Summary: In this sermon, we wrap up the entire series by challenging ourselves to aim for perfection, strive toward unity, examine ourselves, and lean on the Lord.
A. How many of you break out into a cold sweat or used to break out into a cold sweat when you hear the words: “Clear your desk, take out a sheet of paper and something to write with. We are going to have a pop quiz”?
1. How many of you like taking tests?
2. It can certainly be nerve racking – even if we have studied and feel well prepared!
B. Certainly some test questions are easier than others, right?
1. Any question you know the answer to is an easy one.
C. Then there are those test questions that seem simple on the surface, but then we find that they are not as simple as we first thought.
1. For instance, answer this question, “How long did the Hundred Years War last?”
a. Answer: 116 years.
2. How about this question: “Which country manufactures Panama hats?”
a. Answer: Equador.
3. Here’s another: “From what animal do we get cat gut?
a. Answer: From sheep and horses of course. The name is likely an abbreviation “cattlegut).
4. Maybe you will do better on this question: “In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?”
a. Answer: November.
5. How are you doing so far? Let’s do one last question, surely you will get this one correct: “What was King George IV’s first name?”
a. Answer: Everyone knows it was Albert, right? George was his last name, not his first.
D. We, adults are glad to be out of school aren’t we?
1. But even though we may not have to face the rigors of the academic life any longer, we find our lives are still filled with other kinds of tests.
2. We take driver’s tests, drug tests, polygraph tests, sobriety tests, eye tests, and employment tests.
3. Like it or not, tests are a part of life.
4. But is there a test to determine whether a person is on the right track spiritually?
E. In today’s sermon we find ourselves at the end of our sermon series on 2 Corinthians.
1. I hope you’ve found this series to be challenging and encouraging – I know I certainly have.
2. 2 Corinthians is not a book that often gets much attention.
3. There are a few well-known passages in the book that get a lot of attention, but not the book as a whole.
4. As we have seen throughout our study of the book, Paul was going through a heart-breaking time in his relationship with the church in Corinth – a church he had founded and had ministered with for some time.
a. After he moved out of the area, some false teachers came in behind him and have attempted to discredit him and undermine his leadership and ministry.
b. Certainly there was much more at stake than personalities and leadership styles – this was a battle over the true gospel and real spiritual ministry.
c. As distasteful as it was, Paul was forced to defend himself and his ministry.
5. As we come to this final chapter and these final verses, we see Paul wrapping things up.
6. Let’s work our way through these final verses, and see what lessons we can walk away with.
I. Understanding the Word
A. Let’s begin with verses 1 – 4: This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you. (2 Cor. 13:1-4)
1. Last week, we noticed that Paul was concerned about the upcoming visit.
a. He was concerned that he might not find them as they ought to be, and that he would be forced to take action.
2. Here he began with two warnings.
a. The first warning is a well-known quotation from the Old Testament: “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”
1. Why did Paul bring this up? I believe that Paul putting them on notice that when he came unsubstantiated accusations against him or any Corinthian would be ruled out.
2 He was not going to put up with foolish gossip or false accusation.
b. The second warning had to do with previous warnings when he was there on the second visit.