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Friday, April 10, 2015

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Rival missionaries in Corinth have distracted the church members. Pastor Paul is concerned that they are being deceived so he directly addresses those who he calls “super-apostles.” “I’m afraid that your minds might be seduced in the same way as the snake deceived Eve with his devious tricks,” he warns (vs. 3). None should be seduced by any who preach a “different gospel” than what Paul first presented to them.

It appears that Paul did not typically accept any financial support from the churches where he conducted missionary work. After explaining this policy in chapter 9, he defends it once again in chapter 11. Although he possessed the right to such payment, he opted not to receive any pay so that he might “offer the good news free of charge” (1 Cor. 9:18). He similarly did not want to have the church members feel obligated to him either. “I kept myself from being a financial drain on you in any way, and I will continue to keep myself from being a burden” (vs. 9).

The role of a pastor is to protect his or her sheep. It therefore seems natural that Paul’s pastoral instincts kick in as he senses danger. I remember one time as a young pastor when a local cult leader stopped by my church. As soon as the individual arrived he started to pass out aberrant literature. Walking right past me, the person started canvassing more people in the church lobby. I was forced to confront the individual and ask him to cease his distribution. Since he did not comply with my request, I was forced to ask him to leave. (He never came back).

From verses 16 to the end of the chapter Paul appeals once again for the Corinthian church members to put up with him as he prepares to respond to these challengers. After the “fool’s speech,” acknowledging his own foolishness, Paul lists some of his innumerable hardships and trials.

Ministry and service require personal sacrifice. Paul’s record demonstrates that such ministry takes total commitment.

Michael Campbell