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Making Sure

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 3, 2021 8:00 am

Making Sure

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 3, 2021 8:00 am

As the young church in Corinth grew in size, its membership faced new struggles on the path toward holiness, just as believers and churches do today. The Apostle Paul sent the letter we know as II Corinthians to encourage these believers to grow up in their faith. Dr. Boice illuminates all of Paul’s key points, including God’s comfort in affliction; forgiving people who have hurt us; the blessings of generosity; and why God allows thorns in our lives.

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of finance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically come to the end of second Corinthians chapter 13 and calling that chapter reminds me of what happens at Franklin Delano Roosevelt's third inaugural they always read Scripture at such an event they were doing it on this occasion, and they had planned to read first Corinthians 13 the great chapter on love instead of that somebody open the Bible to second Corinthians 13 I began this will be my third visit studio every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

That's the kind of introduction that has absolutely nothing to do with what's in the chapter and yet if you're ever going to tell that story.

It has to be now. I made it a practice in my ministry of teaching through various books of the Bible and I will probably never be back in second Corinthians. Again a lifetime.

The Bible is too big for that.

My lifetime, I'm sure as anybody else's is too short so there it is. That's the story what the chapter really has to do with is a summation of what Paul has been talking about all along, particularly in terms of his warnings for the church to straighten out the problems that they have there before he comes and a great challenge to them to examine themselves. See if, on the basis of what they find there. They are really in the faith is really born again early followers, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are not the chapter falls in the three easy parts. There's a first section deals with church discipline. Here we have it illustrated by Paul's own example. What he proposes to do. Secondly, there's a section that deals with self-examination that I think is the crucial portion of the chapter and then at the end there are what the new international version calls final greetings few admonitions, readings, and a benediction with which the letter closes on the first portion of this deals with the need for church discipline. The principal that Paul lays down is that great principle of Jewish law, which he is probably quoting from the 19th chapter of Deuteronomy verse 15, though the Maxim occurs elsewhere. Namely, that facts have to be established.

The mouth of two or three witnesses. Nothing in Jewish law was to be established on the basis of one alone.

We generally in this country and our jurors. Rodents require multiple witnesses, but not as stringently as this was required in Judaism. We will permit a great host of witnesses to appear in a trial and each one can testify to a portion of what he or she knows so as the jury listens to these diverse testimonies and as the prosecutor or defense attorney presents them. They fall into what hopefully is a consistent whole and then on the basis of that a judgment is made. That's not the way things operated in Judaism, two or three witnesses had to be presented, but they were not allowed to present a portion of the story, but rather if a crime was involved. Each one had was seeing the same thing from beginning to and in the presence of one another and be able to testify to it completely. That made it very difficult, especially in capital offenses to secure anything like death penalty in Israel and that was intentionally the case, the Old Testament law provided very stringent penalties.

Mercy came in at the point of establishing guilt.

It was very very difficult to establish these things.

Nevertheless, that's what Paul is appealing to an by the very fact that he appeals to the most stringent of all the Jewish maxims regarding the establishment of evidence evident that what he has in mind is something like a judicial proceeding when he finally returns to this church of Corinth says see his giving them warning warning in order that they might strike this thing out before becomes now.

There's always a great need for discipline in the church.

We have even come to the point where we have spoken of it is one of the marks of the church, usually in books of theology when the churches spoken. There are four attributes of the church referred to and there are three marks the attributes are based on that statement, the one holy Catholic and apostolic church in the marks our unity, holiness, universality and ipos to elucidate which means teaching of the apostles and then on top of that theologians speak of the three marks the marks of the faithful exposition of the word rightful administration of the sacraments and church discipline. Landers is a right way of thinking about the importance of discipline as it sold out for us in the pages of the New Testament. It is spoken of as a necessity time and time again that we have illustrations in the case of the apostles themselves as to how discipline was established drawn.

For example, in third John speaks out very strongly against geographies who was dominating the church, domineering, and over the church and when he comes he is going to handle that matter in a disciplinary way and in the same sense, Paul speaks of church discipline here. I say then that church discipline is something that is greatly needed in the church and it is. It's also something that is greatly lacking today because nobody wants to deal with sin significant departures from a Christian standard of life and conduct results. Things enter into the church ought not to be there and the church is weakened by the things that are done all of that is his right wrong.

On the other hand, we need to exercise care and how church discipline is administered because just as there is an error on one side in neglecting it altogether. So unfortunately and here I think it's often true in the reformed churches. There is a tendency to practice disciplinary structures in areas where people have no right to practice them. I'm referring to. There is the practice of some governing boards of churches whether boards of elders or deacons to discipline people in the congregation because individuals just do not conform to something that this particular board of elders or deacons think they should do about it's one thing to practice discipline where there's a clear violation of the law of God, where there is an infraction of the standards of the Christian religion, and there is unrepentant behavior. After much careful concern and pleading with the person much reasoning and great deal of effort in prayer, there is a room for church discipline. But where it gets to be the matter of simply the opinion of the board of man.

However significant they may be in the structure of the church prescribing what an individual is supposed to do in a particular case there discipline gets out of hand and I need to say that happens in the reformed churches at something that needs particularly to be guarded against this great statement that the Westminster divines devised and which is passed down saying that we must never teaches the commandments of God, the traditions of men, and that includes the advice of men.

It's quite proper for us in the church to give advice on a large number of things and that is where the wisdom of the elders and leaders of the church. Come in. I should be given constantly in we should give that with one another as we seek it out.

Discipline is another matter.

Yet here is Paul saying that on these matters where the church had been disobedient to the apostolic instruction discipline needed to be practiced in this is what he was going to do. He mentions Christ being crucified in weakness, and yet living in power and of himself being weak and bark like Christ.

But nevertheless coming in power. I don't know whether the apostle Paul had this in mind as he wrote that we are reminded by that reference to Christ. But just as Paul was going to come again to the church at Corinth. So is the Lord Jesus Christ going to come. One data was church there is going to be a reckoning judgment and an accounting on the part of those who have been called to serve him in this world and it is with that in view that were to think of this matter.

Discipline in the church. Jesus is to be our pattern one who who deals with sin does not overlook it 10 requires righteousness and his people.

Nevertheless, one who was extremely gentle the way he deals with us extremely long suffering supremely fine, was concerned with offices not to lock us down to build us up. And so to establish us in righteousness and the way we should go. We have here Paul's example and that important area secondly immerses 5 to 10.

The second major portion of this chapter Paul deals with self-examination. He still pressing the point to say is been very concerned with what has been happening in the church they been following after these false apostles. They've been conducting themselves wrongly in a moral sense, he's been pressing this again and again and again.

He's been arguing for his own authority as a necessary bullock what he has to say here at the end he still hadn't as he comes to the end. He challenges them to do what really in the final analysis is the only thing we can challenge anybody to do mainly to examine the heart before God and see if we are actually in a right relationship to him. See, when Paul writes this ways, raising the possibility that in spite of their profession. They would've said all we believe everything you taught Paul and certainly we are followers of Jesus Christ, is raising the possibility that in spite of that, professionally, may in fact not actually be born again says examine yourself to see whether you work in the faith doesn't mean whether all your little bits of doctrine are exactly correct, but rather, you are actually in the Christian faith that is in Christianity, or whether you're just pretending at says do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you, which is what he assumes but there's a of the sentence goes on to say, unless of course you fail the test. That is to say, unless of course you're not in the faith, which is the site unless of course you are not actually born again you see raises responsibility and calls upon them to examine themselves, particularly on the basis of the way they have been behaving as a delicate balance. Here is another one of the marks of majority in the church is our ability to hold some of these things in proper balance already spoken one in the matter. Discipline. Discipline, yes, but at the same time a restricted discipline.

The careful discipline the gracious discipline there's another in this matter, self-examination on the one hand in the Bible there are passages that greatly encourage us to know that workers God redeeming us is been done that the work of God in resurrecting us from spiritual death is been done and that we are alive in Christ that we belong to him. And because we belong to him were going to be his forever more. We rightly talk of the assurance of salvation and eternal security in the fact that they should be known by Christian people and should be something that they cling to think of great passages that talk about. Usually when this matter was raised in question.

I refer to the passages of Scripture that make our security in Christ particularly clear. I refer to three passages. The 10th chapter of John's gospel where Jesus is speaking. Jesus says there that he is holding his own in his hand is the shepherdess called them they heard his voice. They come out. Now he holds in his hand, and nobody is going to pluck them out of his hand and he says the father is greater than I am a nobody is to pluck them out of the father's hand either. Sorry for that text and then I refer to Romans eight that great passage that speaks of all the things that could possibly separate us from the love of God once that electing love is been fixed upon us like that of angels and principalities and things present, things to, all of that all goes through that whole long list of the guests to the end. He says nothing.

Nothing. Nothing is going to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then the third passage I refer to as Philippians 16 which says that he who hath begun a good work in you will keep on perfecting it till the day of Jesus Christ or other text that these are three key ones since were studying second Corinthians, written by Paul can't fail to impress is that of those three text that I normally refer to perhaps the freeze strongest statements of the doctrine of eternal security in all the Bible. Two of them were written by Paul at the St. Paul when eighth chapter of Romans can cite nothing, nothing, nothing will separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus nevertheless warns the church that makes profession of faith in Christ Jesus against the sin of presumption.

St. Paul knew how to hold things in balance. So justice Scripture on the one hand tells us to be certain that were say if indeed we are on the other hand, tells us to examine ourselves, to make sure that that really is the case, I think, for example of our word Lord's parable about the different kinds of soil was soil in which the seed was planted and it took root grew up in a did everything it should produce an abundant crop. But as a parable also shows there was soil in which did spring up, but it had no real root so as soon as the sun came out was persecution well, it was scorched in and it didn't do anything. Jesus by means of that parable is saying is possible to come a long way as possible to sit in the church to become conscious of sin, which is what the Puritans used this week. I was a preliminary step to regeneration actually coming under the conviction of sin have all sorts of spiritual awakening, and yet to fall away.

And Paul is saying, examine yourselves to make sure that that is not the case.

Again, I think of our words. The words of our Lord in Matthew 10 verse 22 we said ones who are saved are those who persevere to the end didn't mean by that that we saved by persevering so it would be true to say were not saved but if we work hard enough added to the very end, we maybe that's not what he saying saying those were saved. Persevere the proof of the fact that they are saved comes out of the fact that they endure. They carry on lately for Christ of the very end. Peter said make your calling and election sure I was the same message of the apostle Paul and the second chapter of Philippians says much the same thing you see is what Paul is concerned up here just as Paul would be concerned was concerned that for the church at Corinth, so he would be concerned of many who sit in the pews of many of the churches of our day men and women who perhaps have grown up under the preaching of the gospel. Men and women who perhaps had the advantage of a Christian upbringing and women who perhaps read Christian books. No Christian theology, serve unchristian boards to Christian things you never been born again. Paul says examine yourself.

This is important of all the issues of life. This is the greatest of all, examine yourself, to make sure you really belong to Jesus Christ to say how can I do that one whole book in the Bible is given answer that question. John's first letter John was writing to people in his day, who, as we would say were shook up because of something that had happened there. People in their midst to professed a greater measure of enlightenment we would call the Gnostics today a particular technical term for the kind of philosophy that was present in those churches grew became really a very damaging thing later on in the church.

These people said well you know you've begun well and what John and the others have said when they were with you was fall very helpful and good but you know it's not enough.

What you really have to do is go on to a superior kind of knowledge by that they really meant that kind of philosophical approach to religious truth is only as you enter into these higher levels of philosophical, religious understanding that your say. And perhaps because they were the more intellectual people. Or maybe they were more gifted and otherwise many of the normal members of the church were shaken and they said well is that the case, are we really not say visit really a case with us that we are just in preparatory phase so as to answer their very real and important question that that letter was written what John says in that letter saying it several times over in a variety of context is that the three great tests by which you can measure whether the work of regeneration is actually been done in your heart.

First of all, you keeping Christ commandments. It's the test of obedience on doesn't mean by that you keep them perfectly. None of us do. John wooden claimed that himself.

He said if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is in us all are sinners all right we sin daily and thought, word and deed, but his point is we are trying to keep Christ commandments.

When you read the Bible and you understand what it is, the Christ is asking you to do is there something within you that says yes I must do that because I am a Christ follower. You can search your heart and see that that's the case, however imperfectly, you may obeying the actual working out of it. If you have a desire to do that. That's the first grade of the second evidence has the do with truth. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is actually God, the flash and with that goes all the other doctrines. See if your holding back fighting these things you're saying, well, you know, I I've been in the church for many many years and I'm not about to leave it sort of where my parents weren't my parents before that. Besides, if I if I leave it somebody will think not well of me. That's why I'm here. But you know really I don't believe all of that that I find in the Bible will then you're no Christian because when you read the Bible. This is the voice of God is the word of God and here the child of God will respond to the voice of your father in heaven. You read these things and say yes yes as much there. I don't understand what I want understand it when I do understand. I believe that even if II have trouble believing some of these things I want to believe the Lord help my unbelief.

You're saying that the child of the truth as opposed to being a child of the line following the devil was the father of lies.

That's the second test and the third one is love.

Love for the brethren. John and his great letter. First John is actually it's positing a great length about the new commandment that Jesus gave his disciples in the upper room new commandment I leave with you is that you love one another. John again and again in this letter explains what that means. He says there's 1/3 way in which you can test whether you really been born again. Did you find in your heart is as you associate with people that those you really are closest to those you really love those you want to love be with and support the Christian people.

You can be indifferent to Christians. If you say well in all, I don't care about them by my friends in the world are great deal more font.

I rather spend time with them. You can act that way then you're not born again but if when you get together with Christian people you talk about these things and you share what's dear your heart even though oftentimes Christian people can be quite difficult to get along with.

Nevertheless, recognize that your true home then that is an evidence for your regeneration. So I put it to you as the apostle Paul put it to the Christians at Corinth examine yourselves to see whether you're really in the faith. You can learn many many things you learn much about the faith and are not actually born again, you've learned it to no advantage most important question ever to get settled is whether you really belong to Jesus Christ and remember the spiritual family so do what Paul says and then in the last verses we have these final greetings. Some of them are admonitions. Paul has three admonitions. Aim for perfection. He knows were not going to hit it is as a matter don't settle for second-best shoe for the top. Second, he says listen to my appeal is don't turn a deaf ear to what I have to say I speak to you as an apostle US ears to hear him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. That's what he saying and then thirdly, as you do that you aim for perfection as you listen to my appeal do it together because you must be of one mind, you must live in peace with God, love and peace will be with you as you do. Yes, a few last slots read one another with a holy kiss. He allows it cost to that in the practice as we see fit. All the saints send their greetings, he says there's a final benediction by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, as indeed he will be we belong to him. We are continuing in Christ's way. Let us pray our father, we thank you for this book that we have had the opportunity to study now for many weeks. Thank you for its practical teaching. We confess when we come to a book like this or for that matter when we come to any Scripture, there are things we find difficult to receive and even more difficult to practice what we asked for grace to move in that direction we want to aim for perfection. We want to be people of the book. Father, give us grace to do that and help us increasingly in spite of the difficulties without and within actually live like Jesus Christ our Lord help us to do that at times it's hard. Help us to do that for Jesus you're listening to Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.

We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place.

Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us online@alliancenets.org for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support of this ministry

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