Seeking Jesus First - Aug. 16, 2023

Seeking Jesus First - Aug. 16, 2023
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

What should someone do when they are being attacked with false accusations?

It really depends on the circumstances. The Apostle Paul had to deal with self professing apostles subverting his authority and taking advantage of the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians Chapters 10,11,12,13

It starts with the well known “weapons of are our warfare are not carnal” passage in 2 Cor. 10. We see that Paul is dealing with people claiming to be apostles and he starts with the “spiritual warfare”.

What form does this spiritual warfare take?

Words. Paul uses words to pull down the arguments that are exalting themselves against the knowledge of God.

So, who is Paul coming against? He is warring against a mindset or ideology that was preaching something other than “the simplicity that is in Christ.”

A very convincing argument can be made that Paul is talking about the same people who, in Galatian, were telling Jews not to eat with gentiles and trying to get the gentiles to be circumcised and keep the law after coming to Christ.

In Galatia, Paul used words for his spiritual warfare as well. Paul, from the place and position of his apostolic authority in Christ, in so many words, told the Galatians to treat the Judaizers as apostates not apostles. (See Gal. 1:8-9)

In 2 Cor. 10,11,12,13 Paul speaks of his own apostleship. He speaks of his authority. He speaks of his love for them and his sacrifice in bringing them the gospel and how it was financed by the church in Macedonia and not by the Corinthians. He actually boasts about the fact that he did that purposely to show them that he loved them and that he was not trying to take advantage of them.

In his boasting, Paul actually makes the comment that he is only bragging about it because the other “apostles” were bragging about their giftings. He told them that if they were actually going to compare these others to him, then don’t just look at how bold a person acts when they are present. They should look much deeper and farther.

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.” (2 Corinthians 11:22–31, NKJV)

Look at what Paul is boasting about! He is boasting about his struggle and persecution, which he calls his weaknesses (infirmity). NKJV translates this word infirmity but it is translated weakness or weaknesses more often that any other word (14 times). It is important to note that he speaks of no sicknesses in the list of his boasting. But he does speak of physical suffering and weakness - the inability through physical strength or natural arguments to change his own circumstances.

Paul challenges the Corinthians to go deeper in their understanding of what an apostle really is.

I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!” (2 Corinthians 12:11–13, NKJV)

Paul ends his letter to them with a special emphasis to those who have challenged his authority. He tells them to go ahead and get things right because if they are still walking in this sin of division when he comes, he will deal with them directly in the authority and power of God and his office. It is important to note that while Paul was presenting his case, he is careful to make them remember how much that he loves them and has cared for them in person and in prayer.

So, if you are being challenged through false accusations, pray. Ask Holy Spirit to give you the necessary words to use in spiritual warfare. It is not wrong to confront the person who is accusing you. It is not wrong to call attention to the wrongness of the accusations in front of the body of believers.

When your loving words carry the authority and power of God, your loving words are sharper than swords and are mighty through Christ to pull down the strongholds of the enemy in the minds of others. Speaking the truth in love, we all grow up into Christ in all things.