TEXT: 2 Corinthians 13:1-6
READING: Philippians 1:1-26
SUBJ: The evidence of true faith in our lives is that it reflects the person and work of Christ our Lord.
AIM: That we might constantly be in the way of proving our faith through Christ as the evidence of our very salvation.
INTR: There is a great tendency in all to weigh the motives of others. We must take care that we do not reason from an imperfect reference which is our own hearts. Paul would so warn here.
1. The typical emphasis on this passage is “examine yourselves.” (Cf. Paul Washer message.) The emphasis has come across as an attack message When it may well be an encourage to find assurance. Consider 1 John and evidences of the new birth.
2. The Corinthians were a difficult people and yet were addressed as men of faith. Yet, where there is a departure from what appears holy is a reason to cite lack of evidence.
3. The Apostle defends his own authority and credibility by directing them to evaluate what they have in themselves (regeneration, conversion, justification, and sanctification) as a result of his teaching.
THESIS: The work of Christ is both received and modeled in those who preach the Gospel and in those who believe it. Christ then becomes the standard of self examination.
I. The Evidence Sought after in Paul (vv. 1-3)
1. Consider in verses 1 and 2 some of Paul’s history with the Corinthians. (3rd time?)
1) Their problem with lack of leadership
2) Their problem with acknowledging sin.
2. Consider furthermore that Paul was judged to be “weighty” in his letters, but weak in appearance. 2 Corinthians 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
3. Paul had zero tolerance for sin (see 12:19-21)
4. Their question of his authority surfaces
1) With regard to the authority, he would display in calling out their sin
2) And the tendency to separate from special scrutiny (ex. everybody is doing it).
5. Since you seek – Christ in Paul was not weak to exercise authority and He was to be believed. (v. 3)
II. The Nature of the Evidence to be given (v. 4)
1. First that Christ was
1) Crucified through weakness – an interesting and accurate description.
2) Yet, He lives by the power of God. S.F. Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. AND Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
2. This same pattern is manifest in both the preacher and the believer.
3. Compare Paul’s statement in, 2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
4. Paul did not claim personal power but the resurrection power of God.
III. The Evidence of Paul’s authority and power was to be seen in them (vv. 5-6)
1. Examine (carefully check) and prove (document or find evidence) within yourselves.
2. The standard for examination is faith, its existence and object. Did they have it or were they Christians in name only. (Nominal Christianity)
3. Do you know that Christ is in you?
1) If so, on what basis did it come – to them – and to us? Paul’s authority and then see James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
2) A sobering thought is “except ye be reprobates.” Theologically it is to be judicially abandoned (Hodge) but here it means to be without evidence.
4. Then it should follow logically that if they are not without evidence then Paul was not without evidence.
5. The writer’s desire in, And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12)
6. And see, Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
IV. How shall apply these precepts?
1. By constantly testing or seeking evidence of our faith
2. By seeking the confirmation of Christ is us as our “hope of glory.”