to one husband. That I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. You're flirting now with all these other suitors. With these false teachers that these teachings and deceptions that are not of God. And so I have. To deal with this, in order to keep you pure, to purge out those false doctrines. To protect you from going astray as you flirt with these other teachings and deceptions that are being brought to you. He says in verse 3. He also fears. Paul here is expressing himself. In a genuine way, second Corinthians is often regarded as the most personal letter of the apostle Paul. He he really reveals himself and he he speaks openly and and he talks about what he's going through as he is working through these things with them. And so he's jealous for them. He is also afraid for them. What is he afraid? Well. He looks back to the garden as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness. Think back to Genesis Chapter 3. The serpents came in with great craftiness. And deceived eve. Did God really say you cannot eat? Did he really say that or is he hiding something from you and keeping something from you? Is it for your benefit really.
That God said that.
Or was it because he didn't want you to experience how great it would be to partake of that fruit and and with his craftiness? There was great deception and Eve partook of the. Fruit gave it. To her husband, and he partook as well. The way that the enemy works. Paul goes back to that. Because that's the way that the enemy works. And here in the Corinthian church, there was a similar kind of thing going. On see, sometimes we kind of think of the enemy in a too simplistic way, and we think that it's going to be obvious when there is an attack of the enemy. When there is, you know, something coming against us and trying to lead us astray, that it's going to be some obvious thing that is easy to spot. But the enemy comes with craftiness, and he challenges our mind and he questions what we know to be true and. And as we begin to follow that path, we we get sucked into. The deception that he seeks to bring, the craftiness. He is very clever. He says I fear in verse 3. That your minds may be corrupted. The enemy attacks in our minds. It's part of the spiritual war that goes on the battlefield, is taking place in our mind, and it begins to direct us and get us to question things and and and our minds can be corrupted. Now think about that the mind being corrupted it. It speaks of the mind at one point not being corrupt. The mind having integrity, the mind being whole and complete healthy. And so he's talking really about a healthy believer in Corinth, who potentially might have their mind corrupted by the craftiness of the enemy. Again, he's really explaining. This is a real danger. It's not just. Fake believers who get deceived. It's not just those who, you know, don't really care about the Lord and don't love the Lord anyways. And so they're the ones who fall into deception. But we need to understand the reality is the danger is there for all believers. Yes, unbelievers will fall prey to deception as well. And fake believers will fall prey to deception. That is absolutely true, but don't think of it in the terms of it's only those people couldn't happen to me and wouldn't be me because, you know, I really do love Jesus. So therefore I cannot be deceived. My mind cannot be corrupted. Well, no, that's not entirely accurate. There is the dangers and the warnings that were given in the Scriptures to remind us to let us know we need to keep our eyes on the things of the Lord, keep our hearts open before the Lord keep you know that place of willingness to be corrected and redirected. By the Lord. The serpent, just as he deceived Eve and one time her mind was whole. It was corrupted. The Corinthians, at one time, their mind, their heart was whole and healthy. Paul says I'm afraid your healthy mind. Will be corrupted. From the simplicity. That is, in Christ, there's a simplicity in Christ, a genuineness, A singleness that is in Christ it. It's simplicity in that it is simple. And and false doctrine always complicates the gospel, always complicates sound doctrine because it has to in order to overcome. The clear teachings of the Word of God. And so there's complications. There's duplicity, there's dishonesty. And so you have to deal with the scriptures in a way that is not genuine and and that is handling it and perverting it instead of the simplicity that is in Christ. There's a simplicity. To the gospel. There's a simplicity to a relationship with the Lord. There's a simplicity to sound doctrine that we must hold on to and maintain. There's that old illustration. Been shared many times. About bank tellers when they are. Teaching them and training them. To spot counterfeits, they don't have them. Study the counterfeit money. And it's been many years now, but it's always kind of refreshing and a little bit encouraging because you know those kinds of classic illustrations. Sometimes I might hear them and I go. Is that really? Is that I mean, it sounds really good. It makes a lot of sense. It sounds really good. Is it really true? But you know, the fortunate thing is the Lord bless me with. A wife who worked at a bank. And she was trained and validated and verified that is really how it works. They don't give you a bunch of counterfeit money to study and try to spot. Try to learn how the counterfeits are made, or learn you know their techniques. You learn on. The real thing you study the features, the characteristics you handle, the real thing. So that when something that is not the real thing comes through your hands, you feel it. You recognize it, even if you can't pinpoint it like you know there's something off. And that training paid off and throughout her time there, Citibank she encountered counterfeit money. Spotted it, reported it, dealt with it. That that was. The reality that was something that actually happened. In a similar way we. We need to train ourselves on the real thing. Maintain the simplicity of sound doctrine. The simplicity of spending time with God in his word, the simplicity of cross referencing and checking what the word of God has to say about itself. As Pastor Chuck would always say, the best commentary on the Bible is. It's the Bible. Who? Reveals to us and speaks to us. Confirms and there's some things that are recorded in the scriptures that are not confirmed over and over and over again. And so those things we kind of hold the light touch on, we might have opinions and perspectives on, but the core truths, the important thing, is the essentials. We might call them are consistent throughout the scriptures. And confirmed repeatedly over and over and over again throughout the scriptures. And so there is a simplicity that we can hold to because although it's so many books written over so many years, so many different authors there, there is a unity, a oneness, because it is actually God's book. And he used human instruments to write it. Maintain the simplicity of sound doctrine. There's room for discussion about things. There's room for, of course, interpretation and and working through different types of passages, and and all of that. And I'm not going to try to dive into all of that, but at the same time, there's a simplicity of sound. Doctrine that we need. To hold on to and to keep. A A firm grasp. On the clear teaching of the word of God. I fear that your mind might be corrupted. The simplicity that is in Christ, you're losing it. You're moving into duplicity. You're moving into complexity. That's not deeper things. It's just more hoops to jump through. They're adding on to the gospel, making it more complex, and corrupting the minds of the Corinthians. Paul continues on in verse four, he's expressing his fear, he says, for if he who comes preaches another Jesus. Skip to the end part of the verse, he says. You may well put up with it. Here's why I'm afraid, because if somebody walks into town and says, hey, guys, I want to talk. To you about Jesus. And the Jesus that they present is a completely different Jesus. He says you guys might allow that. You might be OK with that. You might let that person continue to present that Jesus. Which in reality is not Jesus, but another Jesus. And this is. Something that's really important to recognize. There's different jesuses. I mean, there's only one true Jesus, right? But many people were named Jesus. There are many teachings about Jesus that are not consistent with what Jesus said about himself. There are many teachings about Jesus that do not line up with what the Bible actually teaches. Old Testament and New Testament. The true and living God, the creator of the heavens and the Earth, Jesus who died upon the cross for our sins. We need to hold fast to him. As presented to us in the simplicity of sound doctrine and when there's a deviation from that, we need to understand, even though they might use the name Jesus. It's another Jesus. And of course, we can think about the automatic. Things that probably come to our mind, the different cults that talk about Jesus but have a different meaning or idea or understanding of who Jesus is. Paul here was not dealing with a cult. Who was saying that Jesus was Satan's brother? He was dealing with false apostles who had risen up, who were promoting themselves and presenting themselves, and adding on to the gospel. Well, you should also be circumcised and you should also engage in this legalism and practice these things, Paul says. That's another Jesus and you're putting up with it. Because now you're saying that the sacrifice of Jesus is not sufficient. It's a different gospel. It's a different message. You've changed it. It's another Jesus. And he says, you guys, you put up with it. It's another Jesus that we have not preached. Similar to riding to the Galatians right I. Can't believe you're. Turning away to another gospel which is not even a. Gospel at all. Galatians chapter one. If anyone preaches another gospel than what we preached, Paul says, let him be a curse. This is serious stuff. You need to maintain the simplicity of sound doctrine. And just again, it doesn't have to be, you know, openly converting to. Cults or some kind of radical false doctrine. Adding on to the scriptures, adding on to the gospel deviating from. The clear teaching of the word of God. The introduction of another Jesus that we have not. Preached, he says, a different spirit which you have not received a different gospel, which you have not. And so how do we protect from that? I mean, you know how it is, we kind of. Wander and stray things kind of. Get diluted overtime. The things that parents tolerate their children will celebrate is kind of a common saying these days, right? Things kind of just kind of gradually. You barely kind of put up with it barely allowed any of it in your life, but your kids grew. Up with it so they. Fill their lives with it. And things digress. And compromises are extended and and these things kind of grow and develop in that way. How do we maintain the simplicity of sound doctrine? We need to keep going back to the source. Even for us as believers. It is very easy for us to develop traditions that we get. Kind of stuck into. And the traditions, like all traditions. They start good, they start as part of, you know, something that God is doing. They start out of part of something that God has said. But this was the issue with the Jewish people and the the time of Jesus is that they were so entrenched in their traditions that they were holding them to a a a high standard, even as high as the word of God. And in some cases above the word of God. And and we're not invulnerable to that, we. We can allow our traditions. To corrupt our minds. We need to. Keep going back to the source. Going back to what does the Bible say? Not how did we. Used to do. It or what did we always do or what do we always do? Or how did other churches around us do it? Or what did you know other Christians and previous times do? In my situation, we need to keep going back to the source, back to the scriptures, maintain the simplicity. Of sound doctrine. An inkling of an idea in my head. And I'm not trying to prophesy or do anything crazy, but it's a little bit of an idea that's in my head and I want to share it with you just as a hey, pay attention to this, think about this. There is the reality of deception. In the world today and in churches today. And it's not going to diminish, it's going to increase. And so right now, the popular subject of the day, at least in you know, things that I read and listen to because of my own habits and hobbies and events and personality and such, is all of the explosion of artificial intelligence. The only part that's accurate in that is the artificial part. Just so you know, there's no intelligence there. But there is an explosion. There is something happening. There's the developing of all kinds of this machine learning and it's. And as you know, much as a hammer is superseded by. A nail gun. Right. It's powerful, useful, incredible tool that can also be used for. All kinds of mischief. And and here's what I anticipate. Here's what I expect. There is going to be floods and floods and floods of information coming like we're already inundated with information, right? That's something we know we talk about. We think about. But what happens when we now have power tools to generate more and more and more information? And the thing that you need to understand about, you know how impressive all these chat bots are, and all of those kinds of things that the AI is? They don't care about accuracy. They don't care about. They don't know how to think about accuracy. They don't know how to that. That's not something that they're programmed for. It's something they're trying to correct now, afterward, they're realizing, oh, it doesn't know how to count the right number of letters in a word. It doesn't know how to report, you know, numbers and statistics and dates accurately it it is just looking at. Text and summarize. Regardless of how accurate it is. But that doesn't matter. You can in half a second produce 1000 words. On a subject. And in the website world, people are terrified, you know, they're going to take our job. It's going to be terrible. Write all our blog posts and all of that. But the content. Is questionable, so now you post it and it's going to be questionable content in your name on your website. That's, you know, things to wrestle with and challenge with, but. Not trying to talk to you about websites, really. I'm trying to say, look, there's no reason for us to think this is not going to be applied to. Need to teach a Bible study? Give me the top three things. The Bible says about this subject. Alright, that's what I'm going to share with you. Hey, summarize this passage for me and bring out the main point. Like guaranteed 100 percent, 150 percent, 310% whatever. Like that's happening today, there are people who are speaking and teaching. The word of God. Inspired by and using these kinds of tools, now I'm not suggesting that using these kinds of tools is, you know, satanic or anything like that. But I'm saying it is can be careless. It can be quite questionable and it can rob you of the experience. Of sitting with God in his word. And developing in yourself the simplicity of sound doctrine. There's going to. Be a flood of information and more and more and more there's going to be a need for every believer in Jesus to know the scriptures themselves more and more and more there's going to need to be Bereans who will not just listen and believe what they're told, but will search the scriptures daily to find out if what they're hearing is true. More and more and more. There is going to be a need for us to maintain the simplicity of sound doctrine by having our own grasp. Of the word of God. Fortify yourself against deception. There is great deception coming. And if you do not know the scriptures, if you don't have your own handle on the word of God, you are much more vulnerable. If you have a great grasp of the scriptures, that doesn't mean you're invulnerable, right? We we we need to maintain our relationship with God in his word. Ongoing, consistent, regularly. But if we don't have any grasp at all. If we're not checking if we're not consistent. We're not going to be prepared for the deception. That comes while moving on to verses 5 through 8. That gives us point #2 develop maturity and evaluating leaders. In evaluating leaders verse 5 for, I consider. That I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge, but we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things. Did I commit? Sin and humbling myself that you might be exalted because I preached the Gospel of God to you free of charge. I robbed other churches taking wages from them to Minister to you. Are you a fan of? The saying the common idea, the word of wisdom. You get what you pay for. You go find a $0.50 Taco and you realize you know I could have better tacos. I get what I pay for. The mindset that the Corinthians kind of had. That the false teachers were trying to implant. In the Corinthians. You know what? Paul didn't charge you? You know why? Cause he's not really an apostle. Because he didn't really have good tacos to feed you. He didn't have the good stuff. He's just kind of an amateur on his own time, just trying out things. You get what you pay for Corinthians. I am an eminent apostle. And I have these credentials right here and then I have this letter from this other really impressive person. And you should listen to me because and you know what, I'm going to put great effort into this coming service. And so, you know, it would be really wise of you to compensate me as I worked so hard. Let me let me. Exaggerate to you and really impress upon you how hard it is, how much prayer I have to give, and how much effort I have to do to to put together what I'm about to share with you so that you can really understand how much you should support me and how much. I'm worth Paul. He didn't even charge you because he didn't even study. He he he barely knew what he was talking about. He was just making up stuff and. That was the kind of idea that was happening. Amongst the false teachers presenting to the Corinthians as a. Questioned and challenged. The authority of the apostle Paul, and so Paul says in verse 5I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. I'm not at all inferior to the most eminent to the highest of the high. What a statement. Really interesting to wrestle with that one a little bit. Would you be willing to say take your position, whatever position that might be? Say I am not at all inferior. To the most eminent of husbands. I am not at all inferior to the most eminent of teachers, to the best of the best, I am equal to the best of the best in my field. In any position of my life, any aspect of my life that you can compare it to, I consider I am not at all inferior. I am right up there with the best. Quite a bold statement from the apostle Paul, right? I'm not at all inferior now. Paul here probably. Doesn't have in mind. He's not saying. The most eminent apostles are Peter and John. He's probably not saying I'm not at all. Inferior to them. Paul was not inferior to. That he he he was. An apostle in the same way that they were called to be apostles. He did have the authority of an apostle, just like they had the authority of apostles. And so, although that is true, that's not what he's trying to. Assert here in this case. Again, he's challenging the false apostles who are presenting themselves. Peter and John would never present themselves as the most eminent apostles. If you question that just read Pete's letters and then John's letters, we have them here right in the New Testament. They do not introduce themselves as the most eminent apostles. They're bond servants. They're servants, they're they're fellow servants. The eminent apostles are those who claimed to be apostles. And we're trying to deceive the Corinthian church. And so Paul is coming head to head with them. He's saying all these guys who claim to be so eminent, he's all look, I am not at all inferior to them. But then verse six, he says, even though I'm untrained in speech yet I'm not in knowledge. I may not compare to them in my oratory skills, oratory, oratory, oratory, whatever. I may not be able to talk as good as them. Neither can Jerry. I might be untrained in speech and in that culture and Greek culture there was a a great value in someone who could deliver speech, and so people would study and train and they would work out, you know, great systems and techniques to be able to present ideas really well, philosophies and and teachings and ideas that that they would present. Paul says, look. Yeah, don't use the techniques of the day. I don't use what's popular to to speak in rhythm and rhyme the way that they do. And all my teachings, you know, don't have the exact same number of points and they don't all start with the same letter. When I make my points, you know that kind of thing like it, it may be untrained in speech I don't present in the same way that they do, but not in knowledge. Although I don't present in that flashy. The content of what I say the content of. The message I shared. Not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. And this is where I. Think it's important for us to develop maturity. Because there is that. Sometimes there's that tendency, sometimes. For us to pay more attention. To the more fancy to the more flashy to the more fun. Some of the things that are necessary. To pay attention to the one who can speak better. Might rob us. Of some knowledge that we need or, but that person's hard to listen to. But the person that's hard to listen to, you might be the one that we need to listen to the most. Like I don't understand why are. They monotone like why don't. Just give a little bit of effort. Raise it a lower raise. And I mean do something interesting with your voice. Like it's so hard. I fall asleep when you're when you're talking. You know what's interesting? About Pastor Chuck is, you know, for the most part, he was pretty even. He he he would get excited about things and tell jokes and things like that, but. Listen, you walked through all of his teachings and it was a pretty, even pretty level. I went to Bible college. We went through the check tracks as. Part of that. It wasn't uncommon to hear stories of fellow students falling asleep listening to Pastor Chuck. He's famous for his long pauses. Is he done? Tape over. Yeah, just take a little nap till he comes back on. Not the most exciting speaker you ever heard. But not inferior in knowledge. Very beneficial to work through. It's like eating your vegetables. Sometimes we need to go beyond the 32nd tick tocks and go into the. 30 minute Bible study. We need to go beyond the easy to eat, light and fluffy. We can just kind of digest it goodbye. OK, that's encouraging. I saw the image. It has a nice scripture on it. Alright, I got my Bible verse for the. Day and I'm off. Even though I'm untrained in speech. Yet I'm not in knowledge. He says we've been thoroughly manifested among you in all things. Look, I was there, the God was working miraculously, supernaturally. The the authority of my role as an apostle was clearly demonstrated. The work of God was clearly manifested. But here they are saying. You know, he didn't charge you. Probably wasn't really valuable. I remember Pastor Tom and Joanna when they went to Japan. I remember them coming back and sharing that they started to teach English and they learned the lesson. If you offer English lessons for free, people won't come in Japan. Because they look and say. It's free, must not be worth anything. So they charge not. It's very contrary, right. It's like it's very different mindset because when they. Would do things here outreaches you know we would do things here around the bookstore. Remember, we had the tutoring time. Like it's all free, like cause we just we want people to come and we don't want there. To be any hindrances. Or obstructions and free many times and our society is like ohh it's free. You know you go to Costco, you get free samples and you know it's not really that impressive when you actually take a bite. See the crowd. Gather and block all the aisles and cause all kinds of problems. And everybody's frustrated because there's free samples. It's not that way though, for them. And so they learned if we charge. Then they go oh. English lessons I could. It's really valuable. The false apostles were. Presenting that kind of challenge to Paul, is it he didn't charge. Because it wasn't very valuable. He wasn't a real teacher, not a real posle. Verse 7 did I commit sin and humbling myself that you might be exalted because I preach the Gospel of God to. You free of charge. It's a question with the obvious answer. No, he didn't sin. This wasn't contrary to God. It wasn't that he was doing something wrong. He says I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to Minister to you. The Macedonian churches supported Paul. During his ministry there. In Corinth, as well as his own labours. He worked hard, making tents. So here's the thing. These false teachers come in. They began to question Paul's authority. And the Corinthians are going. Now that you mentioned it, he didn't charge us. Great speakers of the day and their culture would charge. Charge admission to come and hear me speak. That was normal in their culture. Here comes fall. I wanna speak to you. Not gonna charge you anything. And they hear the gospel. They receive it. The false teachers are walking them back and saying, yeah, Are you sure that wasn't because he was no good and not really mature and he didn't know the Lord and he didn't have real good things to tell you maybe. You got what? You paid for in that free gospel you received. It's an immature way to evaluate. Paul and his ministry. And I want to suggest to you that. We need to develop maturity. And evaluating leaders. We can evaluate leaders by whether or not they make us laugh. How good they make us feel, how much we like their personality. How impressive credentials are, how amazing their stories are. That incredible testimony we we can evaluate leaders according to those. Things, but that's not very mature. How are we to evaluate leaders? The author of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews chapter 13 verse seven. Remember those who rule over you and have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow. Considering the outcome of their conduct. Here's a mature approach to evaluation. Look at the outcome. Of their life, of their conduct, of their doctrine. Look at what that produces. Look at how that looks. Look at how that works in their life and in the lives. Of those they're ministering to. Something to consider. Fruit to inspect. We need to do better at discerning real leaders. Now, earlier in Corinthians, second Corinthians chapter 6. Paul gives the marks of real ministers again as he's addressing this whole situation that's happening in Corinth and without getting into all of them, here's a quick rundown. The marks of real ministers that are external on the outside. Tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults labours, sleeplessness, fastings. Look for these kinds of things in the leaders that you are looking to and entrusting yourself to and receiving from. He also talks about some internal marks. Look at and see where's the purity in their life, what what is their knowledge? What do they know? How do they know it? Long-suffering and kindness and is there evidence of the Holy Spirit and is there a sincere love and and do they speak the word of truth? And is there the power of God and and is there evidence of the armor of righteousness? Is there honor is there. Evil and good reports. A genuine leader in the body of Christ is going to have not just good reports, but also evil reports and so good and evil will be spoken. They'll be called deceivers. They'll be called as unknown. Who's that guy there? Nobody you know? Why would we listen to them as dying as chasing, as sorrowful, as poor, as having nothing. Paul goes on and on to say. We need to be more mature. And evaluating our leaders and evaluating those who come and present to us whatever message they are desiring to present, not be childish, not be childlike. Just receive it. Hey, he offered me candy, so I got in the. Van you know. What could go wrong like no. Like, do it better analysis. Look at the van. What is this? What's going on here? What are their motivations? Right. Like is this? Someone that you should trust? What's the outcome of the conduct? What's the investment that they have and how much have they suffered for the work of God? Develop maturity in evaluating leaders, Paul says. They're questioning me. But you need to do a better job and understand. There's deeper considerations than just what lies on the surface. Well, verses 9 through 12 gives us point #3 appreciate the sacrifices made for you. In verse nine, he says. And when I was present with you and in need, I was a burden to know. One for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia, supplied and in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you. And so I will keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of a khai. Because I do not love you. 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. Paul says when I was there, I sacrificed. It cost me greatly. I was in need. But I refused to be burdensome to you. Paul is saying I sacrificed to be with you and to. Minister to you? But you're not appreciating it. You're not recognizing what it costs me. You're saying it didn't cost me anything, so it was free to me. Must not be worth anything. But you're neglecting to look at the price that I paid to bring forth that message to you and that ministry to you. And we don't have to. Look to just the apostle Paul or an individual. In this case. When when we're talking about fortifying yourself against deception. Appreciating the sacrifice, I would suggest you go back to start with Jesus. Appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus. And that will fortify you against deception. Because, well, the deception that would come in with the Corinthians would pervert the Gospel of Jesus and not appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus and say it was not sufficient and you need to add these additional things into your relationship and into your religious life in order to then have this extra spiritual extra awesome. You know, attainable only through this technique and method. I will show you kind of relationship with God. Does it ever happen to you where you find yourself appreciating something? Much, much later. You know teachers in your life, parents in your. Life people who spoke. To you and you didn't appreciate it. You didn't appreciate what it cost them. You didn't appreciate the sacrifice that they were giving, but then later on, all of a sudden it dawned on you like, as perhaps you're trying to do the same thing to somebody else. And you're saying this is costing me so much and you're not receiving it. You're not paying attention. And all of. A sudden you remember? Ohh yeah, that was me. 10 years ago. Roman was trying to tell me the same thing and I just didn't appreciate it. I didn't receive it. Start with Jesus. And appreciate the sacrifice. Realize if you hold fast and and keep your eyes on the cross. It will secure you. And fortify you. But then also if you hold fast and recognize the people in your life who at their own cost at their own expense. Experienced, need and suffered and and went without in order to benefit you. They've demonstrated for you. There's a reason to trust. There's a reason to be loyal. There's a reason to they've earned the right to speak into your life. Paul says I was not a burden. I was supported by other churches. You can read about that in acts chapter 18. Paul says no one is going to stop me from boasting this way in the. Regions of a Ki. This is the region of the Kei. Was where Corinth was. That whole region, Paul says. This is the approach I had. Not because I don't love you. God knows I love you. I did it because I love you. I sacrificed greatly. I provided for myself. I would not accept support from you. He was there for a year and a half. I would not accept support from you. And I'm going to keep. It that way so that those verse 12 who desire an opportunity to be regarded as we are, and the things of which they. Boast they don't have that opportunity. This sacrifice that Paul made. Was intentional, led by the Lord to protect the Corinthians from this very thing? Listen, Paul had the right to be supported. He defends the right to be supported. He teaches the right to be supported. That is a biblical thing for someone to be supported by the ministry. Paul did not. Always have this approach to ministry everywhere that he went. But in a Ki. Could say it this way. Evidently God put it on Paul's heart to. Take this approach. It was a proactive defense against this very attack that. The church would experience. And so the Lord put it on his heart. And maybe he knew why. Maybe he did it, but he knew as I go into this region, I need to approach it this way. I'm going to sacrifice. I'm not going to receive. I'm going to provide for myself. And not rely upon the people that I'm ministering to to support me. Pastor Chuck and talking about this was expressing gratitude. He said I was so glad that I had to work for. A living for the 1st 20 years of ministry. Because the churches. Could never afford to pay him, and so he. Always had to work. But he said then later on, when there was the opportunity, then there was no question it didn't have to. That issue was settled. I was willing to sacrifice. I wasn't in it for the money. I was in it. For the Lord. Appreciate the sacrifices. Made for you people that love you. Sacrifice for you. And false teachers deceivers they might be willing to sacrifice a little for a short time. The people that love. You will sacrifice for you significantly for a long time. That's what Jesus did. Appreciate the sacrifices made for you. Don't lose sight of that when all this nice, glamorous, you know ideas and thoughts and you want to pursue it and chase it. You know, it's like the. Prodigal son like ooh. But look at there's lights and there's the city. It's I can have so much fun. And he didn't appreciate the sacrifices his father made, so he deviated. He fell prey to the deception. Fortify yourself against deception. And appreciate the sacrifices that have been made for you. Finally, verse 13 through 15 point #4 expect deceitful workers to look awesome. Verse 13 says for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself transforms himself into an. Angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness whose end will be according. To their works. Paul calls it out now, makes it clear what we're dealing with is false apostles. Not other apostles with just different ideas, different philosophies of ministry, false apostles. They're deceitful workers, but they're pretending transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. They're pretending they're in it for some impure motive and impure gain. But Paul says this is nothing to be shocked by. But I think for the most part, we would all be shocked. If the deceivers were all brought to light, if the fakers were all revealed, we would all be shot. Paul says Wonder Satan himself behaves this way. He transforms himself into an Angel of light. Jesus and talking about Satan and John Chapter 8 says he's the father of lies. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources because he's the father of it. That's that's him. That's how he works. What he does. And so we ought to expect. To anticipate, again, not in a panicked way, like you know. Like, we're always fearful of. Some great deception, but. But with wisdom, with understanding. If you walk around the neighborhood at night, hopefully you don't walk around like all tents. Like, well, maybe attacked at any moment. You gotta walk around, right? But at the same time you're like. Got your eyes open? Right, you know. Got your hair? Earbuds in and you know, just listening and oblivious because you know, that's really dangerous. But hey, you can walk around, but then also like, hey, you see someone walking over there. OK, so, like, take a couple of steps and, you know, protect yourself like, that's the idea is expect to see full workers to look awesome. That looks amazing. Let me double check. That line up acts Chapter 17, the brains. They were more. Noble than the Thessalonians because they searched the scriptures. Daily to find out whether or. Not what Paul was saying was true. Expects to see full workers to look awesome. Well, I can't find in the scriptures, but boy that sounds great. There's a danger there. There's a challenge there. When Paul was closing out his time with the Ephesian elders in acts Chapter 20. He gives them a very strong warning and exhortation. It says watch. There's going to be attacks from the outside, but then also from among yourselves. There's going to be people. Who rise up? And speak perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves. These are not just attacks that happen in those, you know, strange Colts. Way out there. These are things that happen within the church. There's going to be some awesome looking believers and ideas and philosophies. It's going to sound great. It's going to be amazing. How do you defend against that? You fortify yourself. Now you prepare now against deception. To maintain the simplicity of sound doctrine. To develop maturity in your evaluation that you're able to look beyond the surface and the fluffy and look beyond, look what are the nutrients you know, what is the nutritional value of these things. What is the long term outcome of these things? How do I look at this and understand it in a way that? Is not just. Childlike like it tastes good, it must be great. Appreciate the sacrifices, don't forget. Listen to those who love you enough to sacrifice for you greatly for. A long time. And expect to see full workers to look awesome. Don't be surprised by it. That's how it's going. To work to see full workers are not going to come in and say, look, I've got some terrible ideas, they're really bad. You shouldn't listen. To me, let me tell you them anyways. It's going to look great. It's going to sound great. It's going to be very alluring, very tempting. That's how the enemy. Works. He's crafty. Comes up with lies that sound true? And he wants to get all of us. Fortify yourself. Protect yourself. But I pray that you would help us. To do that, strengthen us. Our roots in you, our relationship with you, our fellowship with you. But I pray. That we would draw close as your word says that you would draw close to us. That we would maintain this secure. Right relationship with you? And Lord, that's the best thing. That we can do to protect ourselves. So help us to do that today and tomorrow and the next day and to continue on drawing closer and closer. More passion for you, more love for you. More response to your truth. Than what you say? I pray this in Jesus name.