Summary: We can be led astray from pure devotion to Christ. That's why the apostle Paul and Jesus Himself warned us against deception, and encouraged us to purity of doctrine.
Pure Devotion to Christ
August 28, 2011
I didn’t want to preach this morning’s message. I knew several weeks ago that this is what I should preach on, but I wrestled with God about it, trying to convince Him I should do something different.
But the passage we’re going to look at this morning wouldn’t let me go, so here we are.
Here are the Top Ten reasons I didn’t want to preach this message this morning
(not in any particular order):
1. Because it’s not Amazingly Inspirational like Jim Grinnell’s sermons
2. Because it’s not deeply theological like Jim Garrett’s messages
3. Because it’s not Incredibly joyful like Joel’s sermons
4. Because it’s not Very personal like Dave’s sermons
5. Because it’s not Solidly motivational like Gordon’s
6. Because it’s not profoundly insightful like Bruce’s
7. Because it could come across as a “negative” message
8. Because it makes me sound like the “bad cop.”
9. Because it might seem like I’m primarily preaching against something instead of for something
10. Because I’ve preached many of these ideas before
But, despite these 10 reasons, which were pretty compelling as I wrestled with God over this morning’s theme, there are at least four key reasons I am preaching this message today anyway.
1. I truly believe this is the direction God has given
2. There is a faith once for all delivered to the saints, and it’s revealed in the Word of God
3. Like the apostle Paul, I feel a divine jealousy for you
4. And also like Paul, I worry you may be led astray from pure devotion to Christ
2 Corinthians 11:1-6 ESV I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
We could read much more in this section of scripture, including many verses preceding it, and following it, that relate to our theme. But for our purposes this morning, I want to focus on these first 6 verses of 2 Cor 11, because they get at the heart of what we’re going to explore this morning.
Here we see the apostle Paul feeling as if he had to stoop to the level of those he, sarcastically, no doubt, called “super apostles.” Those so-called “super apostles” were undermining the gospel Paul had preached. And the Corinthians were not only putting up with it, but they were eating it up!
This deeply concerned Paul, to the point of fear for their spiritual well-being. So, here, we have a whole section of scripture in which Paul felt the need to boast, for the express purpose of defending his credentials to remind the Corinthians of the truth.
He considered boasting about himself foolishness. But he did it nevertheless. And he did it because he was concerned about the Corinthians. He was concerned because of good-sounding arguments that were capable of deceiving these people.
He was concerned because there is such a thing as pure devotion to Christ. Not just devotion. Many people are devoted. But pure devotion, in this context, clearly indicates purity of doctrine. In verse 2, Paul expresses his desire to present the Corinthian church to God as a pure bride.
By "pure bride" he meant one who was unaffected by false doctrine. The Corinthians' pure and simple devotion to Christ was being threatened by false teaching. Paul did not want the believers to lose their single-minded love for Christ. Life Application Notes
Here’s why I didn’t want to preach this message. Kind of like Paul didn’t want to resort to boasting, which he thought was foolishness. This sounds like I’m the bad cop. Like I’m against something. Like I’m scolding. But it was serious to Paul, and it’s serious to me.
Here’s Paul, one of the New Testament’s prime teachers of the faith, one of the prime examples we have of faith lived out in the real world - Here’s Paul, admitting that this is something he feared. He feared they would be deceived. He feared they’d be taken in, won over by, false teaching, and that as a result, they’d be led astray.