Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #250 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2nd Corinthians 13 today and our focus is on How Do You Test Yourself To See if You Are In the Faith? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Nicobar Islands, India, Haryana, India, Lisbon, Portugal, Pampanga, Philippines, London, England, parts unknown Finland and Bangladesh, Taipei,Taiwan, Hong Kong, Birmingham, Alabama, Modesto, California, Montgomery, Alabama, Orlando, Florida, and Baltimore, Maryland. Shoutout to Ms. Jannie, from Drums, Pennsylvania, for leaving a most encouraging and overly kind review on Apple podcasts – THANK YOU! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Tests – not many people wake up and think – I sure would like to take a test today. Whether it be medical tests, or academic tests, tests usually can be quite unnerving. In today’s chapter of Corinthians, Paul issues what seems to be a very strange command on the surface: that Christians should test themselves. When we dive into this command, we will see that it is absolutely crucial and important.
Well over 200 million Americans claim to be Christians. I would love to know what percentage of that number really lived and acted as genuine Christ-followers. My guess would be under 20%, and I honestly don’t know if that makes me overly optimistic or pessimistic. It is easy to claim to be something – but claiming a title doesn’t mean you hold that title, and in the case of Christianity – it is not we who name ourselves as genuine Christians, but it is Jesus who makes that call. As He says in the chilling Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
This tells us that not everybody who calls Jesus by the proper title, and identifies as His follower will enter the kingdom of Heaven, and – as Jesus notes 7 verses earlier in Matthew 7:14, the road to salvation is narrow and uncrowded, so to speak. So – how does one know if they are really a Christian? How can you know if you actually have eternal life in Heaven? Do we just have to guess on Earth until the return of Jesus? Actually, no – listen to what Paul says in our chapter today:
5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test. 2nd Corinthians 13:5
What does this test consist of? Lots of works, proving that we are hard workers for Jesus? No. Great character – or an ability to go days, weeks, or months without big sin? No! Powerful spiritual gifts like miracles, prophecy, or speaking in tongues? No! How about pastoring a big church or leading a big ministry? NO! None of those things will save you, and none guarantee you are in the Kingdom of God. What does? The second part of this verse gives us the big clue:
Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test.
So – the test is whether or not Christ is IN us. How can we know? By our feelings? By a sense of internal fullness? Actually, I think one major way of knowing is by the fruit in our lives. Here’s Jesus again in Matthew 7:
16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. Matthew 7:16-20
So, according to Jesus – a good tree – transformed and saved by Him – will produce good fruit. I believe that includes the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of other people coming to Jesus or learning about Jesus through you.
Here’s a great snippet from Gotquestions.org to help us understand what kind of test Paul is talking about, and how we might pass it:
This was not the first time Paul had admonished the Corinthians to examine themselves. Earlier, he had observed the church participating in the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. He told them, “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28). Believers are to examine their motives, their actions, and the current condition of their hearts to make sure they don’t bring God’s discipline on themselves.
Paul’s primary concern was to bring spiritual health and wholeness to the Christian community in Corinth. If the individuals were genuinely in the faith, then they would know that Jesus Christ lived inside them. His Holy Spirit would be at work within them, promoting sanctification and moral living. But if their lives showed no evidence of the Spirit’s activity, then Jesus Christ was not indwelling them. And if Christ was not in them, they failed the test.
Rather than cross-examining others, believers are to stick to examining their own lives: “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” (Galatians 6:4). In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul told them, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NLT). Paul made it a practice to test himself, too. He knew that no one could skate by God’s judgment (1 Corinthians 3:13).
The words examine yourself and test yourself mean essentially the same thing. Some Bible versions have “look carefully at yourself” or “ask yourself.” One way to test yourself is to check for evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). Jesus confirmed that true prophets of God are recognized by their fruits (Matthew 7:15).
A tough but spiritually beneficial question to ask ourselves regularly is, “What is my spiritual condition?” The prophet Jeremiah called God’s people to honest self-evaluation and repentance: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40). Scripture calls us to “test everything,” renounce evil, and “hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21–22, ESV). We might consider making this our prayer as David did: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24).
Bible Memory verses for the month of September: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17
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