"SECOND CORINTHIANS – EXPOSITORY OUTLINES"
Examine Yourselves (2 Cor 13:5)
1. As Jeremiah lamented over the destruction of the city of Jerusalem,
he called for the people to examine themselves and turn back to the
Lord – Lam 3:40-41
2. In teaching on the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper, Paul
wrote that it was to be a time for self-examination – 1 Co 11:27-31
3. In 2 Co 13:5, Paul challenged the Corinthians to "examine yourselves
as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves."
a. In doing so, he employs the present tense for the verbs "examine"
b. Indicating that such examination was to be an on-going activity!
4. This should naturally raise some important questions…
a. Why should we examine ourselves?
b. By what standard should we examine ourselves
c. What sort of questions should we be asking ourselves?
[In this lesson, I would like for us to focus our attention on this
call to "Examine Yourselves". As we do so, let’s answer the questions
already raised, beginning with…]
I. WHY SHOULD WE EXAMINE OURSELVES?
A. TO DETERMINE WHETHER WE ARE IN THE FAITH…
1. Paul said, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the
a. The expression "in the faith" refers to being a faithful
b. Thus we are to examine whether or not we are remaining
faithful to the Lord!
2. We need to remember that the danger of drifting is ever
a. It is possible to drift away if we neglect our salvation
– cf. He 2:1-4
b. It is possible to develop an evil heart of unbelief –
cf. He 3:12-14
3. What our text implies, however, is that it is possible to KNOW
of one’s standing before God
a. In fact, the Bible was written for this purpose, that we
b. Assurance is found throughout the New Testament – 1 Jn 5:13;
2 Cor 2:3; Col 2:2; Heb 10:22
B. TO DETERMINE IF JESUS CHRIST IS IN US…
1. Paul challenged the Corinthians to consider whether Jesus
Christ was in them
2. That Christ indwells the Christian is a wonderful thought
a. It was promised by Jesus Himself – Jn 14:21-23
b. It begins when we put Christ on in baptism – Ga 3:26-27
3. We may wonder at times "how" He indwells, but the key here
a. To know that He does!
b. To realize there are ways we can KNOW whether He does!
— Which is why we need to periodically examine ourselves!
C. TO DETERMINE IF WE ARE DISQUALIFIED…
1. It is a given that Christ is in Christians, unless they have
2. What does "disqualified" mean?
a. Here is how some other translations read…
1) "ye be reprobates" (KJV, ASV)
2) "you fail the test" (NASV, NIV)
b. Literally, "not standing the test", and in the context it
refers to the test of…
1) Being in the faith
2) Having Christ in you
3. This verse is simply another among many that reveal that a
Christian can indeed fall away from grace!
a. Paul warned of falling from grace – cf. Ga 5:4
b. Peter likewise warned of falling from one’s own
steadfastness – cf. 2 Pe 3:17
c. Jesus described what would happen to those branches who did
not bear fruit – Jn 15:1-2; Jn 15:6
— Again, through self-examination one can KNOW what their true
D. TO DETERMINE IF WE REALLY KNOW OURSELVES…
1. As Paul calls for self-examination, he asks "Do you not know
a. We can easily fall into the trap of self-deception –
e.g., Ja 1:22-25
b. The religion of such a person is "useless" – Ja 1:26
2. Only through periodic self-examination can we avoid deceiving
[So the need is ever present to "examine yourselves", to "prove
yourselves". That leads to the next question…]
II. BY WHAT STANDARD SHOULD WE EXAMINE OURSELVES?
A. NOT BY THE ESTIMATE OF SELF…
1. We cannot trust solely upon what we may think of ourselves
a. We are approved only if the Lord commends us – 2 Co 10:18
b. Therefore even though we might "think" we are right, we are
not the final arbitrator – cf. 1 Co 4:4
2. We can be wrong in our basic assumptions, which can lead to
wrong conclusions about ourselves
a. Paul had thought persecuting Christians was pleasing to God
– Ac 26:9-11
b. There will be many people at the Judgment who thought they
were pleasing God during their lifetime – Mt 7:21-23
— We must therefore look for a standard outside of ourselves by
which to examine ourselves!
B. NOT BY THE ESTIMATE OF MEN…
1. We cannot compare ourselves with others, or trust their
a. To compare ourselves with others is unwise – 2 Co 10:12
b. The approval of others is a small thing – 1 Co 4:3
2. People are often wrong in their thoughts and evaluations
a. The majority will find themselves lost on the day of
judgment – Mt 7:13-14
b. Even many religious will be surprised – Mt 7:21-23
— We must still look for yet another standard by which to
C. WE MUST TRY OURSELVES BY THE STANDARD OF GOD’S WORD…
1. Again, it is the commendation of the Lord that makes one
approved – 2 Co 10:18
2. It is the Lord who is the ultimate Judge – 1 Co 4:4; 2 Co 5:10
3. As the Lord Himself has said, we will be judged by His words
– Jn 12:48
[The only appropriate standard to use when we examine ourselves is the
Word of God. We cannot trust our feelings, or what others might say.
Finally, let me share some…]
III. QUESTIONS TO HELP US EXAMINE OURSELVES
B. ARE THE "MARKS" OF DISCIPLESHIP PRESENT IN MY LIFE?
1. Am I abiding in His word? – Jn 8:31
2. Do I love my brethren like Christ loved me? – Jn 13:34-35;
1 Jn 3:14-19
3. Am I bearing fruit? – Jn 15:8
a. Such as the fruit of the Spirit – Ga 5:22-23
b. Such as the fruit of our lips in praising God – He 13:15
c. Such as the fruit of good works – cf. Ti 2:14; Ti 3:8; Ti 3:14
C. DO I HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF THOSE WHO WERE TRUE DISCIPLES?
1. Under inspiration, Paul wrote 2 Co 13:6; what was his frame
2. We can glean the mind of a true disciple from Ph 3:7-14
a. We read of his goal in life (2 Cor 7-11)
b. We read of his attitudes in attaining that goal (2 Cor 12-14)
3. We will ALL have this "frame of mind" if we are "in the faith"
and "Christ is in us" – cf. Ph 3:15-17
1. Other questions might be appropriate to ask when examining
ourselves, but I hope this illustrates how we need to use the Word
of God to "prove" ourselves
2. Consider the sad plight of those who are "reprobate",
"disqualified", who "fail the test"…
a. Paul describes some of them in Ph 3:18-19
b. Because they set their mind on earthly things, their end is
— How much better to be like those described in Ph 3:20-21!
To ensure that you will not be "disqualified", then frequently "Examine
Yourselves" in the light of God’s Word!