Before the service, Rev Ngubane, Rev F Stegen and Rev E Stegen testified how God worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They are hungry for the Gospel and rejoiced greatly and received the Gospel, realizing its worth and preciousness.
2 Corinthians 11
1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. 6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things. 7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
This portion is a sermon on its own and hardly needs exposition. Study if for yourself.
Paul was a man among men, and probably there was never a man since Adam who suffered opposition and hardship as he went through. No other man has changed nations like him (of course, excepting our Lord Jesus Christ).
The words he speaks in our text are so true. We don’t know the details of many of these experiences he relates – such as being in the deep of the sea for a night and day (maybe treading water or holding onto a log?). Five times brutally beaten with 39 stripes. There couldn’t have been any scarless portion on his back. Another time he was stoned and left for dead, but God raised him up again. He knew famine and cold. Nevertheless, nothing quenched the fire of God in his bones. Nothing could dampen God’s fire in him, despite all these sufferings. He went through experiences with false apostles and brethren. Even though he followed God so faithfully, many deserted him and turned against him.
There were other false brethren too, full of self-praise. They brought a very smooth, subtle and convenient message – so much so that many left Paul and followed this comfortable gospel. Paul then warned them that if they accept another Jesus than the one he preached to them, they were deceived and off the track. These false apostles charged the churches for their preaching, yet many followed them. Paul had to ask them whether he had sinned in preaching the Gospel of Christ free of charge.
In abasing himself (and calling himself foolish), Paul reveals the foolishness and madness of those false prophets. It’s a shame that there are such Christians in the church, who follow another Jesus and become totally foolish and insane in their spiritual lives. In Acts we read how he warned brethren of the wolves that would emerge from their midst, not sparing the flock. How is it that they had no discernment? Pray and cry to God for discernment between true and false Christians.
God has so guided Paul to write these words, that they might be canonised in His Holy Word, for He knew that they would be necessary for us too, living in the last days; as Jesus said that deception would be so strong in the last days that “if possible even the elect would be deceived”, if God didn’t shorten the days.
Paul had a heavenly jealousy over the Corinthian church, to betroth them to Christ “as a chaste virgin”. Do you see the zeal driving Paul, that he might present them to Christ in purity? Paul knew he was preaching Christ, and he had no doubt as to the Gospel which Christ delivered to him. He had the comfort that they’ve persecuted Christ first, and if they’ve done that to Him, they’ll do the same to His followers.
Put all your zeal and effort in the true Gospel. Discern those who are false prophets and do not spend your energy on them. It will be heartbreaking, if you spend your whole life on that which is false and only discover at the end that you did not follow the truth.
Do you have the right Christ, the right Gospel, and the right Faith? Test yourself and see, lest you spend your passion and life on something false, only to be rejected in the end.
May God keep you true to Him and His Gospel.