Today’s selected reading continues in the second epistle of the apostle Paul in the New Testament which was written unto the saints in the city of Corinth. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first fifteen verses of the eleventh chapter. When you begin reading the eleventh chapter of the second epistle of the apostle Paul the first thing you will notice is the apostle’s words unto and concerning them. The apostle begins and opens up the epistle by asking and inviting them to bear with him in his folly, but then immediately transitions to a powerful statement concerning his affection and commitment to them. When you come to the second verse of this chapter you will find the apostle Paul declaring unto the saints of Corinth that he was jealous over them with a godly jealousy. Pause for a moment and consider the Wright and magnitude of those words. Consider if you would the weight of the apostle’s love, his affection, his compassion, his concern and his commitment to this church. If you journey back to the New Testament book of Acts you will discover that it was concerning the inhabits of this city the Lord declared unto Paul that He had much people within the city. It was while in this city the Lord appeared to the apostle Paul by a dream and not only encouraged, not only emboldened him, but also declared unto him that He personally had many people within this city. Immediately after the Lord spoke these words unto the apostle Paul you will find Luke recording how Paul spent a full eighteen months in the city of Corinth preaching unto them the good news concerning the kingdom of God and concerning Jesus His Christ.
I am absolutely and incredibly captivated by the words the apostle Paul wrote concerning and unto the Corinthian saints for his words weren’t merely words of affection, but they were also words of commitment. It is no light or small thing for the apostle Paul to write and declare unto the Corinthian saints that he was jealous over them with a godly jealousy, for the apostle Paul was genuinely concerned for their well-being. To write and declare that he was jealous over them with a godly jealousy suggests and speaks to the powerful reality that that he was zealous for them and was intrinsically linked and connected to them. For the apostle Paul to declare unto this congregation that he was jealous over them with a godly jealousy suggests and speaks to the reality that he spent much time—perhaps in much prayer, in much intercession, with many tears, and through many sleepless nights—labouring over and for them. THE WORK IS NOT DONE WHEN YOU LEAVE! If there is one reality we learn—not only from the letters which the apostle Paul wrote unto the various churches he helped establish and plant, as well as what we find and read in the New Testament book of Acts, it’s that for the apostle Paul the work was never done. It was true the apostle Paul spent eighteen months among the inhabitants of the city of Corinth and would ultimately transition and move on from that place and the people within it, his work for an on behalf of this church did not cease but would continue. THE WORK CONTINUES IN PRAYER! THE WORK CONTINUES IN INTERCESSION! THE WORK CONTINUES THROUGH TEARS! THE WORK IS NEVER DONE! THE WORK CONTINUES THROUGH A LETTER OR LETTERS TO A SPECIFIC CHURCH! If you read the words which are contained within the letters the apostle Paul wrote unto the individual churches you will discover that for him the work was never done. For the apostle Paul it would appear that the easy part of the work was in the early stages when the apostle Paul was still present among the churches. It was absolutely nothing for the apostle Paul to spend a year and a half with the Corinthians or even three full years with the Ephesians within their city Abe among their people.
As I sit here and consider the words which the apostle wrote in this particular passage I am absolutely and completely gripped with the reality that for the apostle Paul, the work of the ministry and the work among the churches was never complete. Even though the apostle would transition and move from and move beyond a specific city or region, the work concerning and the work on behalf of that church was never finished, nor was it completed. In fact, when you transition to the latter portion of this chapter you will find the apostle Paul describing what being a minister of God may very well look like. IF you begin reading with and from the twenty-third verse of this particular chapter you will find the following words written by the apostle Paul concerning what being a minister of the Gospel and a minister for Jesus the Christ actually looked like: “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labour more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice suffered I shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeying 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; in weariness and painful ness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the tremendous toll the work of the ministry took on the apostle Paul, and what being a minister of the gospel and a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ actually meant for him. In fact, when we read the New Testament book of Acts we find further confirmation of the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints, for the apostle Paul endured much for the sake of the call and on behalf of the ministry of the churches.
I have already written and mentioned that for the apostle Paul, the work of the ministry within and the work of the ministry on behalf of a church and congregation didn’t end when he left and transitioned from a particular city, town or region. Although the apostle Paul would transition from a particular city and region, his work in the ministry concerning that particular church and the saints within that body never ceased. In fact, when you read this particular chapter you will find specific references within the writing of the apostle Paul that suggest and speak to the reality that the work was never finished, nor was the work ever completed. I feel it necessary to make mention of the fact that I grew up in the church, and more specifically, within a pastor’s home. Throughout the thirty-five years of my life—actually within and throughout the first twenty-two years of my life—I watched my father pastor four specific congregations. Within and throughout my life I watched my father first pastor a church and congregation in the state of Connecticut, which would be followed by pastoring a church within the state of Massachusetts. Immediately following his pastorate over the church in Massachusetts my father pastored a church and congregation in the state of Rhode Island. Finally, my father pastored a church in the state of New Jersey, which would be his final pastorate before leaving the ministry for good. With that being said—although certain relationships were kept and maintained—as my father left and transitioned away from each church and congregation his work engaging himself in the ministry within and on behalf of that church ceased. When my father transitioned from one church to the next to give himself to pastoring that particular congregation, his work with the previous church ceased immediately, as he was no longer responsible for the state and condition of that church. It is necessary that we recognize and understand this, for my father’s situation is not unique, for throughout the years the same reality has been manifested within churches and congregations within and throughout this country, yea, even the world. Throughout the years there have been pastors and leaders and ministers who have transitioned from a specific church and congregation to a new congregation, thus leaving the ministry of that particular church and congregation behind.
LEAVING THE MINISTRY BEHIND! Please note and understand that what I mean when I write these words is not leaving the actual ministry itself behind, but rather, leaving the ministry within and the ministry unto a specific church and congregation behind. The more I read the words of the apostle Paul within this particular passage of Scripture, the more I am confronted with the reality that for him the work of the ministry was never finished, nor was it completed. In fact, when you read verses twenty-three through twenty-seven you will find the apostle Paul speaking of his being given unto, and finding himself in watching often, and not just watching often, but also in fastings often. In the twenty-eighth verse of this chapter we find the apostle Paul go on to write unto the Corinthians that beside and alongside each of the aforementioned realities surrounding the ministry entrusted unto him—those things which are without—there is also the care of all the churches which comes upon him daily. Please do not move too quickly beyond the words the apostle Paul wrote and mentioned within these particular verses, for being a minister of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ, and being an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ was hardly what countless ministers within this nation have experienced, presently are experiencing, and even will experience. There are ministers within this nation who have never and will never know and understand the struggles the apostle Paul had as he attempted to shepherd, pastor and oversee the churches and congregations within the region of Asia. Ministers within this nation will never know what it’s like to be beaten and flogged for the sake of the gospel, or for the sake of the call and ministry. Ministers within this nation will never know what it is like to be imprisoned in this nation for the sake of the gospel, nor will they know and understand the weight and magnitude of being stoned for the sake of the gospel. There are, however, ministers on the other side of the world—those in the eastern hemisphere who know all too well and are all too familiar with the struggles the apostle Paul mentioned and wrote within this particular passage. There are ministers on the other side of the world who do know what it is like to be stoned, or burned, or beaten, or imprisoned, or even put to death by the sword, or by firing squad, and the like.
I am convinced that ministers within this nation—though they face their own unique struggles daily—will never know and understand the full weight and magnitude of that which the apostle Paul wrote in this particular passage of Scripture, nor will they understand what ministers on the other side of the world face on a daily and consistent basis. There are ministers among us today who will never know and will never understand the fierce opposition the apostle Paul experienced within and throughout his ministry as an apostle of Christ unto the Gentiles. The apostle Paul spoke of specific perils he experienced, and specific perils which threatened his life on a continual basis—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. I am convinced that we would do well to recognize and understand the words the apostle Paul wrote in this particular epistle unto the Corinthian congregation, for the apostle Paul was very much acquainted with the struggle and struggles of ministry. THE STRUGGLE OF MINISTRY! THE STRUGGLES OF MINISTRY! There is a popular phrase that has been made popular within recent years, and that phrase is simply as follows—“The struggle is real!” What is actually quite interesting concerning this particular statement is that although men and women proclaim it as a full and complete statement, I am convinced it presents only part of the picture. I am convinced that making such a statement as “the struggle is real” only presents us with part of the picture and part of what is really going on. The struggle is real only gives us part of the picture, for although it might express and touch upon the weight and magnitude of the struggle, it doesn’t describe the struggle. REAL HARD! REALLY DIFFICULT! REALLY SEVERE! REALLY TAXING! REALLY DIFFICULT TO ENDURE! REALLY TAKING A TOLL ON ME! REALLY EXHAUSTING! While this particular statement is frequently used and has become a catch phrase by those who are experiencing a particular struggle, it only paints half and a portion of the picture of what is really happening and what is really taking place. We dare not forget or lose sight of what the struggle is really like, and what men and women are truly going through and experiencing within and throughout their lives. For the apostle Paul the struggle was real all the time, and there never seemed to be release from the struggle(s) he faced and endured on a daily and consistent basis.
I am convinced that there are specific references within some of the epistles which the apostle Paul wrote concerning his care and concern for the churches. It is no light or small thing to write unto the Corinthian congregation and declare unto them that he was jealous over them with and godly jealousy, for such a statement carries with it a tremendous weight of meaning. In fact, there are specific references within various epistles which the apostle Paul wrote unto certain congregations that underscore and express his care and concern over churches as is expressed within and through prayer. I must pause for a moment and ask right now if it is safe to say that you truly care for another if you aren’t willing to engage yourself in prayer and intercession for them and on their behalf. Can you truly declare that you love someone if you aren’t willing to give yourself in prayer for them? Can you really declare that you care for and are concerned about another individual if, and unless, and until you are willing to give yourself fin prayer for them on their behalf? There are specific references within various epistles that describe the apostle’s prayers for and on behalf of specific churches. Consider if you will the following words which are expressed in the following epistles the apostle Paul wrote:
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave to Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that fillets all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-22).
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayers of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ; even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my blondes, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:3-11).
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyful ness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us met to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and Hs is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:9-20).
It is quite clear and quite obvious from reading each of these references that the apostle Paul continually gave himself to prayer on behalf of the churches—both when he was present with them in person, as well as when he left their midst and moved on to the next city, town, village and region. I absolutely love that for the apostle Paul, the work of the ministry for, within, among and on behalf of the churches never ceased. In fact, I would dare say that when the apostle Paul left any specific church and congregation, the true work of the ministry began and was carried out. I am fully aware of the reality that the apostle Paul spent eighteen months living among the inhabitants of the city of Corinth, and that during those eighteen months he preached the gospel concerning Jesus Christ, yet the day eventually came when the apostle Paul moved forth from that place and transitioned to a different city where there were new people to meet and encounter. I can’t help but be reminded of the encounter the apostle Paul had with the Ephesian elders, and how his encounter with them emphasized and expressed the reality that it was after his departure when the true struggle within and the true struggle concerning the ministry would begin. If you begin reading with and from the seventeenth verse of the twentieth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the following words which expressed the care and concern the apostle Paul had for the Ephesian congregation:
“Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also the the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know,t hat these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20: 18-35).
It is absolutely important and imperative that we recognize and understand the words which Luke records in the New Testament book of Acts, for they help us understand the care and concern the apostle Paul expressed within the eleventh chapter of the second epistle which was written unto the saints which were in Corinth. IN the second verse of the eleventh chapter the apostle Paul emphatically declared that he was jealous over the Corinthian congregation with a godly jealousy, and he was as such for he espoused them to one husband, that he might present them as a chaste virgin to Christ. The apostle Paul was jealous over the Corinthian congregation with a godly jealousy because he sought to present them as a chaste virgin unto Christ. This reality is expressed even further in the epistle he wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus. “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man every yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and Cheri Seth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:25-32). The apostle Paul was jealous over the Corinthian congregation with a godly jealousy—not only because he espoused them unto one husband, in order that he might present them as a chaste virgin to Christ, but also because he was concerned about the subtitles of the serpent. In the third verse of this particular chapter the apostle Paul goes on to write and declare what was the source of this godly jealousy—“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” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Pay close attention to these words which were written by the apostle Paul, for it is with these words the apostle Paul expresses the nature and cause for his concern over the Corinthian congregation.
In the second verse of this chapter we find the apostle Paul fearing that just as the serpent beguiled Eve through his cunning, his craftiness, his deceit, his temptation and the like, so also the serpent could also beguile this church with the same methods in order that he might corrupt their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. In the fourth verse of this chapter the apostle Paul goes on to warn concerning he that would come and preach another Jesus, concerning the receiving of another spirit, as well as the receiving of another gospel. “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus’s, 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” (2 Corinthians 11:4). Why was the apostle Paul so concerned over this particular church and congregation? The answer is actually quite simple and clear within verses three and four, for in the third verse his concern surrounds the threat of the serpent corrupting their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ through deception, subtilty, temptation and the like. In the fourth verse the apostle goes on to write concerning another coming unto and among them who would not only preach another Jesus whom they did not preach, but also presenting another spirit which they did not receive, and present another gospel, which they have not accepted. ANOTHER JESUS! ANOTHER SPIRIT! ANOTHER GOSPEL! I am absolutely and incredibly convinced that we must pay close attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were in Corinth, for the apostle Paul understood the real danger and threat of those who would come and preach another Jesus, and those who would present another spirit, and another gospel. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus Himself spoke and declared unto His disciples, which are recorded for us in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew’s gospel: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christ’s and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall even deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not” (Matthew 24:4, 11, 23-26).
WILL THE REAL JESUS PLEASE STAND UP?! Jesus Himself declared that there would be false prophets who would rise up in the last days and would not only preach and present a false Christ, but some would also go so far as to declare of themselves that they are Jesus the Christ. The apostle Paul was both concerned and fearful that after he departed from the city of Ephesus savage wolves would come in among their ranks in an attempt to deceive them. What’s more, is the apostle Paul was also concerned that some from among their own ranks and members would rise up and would attempt to deceive and lead them astray. When writing to the Corinthian congregation in his second epistle the apostle Paul feared that just as the serpent beguiled Eve in the garden, so the serpent would also beguile them and corrupt their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. The apostle Paul feared that there would come one—perhaps there would come many—who would preach another Jesus who they themselves did not preach, who would offer another spirit which they did not receive, and present another gospel which they have not accepted. The apostle Paul knew and understood that there would be those who would enter in among the rank and file of the churches and would preach a different Jesus than what was preached by the apostle Paul and his companions. Even Jesus recognize and understood that there would be false prophets who would preach a false Christ, and false Christ’s who would present themselves as the one true Christ unto and among countless men and women in the last days. Perhaps the single greatest question I can’t help but ask when reading the words of the apostle Paul is whether or not ministers are indeed preaching the Jesus of the Scriptures, or whether they are preaching a Jesus of their own imagination and understanding. Oh, it might very well be true that there are ministers who are indeed preaching “a” Christ, yet they are not preaching “the” Christ. I can’t help but wonder how many pastors, how many ministers, how many leaders within our churches are preaching the true Christ—the Christ who is found within the Scriptures. The apostle was fearful, concerned and worried that false prophets and false apostles would rise up and enter in among the sheep and would present a false Christ which they had not heard of.
Consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote concerning Jesus the Christ in the first chapter of the epistle he wrote unto the Colossian congregation: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all thigns consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the Fairborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or in heaven” (Colossians 1:12-20). I am reminded of the words which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote concerning Christ, which are recorded for us in the second chapter: “But now we see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sxanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took Olin Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:8-18).
As surely and as certainly as we must ask ourselves whether or not ministers and preachers are indeed preaching the true and genuine Christ of the Scripture, we must also ask ourselves whether or not we are believing in, and whether or not we ourselves are following the true Christ of the Scripture. We cannot, we dare not, we must not only confront the issue of ministers, preachers, and leaders preaching another Jesus from the one we see in the Scripture, and not ask ourselves if we aren’t forming another Jesus which is different form the One which is found in the Scriptures. The Jesus whom we declare we worship—is He the same Jesus which is found in the Scriptures, or is the Jesus we are worshipping and following another Jesus of our own choosing, our own making, our imagination. Consider how easy it was for the children of Israel to form and fashion a golden calf at the foot of Sinai in the wilderness and worship God in the image they themselves had made. Consider how during the days of Jeroboam son of Nebat the children of Israel worshipped God in the image of not only one golden calf in Dan, but also in a second golden calf in Beersheba. IN these last days there will be false apostles and false prophets and false teachers who will teach and preach another Jesus which is different from the Jesus which the apostles preached, and different from the Jesus which the apostles saw with their eyes, heard with their ears, and handled with their hands. It is true that none of us can walk with or follow Christ as the apostles did, yet I am convinced that it is absolutely possible to worship and follow the true, the genuine, the authentic Christ of the Scripture. The Christ which is found within your church and within your congregation—is He the Christ of the Scripture, or is He the Christ which you yourself have formed and fashioned. O dear minister, O dear preacher—I fear for you if you are preaching another Jesus and another gospel which is different from the one which the apostles preached, and which is different from the Christ that is found in the Scripture. I leave you with the words which the apostle John wrote in the gospel which he wrote unto the Ephesian congregation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. IN Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not…He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-14).