2nd Corinthians 13:1-6

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I’m going to invite you to second Corinthians Chapter 13. Second Corinthians Chapter 13 is where we’re going to be today. And we’re coming into the last section of the Book of Corinthians. We’ve been in this for a while. We’re going to look at the first half of 13 today, just six verses today. We’re only going to look at six verses because these verses are heavy slating today. So I would be a little patient with it and then we’ll end next week. And then after that, we’re going to dive into the book of Romans, which I am pumped about going into Romans. I have intentionally not preached on Romans here at our church for well ever. And on Sunday we’re going to dive into that together. And and I’m not this Sunday, but the following Sunday we’ll start the series of Romans. And I’m excited about that. This Romans is considered the book of books when it comes to the New Testament, and that’s part of the reasons I’ve been hesitant for it, because getting into this book, I didn’t want to mess it up. I just revere the book of Romans and it’s a great book we’ll be in together. But Second Corinthians Chapter 13 is where we are today. And just to dive into this as we get to the conclusion of this book, if you’re just now joining us, you’re at the grand finale. I don’t know if that’s good or bad for you, but welcome.

We’re glad you’re in Second Corinthians. If you remember these last few chapters of this book, Paul’s been specifically dealing with the false teachers that have corrupted and hurt the Church of Corinth. If you remember how this this story began or this letter that Paul wrote began, he’s writing to a church that has become adverse to him. And the reason it’s become adverse to him is because these leaders have crept into the church and they’ve preached a different message, a different Jesus, a different gospel. They’ve they’ve maligned the Apostle Paul and poison the church’s perspective of him. And Paul has continued to be kind towards them and continue to minister to towards them and refuses to give up on them. And finally, in the last few chapters of this book, he dealt with in the beginning his relationship to the church in the last few chapters. Now he turns to the false teachers and he specifically deals with with these false teachers. And this is where we’re engaging this story today and the encouragement you’re going to find in second Corinthians 13. It carries the idea of a church being ready. Paul is is giving them a warning to this point. He’s gotten to the place where he’s warning them, which makes this this section a little heavier. He’s got the place now where he’s he’s he’s getting right to the the crux of the problem that he’s had with the church and and the corruption that’s taking place in there.

And he’s dealing with that. And he’s writing this letter of warning to them. But he carries a certain attitude that he his desire is for the church to be ready, not just on an individual basis. If you’ve picked up the notes this morning, you see the title of today’s notes, be ready. But he means it in the sense of corporately and not just ready for Paul’s coming because Paul is going to visit the church, but ultimately he wants them ready for how they can live their lives in light of Christ. If their hearts are ready to receive the Apostle Paul, then their hearts are going to be ready to walk with Jesus. After all, remember, the Apostle Paul is is an apostle, and to reject this apostle in the first century is to reject the mouthpiece of God and to reject Jesus himself. And so Paul continued to labor for this church, even though this church rejected them, because he knew how important his relationship to the church was, because it directly impacted their relationship with the Lord. And so Paul wanted them to be ready. And so what does it look like for a church to be ready for what God has called us to in this world? That’s, I think, should be our heart’s desire, that that God is going to lead us on a path, on a journey as as his people, to do certain things, to be a light for him in our valley, where God has us, in the relationships where God has placed us, God called you into this world to make a difference.

Right? I mean, it goes all the way back to the Book of Genesis when God created us in his image. He said, Be fruitful, multiply and bless. And so God’s desire for us was to advance the goodness of His glory in this world and the way that we demonstrated his image and how we lived life with those around us. And so that’s been God’s desire for us from the beginning. And so what what does that look like for us as God’s people to be mobilized for that purpose? How how are we to be ready? We see that in the first six verses today. And point number one in your notes, if you have have notes in front of you as this to be patient and persistent with others. To be patient and persistent with us. When God calls us to to do this journey collectively, God creates us as a community to live on, on purpose for his kingdom as as a group of of his people. We have we’re not just gathered to gather, to gather today. We have a mission that God has called us on. There’s an intention to to to God’s church, intentionality to God’s church. And we want to live for that in intentionality.

And and it’s to be patient and persistent with others in order to accomplish that. And we see this second Corinthians chapter three, verse one, he says this This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. Let me let me deal with this first verse, Paul. Paul is saying this. This is the third time I’m coming to you. So we’re seeing in the Apostle Paul the consistency of not giving up on these people. They have rejected him. They have maligned him, they have attacked him. And Paul has continued to be patient and loving and gracious. And that’s so important in the life of the believers to be patient with persistence. And when we talk about persistence, I don’t mean to be pushy because we’re not each other’s Holy Spirit. There’s there’s one Holy Spirit. He’s great at his job, and we should let him do that. But we want to care about each other enough to continue to encourage one another to what God has called us to, to do collectively. And I say from time to time as a church mission drifts and vision fades. After a while, you just kind of get used to the way things are and you lose sight of what God has called you to do. But Paul wants to keep his eyes on the purpose for what God has created his church to accomplish.

And to do that, he is patient and persistent. This is the third time, Paul says, that he’s coming to them, patiently meeting with the church wherever they are, and helping them take their next step with the Lord. And patience. Patience is a good indicator of where your trust lies. Patience with persistence is a little bit difficult because it’s a reminder of, okay, here’s the goal, here’s where we are, and we want to gently be encouraging towards one another to progress in our and our growth in Jesus. It’s often said that direction determines destination and on all of us are in different places in our relationship with the Lord and where someone might be, having walked with Jesus for 20 years, might look a little different with with a new believer in Christ. And we shouldn’t put the same expectations on a brand new believer in Jesus as someone that’s been walking with Jesus for several decades, it’s it’s meeting us where we are and helping us take our next step in Christ. And this is where Paul has been in this just patient, not pushy, but but persistent and wanting to see them continue to to grow in the Lord. And so Paul has not given up on them. And patience is that good indicator of where your trust lies and not seeing it as as your job to be someone else’s savior. And your job to be their Holy Spirit’s and continue to to to guilt them and pressure them until they conform to whatever it is that you want.

That’s not what God’s called us to do. But to be an encouragement towards one another. Because we know who is ultimately in control. And we trust in him because he is Savior and Lord and not us. And then he goes on and he says this In the next part of verse one, every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses, which is kind of a bizarre statement Paul just randomly makes here. Why? Why would Paul why would Paul say such a thing? Everything must be established on the evidence of two or three witnesses. Well, Paul’s making this for a few reasons. One, it’s biblical. It’s biblical. This this this idea of having witnesses dates back to Deuteronomy, chapter 19, verse 15, and it’s repeated again and and the Gospels and Matthew, chapter 18 versus 15 to 18. If you’re ever dealing with someone that’s adverse to Jesus, someone in the church that’s creating conflict with with what the identity of the church is about, and they’re maliciously doing that that’s laid out in these passages on how to approach someone that says, first, go to them in Matthew 18, it says, go to them personally because the interest is in the concern for their soul and the toxicity coming out of it and just talk to them. Right? And if they don’t listen to that, bring someone else along.

It’s good accountability. Right. And Paul knows that because this church has been attacking him. And so he doesn’t want to just be hidden in some corner and dealing with him anymore. He’s trying to work with that. So now he’s going to bring some other godly people around for the purpose of of helping them understand where they’ve gone off course and encouraging them on that path. And the goal of this the goal of this is not to beat someone down. The goal of this is not to malign someone. The goal of this is to see people healthy in Jesus. And so Paul’s intentions here aren’t to attack someone else. But Paul uses these witnesses because he’s wise. And the purpose in this, the ultimate purpose in this, is dealing with the word discipline. Now, when we say discipline, I know many of us can get heart palpitations or something like that. Right. You can talk about the church and you use the word discipline and well, there’s never been a part of my life that I have liked that word. That is not a that is not a fun word to have a discussion of. And I would say this is why I were to the point where Paul is saying, look, I’ve come now three times. I’ve written several letters. Paul’s written four letters to the Church of Corinth. He’s been persistent and patient with them. But none of this has helped remove the false teachers from the church that are doing harm to the church.

And Paul knows that he’s finally gotten to a place where he’s like, look, we’ve got we’ve got to deal with this. And so we’re going to bring some witnesses here and not for the purpose of beating people down. But helping us understand who we’re called to be in Jesus. And when people use the word discipline, I know we we want to oftentimes run from that, because one of two reasons I’ve seen in churches this this has happened among people is one, churches have used a passage like this for bully moving. They want to they want to guilt people. They they they want to manipulate people. They want to shame people. And so the word discipline has been morphed into something different than what God intended. And that is that is toxic, that is not helpful, that is not healthy. And the other the other swing of the pendulum, like the other extreme that you’ll see people take with this is is to do nothing at all, become a coward. And let let the church stand really for absolutely nothing because they’re afraid to stand for anything. And discipline is understood in a healthy way as that place of saying, look, God, God wants to do a work in me. And. And sometimes that work can stretch me. But God’s intentions and that are not to destroy me, but let the goodness of his life flow from me.

As Jesus said, rivers of living water, that is that is God’s desire for our lives. And so when you think in Hebrews 12, it describes it like this. This passage makes me think of like spring training in football. I remember when I would do spring training or any type of training before the season would start. I remember I would go train early because I didn’t want to be the guy that showed up to practice and ended up puking because. Because, you know, if you’ve ever played football, you know what that’s like. You show up and then there’s someone that didn’t do their there strength training, endurance, endurance, preparation, and they get there and they just hold on to the trashcan the entire couple of weeks while they’re preparing for football. And discipline in that moment does not feel good. But when you get to the game and your team was trained well, your team becomes successful. And the joy of winning is fun, right? And Hebrews Chapter 12, that’s what it’s saying is, look, God, God wants to be preparing you a warrior to accomplish great things in this world, not to not to war against people, not to not to destroy people. The Bible tells us we battle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and power spiritually, internally. God wants you strong in your identity in Him because God wants to do great things in your life.

And that doesn’t just magically happen. Or you don’t just wake up tomorrow morning and you’re super Christian. There’s there’s, there’s a journey that we go on to grow in him. And Paul understands that. And Hebrews Chapter 12, it says this For our earthly fathers discipline us for a few years doing the best. They knew how to love that. Right? Because sometimes when you think about discipline and you hear that connected to God, it’s like Paul saying, look, when you’ve experienced discipline, let’s be honest, your parents weren’t always great at it, right? They tried. They tried. And he’s saying that in verse ten, the earthly fathers doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us so that we might share in His Holiness. No, discipline is enjoyable while it is happening, it’s painful. But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Godly discipline is not a tool to destroy you. So sometimes when we use the word discipline, we we attach it to the word punishment. And that’s not that’s not a biblical picture of of discipline. Punishment is intended to push you down. But discipline has a goal in mind. That’s why when you study scripture, the word the word discipline is directly connected to the word disciple. A disciple is one who exercises certain disciplines in their life, that their life could be conformed better to the image of Christ.

They understand who Jesus is and they want to grow in that. And so they exercise certain practices in their life to better connect with God and to learn about Him and to live for him in this world. Prayer. Reading Scripture. Serving. Meditation, scripture, memory, all those things intended to get God’s word in your life. God’s character communicated to you that your life may reflect Him in this this world. Paul’s not doing this in the story because he hates the church. But he’s demonstrated by his patient persistence that his desire is is love for the church, and he wants God’s best for them. Paul’s not excited about. Well, let’s get two or three together. This is my favorite part among God’s people, right? Put them in their place. That’s not as hard at all. His heart is for their success to the point that he has continued to lay his life down. We saw that in second Corinthians Chapter 11 at the latter half of Chapter 11, all the things that Paul describes for us that he did for the sake of the body. In fact, in verse two of Chapter 11, it says this I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, for I betrothed you to one husband. So so that to Christ, I might present you a pure virgin. So here’s the question for you. Where is God challenging you? Where are you not taking the next step that God has called you on in your journey with Him? Focus on verse two.

I warn those who send 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’s saying in this passage, we we need to remove the false teachers who are harming the church. Look, not everybody’s intentions are always good. And I think more than any place a church needs to be a place of grace where people can come in and say, you know what? I don’t. I don’t know who Jesus is. I don’t know what truth is. I don’t know how much I should listen to what you’re saying this morning and and let that be my conviction. Like, how do I even provide that kind of basis in my life? That’s that’s important to have that kind of space. I hope people feel comfortable to ask questions here. That’s if you’re curious. That’s the way we learn as human beings. When you’re when you’re a child, just the world is your playground and you just kind of learn as you become an adult. You learn on a need to know basis. You understand time is precious. You only got so much of it. And so if you become curious about certain things, being able to feel comfortable enough to ask questions, very important.

But that’s not who these people are. These people. Their intentions are poisonous and toxic to the church. And they’ve been talked to and they’ve been they’ve been it’s been brought to their attention. And and Paul’s even told us in second Corinthians, chapter 11, the first four verses, that these false teachers are coming in and they disguise themselves in verse 14 as as messengers of an angel of light. But the angel of light is really Satan. And they’re teaching a different Jesus and they’re teaching a different gospel. And you tolerate it well enough. That’s what Paul says. And now he’s saying, look, we’ve laid this out and we’ve given them a place to understand the biblical Jesus, and they just don’t want it. And to give them a platform to say things to you that are contrary to what Jesus is about is not only harmful for them, it’s harmful for you. And if they want to live for that, they can go somewhere else and live for that. But there’s a purpose for which we stand as God’s people. And we ought not lose that message. It doesn’t mean we be mean to other people to stand for that message. But there is an identity for which we were created in Christ. And it’s important that we stand for that, because if we were to lose that, we lose who we are and we shouldn’t exist. And and Paul. He comes into this.

This time for for that purpose. And he’s told us in second Corinthians chapter ten, verse one, that his his heart is meekness and gentleness. And he even communicated that that the false teachers are understanding that as as weakness. And he’s not weak meekness is not weakness. Remember, we talked about the idea of meekness and scripture being the word is prowess. And that’s the way the Greeks would refer to their warhorses. They would they would stamp on them when they were prepared for battle prowess, which meant they were disciplined properly, where they would charge into battle, in into arrows and into swords and into spears. And at the same time, with the the slightest kick of a rider, they could stop on a dime. That’s not weakness. That’s incredible discipline. And that only comes by understanding who you are in light of who God is. And that’s who Paul is when he’s stepping into this moment. He’s he’s saying I warned them while I was absent, but I’m coming this time and the authority of who I am will be carried out. In fact, Paul wrote to the church multiple times, like with Titus and Titus, chapter three, verse ten Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self condemned. Second Thessalonians three six. Now we commend your brethren in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you have received.

Patience and persistence towards what God has called us to. Point number two then. A healthy reverence for God. A healthy reverence for God. And the people that are living on mission, that are ready for what God wants to do. They have a healthy reverence for him. Verse three 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 live but lives by the power of God. For we also are weaken him. But in dealing with you, we will live with him by the power of God. And there you see Paul saying again. Don’t mistake. Don’t mistake this Paul’s coming saying, look, it looks like weakness. Jesus was crucified and it looked like weakness. But the power of God was made known. And you look at my life and the accusation against the Apostle Paul. He had been beaten. He lived homeless. He’d been shipwrecked. He’d been thrown in jail. He was mocked. He was made fun of it. Looked weak. But in the power of God, he was strong. And it’s interesting when the Jews rejected Jesus in the first century that the accusation against Christ was was made as they saw his weakness. Remember when Jesus was going into Jerusalem? They would. They chanted and shouted, blessed as he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna! Save us. Now here’s our King. And then Jesus goes to the cross. And what do they do? They. They curse him. They mock him, right? He says, Father, forgive me. They all turn their back on him. Why? They they see Jesus being crucified and weakness. And then that weakness, they rejected him. In fact, prophetically stated in Isaiah 53, it said this, that he was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. But then it goes on and says, But by his wounds, we are healed. And in his weakness strengths. The Christ could become the healing power in those who trust in him ultimately demonstrated in his resurrection. And Paul. Paul is saying to us that that this weakness is not to be mistakes, but rather we find a reverence for the truth of of who God is, because we have had demonstrated to us the power of God, made known through His resurrection. And therefore for us as a church. The world we have talked about. It tends to pressure God’s people. To conform to something different. But second, Timothy, chapter two, verse 15 says A true mark of a godly individual is one who accurately handles the word of God. We carry a reverence for what we believe out of a reverence for the one that we live for. And our lives are not tailored to to align or conform with the things or standards of this world.

But with the Lord. We live our lives to please an audience of one because we find our identity, our worth and our value, our meaning or purpose, not in what the world says about us. But for the reason for which God has created us. And through him we’re gifted intrinsic value and in Christ who gave his life for us. Like Jesus just didn’t die for any reason. Like Jesus didn’t should say, come to Earth for any reason. The disciples of Jesus didn’t didn’t go to the ends of the earth and give their lives just for some random reason. They they had a truth that they held to and and they wanted to honor God with that truth who gave his life for them. And so there was this deep reverence for God, not just in their Creator, but also in being their savior and Lord who came to to rescue them. Even for us as a church. When I read a passage like this, it reminds me. As long as I get to be pastor here. We don’t want to be a bully church. And we don’t want to be a coward. Church. We want to be a church that has a a deep conviction. For the truth. And a deep capacity for love towards fellow man. Love and truth rich in our theology, deep in our love and how we walk in this world. Because the truth is what transforms life and a reverence for God is what guides us into that conviction to continue to want to honor him and live for him in this world.

Our concern is not popularity. Our concern is not the number of rear ends we can get in a chair if you’re here, though. Welcome. We’re glad you’re here. Our desire is to honor Christ and live for the purpose for which He created us as his community. That only happens by a conviction in the truth and holding on to that, and it’s demonstrated in the way that we love one another. The point number three then. We have a vigilant watch over our hearts. We keep a vigilant watch over your heart. A church that’s going to be ready to make a difference in the world. It’s that kind of church. And he he says this in verse five. He says, Examine yourselves. To see whether you are in the faith test yourselves. This is this is this is why this morning I’m only doing six verses, just so you know, because first section, we’re talking about discipline and now we’re talking about tests. And those things are both hard. You didn’t know this morning you were going to have to take a test, but it plainly says it in this verse. And what can I tell you? You are you even ready to take this test? Let’s for some of you, I know you read that you’re already stressed by the word test.

You’re happy to be out of school. You don’t ever want to go back to school. You didn’t want to know that there was even the word test in the Bible. And I’ve brought you to this verse, and now it’s talking about test yourselves. And previously Paul had been asked to prove himself in these passages. You remember, they were they were contesting whether the Apostle Paul was a true apostle, and he was he was told to prove himself. And now Paul is turning the tables and saying, okay, church, now it’s time to to test yourselves. And so we’re going to test ourselves this morning. And the reason we want to do that is self deception. Self-deception can can be a problem. Self-deception is real. We, we as people, we can put blinders on and not even realize the things that we have deceived ourselves into believing. And so Paul is coming to this passage, realizing that what these false teachers have taught, there are still people within the church that have embraced that. And so Paul is encouraging the church then to to test themselves, whether you are in the faith. And this word faith here is important to see how it’s written, because there’s different ways the faith is talked about in scripture. I’ll give you the two most popular. One is your faith. Right. And it’s very personal. It’s how you’ve put belief or trust in something.

So when we often we typically when we talk about faith in our culture, we we usually mean how you’ve expressed your faith, your trust or belief in something. But that’s not what’s being said in this versus the the other way in which there’s a popular talk about faith is not your faith, but the faith regardless of what you do or do not believe. Christianity has a faith to it, and it’s an important that your life align with that faith. Because if your faith doesn’t trust in that faith, then whatever you believe in, you may call it Christian, but it isn’t. Christianity has deep faith. And one of the things I find surprising and probably needs to be done a little bit better in the church is is the ignorance, if I could just say that and I don’t mean this about you, the ignorance broadly church people can have about the history of the faith. Sometimes I think people just sort of believe that Christianity started by Jesus and then it just kind of was just sort of there, but mysteriously there, and it kind of morphed into where we are today. And there’s just this been all this corruption that’s come along. And who knows if what you believe is the right thing anymore because of that. And and I want you to know that is a very poor and ignorant understanding of church history. In fact, if you just go back into the first century of church history, you know that we have writings in the first century of church leaders who were disciple directly by the disciples.

They communicated what they believed and continued to write letters. You can look them up. It’s incredible. You can go read letters written by the next generation of disciples that were trained directly by Jesus’s disciples. And they expressed the faith that people like Clement of Rome or or Ignatius or Irenaeus or Polycarp or Tertullian or, or Papias, I mean, it just goes on and on. Jerome Of adjusting the martyr, things that you can learn from church history. And not only not only did they write about the faith and continue to to declare the faith, they also wrote creedal statements. I mean, you can look at what they believe. They wrote things like the old Jerusalem creed and the Roman creed, which morphed into the apostle creed, which eventually became the Nicene Creed. And and it went on from there. The faith. We’re not here this century just randomly believing something that was sort of passed to us and hopefully correct by some chain of one person whispering it in the ear of another person. We hope at the end they just whispered it correctly. You can go back and see the richness of church history. And one of the things that makes it so beautiful is that these individuals that I just named to you, many of them were persecuted and killed because of their faith and not just their faith, but for the faith.

And the reason they were willing to do that is because they found it so important that they wanted you to be able to possess the purity of what it was. Because it’s the truth. That sets you free. Which becomes important for us then to keep a vigilant watch over our own heart. It’s expressed over and over in Scripture. That man could come along and their faith could become a false faith because they don’t believe in the faith. Jobe. Jobe, 13, make known to me my rebellion and my sin. Psalm 17, verse three, David declared, You have tried my heart, you have tested me, and you found nothing. In Psalm 26, David again says in verse two, Examine me, oh, Lord, and try me. And Psalm 139, verse 23, Search me, oh, God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the way ever lasting. Can I tell you one of the reasons? One of the reasons I find that people. Will reject the faith. Um. It’s because the gospel by nature, is offensive. The only way you really come to Christ. Is by acknowledging you’re a sinner and you need a savior. People don’t like to be told they’re wrong. You’ve done wrong things. I mean, do you know right off the bat the purpose of the gospel is to offend everyone? And I know that doesn’t go over well in our culture because we lack resilience today.

But honestly, the goal of the gospel is to offend everyone because before a holy God. There’s Roth. And if we don’t take serious our sin before a holy God, we will never we will never bow before him. And so we say as a church like the gospel is an offense, but we we want to work hard to make it difficult for people to hate us and make the gospel the only thing people stumble over. But the reality is the gospel confronts us and the darkness of our own heart. But the beauty is Jesus cared enough about you not to leave you there. God loves you so much that while you were a sinner, before a Holy God, Jesus still pursued you and gave His life for you because He knew His life would bring new life in you. If you, by faith, would turn from from your sin and give your life to him. So so let me get to the next part of this verse here in verse five, he goes on and says this or do you not realize that about yourself that Jesus Christ is in you talking about this test unless indeed you fail to meet the test, I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. So again, he’s talking about this test and some of us start to panic.

How do we know? How do we know we pass this test? Right. What are people to look for when we examine ourselves to see whether or not we pass this test we’re going to test? Is God going to give me. What are what are the marks? We could ask. Of genuine faith. What should we look for? If we’re not careful in that moment when we talk about this test, if we try to create our own questions here, we might come up with a test that has an outward conformity religious space. How do I know I’m really in the faith? And someone would say something like this, Well, if you pray and if you you read God’s word, right, or you had some kind of emotional experience or you were baptized or you attended church or you led a moral life, or you felt guilty at some point, or, you know, facts about Jesus, right? Or you know the truth about Jesus even. Then you’ve passed the test of of being in the faith. But but let me just remind you of a few things. And this is maybe a little bit scary for a minute, but but I want to talk about demons. James, chapter two tells us in verse 19, even demons believe. James tells us a matthew chapter eight, verse 29, that demons were terrified of God’s judgment. Genesis Chapter three.

We even know that the spirits of darkness, like Satan knows the truth. And Deuteronomy 32 417, first Corinthians ten, verse 20 and 21, that demons are deeply involved in religious activities in the world. They even acknowledge and mark chapter one, verse 21 or 24, the the superiority of of Jesus’s authority. But yet they’re completely lost. So how? How do you really know if you you’re in the. I would certainly say that we need to start with, do you know what the faith is? Do you know who Jesus really is? Do you know what Jesus has really done for you? Do you know the extent of what the gospel is about? For by grace, you are saved through faith, not of yourselves. It’s a gift of God, not of works less. Anyone should boast Ephesians 289. Do you know the faith? And how do you know the faith, then, is not just this outward performance that you’re doing, but but your heart. Your heart really belongs. Can I just give you just three answers quickly this morning of things in your notes? I think it’s written down the bottom of your notes that you can write these. Number one is this. Sincere repentance. Sincere repentance. And let me remind you, by repentance, I don’t mean penance. I don’t mean you walk around guilty long enough and and eventually God forgives you. I don’t mean you have to do enough good deeds till eventually God is satisfied with with the amount of good deeds that you’ve done over bad deeds.

That’s not what we mean by repentance. Repentance comes with the understanding that I have sinned against the Holy God, and I can’t do anything to make up for it. But Jesus hung on the cross and said It is finished. And John, chapter 19, verse 30, which means paid in full. And I lay down everything in this world that I could stand for. And I turned to the king who came to rescue me and paid for it all. My life is about him and his glory. Not my glory. Not the glory of this world. But now it’s this turning repentance is this turning of my heart and surrendering it to Christ. And first, John, chapter one, verse seven, it says this If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another in the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins. But if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Can I tell you that one of the most important things I think you can learn in this in this Christian walk. God doesn’t want you to walk around. And guilt and shame. To do that is to completely undermine what Jesus did for you.

Did you know Jesus took your guilt and shame on him so that you could be free in Christ. And the idea of repentance as that place of understanding that Jesus did that. Jesus did that for me. And so we come to God, we come with this sincere repentance, knowing God gives us this wonderful place to be open about our failures and be completely made new in Christ. And so we come with a sincere repentance, laying it all down to Him. Number two is a desire for righteousness. In other words, for that could be holiness, but it’s this desire for righteousness. When you understand the extent for what Jesus has done for you, you want to then dedicate your life and response and love for that. We don’t we don’t do good things for God so that we’re loved. We do good things for God because we are loved. And that’s what this we have this sincere desire for righteousness. Now, is this church we we live on a mission. We should gather this morning and sing an anthem of celebration in what Jesus has done. That’s why I think that’s really what we do when we gather and we sing these songs, right? It’s this anthem, anthem of celebration, knowing it is finished in Christ. And we as people have nothing but hope before us in in the Lord and in that and we want to align with that kingdom that will not end.

It endures forever, and that we have a relationship with God that will go for all of eternity. And we can live for that purpose, that longing of righteousness in our heart, that desire for for that righteousness, that that holiness. In fact, Jesus said this in Matthew five or six. Jesus said that those who he’s blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. What’s interesting, if you read the rest of Matthew five, Jesus then turns to the religious way of thinking and and they think they live these rules and these laws. And he says, you who have not committed adultery, if you’ve lusted in your heart, you’re wrong. You have not killed someone. I mean, great job, I guess. But if you had an anger in your heart, it’s it’s wrong. You have not stolen. If you’ve coveted it in your heart, it’s wrong. He raises the idea of law. So for us to understand that the brokenness isn’t in our behavior. The brokenness is in our heart. And the only thing that transforms that. This. Jesus. When you realize the depth of where your heart goes, it’s also why we become so gracious towards one another. We all need the Lord. My point. Number three. An eager servant. You become an eager servant, you could put even there an obedient servant. But Paul says it like this For me to live as Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 121. His life was marked by a submission to a greater king. Better than himself. Paul. Paul desired to live for a greater glory that would not end in his own self made glory, but rather in in the Lord. Paul’s heart became about the heart of God. And wanting to live for that because he knew to live for that would matter into eternity. There’s no greater purpose you can live for in life. Then what Christ calls you to in him. Because that endures forever. And so you see a willing servant. So when you think about this test, it’s important to understand this is not a test of mark simply by outward conformity to some religion. But to really understand what is the depth of your heart and the desire of your heart. Want to be about your glory. Or. Or his glory. And Paul’s story in here reminds us it is not it is not always easy. There can be adversity in it. But you have promised with you hope and joy in Christ, which is what let me let me end with just these couple of stories. There was a story by Winston Churchill, and he knew during World War Two. That they needed energy independence in order to be able to survive. And so he went and met with labourers and specifically coal miners. And he and he gave a pitch for them to to continue to labor, but to labor more diligently to produce more coal, that they could be successful in this war.

And he and he got to the end of his pitch and he said, I want you guys to imagine something. Imagine we’re at Piccadilly Circus, which is like Times Square in New York for for England. Right. They they have this area that’s just famous and well known. And he said, imagine when this war is over, there is going to be a parade. And first in the parade will be the sailors who guarded our waters during the war. And then we’ll become the soldiers who fought on the land at places like Dunkirk. And then after that, we’ll follow the pilots who flew in the sky to protect our air. And then followed behind them will become sweat stains, soot face, coal miners marching in this parade down Piccadilly Circus. And people may cry. They’ll say, Where were you in the depth of this battle? Why could we not depend on you? Where where were you? In our hour of need and from the throats of 10,000 men will, will come. The resounding sound that we were deep in the belly of the earth with our face towards the coal. Let me say this. William Booth. I’ll tell you how this ties together in a minute. William Booth started the Salvation Army. And he served in that in that all the days of his life. And at the end of his life, he lost his eyesight.

And his hope was that it was just temporary. But they appointed his son to go into William Booth and say, you need to tell your dad he’s actually not going to regain a sight. No one wanted to do this. But finally, the son, reluctantly, he went in and he told him, he said, Dad, you’re going to be blind the rest of your life. And William Booth’s response was. I have served God as faithfully as I could when I had my son. And I’m going to serve God as faithfully as I can without my side. When we think about following the Lord. Some jobs aren’t always as glamorous as others. But like the coal miners, it gives us a place to contribute to the kingdom. To His glory and his mission. And and sometimes in life, we’re not dealt the cards that we always want. But even if things like blindness strike us. There still an opportunity to stand for your king and his glory and represent him in this world? It’s not about the amount of things you accomplish. But by the heart of faithfulness that brings glory to him. Wherever you’re at and whatever you’ve got going on in your life, just taking your next step on that journey with Jesus. That’s what He calls us to.

2nd Corinthians 12:11-21

2nd Corinthians 13:7-13