I’ve been reading through 1st and 2nd Corinthians again. Anyone who thinks that the problems our Pastors face in our Churches today are different from what the original Apostles faced, haven’t been paying attention to the Epistles of the Apostle Paul.
The Church at Corinth is particularly interesting because it was a relatively new Church. They had received excellent instruction from Paul himself and according to what Paul indicated, their reception of the Gospel had been very positive and they lacked nothing . . . but it didn’t stay that way for very long.
There are many subjects within 1st and 2nd Corinthians that I could expound upon but it struck me as odd that of all things, Paul had to warn them about false Apostles. Here’s a couple of scriptures I’d like you to look at:
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NASB
“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his trickery, your minds will be led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, this you tolerate very well!” Emphasis is mine.
It’s important to note that the Apostle Paul is addressing Christians here. Many Christians seem to be of the opinion that it is unlikely that they can be deceived because they are depending on God’s leading and protection through God’s Holy Spirit. That leading is a reality, but God’s leading through His Holy Spirit does not operate independently of our minds. Our minds do have to be in agreement with the leading of God’s Holy Spirit and this is not always the case. Our minds are still able to determine our own course, that is contrary to God’s will and God’s leading. If you don’t believe this, tell me how it came to be that Peter decided to distance himself from non-circumcised Gentiles out of fear, which ultimately, God addressed through Paul’s intervention (Galatians 2:11-14). Notice that Paul also doesn’t share this opinion that God’s Holy Spirit can and will protect them from moving into error because he clearly tells these Corinthian Christians that their minds can be led astray. Not only does Paul tell them that their minds can be led astray, he actually indicates that they are being led astray. And bear in mind, in the beginning of their walk with God, they lacked nothing. Yet, now, a vital element of their faith, which is discernment, that being the ability to be able to differentiate between the authentic Christ, and another Christ, the authentic Gospel and another Gospel, and the authentic Holy Spirit and another spirit, and God’s will and our own will, is apparently lacking.
2 Corinthians 11:12-15 NASB
“But what I am doing I will also continue to do, so that I may eliminate the opportunity from those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”
Notice that Paul identifies three specifics that are associated with false Apostles:
- a different Jesus
- a different spirit
- a different Gospel
Also notice that Paul provides three descriptions of these false Apostles:
- masquerading as apostles of Christ
- masquerading as an angle of light
- masquerading as servants of righteousness
You would think that false apostles would NOT be something that the early Church would have to deal with, especially because the original Apostles where obviously still there, at hand, so to speak, but as we can see, apparently this isn’t the case.
A different Jesus, a different spirit and a different Gospel.
How Satan chose to attack the truth of the Gospel back then is exactly how he continues his attack to this very day. As many of you know, I have written extensively about the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement within Christianity. If you’re not familiar with the NAR movement and it’s incredible growth within Christianity, I would ask that you earnestly take a good hard look at some of my posts on this subject by selecting “New Apostolic Reformation” under Post Categories on my home page. Is their valid cause for concern with regard to the NAR movement? Yes there is, big time!
Within the NAR movement, doctrine concerning the divinity of Jesus, specifically with regard to the fact that Jesus was both God and man, at the same time, is challenged. That would be an example of a different Jesus that Paul is speaking about. And Paul doesn’t deny that there is a spirit at work with the false Apostles of his day but he clearly indicates that it is not the Holy Spirit. And the Gospel is attacked, where Paul’s Gospel focuses on Christ crucified for our sins, the Resurrection and our continued life in walking in the Spirit, while the NAR Gospel focuses on our experiences, new revelations and an alternate source of guidance rather than God’s Holy Word, that being the latest and greatest prophecies and decrees of the “supposedly” newly appointed NAR Apostles and Prophets .
When Paul writes these letters to the Church at Corinth, among other things, he reminds them of what they first received, through the Holy Spirit. He reminds them of their foundation, which is Jesus. He reminds them of the simplicity of the Gospel (1st Corinthians 15:3-8 NASB), he reminds them to test the spirits (1st Corinthians 12:3 NASB) and he reminds them that when the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation, all things are to be done in decency, propriety and in an orderly fashion (1st Corinthians 14:40 NASB) and he reminds them that this is a command of the Lord.
Why would Paul emphasis that this is a COMMAND of the Lord? I would think and you can obviously correct me if you think I am wrong, it is precisely because there is no room given here for alternate practises or alternate sources. None. This is of extreme importance.
The fact that Paul emphasizes that this is a command of the Lord should forever settle any controversy with regard to manifestations of the spirit that are rampant with bedlam and unbiblical spirit manifestations, as witnessed to in many of the NAR “awakenings” such as what transpired at the “Toronto Blessing” and what takes place at Bethel Church (Bill Johnson) in Redding, California. You can view some of the so called Holy Spirit manifestations in numerous videos in some of my NAR related posts.
Matthew 7:21-23 NIV “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Do you ever wonder why Jesus uttered these very words, considering that all the words that Jesus spoke came directly from the Father? Notice the focus on doing the will of His Father, which has already been revealed to us in God’s Holy Word. Notice that prophecies, in and of themselves, are not automatically validated, as coming from God. Notice that the so called “deliverance ministry” can, according to the words of Jesus, not in itself be a guarantee of following God the Father’s will and performing miracles, in and of themselves are not a guarantee of them coming about through God’s Holy Spirit. Acquiring the ability to discern or exercise discernment is NOT optional. It wasn’t optional back in the beginnings of the early Christian Church and it isn’t optional now.
False Christs, false apostles, false prophets, false Holy Spirit manifestations and a false Gospel. All of these false witnesses are a reality that we have been warned about previously in God’s Holy Word, along with the benchmark on how to make a judgement on them. That would be the “contrary to” that Paul so often speaks about.
And if that isn’t something to earnestly think about, I honestly don’t know what is.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!