Tag: examine yourselves
Scripture reading for October 4th: 2nd Corinthians 13
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 13:2-7 “I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them–since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but in dealing with you we will live with Him by the power of God. Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
Paul, as a pastor and apostle, was watchful over the flock of God. He warned those in the congregation on his second visit about sinning and even earlier had instructed them how discipline a sinning brother. In this letter he had instructed them on restoration of the repentant brother. Paul again warned them that if he came again a third time, he would still deal with those who were not living in holiness. Even in his weakness, they would experience the power of God flowing through him to bring order and discipline to cases established by two or more witnesses. Each person was called to examine their own hearts about their relationship with Christ Jesus. “Is Christ in you?” was the question to be answered. If indeed Christ was living in them, sin could not dwell in their midst. Paul preferred to come and build them up, not discipline them.
2nd Corinthians 13:9-10 “For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. For this reason I write these thing while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for a pastor’s heart of love and watchfulness and tenderness towards Your flock. Help me to grow in watchfulness and ability to gently instruct and correct those who are caught in webs of sin. May I never use the authority You give except under the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. Let it be for building up, not tearing down.
2nd Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
Scripture reading for July 21: 1st Corinthians 11
Christians know that Christ has paid the penalty for their sins and can rest in His finished work on the cross. (2nd Corinthians 5:21) There is no ‘condemnation’ for those in Christ . (Romans 8:1) But does this mean that we never have to look at our lives again in relation to possible sins? Are we automatically under grace when we do sin? Paul addressed this question in relation to taking the Lord’s Supper.
“In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. . . .What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!” (1st Corinthians 11:17-22) The church was coming together to worship in division and strife. The Lord’s Supper was a sacrament meant to bind His body together and it was bringing more strife because of wrong hearts.
The remedy was self-examination before partaking of the Lord’s Supper! “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks the cup.” (1st Corinthians 11:28) Partaking with division, pride, unforgiveness or an improper respect for God’s mercy towards you and others could be hazardous to personal health and eternal rewards! Let’s judge ourselves!
Scripture reading for September 13th: 2nd Corinthians 13:1-14
Paul was coming for his third visit and promised to address their problems with the sins he listed. Some people there were questioning Paul’s authority and the power of Christ. He told them that every matter would be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. He had warned them on the second visit and now was prepared to deal with those who had not repented. “. . .since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you but is powerful among you. 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 to serve you.” (2nd Corinthians 13:3-4) It was Christ’s power in Paul’s weak body that made him a servant of Christ to help them. Christ would not put up with sin in His body!
“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? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” (2nd Corinthians 13:5-6) Paul told them to test themselves for Christ in their life. The real test of true Christianity is Christ living in us. Paul knew that Christ lived in his body and was confident that these Corinthians would see that in him. (Galatians 2:20) They also would be able to know whether or not Christ was in them!
Paul was writing this letter to help these Corinthian Christian make the needed corrections in their lives before he came and would need to use his authority in person. His desire and Christ’s was for their perfection! His final words showed his heart to these brothers: “Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2nd Corinthians 13:11)
If we will take godly correction from those God places in our lives, we will make progress towards perfection! If we don’t aim for perfection, we surely won’t hit it by accident! We must help one another in order to make progress and to work at living in peace. God will work in us and love us to perfection!
Scripture reading for August 18th: 1st Corinthians 11:17-34
Paul next dealt with the problem of divisions in the church coming from how they were partaking of the Lord’s Supper, what we would call ‘Holy Communion’. In that day, this sacrament was usually a part of a meal called a ‘love feast’. The church came together to eat a meal and celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
Paul addressed their bad manners and lack of love for each other displayed during this meal. Some were coming early and eating all the food. Others were taking too much wine and getting drunk. (1st Corinthians 11:20-22) Paul warned them that they were despising God’s church and humiliating those who had nothing to eat. This caused strife and division during a meal that was to bring unity!
Paul explained the Lord’s Supper as he had received it. “The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (!st Corinthians 11:23-26) This sacrament was to help believers center their lives on the One who had given His life for them. The bread represented Christ’s broken body, offered as a sinless sacrifice. The cup represented the shed blood that sealed a new covenant of grace through faith with each person who would trust in Jesus. The cup also spoke of the second coming of Christ. When He returned, believers would receive a new body and partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven with Christ. (Revelation 19:7-9)
Paul encouraged each person to examine themselves before they partook of this precious meal. They should each judge themselves and repent of any sins or division. He even warned them that if they partook of the meal in an unworthy manner, the possibility of God’s judgment was there. Some had even died from failure to partake in the right spirit. (1st Corinthians 11:29-31) God’s desire was for all to be blessed! Take a minute to examine your heart today! Repent of any known sin and honor Christ’s gift of grace!