“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Monday, September 24, 2007

Who Commends You?

As my wife and I read through 2nd Corinthians, I find myself amazed at how false teachers, or as Paul labels them, false apostles, never change their tactics.

Paul speaks of how these false teachers brought letters of commendation to the church in Corinth; these letters were from OTHER false teachers! Today we find the same pattern. When a false teacher is exposed, immediately another false teacher will arise and say something along these lines -- "I have known X for many years and he/she is one of the most anointed people in the service of the kingdom now!"

Paul says that his commendation is not a written letter from man, but is the church in Corinth, in other words, his Gospel is proven true by the TRANSFORMATIONAL/REGENERATIONAL work of the Holy Spirit in the people of Corinth. These were people who were delivered from pagan lives to Christians lives, often at the cost of their lives, or jobs or homes!

How many false teachers today point to transformed lives as their commendation? Most of the time these false teachers point to their large following, (most often not changed lives, but the cult-like following of a man), or they point to the healings they have performed. Often these healings are proven to be false, or simply emotional reaction to the foolishness and theatrics of these snake-oil salesmen. NOTE: I believe that God still heals, and have witnessed such events, that is not what I am referencing here. This is more about the theatrical productions that many false teachers put on, bringing shame to the Body of Christ with their antics!)

Like the false teachers of Paul's day, these men spend much of their time, if not most of it, boasting in their own works. How many times I have heard, or read of these false teachers speaking of their anointing; never really mentioning the Gospel, the finished work of Christ, the Holiness of God, or anything else.

So, we see that false teachers never change their spots -- some signs of a false teacher (per Paul):

1. These false teachers pat each other on the back and commend on another, even in the face of exposed heresy.

2. These false teachers point to the size of their ministries, the number of healings, the amount of time they spend 'talking' with Jesus, or the 'power' of their anointing as validation of their ministry.

3. These false teachers spend much of their time talking about themselves, and their supposed powers, little, or no time is spent reflecting on the Gospel.

4. These false teachers focus on the here and now, "Jesus wants you rich and beautiful", and no time reflecting on eternity.

Paul is clear in his letter to the church in Corinth -- The commendation that we should be seeking is regenerated lives, not the praises of man. We are but jars of clay that have been entrusted with an incredible message of redemption, our validation will be when our Lord and Savior says "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master".

We should be as uncomfortable about boasting as Paul was -- we should never focus on ourselves, but on the cross. What do we have that was not given us? Boasting has no place in Christian ministry, and those who spend much of their time boasting are building THEIR ministry and not God's.

Our perspective should be an eternal one; as Paul says, we are going to one day put off these tents and put on a building made by God -- we may or may not have 'things' in this world, but we have something far greater awaiting us!

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