You’d think Paul would end his letter to the Corinthians on a high note. We know it will be a happy ending for the child of God. But before we read Revelation 21 and 22 we need to read this. There is cause to examine ourselves. If there was ever a time to be cautious it is now. It requires daily—not quarterly—evaluation. Don’t wait to do it just before a revival. It’s a must in our daily lives.
II Corinthians 13: This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth 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.5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
Paul talked like he was bringing a briar switch with him. I don’t know if the people of Corinth needed that but I know I do. They sought proof from Paul of his apostleship. It’s a sight what proof we require from others all the while offering little proof of ourselves. We’re either in our out. When Paul spoke of reprobates he referred to those who cast off the faith and want nothing to do with God. I want to be a more of a Christian than a Free Will Baptist, more than a church member, more than a preacher. We must have a personal relationship with the Lord. We have to embrace the faith to the point of demonstrating it by the way we live.
We don’t get far enough along in our Christian walk that we know and have it all under our belt. If we’re not depending on the Lord as we once did we’ll lose our joy and purpose. The church at Sardis had a name that it lived but Jesus said they were dead. They allowed their relationship to die. They appeared to be all right but one by one they died. Don’t be a dying people. Walk in newness of life.
We’re troubled from without by a God-rejecting society and world. The devil has his propaganda out there that there is nothing real with the Bible, the cross and Jesus. There is pressure all around. People will agree that Jesus lived and was executed. When it comes to the empty tomb many think the disciples took his body to an unknown location and said that he was raised. Others say that he wasn’t really dead; they resuscitated him and he lived out his life to an old man and was buried. I KNOW Jesus is not in the grave. The witness is in me. It’s in you. We didn’t visit the tomb that first Easter morning. We weren’t part of the 500 witnesses. We weren’t on the mountain the day he ascended to heaven. If we’re saved we have experienced his presence. He is risen and lives forevermore!
It behooves us to do self-examination. I have no right to tell others about the moat in their eye when I do nothing about the log in mine. Come before God each day and check yourself out. It’s easy to see the failures of others but not our own. The only place we can trust to gage us correctly is by the Bible. Don’t brag to the Lord about how good a Christian we are. The only way to be kept right is to follow the Bible and yield to God. Walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Mortify the ways of the flesh; don’t follow them. Follow that which is good. Be children of truth. We can’t fake it with God. If we live right it will be by the power of God and our dependence on him and not ourselves.
Denomination after denomination has departed the faith; they left the truth. They no longer embrace Jesus Christ and the Bible. God will give us victory. He will take care of us. Can we backslide? Yes. I can’t see it but God can see the degree that all of us may have slid back since last week. Unchecked, it leads to a departure from the truth. That’s why self-examination is needed. Hebrews 3:12 tells us to take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
I’m not trying to blast you. I want to encourage you to live up to the truth. Don’t be ashamed of God. If you’re right with God you will hunger to be and stay that way. It won’t be a matter of ‘I have to’ but a matter of ‘I want to.’ Jesus did the right thing. God gave his son. Don’t take that for granted. We must live right before we can be right. Determine to be pleasing to him.
But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. I don’t want a sinner to ever call me an old rascal. They notice a backslider before we do. Judgment is coming to the house of God to get us ready. If we want to be ready to meet the devil tomorrow be right with God today. The only way is to examine ourselves. Open your heart before the Lord and lay a greater hold on the faith. Put the Kingdom of God first. It only takes one little fox to spoil the field, so examination is necessary. When you go to the doctor, he’ll check you out. You’ll be laid on the table and poked up and down. It’s time to lie down on God’s examination table and let him check us out.