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Passing the Test of Faith (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Sermon on Sunday 13 Oct 2019 by Brother Gaius

2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. This faith should not be a blind faith. We must know what we are putting our faith in and why we are exercising our faith. Is it out of a one-time desperation or a result of our daily walk with God? Are we true believers?

The NLT version of 2 Corinthians 13:5 reads - Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. It is about whether our faith is real. When there is trouble, do we depend on ourselves or our friends first, or do we seek God? When the real test comes, do we behave like how the bible has taught us to behave?

2 Corinthians is a letter written by Paul to the church in Corinth.

2 Corinthians 13:1-2 - 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. 

Paul went to the church in Corinth three times. The first time was when Paul established the church. The second time he went, he realised that the church was not right in terms of the people's behaviour. At the third time, he had stern words for them, warning them not to continue their sins.

2 Corinthians 13:3-4 - 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. 

Paul is establishing an authority here. He is telling them that Jesus is powerful but he is not destroying them now. That Jesus is giving them time to come back to their faith.

Let us look at the church in Corinth - how they behave. 2 Corinthians 11:4 - For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Jesus' blood is precious. We should not cheapen the work He has done on the cross. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him. Therefore, repent. Acts 2:38 - Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

2 Corinthians 11:7-9 - Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.

Paul had taken collections from other churches in order to build up the church of Corinth. God will provide when we pray to Him. We don't need to worry about money when we are faithful to His word. God will provide for the work done in His name.

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 - We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord.

God clearly said that giving is not compulsory. It is not a command. Rather, God loves a cheerful giver. His grace will provide all sufficiency. Here, Paul is praising the people of Macedonia as they are struggling in poverty yet give generously. That they have so much earnestness for their brothers and sisters in Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:7-8 - But as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you - see that you excel in this act of grace also. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

The act of grace mentioned here is offering (giving). The church in Corinth had no lack. They are good at everything - they can do church work well. But how about excelling in giving? Our mind frame must be right. We should not give with the expectation to see returns subsequently. We must bless in faith. We should not expect any return. Don't worry about your needs as He will not forsake us. The testing of our faith is a test of our love. When we see someone in need, do we walk past or do we help? If you have genuine love, you will help without expectation of reward.

2 Corinthians 12:20-21 - For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish - that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit and disorder. I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practised.

Not only is the church in Corinth ungenerous with money, they have character issues and mind issues. 


2 Corinthians 13:5-6 - Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realise 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.

How to pass the test?

3 points to remember:

1. Material

Let us be in a position of serving. If you want to be served, it means you cannot serve and need others to serve you. If you serve, it means you have the ability to serve. Serving is better.

2 Corinthians 8:7 - (see above) 

2 Corinthians 11:8 - (see above) 

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 - Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

If we have material, let us be generous.  

2. Mannerism

2 Corinthians 12:20 - (see above)

2 Corinthians 10:1 - I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 - We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Be gentle. Even if anyone says things against you, still be gentle. A gentle answer turns anger away (Proverbs 15). 

3. Mind

2 Corinthians 12:21 - (see above)

2 Corinthians 11:2 - For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one

husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Jesus suffered for our sins, not His as He is blameless. We must be faithful to our spouses, otherwise, would we be faithful to God? Ever since the time of the garden of Eden, the serpent has been playing with our mind. Even today, the serpent is still lurking. Guard your mind, then the devil cannot play with your mind. Allow Jesus Christ to fill your mind instead. Then the devil cannot enter. God tests us, but He will give us the answer to the test. He puts good things into our mind as well, to guide us to the answer. Guard your mind.

2 Corinthians 13:7-8 - 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.

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