VII. The Evaluation of his purpose. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13:10
Paul summarized his purpose as he began the conclusion to this letter. He repeated that he was disappointed that he was forced to defend himself and the missionaries with him. He stated that –
A. He should have been Respected. 2 Corinthians 12:11-13
He had performed the ministry of an apostle among them.
B. He should have been Received. 2 Corinthians 12:14
Paul loved the people that God had sent him to – and not only this church but all of them. Our Brother.
C. He should have been Rewarded. 2 Corinthians 12:16-21
D. He will be Returning. 2 Corinthians 13:1-10
1. His Confidence. 2 Corinthians 13:1
Paul was confident that they should believe the evidence that had been presented to them. He had more than enough witnesses, even more than the Law demanded –
Deuteronomy 19:15 “…at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”
He had witnesses from the membership of the church at Corinth – the household of Chloe, the household of Stephanas, along with Fortunatas and Achaicus. He also had witnesses from the other churches – Aquila and Priscilla who were now at the church in Ephesus. And also others that were traveling to take the offerings to Jerusalem.
2. His Challenge. 2 Corinthians 13:2-6
Notice that he is challenging the false teachers, those that have believed them, and the silent majority – those that stood by and let the false teachers divide the church.
“…I write to them that which heretofore have sinned, and to all other…”
Paul challenged them to examine their own faith. If they knew that they were saved, then they must realize that their salvation came through Paul’s preaching.
“Since ye seek a proof of Christ … Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” When they proved their faith, they would be proving Paul’s ministry among them!
John the Apostle taught of this identification in the faith –
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
3. His Concern for them. 2 Corinthians 13:7-9
Paul has written this letter in defense of his faithfulness to God in order to refute the accusations of the false apostles. In doing this, he has said much about himself, but he wants the church to know that his concern for himself has been because of his identification with God’s truth. Paul has no desire to exalt himself and has been careful to represent himself as what he truly believed himself to be, a servant of Christ. He told them that his personal testimony must be reflected in their lives, as members of the church in Corinth, because they must all be seen to walk in the same truth –
“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”
4. His Care. 2 Corinthians 13:10-12
He reminded them of his care for them and his concern that when they meet, they will be able to rejoice with one another in truth and the authority invested in him as an apostle will be used for their edification – building up in the truth, and not to their destruction.
As much as Paul desired that they had their lives right with God when he returned, it was not about him but about his Lord, Jesus Christ. It was not so much Paul’s return to them that was so important. It was having them prepared for the Lord’s return that was burdening his heart!
Note the promises recorded about the return of Jesus Christ –
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
For praise of God among men –
Colossians 1:27-29 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
For presentation unto the Lord –
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
As we arrive at the conclusion of this letter we want to ask –
Are you ready to meet the Lord today? “…Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…”