Test Yourselves

ExamWhen I began working on the sermon text last week (2 Cor 13:5-10), I assumed that when Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” that the test would have to do with their immoral conduct and godless attitudes.  What a pleasant surprise to learn that the test was not intended to shame them, but to encourage them to live up to their identity in Christ.  Yes, many of them were living in immorality and holding onto godless attitudes (See 2 Cor 12:20-21).  Yes, they needed to repent of those sins and live righteous lives.  But, Paul’s solution to those problems was not to clamp down on them with law but highlight God’s grace.

It is natural for a pig to wallow in the mud and for a dog to eat it’s own vomit (see 2 Peter 2:22), because that is the nature of pigs and dogs.  If a human lived with pigs and dogs they would act the same way and it would feel right!  However, if they were rescued from that lifestyle and their true nature as a human being was revealed they would need to learn to live in line with what it means to be human.  They would need to be reminded over and over that pigs wallow in mud and dogs  eat vomit, but humans do not act that way.

How much greater is the good news that we have been rescued from sin and it no longer controls our lives.  Jesus has saved us and we have received a new nature.  Our identity is no longer sinners deserving of condemnation, but children of God possessing all the treasures of the kingdom.  When we go back to mud and vomit we need to examine ourselves to rediscover our true identity.  Only then can we live a life the truly reflects the Jesus who lives inside us.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!  Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11).

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

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