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 Second Corinthians 13:1-6

Pauline Irony!

In this Text Paul opens his heart, personally, almost in an unprecedented way!

"This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 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: Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 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. 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? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates."

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

The Lord has impressed me to study one of Paul's sermons. Actually these words comprise part of the Apostle's closing remarks to the Corinthians. To be precise, 2nd Corinthians 13:1-6.

Let's read these verses, one by one. "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 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: since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 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. 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? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates."

These verses are often misunderstood. Paul, though still quite tender hearted, is here being firm, like a father with his children! He's really expressing love for these struggling believers. Yet doing so in a ironic way, typically Paul-like, "Pauline" the teachers call it.

For example, that first verse. "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." 2nd Corinthians 13:1

What Paul is about to say is important. So much so that he calls for "witnesses!" That's the Greek noun "martus." It really gives us our word "martyr," the most powerful form of "witnessing" that exists!

I don't think Paul has anything legal in mind, not by using this term "witnesses." Rather, since the Corinthians have been doubting so much about Paul, recently even questioning his very Apostleship, he wants to validate what he's about to say. And "witnesses," especially more than one, fulfill that role!

And as far as his coming to them "a third time," this is historical fact. Paul visited Corinth time and time again. He had to, the church stayed in such turmoil!

Let's face it. The presence of a preacher is essential for the welfare of God's people, God's little "flock." No doubt Paul has other preachers in place in Corinth, feeding these folks God's Word every Lord's Day, more often than that probably, maybe even every day.

But still, they needed Paul too!

It appears that some false teachers have crept into the assembly. Telling lies and creating confusion and, especially, attacking Paul as well.

Paul just needs to set the record straight.

In a way he is here defending his very ministry.

It's an outright shame when a preacher must do that! Defend himself! Other faithful folks in the Church should do it for him. Folks saved under his ministry or Christians whose lives have been dramatically helped by his preaching.

But nobody will vouch for Paul!

Watch this verse, 2nd Corinthians 12:11, only one chapter earlier than our Text. "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you." Paul just said that he was going to have to "brag," or "glory" about himself!

Why?

The cowardly Corinthians have "compelled" or "forced" him to do so.

While in reality they should have "commended" him, stood with him, bragged a little on him, defended him against false accusers!

If nothing else works, the epistle he's just writing included, Paul will physically go to Corinth, a third time now!

 "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

Can you sense his heavy heart?

His lack of "friends" in a Church he established only a few short years earlier!

How sad!

Well, I've made up my mind!

I am going to be a friend of Preachers, God's Preachers, those who have been True and Faithful to the Word of the Lord!

Paul here in our Text nearly "opens up his heart." That's something the Apostle seldom does in his writings. He rarely mentions himself, or anything very personal.

I can't wait to see how he "thinks!"

Even when his "friends," many of them at Corinth at least, have apparently turned against him.

I'll tell you this much. He is not going to "turn the other cheek!" He's going to fight for his ministry, and the Gospel! And the Truth! He's going to try to scatter the false prophets who have entered southern Greece!

He will do so verbally!

And if that doesn't work, he will go there physically!

Thank God for Preachers who care!

And, occasionally, church members who love God's Men!

This may be a strange Series of Bible studies, the next five mornings. And I will need some feed-back on their content and impact, but the Lord has laid these verses on my heart.

Pray for me please as I write these daily lessons.

And also pray for some other Man of  God today. One who faithfully preaches God's Word!

We may never know what burdens they carry!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 2:

Today we hear a Preacher warn his people! Warn them about sin! In no uncertain terms!

It seems that Corinth, the Church there I mean, was plagued with sins of one kind or another!

Paul had sought to rid them of such things, apparently several times! But to no avail!

"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."  2nd Corinthians 13:2

The verse opens with two "communication" verbs! "Told before," in Greek "proereo," and "foretell," spelled "prolego" cover every linguistic base!

Paul has, in the past, preached against these sins! In fact, he never quit! He "told them before," in previous visits to Corinth! This verb is expressed in the "perfect" tense, so to speak. He warned them previously, and that warning, that sermon, is still ringing in their ears! Or should be anyway!

The "foretelling" refers to the preaching Paul plans to do as soon as he arrives in Corinth next time! On his "third" visit there! But he's not waiting until the ship arrives! He's already preaching against certain of their sins, even now!

Wow!

That's a missing element in much of today's pulpit work!

Warning, strongly warning, God's people against sin!

Paul is "pastoring" these folks, as if he were still "present" among them! He cares that much about their spiritual welfare!

Though he is "absent," in Greek "apeimi," something like "having gone away," to preach in other places. Yet Paul still cares about these people! Dear to his heart, these largely carnal Corinthians!

"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."

The verb "write" is "grapho," present tense. Paul is currently holding the quill in his hand! Under the power of the Holy Spirit, divine inspiration in action!

But here, strangely, he's not addressing the leaders of the Church, not just them anyway! Or its most godly members either! He writes to "them which have have heretofore sinned." The verb, "proamartano," means they have been sinning quite a while now! And that their sins have had lasting consequences, detrimental to the whole church! Still, they will not repent!

And Paul is getting upset!

Do we get that concerned about sin?

Then Paul addresses some "others." Watch. "... And to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare."

These may represent a second group of erring church members. Perhaps involved in a different kind of wrongdoing.

If so, both groups are in Paul's mind. He longs to see all categories of sin dissipate! He wants a pure church, even down at Corinth! Here's Paul just a few verses earlier. "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Wow! What love for his people, 2nd Corinthians 12:2.

Paul "will not spare" them severe treatment, if they still have not repented by the time he arrives!  "If I come again, I will not spare." This verb is one that means "to abstain." Paul will not keep quiet. He will not change his mind! He will be straightforward!

But, Brother Bagwell, what are the possible sins involved?

What has Paul so very upset?

Here they are, we believe. Paul has already named them. "For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: and lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed." 2nd Corinthians 12:20-21

Two kinds of sins!

I call them "social sins" and "sexual sins."

Both are embedded at Corinth, in the church!

And Paul cannot tolerate such!

He is a real Man of God.

The first group, common sins yet today in our churches! Much too common! "Debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults," Paul carefully and precisely labels them. These have become "acceptable" today! But not with Paul!

Then come the sexual aberations. The "uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness," in the church!

Preaching against sin!

Thank God some Preachers still do so!

And Paul was one of them.

I'm sure your Preacher does too.

And if not, perhaps not every Sunday, but if not regularly, or at least occasionally, you might want to be careful!

No warning against sin, ever, can lead to a life of ease and, worse yet, careless unconfessed sins of various kinds.

Real preaching, if balanced, at times includes warning against iniquity! "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Notice the underlined verbs, 2nd Timothy 4:2.

Preaching against sin!

Wow!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 3:

The verse we study today is critical to the Text in which it rests. It actually gives us a "hint" as to the meaning of the passage's most significant verse.

Plus, it's "classic" Paul, to the core!

"Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you." Verse 3 of 2nd Corinthians 13:1-6.

Can you believe this?

These Corinthian "Christians" are actually doubting if Paul is really an Apostle!

"Ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me."

Wow!

As if they have scrutinized his life and can find no evidence of genuine faith! Mercy!

The verb "seek" is "zeteo" and is strong enough to insinuate looking with "strong desire" or even a "demand!" It's a continual thing, too. Durative seeking, for months if not years now!

They are now doubting the one who led them to Jesus in the first place!

"Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me"

The noun "proof" means "a test" of some kind, one that reveals a genuine product. "Dokime" it's spelled. Used in testing coins to see if they are counterfeit, for example!

Why would the Corinthians so doubt their spiritual father? "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." Paul to this same crowd, earlier in 1st Corinthians 4:15.

Here are some of the things they have said about Paul.

"His speech is contemptible." The adjective "exouthenomenos" means "out of nothing!" No good, of no account! 2nd Corinthians 10:10

They even mocked his appearance, his "looks." Here's how, "His bodily presence is weak." In other words, "He does not even look like a preacher!" What's that got to do with anything?

They had questioned his sincerity and honesty too!

They had apparently found some "new" Preachers they liked better! From Jerusalem! Rabbi trained men who were more "professional."

But Paul called that crowd "false apostles!" In 2nd Corinthians 11:13, that's where he did so.

Who's telling these people the truth?

Paul, or the others?

"Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you."

The verb "speaking" is "laleo" as a present participle. Not just Paul's preaching is in question now, but everything he says! If he gives a weather report, some of them apparently would doubt it!

And now, watch their utter pride!

They sought "... Christ speaking in Paul, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you."

They said Paul was "weak!"

His preaching!

His testimony!

His life for Christ!

Everything about him!

"Astheneo," lacking strength of any kind! Perennially so! Constantly! They seem to have lost all confidence in Paul!

How sad!

"Paul is weak," the Apostle ironically says, quoting these people and their new leaders! "Weak in Christ" even!

Ha!

No way!

But they now think so, the Corinthians do.

See how the devil deceives and confuses and misleads?

This same Jesus who is so "weak" in Paul, is of course, "mighty" in the Corinthians!

How typical of the flesh!

"I am right," always!

"And anyone who disagrees with me, is automatically wrong!"

Egotism to the extreme!

"Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you."

"Mighty" here, as suspected, is a form of "dunamis!" Our English word "dynamite!"

Paul is a weakling, especially spiritually.

But the carnal Corinthians, they are "giants," at least in their own eyes!

Paul has been tested today, and did not do so well I think!

But Paul is not worried, not  at all!

He knows he has the "approval" of God! To him, that's far more important! That's what counts most!

"Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you."

So, you know what Paul is going to do?

He, I think, is going to "return the favor," and "test" these Corinthians a little bit!

Watch, though studying the verse will have  to wait until later.

"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?" Verse 6 of our Text!

Way to go, Paul!

Instead of him being examined all the time, let's turn the tables! Let the Corinthians examine themselves!

If Paul is not a real Apostle, a genuine Preacher, then maybe they are not even saved!

Not "in the faith!"

Wow!

See the irony?

The Corinthians are about to saw off the limb on which they are sitting!

More tomorrow.

Until then, be careful attacking a real Man of God!

It might backfire on you!

Especially if the "target" is the Man of God who has taught you much of the Scripture you know!

Wow!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 4:

The Apostle has yet again been called "weak."

His presence was said to be "weak."

So was his preaching!

"Lacking strength," spelled "asthenes" in Greek, Paul's language.

Everything about him, about Paul, was disappointing to the Corinthians. Or so it now seems.

Today's verse highlights this situation. Yet, so very typically, Paul compares his "weakness" to that of Jesus!

"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." 2nd Corinthians 13:4

Jesus died in "weakness."

He lost all his physical strength as He hung that day on the cross! Six hours of inhuman suffering!

Dehydrating!

Bleeding!

Cramping!

Exposed!

Mocked!

The verb "was crucified," as you can easily tell, is in the passive voice. These things were done to Jesus, not by Jesus! He did not commit suicide that day! He was, in one sense anyway, murdered! In another sense He gave His own life, true. But that fact is not being emphasized here, not now. "Stauroo" means "to drive a stake into the ground," and then affix a man on it! So very cruel!

The preposition "through" is "ek," meaning "out of." Jesus, in His almighty omnipotence alone, could have never been crucified! He is God!

But "out of" His humanity, out of His earthly nature, though still God, Jesus willingly submitted to that kind of death, "even the death of the Cross" Paul later called it.

"For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God."

But, good news, Jesus is no longer dead!

He "liveth," present tense of "zao." He is alive right now, after two thousand plus years! And always will be alive, never to die again!

But He is alive "ek" the Power of God, "out of" God's Strength!

Jesus, through "weakness," became "Stronger" than ever!

This is one of God's paradoxes!

Opposites, that don't make sense, humanly speaking. But they sure do "work" in a heavenly sense!

"Power" here is the word every New Testament student knows, "dunamis." Inherent power, power "stored" within, by the Holy Spirit of course!

Just like Jesus, "For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God."

So is Paul, or much like Jesus anyway! "We also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God ...."

Look!

Paul is linking with Jesus, even in a weak human manner!

Every issue Paul ever faced, he took straight to His Saviour! And therein found some way of association, some nexus!

Yes, Paul admits. The Corinthians have called me "weak." An "invalid" nearly! I will not fight the charge!

Maybe he was indeed, at times, very weak.

Very sickly.

Very soft spoken.

Very unimpressive.

So was His Lord, at least by some accounts! "Many were astonied at Him; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth." Wow, this is Jesus being described in Isaiah 53, that great chapter!

One word sums that account, "weak!"

"For though He was crucified through weakness, yet now 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." 2nd Corinthians 13:4, most of it.

So Paul just claims the weakness that's being ascribed to him. So he can turn right around and claim the accompanying strength that God will give to the weak!

Wow!

This is irony!

Holy irony!

"The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning."

Or, "An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning."

Irony.

Yes the Bible is a grammar handbook as well as the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God!

Amen!

Paul is thankful for his perceived "weakness!" Because it drives him straight to Jesus' great Strength!

Listen to Paul here. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2nd Corinthians 13:9, note the capitalized words! Goodness!

Next time you're weak, dear friends, ask Jesus for some of His Strength! Paul did. There's plenty to go around, too. God's Strength! I think it's unlimited, can't be exhausted!

And next time you're discouraged, ask Jesus for some of His Courage!

Next time you're out-of-control, ask the Lord for some of His Self-Control! He's absolutely loaded with it!

Next time you're upset, ask him for some of His Peace! It "passes all understanding!"

That's exactly what Paul is doing in today's verse!

Coming to Jesus!

For whatever is needed!

Is Jesus sufficient for such things?

He is!

He is indeed!

He is all-sufficient!

Praise his Name!

No wonder Paul, speaking for himself,  once called Jesus "my life!" That's in Colossians 3:4, I believe. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Live in Jesus!

Live through Jesus!

Live for Jesus!

Better yet, let Jesus live in you!

"For though He was crucified through weakness, yet now 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."

Then, in conclusion, let me add the last two words of our text. I have purposely omitted them so far.

"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." 2nd Corinthians 13:4

Mean as the Corinthians have been to Paul, ugly and accusatory, downright offensive, he still loves them and prays for them! And plainly even "lives" for God so as to leave them a good example!

For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you."

When someone does you wrong, ask God for strength and help to do them right!

That's God's Way!

Appropriating Jesus!

All He is!

Absolute Perfection!

All He is, for all I am, shamefully at times!

I am so frail.

Jesus, our very "all!"

Whatever I need, Jesus is!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 5, EXAMINE YOURSELVES:

The verse we are about to analyze is the very "heart" of our Text. Actually we will begin with the first clause only.

"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?" 2nd Corinthians 13:5

Is Paul truly doubting the salvation of the Corinthians? "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves."

Is he accusing them of still being lost in their sins?

At first, it sure looks like it!

And a case can be made that Paul is precisely doing this, insinuating a lack of real saving faith in the Corinthians!

After all, for 29 chapters now (1st and 2nd Corinthians combined) one "problem" after another has been surfacing! In the church at Corinth!

These people have fought among themselves, tolerated immorality in the church, sued each other in heathen courts of law, violated marriage principles, argued over the kinds of food to eat, bragged over their spiritual gifts, become intoxicated at their Lord's Supper services, failed to give financially, and even doubted the Resurrection of our Lord! And these all happened in 1st Corinthians!

In 2nd Corinthians they have basically turned against Paul! That's Paul who first preached to them Jesus! Who won them to Christ! They have talked about him, criticized him mercilessly!

Really, are they saved?

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves."

Any Preacher would wonder!

But, upon deeper reflection, I question if that's what Paul is really asking them! I suspect Paul knew these people were saved, truly so. Beyond doubt, in the Apostle's mind!

Here's what's happening.

They now for quite some time have been asking, "Is Paul a real Apostle?"

So Paul has ironically "turned the tables" to ask, "Are the Corinthians really Christians?"

See?

When in fact, the Believers in Corinth knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that Paul was a genuine Apostle! And Paul equally knew that the Corinthian Church was composed of born-again folks as well!

Paul is exasperated! He's had enough! Bold as he can be, he now thunders at them: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves."

The verb "examine," an imperative here, is "peirazo," meaning "to look all the way through" something! To scrutinize that carefully!

The phrase "in the faith" is really a parallel term for being "saved."

The accompanying verb "prove" is also a command. "Dokimazo" means "to test an object for approval." A proof that it is not counterfeit, used especially of money in Paul's day, of coins particularly!

The Corinthians said, "Is Paul real?"

Paul said, "Are you real?"

Bottom line, both were "real" in the Lord!

Listen to Paul as he "proves" his own Apostleship, his own name as a Preacher! "I am become a fool in bragging; but ye have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you Corinthians! For in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." By Paul of course! 2nd Corinthians 12:11-12

Now listen to Paul prove to himself that the Corinthian people, church people, were indeed saved too! Those to whom he is writing.

He called them "saints" all the way through both Corinthians Epistles! "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." 1st corinthians 1:1-2

Wow!

Paul is also sure of the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells these people! "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1st Corinthians 6:19-20

If so, they are saved! The Holy Spirit does not live down in the hearts of sinners, of unregenerate folks!

What do you all think today, you our dear readers?

Read this too. Paul to these same folks: "Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

Whatever Paul's spiritual status, the Corinthians share it! I just quoted 2nd Corinthians 1:21-22.

They are saved.

Paul just wants them to know how much it "hurts" to be doubted!

To have one's sincerity questioned!

To be called untrue!

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves."

Paul has already examined his beloved Corinthians! He has proved them too, end to end!

He just wants them to know, and then to acknowledge, that they both are real in their relationship to God!

What a good feeling!

A clear conscience!

Knowing that you're right with God!

"Nothing between" your soul and Jesus!

Non-hypocritical!

And, Paul to the Corinthians, in full fellowship again!

Something is always lacking when one believer is in contention with another child of God.

Paul always lived this way, "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4;3

And that's what he's doing in our text this week!

For sure!

Now, to you and me?

Are we real?

Genuine?

Not counterfeits?

I trust the answer is "yes."

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 5, EXCEPT YE BE REPROBATES:

The word is only used by Paul.

In our Text it is rendered as "reprobates."

And it's spelled "adokimos."

"Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" Paul asked this question to the Corinthians. Here in 2nd Corinthians 13:5.

The verb "know" is "epiginosko," an intensive form of "ginosko." It means "to perceive, to understand, to recognize very well!" It's full knowledge, complete knowledge, first-hand knowledge! Experiential knowledge!

Paul is challenging the Corinthians "to know" that Jesus is in them. And they do know, positively!

And furthermore, the preposition "in," the Greek spelling "en," means "on, at, near, by," as well as "in." Pretty close, pretty intimate! This is an "indwelling" relationship!

Paul knows that these folks are saved. In fact, he's the one who led most of them to Jesus.

"Except ye be reprobates," the whole clause, is constructed so as to expect a negative answer!

Are they reprobates?

No!

And "reprobates" means someone who has "failed."

Been "rejected!"

"Tested"... and found lacking!

"Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

If Paul already knows the answer, why is he asking the question then?

To show the validity of both Paul's testimony ... and theirs, the Corinthians' witness too. He's trying to establish the fact that both the Preacher and his hearers are for "real!"

Even though earlier they had said they doubted Paul's call to the ministry! They had doubted his very Apostleship too!

But watch this! Paul now says he might be doubting their salvation, too! Goodness, tough love!

Paul is here, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, being a little sarcastic, I think. "Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

The Apostle is primarily trying to establish that he is really a Man of God! Wow, who could doubt that?

And ultimately, in turn, Paul will establish that the Corinthians are really saved, too!

Everything in this Lesson hinges on the word "genuine." Or one of its synonyms.

The Corinthians, even with all their problems, are real!

So too is Paul, even with all his weaknesses!

That only leaves two questions to ask.

Is Brother Bagwell genuine?

And you, are you for real, my dear friend?

Truly saved?

Are we sincere followers of the Lord?

It is essential that we make sure!            

Do so today!

And if you're not sure, the Holy Spirit can tell you! He certainly can!

Just ask Him.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Romans 8:16

Amen!

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 6, WE ARE NOR REPROBATES:

To some degree, at times anyway, Paul the Apostle needed the love and approval of those around him.

Who doesn't?

I know what he said in 1st Corinthians 4:3, "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you." Still, Paul was human!

His beloved Corinthians were so very important to him, obviously.

And they have been "doubting" Paul!

Some have even questioned his integrity!

Others have wondered if he was even a true Preacher of God's Word!

This issue became so critical to Paul that he reacted to the Church there in Corinth.

He, ironically, called them "unsaved," too!

Or at least insinuated so. "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?" Quite bold, 2nd Corinthians 13:5.

Really, he knew they were saved and had said as much time and time again throughout his Corinthian correspondence, both epistles.

He's just trying to "wake them" to the pain they are causing. To "pinch" them back into reality!

Now today, Paul goes right to the "core" of the issue. "But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates." 2nd Corinthians 13:6

The verb "trust" is "elpizo," meaning "to hope, to confidently await." Here it's in the present tense, active voice, indicative mood.

This "authenticity" thing is really on Paul's mind, and in his heart!

The verb "know" is just "ginosko" this time, but as a future tense, middle voice, indicative.

Hinting that the Corinthians may not know this yet, but they will sooner or later! That Paul is not a fake, a failure! Not an imposture!

What's bothering Paul so deeply?

That he not be thought a "reprobate."

"But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates." 2nd Corinthians 13:6, today's verse.

Again, from yesterday, the word is "adokimos."

By the way, "are" is a verb too! Present tense of "eimi," that is "to be, to exist, to happen."

"That we are not reprobates."

Paul?

But this reprobate business has been in the Apostle's thinking for a while! Back in 1st Corinthians 9:24 it surfaced. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." And, some of you remember, "castaway" is really "adokimos."

"Dokimos" can mean, and often does, "accepted, pleasing, approved." When that opening "a" is added, as here, it however becomes "adokimos," not approved!

Not pleasing!

Not acceptable!

Rejected!

Yes, "rejected," as in  Hebrews 6:8. "But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing."

Wow!

Plainly stated, Paul wants the approval, the recommendation, the cooperation of his friends at Corinth!

"But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates." It's that important. Right now at least, for Paul!

Hey you all ...

Do the people down at your local Church think you are real?

Does it matter?

Do you even, deep down within yourself, think that you are genuine, in your personal faith toward the Lord?

Is it important?

If others think I am truly saved and serving Jesus, that concerns my testimony.

If I myself think I am truly saved and serving Jesus, that concerns my assurance!

And, yes, both are important!

One of the very qualifications for being a Pastor, a God-called Preacher, is having "a good report of them which are without." 1st Timothy 3:7

And Paul was held in such high esteem by many of his converts. Like the Galatians, for example. "For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me." Galatians 4:15, part of it. That's love for one's Preacher, an eye transplant! It is thought that Paul had very bad eyesight.

If Paul were here, I'd love to tell him today that Brother Bagwell thinks he is real! In fact, one of the greatest Christians who ever lived!

Paul, the approved one!

But here's the final Place of approval. And the Corinthians have nothing to do with this one. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2nd Corinthians 5:10

"Approved of God!"

Remember?

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2nd Timothy 2:15

Paul was not a reprobate!

He knows that now, for sure.

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

                                                                        

 

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