“You have no desire to help anyone as a preacher. You just want to get rich off of us!” As a preacher, the apostle Paul had to defend himself against those who accused him with words like the above statement. As a preacher, it hurts when accusations are made like that. In fact, he had to confirm his work and apostleship again to some of the very people he had helped and converted (2 Corinthians 2:14 -3:3)! Notice some things he said to Christians from 2 Corinthians 2:17:
Not everything peddled in the religious market is genuine. We are not as so many peddling… Peddling means to make money by selling anything. Anyone who has ever visited a foreign market knows that there are watches that look like a Rolex, but are definitely not a Rolex. Religiously, there ARE people who will try to sell something that looks and sounds good, but with investigation, it proves to be false as it can be (see 1 Jn. 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:15).
There are so many who are peddling the word of God. We are not as so many… Religious confusion and division is something that is abhorrent to God but is the delight of the father of lies. The more lies people believe about our origin, our purpose and our destiny— the more the devil can keep people away from obeying the truth.
We appreciate clarity in seeing what we are buying. But as of sincerity… ”Sincerity” is a word picture in Greek that means, “judged by sunlight.” It has reference to the examination of what’s in the market by taking it out into full sun and seeing if it is without fault as its claim might be. God wants us to take the doctrine out and see if it holds darkness or obscurity in it. If so, it is not genuine and we’re being peddled something false.
We will all answer to the “market” judge. But as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. Every time the word of God is brought out, God is present. Every time someone is told something about salvation, God is judging what is being said. How we need to be careful to speak and teach others knowing that God is listening intently to see if He, and His plan is being accurately represented (Jas. 3:1-2; 1 Pet. 4:11). God help us to be careful with what we say and how we teach others.