Devo – 2 Corinthians 13:1-14 – Examine Yourself

2 Corinthians 13:1-14 – Examine Yourself

  1. Intro

    1. PRAY!

    2. It is interesting around this time of year that I find myself thinking about how I am insufficient, that I need God’s help to even get me through the day. That I am weak, that my flesh fails and that I need God’s grace. Thankfully in my weakness God is faithful and He is my strength, and I have joy in my salvation, that God’s grace is sufficient for me.

    3. With these thoughts it is not surprising that I find myself in 2 Corinthians again for my fourth quarter devo. As I prepared to write this, I thought to review the other devotions I’ve done and saw that my last devo of 2016 was 2 Corinthians 3:1-6. Thankfully I didn’t overlap with this study and we will be in 2 Corinthians 13:1-14.

    4. Read 2 Corinthians 13:1-14

    5. Book intro:

      1. 2 Corinthians was written by Paul in 56-57 AD. After his first two visits, and speaks of a future third visit.

      2. The letter can be divided into four sections

        1. Paul’s greeting to the church in Corinth

        2. Paul’s Apostolic ministry

        3. Collections for the believers in Jerusalem

        4. Paul’s authority and response against the “Super Apostles”

  2. [2Co 13:1-4 NIV] 1 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

    1. [2Co 13:1 NIV] 1 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

      1. Paul clearly states that this future visit will be his third to the church in Corinth.

      2. Paul then quotes part of Deuteronomy 19:15, that in context states one witnesses is not enough to convict a person of a crime.

        1. There are two views on why Paul quotes Deuteronomy 19:15, one is that as Paul is coming to Corinth with his Apostolic authority to discipline, and in implementation following the pattern established in Deuteronomy 19, and also Matthew 18.

        2. The other view is again that Paul is coming to visit in authority as an Apostle, and is quoting Deuteronomy 19:15 in reference to his first and second visit, that they each serve as a witness to the sin in the Corinthian church.

          1. This view is taken by Hodge and Guzik and seems to fit in context with the following verses.

    2. [2Co 13:2 NIV] 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others,

      1. Referencing his second visit, which has been labeled as “severe” or “painful” and would seem did not go well. This next visit, there will be no beating around the bush, it is almost like “Daddy’s back and you’re going to be in trouble.”

      2. Paul is warning them that he will not spare or treat leniently anyone in the church that is found still in sin. Guzik puts it, Paul is coming to clean house.

    3. [2Co 13:3-4 NIV] 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

      1. Because of Paul being discredited by the “Super Apostles” they were questioning Paul’s authority as an Apostle.

      2. The “Super Apostles” were pomp and flash, they were loud and boisterous. This was the opposite of Paul’s ministry, where he was humble and he worked to served others.

      3. Christ can also be seen as weak, the world would consider dying an act of weakness.

        1. That Christ not only died but He did so willing. He willing took the insults, beatings, lashings and being nailed to the cross without a fight, not even a defense. The way of the world would say that was weak.

      4. The power and authority of Paul was from Christ, it wasn’t his own, and that power is not weak. For Christ is not dead but alive by God’s power.

      5. Paul was warning that he would use God’s power and authority in dealing with them.

  3. [2Co 13:5-10 NIV] 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong–not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority–the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

    1. [2Co 13:5 NIV] 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?

      1. Paul turns the question of his authority as an Apostle back on them, by telling the church of Corinth they were to examine and themselves.

      2. Followed by a rhetorical question asking if they do not realize or know as Christians that Christ dwells in them?

        1. Unless they aren’t Christians, in which case they fail the test because they do not have Christ.

        2. As believers in Christ the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24) should be evident in their lives.

        3. And to go a little deeper we have the three “tests” in 1 John:

          1. Doctrinal – [1Jo 2:22-23 ESV] 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

          2. Moral – [1Jo 2:3-4 ESV] 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

          3. Love for God – [1Jo 4:7-8 ESV] 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    2. [2Co 13:6 NIV] 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

      1. Then he prompts, in knowing that he is writing to a Christian church that they should recognize Christ in him.

      2. So instead of questioning Paul to see if Christ was speaking through him, Paul tells them to take a look at themselves and see if Jesus Christ is inside them.

        1. We as Christians should examine ourselves. We should be able to take stock of lives, and see how our walk with Christ has grown, and has matured through time.

        2. God’s saving grace and sanctifying work in our lives should be evident to us.

        3. Though, we need to be careful when we do our self examining, and make sure that it is truly inward focused on the work of Christ in our life and not how we measure up to others.

        4. In Matthew 7 we the know parable of having a log in our own eye.

          1. [Mat 7:3-5 NASB] 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

          2. I have this mental image of the show Gilligan’s Island, where Gilligan is carrying a plank or log and every time he turns to help the Skipper he ends up whacking him. Gillian’s good intentions were defeated by the harm he was causing.

          3. Before we can even look at others, we need to be sure our own lives, our own walk is right with God.

        5. Even so we need to make sure that our measuring stick is true. We can try measuring ourselves against other Christians but in the end what we are going to find is another sinner.

          1. This really hits home with me. I remember thinking as a kid thinking… King David committed adultery, had a kid conceived out of wedlock and then committed murder to cover it up… and he was considered a man after God’s own heart… so I must not be doing half bad. I’d never do any of those things.

          2. But we know better, I know better, for in Matthew 5 Jesus says:

          3. [Mat 5:21-22 NASB] 21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

          4. And [Mat 5:27-28 NASB] 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

        6. Even though David was a man after God’s own heart, he is not the standard by which we are saved. A single thought is enough for us to deserve hell, and I measure up to exactly that, hell, I deserve hell.

        7. But praise God we don’t have to measure up.

        8. It is only by Christ’s eternal sacrifice, by His shed blood by which we are saved. So even though I know I will never match up, I am so thankful that I am washed clean by Christ’s blood shed for me.

    3. [2Co 13:7 NIV] 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong–not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.

      1. Here Paul shares that he actually prays that they are not doing anything wrong when he arrives, that they are not in sin.

      2. They were testing or questioning Paul’s authority as an Apostle, and he expressed earlier in chapter 13 that he was going to show them that authority through discipline, and not be lenient either. But it is his prayer that he will fail that “test” of showing authority because there will not be any need for discipline.

    4. [2Co 13:8 NIV] 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.

      1. Unlike the “Super Apostles” Paul’s authority is in Christ and it would not be used in falsehood, not used just for show to gain notoriety.

    5. [2Co 13:9 NIV] 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored.

      1. The NASB and NKJV say “made complete.”

      2. Again it is Paul’s prayer is that the church in Corinth would be complete, that they wouldn’t be lacking in any area of their faith. That would continue to grow in their faith and knowledge of God.

      3. It would even make him glad, that if he didn’t have to exercise any authority, thus again failing the “test” and appearing weak.

    6. [2Co 13:10 NIV] 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority–the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

      1. Paul wants to build the Corinthian church up, in the beginning of this chapter Paul writes that he is willing come with full authority to discipline the church.

      2. But he is writing this letter as a warning to them and in the hope that they would recognize their sin, repent and make corrections before he arrives.

      3. He cares for these people, and does not want his visit to be harsh for them, but rather to build them up and edify them.

    7. [2Co 13:11 NIV] 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

      1. Just as the verse says, Paul wants them to rejoice. Not to be sad, discouraged or even afraid of his arrival.

      2. They are to to strive for full restoration, by encouraging one another, living in harmony with each other.

      3. And he wants that God, being a God of love and peace would also be with them.

  4. Closing

    1. It’s not odd that I came to 2 Corinthian because I find myself insufficient, and that that feeling of insufficiency multiplies during this busy time of year.

    2. But I came away with this scripture that asks the Corinthian church to examine themselves, examining oneself and the past year is also pretty common around this time of the year.

    3. And looking back I am glad that I am insufficient, that God can and does use us who are broken.

    4. God used Gideon, who was afraid, threshing wheat in a wine press, Rhab the harlot, Ruth the widowed Moabite, to name very few.

    5. My prayer for end of this year and the next is that I remain completely insufficient, that there is never a thought in my mind that I measure up. That it is by God’s grace, strength, comfort, joy and love that I live my life. That I will not rely on my own weakness but God’s strength, that my eyes would be fixed upon Him and nothing else.

    6. [2Co 13:14 NIV] 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Go back to top