Series: For Edification
Message – Examine Yourself
Our last Sunday teaching was on our stewardship of edification. During which time we learned about building up ourselves and others. This week we are learning about proving the strength, integrity and faithfulness of what has been built.
As you may remember, one of our points was just how far we are from that completed state of being built up into Christ’s image. “For where there are strife and jealousy and an inability to control what flies out your mouth – are you not carnal and behave as though you’d never even met Christ?” ( 1Cor. 3 & James 1)
So today’s teaching is – Examine Yourselves
2 Cor. 12:14-13:
“(14) Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. (15) And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. (16) But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning! (17) Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? (18) I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps? (19) Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. (20) For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; (21) lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.”
2Cor. 12:14&19, “…3rd time I am coming” & …for your edification.”
vs. 20 – How did he wish to find them and be found by them?
He wanted to find them repentant and glad to see him desiring further teaching and growth.
12:20-21, [Godly Discipline]
“…which they have practiced” (Not godly perfection, but less sin and more repentance)
NOTICE the list is predominantly those sins many Christians treat as petty… and which are largely tolerated.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE HE GOES WITH THIS!!!! (Chapter 13)
“(1) This will be the third time I am coming to you. “BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY WORD SHALL BE ESTABLISHED.” (2) I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare– (3) since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, Who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. (4) For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. (5) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you are disqualified. (6) But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. (7) Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. (8) For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. (9) For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. (10) Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction. (11) Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (12) Greet one another with a holy kiss. (13) All the saints greet you. (14) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”
“…the THIRD TIME” This was only over the course of 2 years.
Example Job 33:13-30,
“(13) Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words. (14) For God may speak in one way, or in another, Yet man does not perceive it. (15) In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, (16) Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction. (17) In order to turn man from his deed, And conceal pride from man, (18) He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword. (19) “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with strong pain in many of his bones, (20) So that his life abhors bread, And his soul succulent food. (21) His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones stick out which once were not seen. (22) Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, And his life to the executioners. (23) “If there is a messenger for him, A mediator, one among a thousand, To show man His uprightness, (24) Then He is gracious to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom’; (25) His flesh shall be young like a child’s, He shall return to the days of his youth. (26) He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, He shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness. (27) Then he looks at men and says, ‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right, And it did not profit me.’ (28) He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit, And his life shall see the light. (29) “Behold, God works all these things, Twice, in fact, three times with a man, (30) To bring back his soul from the Pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.”
“I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare– (3) since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.”
You can see here that Paul had been invested with corrective authority over those churches he helped to establish.
Again, in our last lesson I told you that ALL our judgments as Christians will include how we edified our brothers within the sphere of authority God had given us in this life. Each one’s sphere is different. One may have 10 talents, another 5 and another only 1…but God on simply looking for diligence and faithfulness. This is true for all Christians but ALL THE MORE for ministers who teach the Word. Consider the following verses…
1Cor. 4:1-4, “(1) Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. (3) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. (4) For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.”
1Cor. 9:16-17, “(16) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! (17) For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.”
James 3:1, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”
So, understand that Paul is here ONLY working faithfully within his given stewardship over those God had given to him but he was correcting them for the sake of edification.
Consider Vs. 3 – I will not spare–
Was this just apostolic authority? No
Acts 20:28, “(28) Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
- (someone look up) Heb. 13:17 – obey and submit
- to resist no longer, but to give way, yield (of combatants)
- metaphorically to yield to authority and admonition, to submit
- 2 Tim. 4:1-5,
“1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
2Tim. 2:2 – commit to faithful men
Back in 2 Cor. 13:3
Who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. (4) For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God.
1Jn. 4:4, “4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
VS 5. EXAMINE YOURSELVES – Same word as test, trial or temp
- Satan tempts you away from trust – inducing you to fail – James 1:13,14
- God tests your trust – drawing our and revealing true faith out of your heart – Heb. 11:17
Dokimázō, to prove to bring forth the good in us or to make us good, is at times contrasted with peirázō, to tempt to make us fall.
Dokimázō could not be used of Satan since he never wants us to experience God’s approval. He always tempts (peirázei) us with the intent to draw us away from faith and relationship…from trust and intimacy.
IN THE FAITH – Either the Christian faith or standing solid in active trust in Christ (Syriac). (very little difference).
Then Paul asks the REAL question – the question which if known and held in the conscious mind would dissuade sin so often
“Do you not know yourselves…that Christ IS in you!” (reference back to verse 3)
except ye be reprobates — The Greek softens the expression, “somewhat reprobates,” that is, not abiding the “proof” (alluding to the same word in the context); failing when tested. Image from metals.
Vs. 10 – for edification NOT destruction
Vs. 12-14 Paul encourages actions and awareness of koinonia both horizontally and vertically!
This service had content that is NOT written out here, so I would encourage you to listen to it WHILE you read…Blessings!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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