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Faithlife Corporation

Examine Yourself

Notes & Transcripts

NEO ChurchParkside    Julyne 285, 2009

 

2 Cor 13:5 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?

 

Paul’s Reason for Writing

 

Why is Paul writing this second letter to the Corinthians

 

Paul could see that the Corinthians were not living as if they were believers

 

The book of First Corinthians reveals some of the problems that were present in the Corinthian church.

There were Divisions in the church, There was sexual immorality in the church unlike even the heathen practiced and the church was proud and boasted of their tolerance

 

There were, arguments about Spiritual gifts. marriage problems and lawsuits among believers to name just a few.

 

And there were many who opposed  Paul and his instructions to them

They attacked his authority as well as his teaching which leads Paul to say in 1 Cor 4:3

I car very little if I am judged by you or any human court….My conscience is clear

They would not take his counsel

They were argumentative

They challenged his very authority as an Apostle

 

 As we approach these verses in 2 Corinthians, we ought to note IN the beginning verses of  2 Cor Chapter 13, Paul explains that he has visited the Corinthian church twice and still  is receiving arguments from them regarding his instruction to them.

What were the problems? 

While we don’t know specifically, but generally the problem was that the Corinthian church did not want to do what Paul Instructed them to do.

They probably said something to him like “Paul, That’s just your opinion!  But I see things differently.”

In their selfishness, they attack Paul’s authority and his message.

 

All of this while he was trying to Serve them.

After two visits and two long letters, Paul finally warns the Corinthians to heed his instructions or to face the consequences of discipline from and Apostle.

He finally comes to the heart of the matter.

It seems that the Corinthians were spending a great deal of time examining Paul;

And Paul now says that it was time they examined themselves.

 

Why this fairly harsh statement?

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith, test yourselves?

 

Because they were not living God honoring, humble lives that would give credence to their proclamation.

A true Christian experience will bear examination.

 “Are you even in the faith?” asked Paul.

“Are you truly saved?”

 

In the King James this verse reads

 

Examine 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?

(KJV)

The word “reprobate” means “counterfeit

The word literally means “not passing the test.”

 

 

In Euguene Petersen’s  The Message,

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith.

Don’t drift along taking everything for granted.

Give yourselves regular checkups.

You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you.

Test it out.

 If you fail the test, do something about it.


 Remember the warnings in Matt. 7:15–29 and the startling truths of 2 Cor. 11:13–15.

Matt 7:13-14

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

 

2 Cor 11:12-15 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13            For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

 

In this day of satanic counterfeits, it is important that professing Christians know that they are saved.


2 Cor 13:5 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?

In this day and age, we at NEO ChruchParkside must also take this charge to heart.

But what does it mean to be In the Faithis Biblical Faith?

While some might teach that Faith is Totally Subjective.  That one must “take a leap of Faith”

 I submit to you that Biblical faith is

 

Biblical Faith is Intellectual

Biblical Faith is Volitional  and

Biblical Faith is Observable

Faith is Intellectual – ie Rational

Faith is Volitional – involving the will

Faith Observable – by a changed life


1. Biblical Faith is Intellectual

It is Rational

Biblical Faith is based on Knowledge of the Truth about God

When I say that it is Rational, I do not mean that one can come to know God through Rational thought alone

God has revealed Himself in what He has made.

We call that General Revelation

We can know that He exists, but we cannot know anything about Him without His Specific Revelation given to us in the Scriptures.

.. so Romans tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17

Faith presupposes that God has given us some knowledge of the Truth in His Word.

It presupposes a hearing of the word of God and an acceptance of what we hear


We have heard what God’s Word has said;

,. That God Is 

.. That God became incarnate in Christ

.. That He died for our sins

..That He rose again

..That Christ is able to save us

That Christ pleads with us to come to Him for Salvation

And That we are justified by faith in His name and in His sacrifice

Faith, At The Most Basic Level Is To Believe That These Great Doctrines Are True!

Faith Is Rational But It Is Not Rationalistic. 

By that I mean that we cannot reason our way to the Gospel, but the gospel is Reasonable

Faith is an act of reason.  It always involves an act of the mind.

Biblical Faith is an assent to the Truth that we know about God from His Word

 (MacCloud)p 173

 First of all faith is belief or assent.

 It is an intellectual commitment; the submission of the mind to the truth of the gospel.

“Faith is more than assent, but it is never less than assent” –Sinclair Ferguson

 

Biblical Faith is first of all, Intellectual and secondly

2. Faith is Volitional

– It involves the Will

 

Faith is a Willful Trust in God

 

It always begins with belief,

but it is more than belief.

 

Faith is a personal commitment to God ..in Christ.

 

…trusting, obeying and worshiping God in terms of that Truth


Understanding that Faith is Intellefctual or rational,

 

Over the years, there have been those who have held that

Faith is simply a matter of the intellect.

  A matter of believing that things happened  that have been recorded in the New testament. 

That Faith is simply a belief in the veracity or acceptance of the propositions given in the Scriptures, 

…that faith is only the mental assent to the truths told in the NT

and does not entail any other thing.

For example, the Roman Catholic Church equates faith with accepting implicitly whatever the Church teaches.

We must be careful how we respond to this idea. 


One response to this “Intellectualism” could be “anti-intellectualism”..

..the Idea that Faith resides primarily in the Emotions or Experience

 

…with the intellect having no part in Faith.

While Faith is Experienceal it is not divorced from Truth

 

This kind of thinking divorces faith from Doctrine,

 


 and Piety from theological belief/

I Had an Emotional Experience and I know that I’m a Christian

- I don’t read the Bible, but I know that I had a feeling and I’m a Christian

God Wants me to be Happy so I’m leaving my family

1 Cor 7:10-11To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.

11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

God Doesn’t want me to Suffer

.Matt 5:10-12   Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

We have to walk between these two real perils:

On one hand

the error that says that the

intellect is everything

 

and on the other, Modernism which says that

the emotions are everything

… and the mind is nothing.

No, Biblical Faith must begin with the mind and the intellectual assent to the Truths of the Gospel,

but must also go on to a personal trust in God and in the Lord Jesus Crist.


The Reformers emphasized these two components firmly.

They spoke of fides, or belief on one hand

and  fiducia, or trust on the other

Only when these two exist together is there real faith.

 

Trust is emphasized in the New Testament.

 

Rom 10:9-11That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

10        For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

11        As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

 

Our Faith is directional.

 It is dynamic

It is faith in,  ..It is faith into

It is faith towards,  It is faith upon

 

Biblical Faith results in  a personal Relationship.


It begins with belief in

Propositional Truth about God,

that in the light of all the information we have, Christ is trustworthy.

 

The Proposition is  “Christ is Trustworthy, but my faith moves on from that to the actual commitment.

 

 

But BIblcial Faith is also

Volitional-

 

We must  Trust in the Propositional Truths that we know

 

There are many illustrations in the Scriptures

We trust God as we trust our father

We trust  Christ as a flock trusts its shepherd

We trust Christ as we trust a Physician


We trust our doctors because we know certain things about him.

He has been trained

He has studied

He has experience

He has skills

Our trust is not divorced from these Propositions.

If we trusted just anybody  to perform surgery,

our faith would be misplaced and irrational.

 

But because our faith is based on implicit propositions, it is reasonable

But who or what is the Object of Our Faith?

 

Faith in Faith is actually faith in nothing!

 

We start with this proposition, “Jesus is the Savior” promised by God.  He is a great high priest ( Heb 4:14) and from that , the commitment follows.  We trust Him with our souls

 

What are the Objects of Biblical Faith?

1. Our faith is in the Bible.  We believe that it is the Word of God.

 

2. Our Faith is in  the Person and work of Jesus Christ

 

Only when the persuasion of the mind leads to a personal Trust in God  our Father and Jesus Christ as Savior, is there Real Faith.  ( MacCloud)

 

Faith is Intellectual,

Faith is Volitional

Faith is Observable (Moral)

 

3. Observable–By a Changed Life

 practicing justice and love

2 Cor 13:5 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?

 


God’s Soveregnty

 

When one understands Intellectually

the propositional truth of the Gospel

and Volitionally trusts in that Truth for his Salvation, 

 

When a Person

Believes Intellectually

And Trusts Volitionally,

..He discovers that God is the One who has Opened His Intellect to Receive the Truth of the Gospel

 

.. and God is the One who enables the Will to Trust in Him Explicitly.

and He Has A NEW LIFE

The Bible explains that he is

 Justified by Christ’s work on the Cross

.. and the Holy Spirit indwells the believer.

Something New happens.

Believers are changed from the inside

Jer 24:7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

 

Biblical Faith’s knowledge is the fruit of regeneration

- the bestowal of a new heart

 

Salvation is Jesus Christ coming into our hearts,

..but it is a change of relationship,

not merely a change of an inward state of heart and life. 

 

The Ultimate aim  is not mere goodness or holiness or saintliness, but all of these things …in the  context of having fellowship with God

Knowing God

Communing with Him and 

living our lives FOR Him

When Faith is Real, lives Change!


The New Birth explained  (Piper)

 

The new birth happens as we are brought into contact with the living and abiding Word, the gospel..

 The first effect of this new birth is that we see and receive God and his Son, and his work and his will as supremely beautiful and valuable. 

That’s  Faith!

Faith breaks the enslaving spell of the world’s allurement.

Faith leads us into obedience with freedom and joy.

God and His holy work look beautiful and not burdensome.

The New Birth has taken the blinders off.  We see things for what they really are.

 

 

The believer’s  Faith -relationship with God brings  salvation and eternal life… and generates love, hope obedience and joy.

 “To Live by Faith is to live a reasonable life based on God’s Word, a life which reflects God’s values and priorities.” ---Philip Nunn

Thomas Watson

 “Faith believes as if it did not work and it works as if it did not believe”

 

Iain Inglis

Faith is an activity of the whole soul bringing into movement the intellect, the emotions and the Will, and anything less than this is not biblical faith” 


 Why is Paul writing this second letter to the Corinthians

 

Paul could see that the Corinthians were not living as if they were believers

 

The book of First Corinthians reveals some of the problems that were present in the Corinthian church.

There were Divisions in the church, There was sexual immorality in the church unlike even the heathen practiced and the church was proud and boasted of their tolerance

 

There were, arguments about Spiritual gifts. marriage problems and lawsuits among believers to name just a few.

 

And there were many who opposed  Paul and his instructions to them

They attacked his authority as well as his teaching which leads Paul to say in 1 Cor 4:3

I car very little if I am judged by you or any human court….My conscience is clear

They would not take his counsel

They were argumentative

They challenged his very authority as an Apostle

 

All of this while he was trying to Serve them.


Paul is writing to believers in Corinth who seemingly have experienced a conversion and incorporation into Christ.

Jonathan Edwards in asking the question how true spiritual life is to be distinguished from false once wrote,

I once did not imagin that the heart of man had been so unsearchable as it is.  I am less charitable and less uncharitable than once I was.  I find more things in wicked men that may counterfeit and make a fair show of piety; and more ways that remaining corruption of the godly maymake them appear like carnal men than once I knew of”

 

 Edward’s  experience caused him to focus is thought on discriminating between the true and the false.

The key issue has to do with the nature of conversion.


What is the evidence  of a saving conversion?

1.  It  is not a prior conviction of sin.  Men can have that  and never be regenerate.

 

We can know our sin and never leave it

2. It is not the speed with which the supposed conversion occurs – the stoney ground  immediately received the word with joy (mat 13:20)

3. It is not whether texts of scripture  come wonderfully into our minds – the devil is able to quote Scripture

The Test Is Whether Or Not Conversion Is The Result Of Regeneration?

 

Has The Individual Known A Change Of Nature


Jonathan Edwards writes 

Many think of themselves as born again that haven’t had one new principle added, nor one sinful disposition mortified,  that never saw one glimpse of divine light, that never saw the least of God’s or Christ’s glory…….They think themselves now renewed in the whole man that never have had one finger renewed, if I may use such an expression.

Again he writes

They that are truly converted are new men, new creatures, new not only within but without…

Because this new life is the restoration of the life of God in the human soul, the chief characteristic of its possessor is God-centeredness.

 

ILLUS:  Chagrin Bible Study

You don’t remember me, but I remember You  ( No my name is Michael

In spite of what I once was, the man has returned to the study because of what Christ has done since!


The true convert is

Aware of God,

Admires God,

Loves God, and

Lives for God

The false  convert remains self-centered;

Self  is the one abiding interest of the unregenerate life.

The Corinthians probably said something to Paul  like

“Paul, That’s just your opinion!  But I see things differently.”

When a congregant “sees things differently” from church leadership, the source of the difference usually revolves around sin in that congregant’s life.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that though Jesus was crucified in weakness, He lives by God’s power.

Jesus is not weak in dealing with their Sin.

In the same way, Paul is weak  in Christ, yet lives by God’s power to SERVE the very people who are attacking him

APP:

 It is not the job of the pastor to give his congregation what they WANTwant..but what the NEED. 

So often what we want is detrimental to us and what we don’t want is exactly what we need. 

They may WANT want always to have have

Ice Cream,

but they NEEDeed to have vegetables!


2 Cor 13:5 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?

I suggest to you that there are people at NEO  Church this morning who find themselves with the Corinthians.

..Who ought to examine themselves to see if they are of the faith.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

There are 3 possible results of this examination

 

1. Presumption


 I suggest to you that there are people at Parkside Church this morning who find themselves with the Corinthians.

..Who ought to examine themselves to see if they are of the faith.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Help me examine mself to see if I am of the faith


CONCLUSION

1. Flee Presumption,

- One scenario for believers is to drift toward sinful presumption

- we become luke warm, careless, presumptuous

We might begin to coast or to be indifferent  to whether you are Holy or Worldly

You are losing your vigilance against bad attitudes and behaviors and starting to settle in with sinful patterns of behavior

When the born-again person experiences this kind of drift, the truth of  1 Jn 3:9 reminds him that  “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning., has the effect of the Holy spirit of awakening him to the danger of his condition.

He flies to Christ,, confessing his sin and receives cleansing. 

His love for Christ is renewed and his relationship with Christ is restored


2. Flee Despair

Another common scenario for believers is to drift toward despair.

It seems that you are sinking in fear and discouragement and even despair that your righteousness,  your love for people,  and your fight against sin is not good enough.

Your conscience is condemning you and your own deeds seem so imperfect that they could never prove that you are born again.

The Holy Spirit  reminds us of

I Jn 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

True Believers have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Flee Presumption

Flee Despair


3. Flee the World 3. Flee the World

 

 

 

Knowing the Facts is not enough

You can sit under great preaching every week and think that by attending NEO you are a Christian

You might have been raised in a Christian home..

 

That doesn’t make you a Christian any more than living in a garage makes you a car

But you have never appropriated the Truths you have learned with your Will.

 

You have never trusted in the Facts that you know.

ILLUS: You know the chair can hold you but you have never sat in the chair

You know the pill can cure you, but you have never taken the pill

 


DEMAS.

Have you heard of Demas/

He was a co-worker with Paul and when Paul writes Philemon from the jail in Rome  in his  first imprisonment,

we read

Phile 1:23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.

24        And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

A Little later we find Paul mentioning Demas again in Col 4


Col 4:10-14

My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)

11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.

12  Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

13        I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

Notice that here Demas is the only one who is mentioned without commendation.

Then we read in 2 Tim 4,  Paul’s last instruction to Timothy we find that Demas has totally deserted Paul

2 Tim 4:9-10  Do your best to come to me quickly,

10 for Demas,

 because he loved this world,

has deserted me

and has gone to Thessalonica.

One scholar renders these words

‘left me in the lurch’

Paul is clear that Demas did not leave because of cowardice

But because

he was ‘in love with this present world’,

His personal interest IN THIS WORLD, not cowardice,

is what caused Demas to leave Paul.

Flee Presumption,

Flee  Despair,

Flee The World

Michael Jackson died this week.

He will be remembered for music, dancing  and creativitywhile touching his private parts and his

As well as for his  bizarre behavior for his last 15 years.

Given all of this world’s accolades

He wasis  an example of someone who had everything the World has to offer, but discovered that it was all ultimatleyultimately  unimportant and unfulfilling

If you find yourself here this morning challenged by the aspects of True Faith

Won’t you take this opportunity to flee the world’s  view of life for the life the Creator of the World desire for you>

 

Faith is Intellectual – ie Rational

Faith is Volitional – involving the will

Faith Observable – by a changed life

Won’t you take this opportunity to flee the world’s  view of life for the life the Creator of the World desire for you>

Flee to the Savior!

Today if you hear His voice

Do Not Harden Your Hearts

Flee to the Savior!


Benedict Arnold

General Arnold’ s career seemed to go into a nose dive after the victory at Saratoga.

 After his second marriage,

 he found himself in debt, and

he harbored simmering resentment at not receiving the credit he felt he deserved for his military exploits.

Thus when he was approached by the British, Arnold was receptive to abandoning the patriot cause. Arnold demanded £20,000 and a commission as a major general in the British army for giving up West Point.

On September 21, British Major Andre came ashore in full uniform near Havestraw from the HM Vulture.

There, he met Arnold to finalize the agreement. Unfortunately for them, the Vulture then came under American fire and headed away, leaving Andre stranded. Andre reluctantly donned civilian clothes and headed down the Hudson with a safe conduct pass from Arnold. Near Tarrytown, Andre was captured by three militiamen, who turned him over to the commander at North Castle. The jig was up. Andre was found carrying incriminating papers.

When Arnold was notified at breakfast on April 23 that a British officer had been captured, he fled by boat to the Vulture. Andre was later hung as a spy.


 

INTRO:

Neo Church is approaching its one year anniversary

We thank God for what He has done in the past year.

The Board has raised    40%     120,000

The Congregation         60%     175,000


ILLUSTRATION

WWII

In Germany

-         Machine Guns entered a church

-         All who do not believe in Jesus may leave.

Now that we know who the believers are, we can pray.

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