II Corinthians 13:4-14

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 13:4-14

THE PERIL OF SELF-DECEPTION

INTRODUCTION:

In II Corinthians 13 , we see what Paul had to say to the Corinthians about living for the Lord, not only as individuals, but also as a local church.

Paul is preparing to visit Corinth for the third time; and when he gets there, he will deal with whatever sins he finds (13:1-2). They want a proof of Christ speaking in Paul, and they are going to get what they want (13:3-4). Therefore, the Corinthians should make certain they are really saved (13:5). They need to know that Paul is not disqualified but a genuine Christian; otherwise, there is no way they would be saved (13:6).

I. MAKE SURE YOU ARE REALLY SAVED - 13:1-6

II Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

In verse 1 Paul announces his intention to make his third visit to Corinth and indicates that he is ready to deal with whatever problems he encounters there.

In the mouth of two or three witnesses suggests that Paul will see to it that church trials will be conducted for those involved in sin who have not repented.

II Corinthians 13:2 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.

In verse 2 Paul continues his warning to those who have sinned that they need to straighten out their lives before the Lord or he will deal harshly with their sin upon his arrival in Corinth.

II Corinthians 13:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.

Verse 3 provides the reason Paul will not spare anyone who is guilty of sin and still unrepentant when he comes. He intends to give them what they want.

Since is because. The Corinthians had demanded proof from Paul that Christ was speaking in him, he was prepared to give it.

Because you Corinthian believers are seeking or requesting a proof of Christ speaking in me suggests that some of the Corinthian believers were seeking evidence that Christ was the One speaking in Paul. If it is still necessary when he arrives in Corinth, Paul fully intends to give them the proof they are seeking; but they will not like it.

We begin this evening with verse 4 -

II Corinthians 13:4 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.

Verse 4 continues Paul's statement that he is prepared to deal harshly with sin upon his arrival in Corinth.

For though is because even if (or because even though) and introduces a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true.

He was crucified cites Christ as an example of One Who was strong rather than weak.

Through weakness is as a result of weakness or because of weakness.

Even though this statement is assumed to be true for sake of discussion, it is actually false. Christ was not crucified as a result of weakness.

Yet he liveth by the power of God is in strong contrast to he was crucified through weakness.

He liveth is He lives or He is alive.

By the power of God is as a result of (or because of) God the Father's power (i.e. might or strength).

For we also are weak in him weak in him means I Paul also am weak in Christ.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to we also are weak in him: we shall live with him by the power of God, which means I Paul shall become alive together with Christ as a result of (or because of) God the Father's power (i.e. God the Father's might or God the Father's strength).

Toward you suggests that Paul is referring to his demonstration of the power of God in his ministry when he gets to Corinth and deals with the sinners who are still unrepentant. If necessary, he will be strong in God's power to mete out (or measure out) whatever discipline they need.

II Corinthians 13:5 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?

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith points back to since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me in verse 3. They have been wanting him to demonstrate that he is truly an apostle; but Paul is advising them that they can know that he is truly an apostle if they were genuinely saved under his ministry. The genuineness of their salvation is all the proof they need that Christ is speaking in him.

Part of the problem in the church at Corinth might be the result of some of the people in the church not yet having been genuinely saved. They need to make certain they are truly saved. If they are genuinely saved, they need to consider how they were saved. If it was as a result of Paul's ministry, it accredits Paul as a genuine apostle.

Examine yourselves suggests endeavor to discover the nature or character of yourselves by testing in the sense of try yourselves, make trial of yourselves, or put yourselves to the test. Examine yourselves is urging the Corinthians to make certain they are really saved.

Whether ye be in the faith is if you are in the faith, which means if you are saved.

It cannot mean that they might have lost their salvation because the Bible does not permit the loss of salvation. It means instead that some of them may never have been genuinely saved in the first place, and those who have been truly saved are a genuine proof of Paul's ministry.

Prove your own selves is synonymous with examine yourselves. These two statements are used together for emphasis. These people need to make certain they are really saved. A lack of salvation may be the real cause of many problems in Corinth. Prove is understood in the sense of put (or be putting) yourselves to the test or examine (or be examining) yourselves.

Know ye not your own selves? expects a positive answer and is understood in the sense of you Corinthian believers yourselves know, do you not? Yes, you do; or, You yourselves understand, do you not? Yes, you do.

Know is an intensified word which suggests know thoroughly or know completely.

What they know completely is how that Jesus Christ is in you, i.e. that Jesus Christ is in you. Undoubtedly, some fully recognized that they had been genuinely saved.

However, some may not yet have been genuinely saved as except ye be reprobates indicates.

Except ye be reprobates is unless you Corinthian believers are reprobates, i.e. unless you are unsaved. No one knows how many of the professing believers in Corinth might actually have still been unsaved.

II Corinthians 13:6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

In verse 6 Paul wants the believers in Corinth to know that he is genuinely saved and a genuine apostle of Jesus Christ. If they concluded that they were genuinely saved, they would also have to conclude that Paul could not have been a false teacher and that Christ indeed had spoken in him.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to the possibility that some of the Corinthian believers might be reprobates.

I trust is I hope and is understood in the sense of I expect. Paul does not regard this as wishful thinking on his part.

What he expects is that ye shall know that we are not reprobates, i.e. that you will understand (or comprehend) that I am qualified as a believer and as an apostle without my having to come to Corinth to demonstrate it.

It is implied that, if they understand that he is a genuine apostle, they will also understand that those in Corinth who were falsely claiming to be apostles are imposters.

II. DO WHAT IS GOOD - 13:7-10

It is Paul's prayer that the Corinthian believers do good rather than evil, not for his benefit but for their own, regardless of what people might think about him (13:7). He and the rest of the apostles can do nothing against the truth of the gospel; rather, they can only do things which will further its truth (13:8).

Speaking sarcastically once again, Paul indicates that he is glad when he is weak and the Corinthian believers are strong because he wants their perfection (13:9). It is better that he write these things from a distance rather than being present and using sharpness so that the believers might be edified rather than destroyed (13:10).

II Corinthians 13:7-10 - (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. (9) For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. (10) Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

According to verse 7, Paul wanted the Corinthian believers to do right, not for his own reputation, but because it is right, regardless of the way some viewed him. Paul was not wanting the Corinthians to do evil so that he would have to come to Corinth and exercise his apostolic authority against them. People should not do things to appear approved but should always do what is right.

Now continues the thought with a slight change of direction.

I pray to God that ye do no evil means I am praying to God the Father that you Corinthian believers never do evil (or never even begin to do evil.

If they do what is evil and do not repent, whenever Paul arrives in Corinth, he will have to use his apostolic authority against them when he punishes all disobedience; and he does not want to have to do this.

Paul then states his motive in praying this prayer, first negatively, and then positively.

Negatively, Paul's prayer is not that we should appear approved, i.e. not for the purpose that I should appear to be genuine.

Paul would rather the Corinthian believers do what is right than that he appear to be approved. He was more concerned for them than he was for himself.

But that ye should do that which is honest is in strong contrast to that we should appear approved. It means but for the purpose that you should do what is good and is the opposite of that ye do no evil or that you do nothing evil.

Though we be as reprobates is in mild contrast with that you do that which is good which suggests that you do what is good even if I be a reprobate. Of course, Paul is not unsaved and worthless. Instead, he is a genuine apostle.

II Corinthians 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. (9) For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

Paul explains in verse 8 that he will not have to act sternly in exercising his apostolic authority if the Corinthian believers are right with the Lord but will have to demonstrate his apostolic authority on behalf of the truth of the Word of God if they persist in sin. If he comes to Corinth and finds all the believers living for the Lord as they should, he will not have any reason to deal harshly or sternly with their sin. He has no desire to have to deal with them sternly or harshly in exercising his God-given apostolic authority.

For we can do nothing, where we is Paul, is because we are not able to do anything.

Against the truth suggests we are not able to do anything hostile to the truth of the Word of God. If they are living for the Lord and right in their doctrine, he will have no reason to deal harshly with them.

But for the truth is in strong contrast to against the truth and means but on behalf of the truth. Whatever believers do, it must always be done with pure motives to further the truth of God. If Paul finds them not living and believing as they should, he will have to deal harshly with them on behalf of the truth of God.

II Corinthians 13:9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

In verse 9 Paul states that he is glad whenever he is weak and they are strong because he genuinely desires their perfection.

For introduces an inference in the sense of certainly.

For we are glad when we are weak, where we is Paul, suggests certainly I am rejoicing whenever I do not have to exercise my God-given strength as an apostle in dealing sternly with the people. He has no desire to have to give a powerful demonstration of the genuineness of his apostolic authority.

And ye are strong means that they have repented, confessed, and forsaken their sins. He wants them to be strong in the Lord so that he will not need to deal harshly with them whenever he gets to Corinth.

And this also we wish, even your perfection is understood to mean and this also we are praying for, your spiritual maturation.

II Corinthians 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

In verse 10 Paul is hoping that they will straighten things out spiritually before he arrives and avoid forcing him to use his apostolic authority to straighten things out for them.

Therefore is because of this, i.e. because of Paul's prayer for their perfection.

I write these things being absent is I am writing these things while I am absent.

Lest being present I should use sharpness is in order that (or for the purpose that) when I am present, I should not act sharply (or severely).

According to the power which the Lord hath given me is in accordance with the power Christ has given me.

To edification indicates the goal for which the Lord gave apostolic authority to Paul. It suggests spiritual strengthening, edifying, or building up of others.

And not for destruction is and not for tearing down.

Even in the exercise of discipline, Paul's goal for the Corinthian believers would be their edification rather than their destruction.

III. REJOICE (IN THE LORD) - 13:11A

II Corinthians 13:11 a - Finally, brethren, farewell. . . .

In verse 11 Paul urges his readers to be perfect, to be of good comfort, to be of one mind, and to be living in peace. As a result, God will be with them. He asks his readers to greet each other in love and sends greetings from those who are with him in Macedonia (13:12-13). Finally, Paul concludes his epistle by wishing that the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all the believers in Corinth (13:14).

As Paul draws his letter to a close in verse 11, he signals that the close of this epistle is near with finally, brethren, i.e. finally brothers. He regards them as his fellow believers and fellow members of the family of God.

Farewell is rejoice. At the end of a letter farewell or good-bye seems an appropriate translation.

IV. MEND YOUR WAYS - 13:11B

II Corinthians 13:11 b - . . . Be perfect. . . .

Be perfect suggests mend (or be mending) your ways.

V. BE OF GOOD COMFORT - 13:11C

II Corinthians 13:11 c - . . . Be of good comfort. . . .

Be of good comfort suggests be comforted or receive comfort.

VI. BE OF ONE MIND - 13:11D

II Corinthians 13:11 d - . . . Be of one mind. . . .

Is mind the same thing. It suggests be unified in your thinking. As believers conform their thinking to the mind of Christ as expressed in the Word of God, they will be united in their thinking and have the same mind set with each other.

VII. LIVE IN PEACE - 13:11E

II Corinthians 13:11 e - . . . Live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Live in peace is be at peace (among yourselves).

And the God of love and peace shall be with you refers to God the Father. He is the God Who is love (or the God Who gives love) and the God Who gives peace. It is predictive of something which will definitely occur in the future if they are perfect, of good comfort, of one mind, and live in peace.

VIII. GREET ONE ANOTHER PROPERLY - 13:12

II Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.

Greet one another is salute each other and implies that they should recognize one another in a hospitable manner.

With an holy kiss means with an affectionate kiss. It is not a sensuous kiss. Whereas in the culture of the day that men would kiss men and women would kiss women. However, in the culture of the United States of America, the greetings are typically with handshakes.

II Corinthians 13:13 All the saints salute you.

In verse 13 the believers who are with Paul send greetings to the church in Corinth.

All the saints refers to the believers in Macedonia where Paul was located when writing this epistle.

Salute you is greet you or send you greetings.

II Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

Paul concludes his epistle by wishing that the grace of Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of God the Holy Spirit may be experienced by the saints in Corinth.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ refers to His kindness which He showed when He died on the cross in payment for the sins of all humanity.

And the love of God is God the Father's love. This love is unconditional and gives itself completely on behalf of others without expecting anything in return.

And the communion of the Holy Ghost is and the fellowship produced by the Holy Spirit.

The Triune God is mentioned in this verse but not in its usual order of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this verse the Son is mentioned first, then the Father, and finally the Holy Spirit. The change in order demonstrates the equality of the three Persons of the Godhead.

Be with you all indicates Paul's wish for the Corinthian believers. Paul is wishing that all the Corinthian believers may experience the grace which comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, the love which comes from God the Father, and the fellowship which is produced by the Holy Spirit.

Paul concludes his epistle with amen, which means truly or so be it.

CONCLUSION:

Satan would destroy us as individuals as well as our local church if he could. However, we need to be right with the Lord and with each other, and we need to stay that way in order to serve the Lord effectively.