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Thursday, June 27, 2019

2019.06.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 13:1-6

Questions for Littles: How many times has Paul been to Corinth (2 Corinthians 13:1)? What does he tell them about resolving the discipline cases that he plans to address? What will he not do, this time around, when he comes (2 Corinthians 13:2)? Of what were they seeking proof (2 Corinthians 13:3)? What did they think about Paul? What should they have thought about Christ instead? What happened to Christ in His weakness (2 Corinthians 13:4)? But what is His condition now? And what is the believer’s condition in this life? But what will their condition be in the future? How? What does the apostle tell them to do in 2 Corinthians 13:5? Of what are they looking for evidence? What would it mean if they don’t find any? What is he sure that they will know (2 Corinthians 13:6)? 
What difference does believing in the power of Christ make?

For one, it means taking sin seriously—both in the church (2 Corinthians 13:1) and in ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:2). The apostle insists that they proceed formally and judicially. Unrepented sin in the church demands formal discipline.

Just as before (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:1-6), the apostle reminds them that Christ has revealed the greatness of His power by what He has done in them (2 Corinthians 13:3-4). And, if He is so powerful, then we must not trifle with Him.

Sadly, there are many who never even consider whether there is evidence of their new life in Christ. If we confess that Christ is powerful, can we really be satisfied with completely unchanged lives?

But we have an apostolic command to assess and test ourselves. Some will speak against this. They think it is some kind of performance assessment. But it’s not performance that we are assessing, but reality. Not “how well are you doing for Christ,” but rather, “is Christ actually in you?”

If we don’t value Christ enough to care about the real answer to that question, then the temptation is to consider the one who calls us to task (or charges us with something before the church) as if they are claiming illegitimate authority. And, to be sure, there are people who really do abuse their authority in the church. But the apostle makes it clear here that there is also legitimate authority in the church—not just his own, but others’: “you will know that we are not illegitimate.”

This, then, is one of the purposes for which the Lord Jesus has established legitimate authority, discipline, and judicial process in His church. Christ is a legitimate Savior, who makes a legitimate difference in those whom He saves, and He wants us to know whether or not we are legitimate Christians!
When and how do you examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith?
Suggested songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH32B “How Blessed Is He Whose”

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