Dealing With Our Doubts
Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 13
What is doubt? Doubt is that state of mind in which we hesitate to choose between two opposite conclusions. To doubt is to be “uncertain” of the truth.
There is only one truth, when it comes to eternal heavenly life!
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
When we ask “show me the way”, Christ is the way!
When we ask “what is the truth”, Christ is the truth!
When we ask “how can we know true life” Christ is that answer!
Men reveal God by their words, Jesus Christ revealed God by the things that He accomplished and by the facts of His life!
Jesus Christ is the truth, that in His life, we can find the foundations of all truth, morally and spiritually!
Jesus is the only way because He is life. Dead men cannot walk that rode to life. The tomb of the Lord is still empty!
Another truth is, death is “certain”.
And still another truth is there will be “Judgment”.
In this lesson we will see the Apostle Paul warn this church at Corinth of the chastisement which he is determined to inflict on all offenders of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”, who have not repented of those things.
The truth is everyone on the face of this earth can be prepared for “judgment” because “we can” be saved, “we can know” that we are saved, and “we can judge ourselves” to see if we are living proof of that salvation!
Watch as Paul first gives a minister’s warning, then a minister’s prayer, then a minister’s challenge, and last a minister’s blessing. All these by the authority given to him by Jesus Christ.
As every good missionary does, Paul would one day have to make a report of all that he had done on the mission field and especially in such instances as what occurred at this church in Corinth, it would be best to have witnesses.
What did Jesus say?
Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
So let’s learn from these Holy Ghost inspired words of the Apostle Paul.
*****2Co 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.
The truth is, Paul had received letters, Paul had heard rumors, Paul had sent his own witnesses and now Paul intended to complete a full investigation of the condition of this Corinthian Church, himself.
Paul would assume nothing. Paul would take nothing for granted, but Paul would follow the principles of the Word of God, which at that time was the Old Testament.
Deu 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
We may wonder sometimes how God can judge us righteously and be just one person but we forget that we have One God but He is in three persons. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit therefore God can surely judge us righteously.
1Jn 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
We should be clear, three times during the life of Jesus was His Father’s voice heard from Heaven confirming the ministry of His dear Son!
Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 17:5; John 12: 28-30
In fact, we will find that those who reject the Word of God in this time of God’s “Grace” will be judged more harshly than at any other time in our history.
Heb 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Heb 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The truth is, God will accept no man’s judgment of His children so God keeps His own books on each of us, so He can see for Himself but thank goodness He does allow for a “Mediator”. As the song says “A Young Jewish Lawyer”
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Paul explains that his discipline would go far beyond normal church discipline but those who had been true to the Lord had no need to fear, just those who were false Christians.
*****2Co 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:
Paul has warned these false Christians before in this epistle and he warns them again now, because Paul is certain that they remained in this church causing problems.
There are some of Satan’s people in every church!
God warns and warns, but God also says when He comes He will come as a thief and a thief does not warn you of the day he is coming!
Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
And to those that insisted that Paul was too loving to act in firmness (all the rest) Paul says he would not spare.
This is also the message of the Lord. Those that repent will not see the wrath of God but those that do not accept that a loving God can also show His wrath, will be fooled!
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Eph 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
We can see that there is nothing confusing in the Word of God!
Paul insisted that he would exercise his spiritual authority and that he would certainly discipline “all” offenders!
The sins of Corinth must not be allowed to continue in any church!
The church cannot live in sin because the church can only survive if it lives by the power of God!
It is also obvious that God expects His church to take a stand on the Word of God because we do not stand alone, the Lord always stands with us!
These at Corinth would certainly see that there was nothing confusing about what Paul was saying!
*****2Co 13:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
2Co 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.
2Co 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?
We should understand, the day after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, there were still some who demanded that Jesus show them proof of His power over life and death.
You cannot show a non-believer enough proof to change their rejection of the truth of Christ and those that reject the Lord will reject all truth!
These born again Christians in Corinth were Paul’s proof and that could not be denied except by those false Christians!
The preaching of the “Gospel” is the power of God unto salvation!
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Christ may have appeared weak when He was crucified but that was certainly not weakness that raised Him from the dead!
As Christians we may appear weak in this world but on the day of the “Rapture of the Church” that will all change and the day that the Lord returns to this world, we will then see who is weak.
Rev 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
Rev 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
Rev 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
As Christians we need only to examine ourselves to know if we are indeed in Christ and Christ within us!
If we are still living in sin then we need to question our “faith”!
If we cannot feel the Holy Spirit when we think to do things against the Word of God, we need to question our “faith”!
If we do not feel the need to gather with the “body of Christ”, we need to question our “faith”!
1Jn 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; “that ye may know” that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
It’s not important how we look.
It’s not important if we are not eloquent speakers.
It’s not important if we have faults, “we all still do”.
It is important that we have “faith” in the power of God that lives within us!
We may question our ministry for the Lord but our “salvation” should never be questioned!
We should examine our doctrine to see if it matches the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
More important, we should examine ourselves and realize that errors of the heart are more dangerous than the errors of the mind and we must realize we can never be too sure of our salvation, we certainly do not need to make a mistake here, it is just too important!
What is a reprobate?
A reprobate is someone who may confess that they know God but their actions and their works tell a different story.
A reprobate is someone who has rejected the “grace” of God and is lost to sin!
A reprobate is someone who has been rejected by the Lord!
And sadly a reprobate is someone God has given up on converting!
Rom 1:24 Wherefore “God also gave them up” to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:26 For this cause “God gave them up” unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind”, to do those things which are not convenient;
We must know that we are not reprobates!
*****2Co 13:6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
2Co 13:7 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.
2Co 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
What is the truth of salvation? The very moment we place our “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ and in God’s promises, the Holy Spirit moves into us and He will never leave us nor forsake us!
Those false teachers may or may not be reprobates but with the Holy Spirit living within us, then as Christians, “can never be reprobates”!
If those of the Church of Corinth were truly Christians and had self examined themselves Paul was sure that they would come to the right conclusion and we know that they did.
All those who do right in the sight of God will reject all those things that are unrighteous!
And then Paul began to pray for this church. Paul prayed that they would do no evil and repent in order for him to bring a blessing rather than his discipline.
No one has the authority to discipline a Church that follows the truth of the “Gospel”! Not Paul, not these false teachers, not the government and not any other house of God! God would not approve any such thing!
No one can destroy the laws of God! The kingdom of Jesus Christ cannot be shaken because it stands on a solid foundation!
The truth of God is to be lived and boldly proclaimed under any and all circumstances!
The early Church overcame many obstacles and has survived, we should not ever think it will fail in our day or any other day!
One of the greatest rewards to the true Pastor is when he believes he preached his message in weakness yet the believers were still strengthened by it.
When a Pastor has complete freedom to preach the truth of God and not spend his time trying to correct a bad message from the world, the “body of Christ” gets all the benefits!
The church that can withstand the attacks of Satan, and their own corruption to still perform the work of the Lord, shows the strength of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”!
It is then that a Pastor can concentrate on the “edification” and “sanctification” of his body of believers.
After all the Pastor’s job is to make “disciples” of Jesus Christ!
*****2Co 13:9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.
2Co 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.
So why had Paul been so bold in these epistles?
So he would not have to use that same boldness and sharpness according to the power that the Lord had given to him!
Paul did not want to have to confront those who had caused such problems. “As we have said it is the Church’s responsibility to put a stop to all such things”.
Paul would rather spend his time and his opportunities to build onto the church and not destroy any part of it or any member.
Paul did not want to tear down lives in order to save this church but he would if it was necessary!
Paul was actually content if he was seen as weak as long as it was understood that he ministered with the full power of God. This was the greatest attribute of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was not the power of the miracles that made Christ our Savior.
It was not the power of God that made Christ our Savior.
It was the “meekness” of an all powerful God that loved us enough to die in payment of our sin!
It is only those who reject the Lord that will get to see the immense power of God, when they have refused His “Grace”!
What were some of the powers we have already seen?
We saw Ananias and Sapphira both lose their lives for lying to God.
Act 5:5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
Act 5:10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
We have seen Hymenaeus and Alexander and the incestuous person at Corinth, delivered to Satan for destruction of their souls, if they would not repent.
1Ti 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Did Paul have this kind of authority, we can be certain that he did, because his authority was that of Jesus Christ but church edification was Paul’s main goal!
This last thought, “this warning”, was intended to remain in their conscience because right after this statement Paul closes out this epistle.
*****2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
2Co 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.
Notice again Paul was writing to the Christians and not to any false christian.
To say “farewell” is a wish of happiness but here it can also mean rejoice in the knowledge that we are Christians who are favored by God through His Son Christ Jesus.
As Peter so wonderfully put it:
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Paul says knowing this then “be perfect”. There has never been but one who was perfect and that was Jesus Christ so Paul is saying be more like Jesus than the world.
1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Then be of good comfort.
2Th 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
2Th 2:17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Then be of one mind.
Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Then live in peace.
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
The God of love and peace will be with you.
Rom 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
The word holy is added to the word kiss so that this kiss is to not be considered anything but as a salute to each other.
1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
1Co 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
To salute is to honor one another!
Rom 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
Christians honoring Christians. In America we use the hand shake but a hand shake in some places is repulsive and considered unsanitary.
But all Christians are to honor one another because we are all the “saints” of God and we do not need some man or some church councel or some Pope to declare our sainthood!
*****2Co 13:13 All the saints salute you.
2Co 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.
This epistle to the Corinthians was a very harsh letter and we as Christians need to be made aware of our faults and Paul has been as loving as he could and still make us aware of the truth of the Word of God.
Grace is still the unmerited favor of God and the “Grace of God” can only come by Jesus Christ.
Grace is the absolute love of God shown to sinners who deserve Hell but through our Savour, the Lord Jesus Christ will become a apart of Heaven’s glory!
How much does God love His creation?
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
We must never ignore the truth of God’s “love” but we must still realize that God had a purpose for His love and that was to join us with the Holy Spirit who is the seal of God ownership!
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
We are all subject to having doubts in our relationship with God but we must remain solid in our “faith”.
Faith is the only answer to doubt!
We must also deal with our own spiritual shortcomings before we ever question another brother or sister in Christ.
If there were anyone who had more love for the Church than the Apostle Paul then it could only be the Lord Jesus Christ!