Protecting Genuine Faith.

Spirit-filled people who are walking with God love and protect the church. Paul calls the Corinthians alongside to help protect their own congregation.

2 Corinthians 10:7-18 is another of many passages that describe unbelief that seeks to influence the church. Throughout the New Testament, they are called ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing, religious gluttons, and enemies of the cross.

Paul describes how to tell genuine from counterfeit faith. The word translated "approved" was used in the practice of evaluating coins to determine their value. Paul warns against counterfeit believers who may look real and sound like they teach a Christian message, but they have no real spiritual value. 2 Corinthians 10:18 makes clear that it is God's evaluation that matters.

In previous sermons, we saw that genuine believers aren't eager to fight and contend but display a disposition of gentleness and meekness even while exercising godly boldness and discernment.

The first phrase of 2 Corinthians 10:7 literally tells the readers to look at what's in front of them. Counterfeits are obvious. Some people only say they belong to Christ; but genuine believers seek to build others up. "Building up" is seeking to increase potential while focusing on the process involved. "Tearing down" tries to decrease capacity, weaken, or make less able.

No outside threat can really destroy what Christ has built. False believers attempt to dismantle trust in those who are genuine, but Paul reminds that his authority is from God.

2 Corinthians 10:9-11 describes those who destroy. They like to criticize, not to discern. The externalists leveled many criticisms against Paul which he refutes in this letter (2 Corinthians 3:1, 5:12, 11:6, 11:22). Genuine believers always believe that people will continue to grow, because that ability is sourced in Christ.

Application Points

  • If you claim to know Christ, ask yourself first, "is my faith genuine?" Examine your own heart before trying to judge others. If you find any un-Christ-like traits, identify them before God, ask Him to help you correct them, and continue to grow.
  • Do you seek to build others up or tear them down? Is your primary interest to see other believers grow, or are you seeking your own ends?
  • Do you believe that other believers will continue to grow, even the Christian who offends or hurts or annoys you? Don't lose sight of this reality for long. Christ's ability can always build progress in their growth. Don't cut off a relationship out of hurt or frustration; have a heartfelt conversation with the assumption that God is growing their genuine faith.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Peter 5:1-4 – Pastors feed and protect their flock.