Text: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Genesis 3:1-7

The insidious attacks on Paul’s character revealed one big issue plaguing the Corinthian Church – there were false teachers and brethren in the midst who were trying to pull the Corinthians away from Christ. Paul was concerned that the deceitful lies of these men may prove persuasive as they continued to interact with the Corinthians. Thereby, he wrote this warning to the Corinthians to be careful of such deceit.

Paul likened the deceit of these men to that of the serpent beguiling Eve (c.f. Gen. 3:1-7). Firstly, he approached her with an apparently innocent inquiry, yet it was one which was calculated to cast doubt on God’s Word – “Yea, hath God said?” The woman’s reply revealed that she had fallen for the subtle attack on God’s Word:

 Instead of saying that man could freely eat of every tree in the garden (Gen. 2:15), the woman said that they “may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden.” This undermined the goodness of God.

 The woman said that God did not allow them to touch the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, God did not say this earlier in Genesis 2:15-17. The woman had added to God’s Word. 

 God had said that eating should man eat of the forbidden fruit, he shall “surely die”. However, the woman said “lest ye die”, thus weakening God’s warning of punishment for disobedience.

Sensing the kill, the serpent now declared, “Ye shall not surely die”, totally denying God’s promise of punishment. When the woman saw that the fruit was good for food (lust of the flesh), pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes) and able to make one wise (pride of life), she fell for the deception, hook, line and sinker!

This same deceiver is still very much active in the world today. The Bible describes him as our adversary and a roaring lion who seeks whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He is not a friend. Beware of false doctrines and practices. Beware of the deceiver’s devices!

THOUGHT: Read 1 John 2:15-17.
PRAYER: O Lord, guard me from falling for such deceit.

Text: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Proverbs 19:27

Why was Paul concerned that the Corinthians might be deceived? It is because the Corinthians had shown a propensity of loving to hear falsehood. In their naivety, they had acted no differently from the Galatian Christians who were taken in by the false gospel of the Judaizers. This caused Paul to exclaim in Galatians 1:6, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Gal. 1:6).

Sinful man is disposed to loving to hear falsehood and wickedness rather than the truth. Thus, the prophet Isaiah wrote of the children of Israel that “this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9-10).

Proverbs 19:27 gives good advice on how we must be careful hearers – “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.” The call is to exercise our discernment. If a teacher or speaker is found to speak of things that seek to tear us away from God’s Word, then we must quickly dissociate ourselves from hearing his speeches as eloquent as they may be. This is the principle of Biblical Separation applied to hearing.

The Bereans were a good example of careful hearers. When Paul taught them, they were careful to search the Scriptures daily to check if what they were taught was consistent to God’s truth. Once they know that it is the truth, they gladly received it as God’s Word with all readiness of mind. Alas, there are those who seek multiple teachers in order to satisfy their itching ears and fleshly lusts. When faithful preaching demands them to confront their sin, they get angry and turn away till they find a speaker that satisfies them. Let us not fall into the same trap.

THOUGHT: What does it mean to be a Berean Christian?
PRAYER: O Lord, help me to be discerning with what I hear .

Yours affectionately,

Pastor Clement Chew