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 May 14, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: 2 Chronicles 13 – 17
Audio: 2 Chronicles 13 – 17

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

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!
(2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV)

2 Corinthians 13 (ESV)

This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 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! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

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.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 fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

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Next: Galatians 1

Back: 2 Corinthians 12

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. "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."

    When I read Paul's teachings about the church's handling of those who live in unrepentant and ongoing patterns of sin, I see over and over this desire for their restoration, even after they have been removed. Here Paul even says to aim for it — to seek it.

    I have a question for Scott and Dan: how does restoration happen? What is our responsibility? 

    1. Great question, Michelle. 🙂

      How does restoration happen?

      First, God disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). Discipline is necessary because of sin but it's in the context of discipleship which is not punitive but instructive and restorative if repentance takes place. 

      Restoration happens when sinful behavior is addressed within the context of the body and repentance has takes place. This restoration into fellowship reflects the restoration of fellowship between them and God. 

      What is our responsibility? We are to go to the person one-on-one. 

      Jesus said in Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother."

      What if the person doesn't listen? You go with one or two others. 

      Jesus said in Matthew 18:16, "But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses."

      What if the person still does not listen? You need to go to the church leadership (Pastor and Elders). 

      Matthew 18:17, "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

      Paul addresses sin in a general sense within the context of a church in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 when he said, "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. 'Purge the evil person from among you.'"

      This shows the serious nature of sin and the damage not only to reputation of a church but also to Christ. 

      This is also balanced with 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 when he writes, "Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs."

      The hope is that when sin needs to be addressed, it is done so in love and people respond with repentance. But not everyone in a local assembly is born again and out of love for the flock of God, there may come a time when someone has to be asked to leave. 

      Even when this happens, it's with the hope that they would come to Christ for salvation, they would understand the reason church discipline had to take place and they would be a thriving disciple of Christ. 

      I hope this helps!

  2. 2 Corinthians 13:5 –

    I feel that I do examine myself, but I've always been one to second-guess myself and have fear that I'm doing things wrong. It's also probably a bit of disbelief that God would ever want or love someone like me. I know he does, but it's still hard to believe. I feel His works in me everyday, and yet I find myself shaking my head, somewhat unable to comprehend how and why I am so blessed. 

  3. 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! 2 Corinthians 13:5

    No Examination Needed?

    As the Corinthians question whether or not Christ is speaking through the Apostle Paul, he tells them they should examine themselves to see if Christ is in them (if they are truly in the faith).

    The word examine means: to test v. — to put to the test in order to ascertain the nature of something, including imperfections, faults, or other qualities.

    I once taught on the Parable of the Sower in an Adult Bible Study at a previous church. As I worked through the parable, I referenced this verse and to my surprise, I was blasted for insinuating that people can believe in God and yet "fail to meet the test". I was accused of teaching "legalism" and they scoffed at the notion of any type of examination of their faith or that there are people deceived into thinking they are born again who are not.

    I found Paul Barnett's commentary on this second letter to the church at Corinth helpful:

    "This verse turns on two imperatives, 'examine' and 'test.' Although the former often has the negative intent to provoke to sin (1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Corinthians 10:3; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:5), its use here is probably synonymous with the second word, that is, to 'prove so as to approve' (see 2 Corinthians 8:22; cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 11:28; Romans 2:18; Romans 14:22; Ephesians 5:10). This in turn leads on to the theme of 'disproved' and 'approved' that dominates (2 Corinthians 5–7). The Corinthians were demanding 'proof' that the Christ was speaking through Paul (2 Corinthians 3a); Paul now calls on them to 'prove' themselves to themselves (2 Corinthians 7:12)."

    Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (p. 607). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

    Paul is not making a broad statement against the church as a whole but is certainly bringing to their attention that they have listened to and been influenced by people who question the validity of Paul's authority and apostleship. 

    I found Colin Kruse's comments quite interesting regarding "failing the test":

    "Just as Paul emphasized in the previous verse (by the use of reflexive pronouns) that the Corinthians should test themselves to ensure that they are holding to the faith, so he stresses here (by the inclusion of the emphatic pronoun hēmeis, we) his hope that he and his colleagues will be found not to have failed the Corinthians’ test. This comes as a surprise, for the context leads us to expect that Paul’s hope would be that the Corinthians would be the ones who would pass the test. The explanation of this is: by testing themselves and reaching the conclusion that they do hold to the faith and that therefore Christ is in them, the Corinthians will at the same time be acknowledging that Paul and his colleagues have not failed. For if they hold the true faith and are indwelt by Christ, that is so because of what they received through the ministry of Paul and his fellow workers, and that in turn proves that Paul is a true apostle, one who has not failed the test."

    Kruse, C. G. (1987). 2 Corinthians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 8, p. 212). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

    Paul Barnett's comments on the phrase "unless indeed you fail to meet the test" are also helpful:

    "…This must mean that Paul has been and is Christ’s true minister. To affirm the one demands the other. Their verdict on themselves is their verdict on him. If they are not “disproved” (adokimoi), it can only mean that he is 'approved' (dokimos), that is, by God, as he proceeds to say in the verses following (2 Corinthians 13:6, 10; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 10:18)."

    Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 608–609). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

    As I reflect on this letter, I see the danger and damage of false teachers in a church. The Corinthians church was a mess and in the distraction of sinfulness, wolves were able to gain ground on unsuspecting sheep and influence the church against Paul.

    Also, when we examine ourselves, it should be painfully obvious that we are far from perfect. Therefore, it should also be obvious no church is perfect. Paul realized this and he did not "give up" on the church – even though they questioned his apostleship. 

  4. [Main outline from Wiersbe Expository Outlines]

    1. Be Ready for My Visit (13:1-4)
      1. "crucified in weakness" The Lord of eternity, creator and sustainer of all that is made, was humiliated and crucified (Phil 2:7-8; 1 Pet 3:18; Heb 4:15; Jn 1:10-11). For years it has been my practice during communion to remind myself of the depth of that humiliation of Christ. You see, where I am nothing, he who is 'something' became nothing, so that I  who am nothing, may become something. 
      2. "lives by the power of God" The same Jesus who humbled himself and died, did not remain dead; the crucifixion is just the intermission for the greatest act. For my God's not dead, He's surely alive …  He is alive by the power of God. Because of this fact, my heart and mind cry out with loud exuberance and give him glory.
      3. "For" Paul draws a comparison of his ministry with the humility of Christ, and the power of God. It is because of the humiliation of Christ that he can gladly endure humiliation of  those opposed to him. I think there is a slight hint of warning here as well that when he comes, he will not hesitate to demonstrate the 'power of God' in correcting sinful behavior.
    2. Be Sure You Are Saved (13:5-7)
    3. Be Obedient to God's Word (13:8-10)
    4. Be Mature in Your Faith (13:11-14)

    I love the benediction in verse 14

    2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

    14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

    This verse declares the trinity,

    • Grace of Lord Jesus Christ
    • Love of God
    • Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

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