2 Corinthians 13:5
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed you are disqualified.
Paul’s words help clarify the doctrine of assurance of faith. Paul is asking the Corinthian church to examine their lives, for evidence of salvation. Is there truly an evidence of a new life? Is Christ truly living in you?
“A profession of faith never saved anybody. It is the possession of faith that saves”.
Anyone can claim- profess to be saved. With no evidence of Christ in their lives. Why do you think there are so many churches, so many denominations? That is why Paul, urges the Corinthian church…urges you and I, for a self-examination. Would we pass the test? What would be the evidence?
Such evidence would include:
Trust in Christ: Hebrews 3:6
Obedience to God: Matthew 7:21
Growth in holiness: Hebrews 12:14
Fruits of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22
Testimony of the Holy Spirit: Romans 8:15-16
Would we pass the test? Many…if not all are excited for the rapture to come. When it comes are you ready to stand in front of Jesus, and give an account for your life? “Are You Ready?”
2 Corinthians 5:10-11
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
This is the judgment seat. At the judgment seat of Christ only believers will appear. It is not a judgment of the believer's sins, which Christ fully atoned for on the Cross. The judgment is to see whether you are going to receive a reward or not.
When Paul says, "We must all appear," remember that he is writing to believers. All believers will be judged, that we may receive the things done in the body. We will be judged on the way we lived the Christian life, how we have lived in these bodies down here. When we go into His presence, we will be finished with these old bodies. The question He will ask is how we used these bodies. How did we live down here? How did we serve Him…others!
Paul faces this question when he writes to the Philippians…
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
He talks of his desire to go to be with Christ but also of his desire to live longer so that he can minister to the Philippians. He wants to stay so that he can preach the gospel of Christ a little longer. And though none of us would complain if the rapture happened now…we still have something to live for down here, and we want to see God do more too in our lives, and in the lives of others.
Here is the first motivation for believers. We are all going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and we will answer to the Lord for our lives. We are going to give a report to Him. Let me make it very clear that this is not the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20, where only the unsaved will stand. If you are a believer, your name is written in the Book of Life, and you have eternal life. However, we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to be judged for rewards. You and I will stand before Him. This should motivate us to serve Him acceptably. Then when we come into His presence, He will be able to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Wouldn’t we all want to hear those sweet words? “Well done, good and faithful servant’. The most scariest sentence a professing Christian would hear is… “away from Me, I never knew you”. (Matt 7:23)
2 Corinthians 5:11
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
I think the word terror could better be translated "fear." There is a great deal said in the Bible about the fear of the Lord. We are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
( Prov. 9:10)
One of the principle of liberalism is that we don't need to be afraid of God. They characterize God as a sweet, indulgent old man whom you can treat in any way. Liberalism teaches the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man, which is one of the most damnable doctrines today. That God is one of us.
Did we forget what the word of God says…
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Let us not live our lives in a watered-down, sunshiny gospel. Our God is a holy God, a righteous God. It is this holy God who loves you. It is this holy God who wants to save you. But, if we don't come to God His way, you will have to come before Him in judgment.
There are many modern day pulpit from which is never preached a sermon on hell. Why not? There’s the fear of losing members, an empty assembly. There are few sermons on punishment, few sermons on judgment. As a result, God's judgment is almost a lost note today. We need to fear the judgment of God. We need to recognize that we are going to be held accountable to Him.
Paul gives the churches these warnings, and continues to give them today. The question is, are we willing to listen to these warnings, or just live our lives how we want, and see what happens?
See what happens…is heaven or hell! Saved or deceived. Welcome or away from Me, I never knew you.
From what we have heard so far… “Are You Ready?’
There is so much today that goes the way of psychology, therapy… how to become a well-adjusted human being. May I say to you that if you are without Christ, it is not a psychological adjustment that you need. You are a hell-doomed sinner, and you are on the way to hell. What you need is Christ!
It may not make me popular to say this to you, but it is the Word of God. Like Paul, we don't commend ourselves to you. We don't want you to glory in us. The important thing for us to do is to declare the whole counsel of God. Our motivation to get out the Word of God is a recognition of God's judgment. That is the thing that would arouse many a sleepy church members today.
2 Corinthians 5:13-15
13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Paul says that the people may think he is crazy. That is all right. He is doing this for God. Or some people may think he is in sound mind -- well, it is for their sakes that he is.
"Compels us" is a phrase that has been misunderstood. The thought has been that the love of Christ restricts us or straps us down. That is not the meaning of the word that Paul is using here. He says it is the love of Christ that is pushing us out. It is the love of Christ that is motivating us. It is the love of Christ that causes us to give out the Word of God. The love of Christ constrains us.
“because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died ." It was this that sent Paul out to the ends of the earth with the message of the gospel. Mankind is under the sentence of death. When Adam was in the Garden of Eden, he was the head of that old creation. That old creation was on trial in Adam. God told him, "...Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16-17). Adam deliberately disobeyed God. He came under the sentence of death, and when he did that, he took the entire human race down with him, for all were represented in him. You and I have been born into a family of death. All mankind now is under the sentence of death.
Adam had everything that was good for him, but there was one thing that God told him he was not to do. Adam was a sinless man and he faced a choice. God had asked him not to do one thing, and that was the very thing which Adam did. He fell. We call it the fall of Adam.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to this world all the way from heaven. He was the absolutely sinless One. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. He came down here to save sinners. He came down from heaven. He came down into the place of death where all men are. "And that he died for all." Because men were dead, He went down into death, and now He brings believers up with Him in resurrection life.
“If one died for all, then were all dead." He took our place. And those who believe on Him are risen with Him. He takes them all the way up to heaven. Christ took our place. And if we are going to live, it is going to be by faith in Him, that those through faith.
2 Corinthians 5:15-19
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Christ died, not only that we should be delivered from death and judgment, but also that we should be brought up from our state of death into newness of life. Now our lives should be devoted to Him that we should live henceforth to the glory of God.
“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer”.
Now we do not know men "according to the flesh." Now we see men through different eyes from those we used when we belonged to the world. Out in the world there are only lost men. That is to say, we do not evaluate men according to their racial background or their social background or their color. We know that according to the old nature they are all lost in sin. But Christ died for all of them…all of us. He died for all.
Jesus Christ walked on this earth nearly 2,000 years ago. He was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, walked in Galilee, began His ministry in Cana of Galilee, went to Jerusalem, died on a cross there, was buried outside the city tomb, rose again the third day, appeared to those who were His own, and ascended back into heaven.
At Christmas time there are a great many people who travel to Bethlehem. The place is crowded. What are they looking for? Are they looking for the Babe? He isn't there! Jerusalem is crowded with tourists at Eastertime. Our risen Lord isn't there. You see, we don't know Him after the flesh anymore.
Right now, at this very moment, He is up at God's right hand. He is the glorified Christ. "Though we have known Christ after the flesh," now we don't know Him that way anymore. We are not identified with the One who walked on this earth over thousands of years ago, we are identified with Him who is in glory. That is why it says that we have died with Him and have risen with Him and are now in Christ Jesus in the heavenlies.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”. Here we have a tremendous statement. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation." We hear this verse often at testimonies. People will quote this verse and tell about their conversion. They say they no longer indulge in certain bad habits that they had before their conversion, and they consider this change in their habits to be a fulfillment of this verse.
If you and I are a new creation in Christ Jesus, what are the old things that have passed away? Now that we have trusted Christ, those old relationships have passed away. We are no longer identified with Adam. We are no longer identified with the world system. We are now identified with Christ. We have been baptized into the body of believers and we belong to Him. The old things have passed away, and the new thing is this new relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are now in a relationship with the glorified Christ.
Let's be very practical about this. You may ask, "I know that is a wonderful verse, but how may I know absolutely that I am a new creation in Christ?" Remember our opening verse. “examine yourselves”. It is not the profession of faith that saves…it is the possession of faith that saves. Do you have Jesus? Does the evidence show? Are you still being changed…being transformed in His image?
He assures you that you have eternal life and will not come into judgment, you have passed from death unto life. This makes you a new creation, no longer subject to judgment and death. You have passed into life. The ministry of reconciliation is actually God's call to lost men everywhere to come to Him with all their sins, all their burdens, all their problems, all their difficulties, and to be reconciled to God.
This Reconciliation is not the same as salvation. Reconciliation goes a step further. It is more than having our sins forgiven and divine justice being satisfied. Reconciliation involves a changed relationship… completely changed. It means to change something inside out and upside down and right side up. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creation."
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Since our citizenship is in heaven, we are ambassadors down here. We are representatives of Jesus. One day…we will all be called home. “Are You Ready?’
When man sinned, God in His holiness had to turn away from the world. But God loved man, so He sent His own Son to die on the Cross. Now God can hold out His arms to the world and say, "You can come." We are His ambassadors. As His ambassadors, we are to tell all, "God will save you!" All God is asking any man to do is to come to Him. God will not try to get even with you. He doesn't want to punish you. He doesn't want to lay a hand on you. He invites all people everywhere to come to Him.
God is reconciled. You don't need to do one thing to win Him over. You don't have to shed tears to soften the heart of God. He loves you. He wants to save you. Why?
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
A very important summary of the Gospel message. The verse explains how God imputed our sins to Christ. God as judge assigned the responsibility of our sin to Christ. Making it possible for Him to justly receive the punishment that we deserve. Christ was the substitute, accepting the penalty of sin in our place.
With all that we have heard…tell me, “Are You Ready?”
If rapture was to come, are you ready to stand before God, and give an answer for this life?
Examine yourselves. Don’t take these warnings for granted. If you’re in Christ…be in Christ. Show the world Who you belong to. Don’t believe all these teachings you see on tv, or hear on the radio. Follow the Holy Spirits guidance to know truth, instead of the lies.
Be Ready…Trust in God, because He loves you. Put your faith in the Who hold it dearly.
“I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me, that you also may be where I am.”
Revelation 22:12-15 Jesus Testifies to the Churches
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
Pastor Richard Santos
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