Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2 Corinthians 11 - Pure Devotion

LINK: 2 Corinthians 11


As you read, remember to continue to look for the key word "boast/glory" (same in Greek) in this chapter. 

Paul continues to defend himself against the false teachers, and he expresses how much he LOVES the Corinthians. See more in the reflection section about his passion to present them purely to Christ (11:2-4). 

Paul continues to address the issue of the false/super apostles. They were masquerading as apostles just like Satan masquerades himself as an angel of light (11:14). For more on the false apostles, refer back to the 2 Corinthians 10 post.  

The false apostles also took support from the people they ministered to while Paul did the best he could without support (1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:8), only occasionally accepting unsolicited support from other churches (Philippians 4:15-16). He does say in this chapter that it is fine to accept support though. 

Paul concludes that human frailty and suffering are marks of a true apostle (11:16-33; 1 Corinthians 4:9-13).  He closes the chapter recounting his escape from Damascus in Acts 9:19-25 as an example of his suffering as a true apostle.


Here is a devotion that I wrote in 2000:

2 Corinthians 11:2-3
Devotion or Distraction?

Prepare Your Heart: Ask Him to speak to you through His Word. Write out what is on your heart.

Meditate: You might want to try a new meditation tool while soaking in these verses.

Ponder: Paul wanted his spiritual children to be pure as he presented them to Christ, as His bride. I can identify with this word picture because I feel the same “godly jealousy” for my children in wanting them to be presented physically pure to their future spouses. I teach physical purity to my children, just as Paul is teaching spiritual purity to his spiritual children in Corinth. They were being distracted and their devotion was being made impure by the false teachers. Behind these teachers was Satan himself! 

In Genesis 3:1, 4-5, Satan denied God’s Word, questioned God’s Word, and substituted his own lie. We may not believe a false gospel like the people in the Corinthian church, but we can extend this passage to mean anything that Satan might do to tear us away from simple and pure devotion to Jesus. He would love you to believe the lie that something is more important than a “singleness of heart” (the Greek definition for the word “simplicity” in the NASB and “sincere” in the NIV) toward the Lord.[1] 

Ask God to show you what might be dividing your heart right now. Ministry can even distract us, causing us to be devoted to the project over passion and work in the kingdom over King. 

Spend some time journaling about this. A good way to evaluate what some of your distractions might be is to look over what you have written in the “On My Heart” section of the previous meditations. Pray against the enemy’s subtle distractions in Ephesians 6:10-17. Notice what the sword is in verse 17! We often forget about this offensive weapon. 

Do you make your spiritual development a priority in the ministry He has given you? Your inner life development is crucial to everything!


Now where are those SPECKS

S -Sin to avoid? 
P - Promise to claim? 
E - Example to follow? 
C - Command to obey? 
K - Knowledge to increase?

Where is your accountability partner or group?

[1] The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 1985.

Leadership is not for the faint at heart! It is so hard to respond graciously to criticism when you are in a leadership position. Even other people in the body of Christ can sabotage even those labors you have done with only the motive of pleasing and glorifying God! 

Here is a summary of Paul's credentials as an apostle from the book of 2 Corinthians:

Commissioned by God (1:1,21; 4:1) 
Spoke truthfully (1:18; 4:2) 
Displayed godly character in his actions toward them (1:12-14) 
Possessed the Holy Spirit (1:22) 
Loved the Corinthians (2:4; 6:11; 11:11) 
Spoke with sincerity and Christ's power (2:17) 
Labored among them and helped them grow (3:2,3) 
Lived as an example to them (3:4; 12:6) 
Persevered (4:1,16)
Taught them truth (4:2) 
Proclaimed Jesus as the center of his message (4:5) 
Suffered for preaching the gospel (4:8-12; 6:4-5,9-10)


Lord, hold us in pure devotion to you. Amen.
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