2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
Virtually any organization of any size, particularly one that is intended to accomplish good, has “enemy agents” in it. Such people act to sabotage what should be going on. We see that in the US government right now, with “deep state operatives” trying to block the various moves toward a more free, prosperous, and righteous nation. That is serious enough, but it is even more serious when it happens in the Church, the Body of Christ. In a biological body, it would be called a cancer, because cancer cells masquerade as normal, healthy cells so that the immune system won’t attack them. One of the most effective lines of cancer therapy research is aimed at training the immune system to recognize cancer cells for what they are, and attack them. When that is successful, there is no need for poison (chemotherapy) or fire (radiation). Paul is attempting to do exactly that for the Body of Christ, telling us to be on our guard and recognize false apostles for what they are. Jesus also cautioned us about exactly the same thing. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-20) We are not to be deceived by smooth words, but look for the evidence, or lack of it, of the Holy Spirit in their lives, not in flashy gifts but in consistent, loving, holy living.
This is of great importance to me as the pastor of a congregation. I am to be careful who I allow to speak, and whose teaching I take in myself, not to mention needing to be careful that I don’t fit into the “false apostle” category myself! Here, everyone sees how I live, day in and day out, but when I go elsewhere they don’t have that background. I am never to claim more than I have been given by the Lord, and seek to do His will alone at all times in everything. We have seen people who were acting as “enemy agents” under various disguises, and I am not to be gullible. At the same time, I am not to be anxious, but know that it is Christ who builds His Church, (Matthew 16:18) and keep myself available for however He wants to use me in that.
Father, thank You for how You have protected us over the years. We have had a few occasional close calls! May we be true to Christ and grow as You intend, being and doing what You desire and nothing else, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!