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Bible Search
Do You Know You Died and are Raised with Christ?
 “Do You Not Know?” Series
Do You Know For Certain Jesus Lives In You?
2 Corinthians 13:5
 
There’s a lot of difference, many times, between what we know and what we think we know or others think we know.  Know what I’m talking about? 
 
When Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency, by the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn took him aside and said,
 
“From here on out, you’re going to have lots of people around you. They’ll try to put up a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They’ll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you ain’t.
 
In response to a letter from a reader, newspaper advice columnist Ann Landers wrote this response:
 
Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
 
It is especially important that we know the truth when it comes to Scripture.  Remember the old saying, "What you don't know can't hurt you"? 
 
When it comes to Biblical truth what you don't know can hurt you. It can hurt you spiritually. The reason many believers are stunted in their spiritual growth and anemic in their Christian life is because there are blessed realities of the Christian life that have never become a part of their Christian experience. Tragically, many have no knowledge or understanding of these realities.
 
John R. W. Stott said, "Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind that God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality and cut ourselves off from many of the riches of God's grace. . . . Knowledge is given us to be used, to lead us to higher worship, greater faith, deeper holiness, better service."
 
There’s a little phrase that occurs quite often through the Bible that reads like this: "do you not know". It was one of the Apostle Paul’s favorite phrases.  And it seems that, many times, Paul was asking with a bit of sarcasm as though they had been told this particular bit of information and were living as though they didn’t know.  It was his way of saying, “You do understand this, don’t you?”
 
The word "know" is found 281 times in the New Testament and speaks of understanding or perceiving. It carries the idea of having personal knowledge of a matter. The phrase "do you not know" is a question asking us if we understand and are personally acquainted with the truth that is being presented.
 
Listen, there are many great things that God wants His people to know. So what I want to begin this morning is a study of eight of those times in Scripture where the sentence begins with this question:  “Do you not know?” 
 
In every one of them there is a truth that God wants the believer to know.  Now this morning we begin at the beginning. 
There is nothing more important in this life than being saved. A person's eternal destiny depends on whether or not one is saved. There is a heaven and a hell and which one a person spends eternity in depends on whether or not one has been saved. Jesus said in John 3:36, "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that does not believe in the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides upon him."
 
Because so much depends on whether one is saved, it is extremely important that a person know they are saved.
 
II Corinthians 13:5
 
Now the context of this text is important.  Paul came to Corinth and, as was his custom, preached the Gospel, stayed long enough in the city to organize the fledging church, disciple and raise up leadership for the new congregation there, and then he moved on to repeat that pattern elsewhere.
 
After his departure from Corinth Paul got word that there were troubles in the church. There was disorder in public worship, division, doctrinal confusion, immoral and unloving behavior by some in the church, and a group of Corinthians who were usurping leadership in the congregation and calling Paul’s apostolic authority into question.
 
But those who were behind the problems got more than they bargained for with the apostle. Paul was never one to run from a fight.  So he turns the questions around and instead of providing proof of his authority from Christ to be an apostle, he challenges them to prove their salvation. 
His direct counsel to the Corinthians is to examine themselves to see if their faith and their conversion are genuine.
 
Now I am told that the Greek grammar in the verse places great emphasis on the personal pro-nouns “yourself” and “you.”
 
And what is happening here is Paul is illustrating the inconsistency with which they were operating. 
They assumed that their faith was genuine and his apostleship false. Paul had preached the Gospel message to these Corinthians as a true and genuine apostle.
 
Therefore, if his apostleship was counterfeit, then so were their faith and their conversion.
 
In other words, he says, “You received the gospel message through me.  If I’m false how did you get saved? 
 
If your salvation is genuine, then so is my apostleship.  That is the essence of his question in verse 5.  “Do you not know that Jesus is living in you?”
 
The genuineness of their salvation was proof of the genuineness of Paul’s authority as an apostle.
 
So he says, “Test yourselves”.
 
There are lots of tests and examinations we take and have taken in our life. There are driving tests, medical tests, the Bar Exam, SATs, residency exams and college finals. Some tests are more important than others.
But the one Paul mentions, the self-examination to see if we are genuinely converted, saved and have Christ indwelling our hearts by faith, is the most important exam of all. Eternity is hanging on the answer to this exam.
 
And I would suggest to you that there is too much riding on the results of this test for us to ignore or put off examining our souls. Our eternal destiny is at stake.
 
Notice, first of all,
 
1. The Exhortation
 
The truth is, far too many churchgoers assume far too much about themselves. The truth is, it is possible to profess Christ and not possess Christ. The Lord Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7:1:
 
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven.
 
Most in our culture today believe that men are justified not by faith, and not even by good works, but by death. Watch television. Read the newspapers. Listen to the radio. Read the obituary column, and you will discover that the common “misconception” held by most these days is that all one has to do to be welcomed into the everlasting arms of Jesus is to die.
 
But they are mistaken. Don’t you be mistaken. Jesus said that the gate to eternal life is narrow and the road that leads to eternal life is hard, “and few there be that find it.”
 
And that is what is foremost on the mind of Paul as he suggests this self-examination to see “whether you are in the faith”.
 
Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher of the nineteenth century, preached a sermon on our text at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens, on October 10th, 1858. In his sermon on II Corinthians 13:5 Spurgeon admonishes his congregation to examine themselves as a professor examines a student and puts him through his paces to see if he really knows what he ought to know.
 
He counsels them to examine themselves as a regimental commander examines his troops on inspection day, closely and scrupulously. He exhorts them to test their souls as a lawyer cross-examines a lying witness in the witness box. “You have seen,” Spurgeon said, the witness in the box, when the lawyer has been examining him….
 
Now, mark: never was there a rogue less trustworthy or more deceitful than your own heart, and as when you are cross-examining a dishonest person…you set traps for him to try and find him out in a lie, so do with your own heart. Question it backward and forward, this way and that way; for if there be a loophole for escape, if there be any pretense for self-deception, rest assured your treacherous heart will be ready enough to avail itself of it.
 
What do we use to administer the test?  What is the guide or the rule to make sure we ask the proper questions? 
 
It is the Word of God.
We don’t compare ourselves to others.  I’ll guarantee you, you can always find someone who’s worse than you.  But that’s misleading.  Our righteousness is not determined by being better than someone else. 
 
We must examine our public conduct. Does what we say and what we do reveal that Christ dwells within us? Do those who know you best know you to be a follower of Christ? Does your conduct betray your faith? If it were illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Do your actions and public manner of life demonstrate that you have been washed in the blood of Christ, cleansed and born again?
 
We must examine, likewise, our private conduct. Are we someone else in private than we are in public? Do we lead a double-life? Ard you a hypocrite?
 
The truth of the matter is, who we really are when no one else is around is who we really are.
Examine yourselves. Test yourselves. That’s the exhortation.
 
Next comes
 
2. The Examination
 
“see whether you are in the faith.”
 
This is a the point of the self-examination: to see whether or not we really are Christians, to see whether or not we have been genuinely and truly converted.
 
 
 
How can we know for sure? We can know whether or not we are born again by there being a difference in our lives. We will never be perfect in this life. That glorification will occur for us either when we die and go to be with the Lord, or when the Lord returns with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet-call of God to receive His own.
 
Until then, we will struggle with sin and temptation. We will struggle, but we shouldn’t conquered by them.
 
When we are truly converted, God brings life to our spirits, our souls, which previously were dead in trespasses and sin. He pours the Holy Spirit into our hearts to begin an internal spiritual renovation that manifests itself in a change in our nature, character, values, outlook, morals and priorities.
 
When we are justified by faith alone God credits our faith as righteousness and our standing with God changes.
 
At the same, we are born again when we repent of our sins and receive Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us to sanctify us. This work is lifelong; it doesn’t happen overnight. But the Holy Spirit works incrementally in us to make us internally what we are relationally; namely, fit to stand before God.
 
Paul makes clear in Romans chapter 6 that if we have been united to Christ by faith, our old sinful natures have been crucified with Christ. And that just as the Father raised up Christ from death, He also has raised us up to walk in newness of life.
 
 
He says in verses 12 and 13 of Romans 6:
 
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
 
What all this means is that if your conversion was genuine, you should see some transformation in your life. You should see a growth in love and holiness. In other words, genuine conversion results in discernible and visible fruit.
 
And when you examine your heart, you ought to be able to look back and see a change in your lives, both public and private. 
 
For some the change will be dramatic. For others, the change will be slower and more incremental. But a change there must be.
 
Let me give you three specifics where our lives should be transformed:
 
First, if you’ve got a genuine conversion, you’ll have a transformed love.
 
When God saves you, and the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you, He puts His love in you and it will absolutely transform your life. 
 
First of all, we begin to love God, and the things of God, whereas before we were either ambivalent or openly hostile to Him and His law.
 
Secondly, we begin to love God’s people.
 
John tells us in his first epistle that a love for the brethren is one of the ways we know we have eternal life, and the way we know we genuinely love God.
 
“Beloved,” John writes, “let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (I Jn. 4:7).
 
And I’m telling you straight up, if there is someone in this church and you don’t love them and you have animosity toward them and you wished they weren’t even here, then I put a big question mark after your salvation because that is not the spirit fo God at work in you. 
 
And thirdly, we begin to love God’s Word.
 
Listen, there are a lot of people who will look at you funny, even some so-called Christians, if you get too carried away with the Bible.  But let me tell you, loving Holy Scripture is not unusual in the life of a child of God.  It is one of the ways we know we’ve been converted.
 
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. And that entire chapter—all 176 verses—is a song of love and praise by David for God’s Word. He cries out in verses 47 and 48:
 
I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love….
 
 
If we’ve been converted our love will be transformed.
 
Not only that, but secondly our labor will be transformed.
 
There is no other way to put this: You were saved to serve the Lord. Before our conversion we served the Devil and our selves. But if we are “in the faith” as Paul says, we should see ourselves getting busy in matters of God’s kingdom. “Work while it is day,” Jesus says, “because the night is coming when no one can work.” Will the Master find His stewards busy about His business when He returns? Will He find you busy, Christian? Genuine salvation results in the transformation of our labor: We desire to work for God.
 
And thirdly, while your examining yourself to see if you’re really saved, you ought to find a life that is transformed. 
 
Paul says this to the Romans and to us:
 
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…(Rom. 12:1-2).
 
Put simply, the manner of your life, post-conversion, ought to be different than the manner of your life before conversion. The goal of the Christian life is Christ-likeness, and having Christ in your life will make a noticeable difference in your life.
 
 
So there is an exhortation and there is an examination, and maybe you are feeling a little bit unsettled at the moment, so let me give you the good news.
 
It’s found in
 
3.  The Evidence
 
Notice what Paul says. 
 
Verse 5 again
 
Notice that last phrase, “Unless you are disqualified” or “unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
 
They were questioning his apostleship, and his response is “You are saved, aren’t you?” 
 
So when Paul asks the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if their conversion was genuine—if Christ really lived within them—his question expects an affirmative answer: Yes!
 
The fact is, you and I need to test our conversion to make sure it is genuine. If we have doubts that it is, we need to repent of our sins, receive Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives, submit to His lordship and trust in His finished work on the Cross for us.
 
That will end all doubt. If we examine ourselves and find the fruit of Christ’s redeeming work in our lives, and the Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit that we are genuinely saved, then we can thank God Almighty and get on with the business the Master has given us to do.
 
We needn’t spend our entire Christian wondering and hoping and worrying if we are Christ’s.  We can know. Once we are Christ’s we are Christ’s forever. Jesus assured us that no one would be able to pluck His own from His hand.
 
And St. John writes his first epistle for this purpose, I John 5:13:
 
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life….
 
Since we didn’t contribute to our salvation—it was a work of God’s grace from first to last—we can’t do anything to lose our salvation. God keeps His children eternally secure.
 
But we need to make sure. Too much is at stake not to. Eternity hangs in the balance. Examine your heart to make sure that you are in the faith. Make sure that your life and love and labor have been transformed, and so know that you have everlasting life.
 
I, for one, was a lost Church member. When I was about nine years of age I went forward during a revival meeting. I was asked if I love Jesus, presented to the church and later baptized, but I was lost.
 
I have seen many lost Church members saved through the years.
 
 
 
 
Being deceived about one's salvation is a dangerous condition because one is blinded to their own spiritual condition. There is the danger of going through life thinking they are saved and dying lost.
 
So Paul says, "Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?"
 
Paul was asking, "Do you know for certain that Jesus lives in you?" Do you know for certain?
 
At a certain church a boy of ten years of age was examined for membership. The question was presented to him, "What did you do when you felt yourself so great a sinner?"
 
The eyes of the boy brightened as he answered, "I just went to Jesus and told Him how sinful I was, and how sorry I was, and asked Him to forgive me." "And do you hope at times that Jesus heard you and forgave your sins?" "I don't only hope so, sir, I know He did."
 
The oldest of them raised his glasses and peered into the face of the little candidate, and said, "You say you 'know' that Jesus forgave your sin?" "Yes, sir," was the prompt answer. "You mean, my son, that you hope Jesus has pardoned your sins." "I hope he has, and I know it, too," said the boy, with a bright smile on his manly face. "How do you know it, my son?" Every eye was intent on the little respondent. "He said he would," said the boy, with a look of astonishment, as if amazed that anyone should doubt it.
 
I hope that each of you can say that you know it as well. 
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