Reading: 2 Corinthians 13
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 11:28
“THEREFORE LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF ....”
[a] Christians today are very good at examining one another - but not so good at examining themselves!!
[b] Yet this was a concept that was ‘built in’ to the early Church!
[c] Often today, to suggest that a Christian needs to examine themselves, gives rise to offence and hurt, and finger-pointing at others! “YOU TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF!” often a poor preacher is told!
WE ALL WANT TO TAKE THE HEAT OFF OURSELVES!!
[d] Yet, self-examination is essential, if our relationship with God, is to prosper and be healthy!
[a] I say it was built into the early Church, because every week, when they met to worship, they broke bread in a simple communion service!
[b] They had a directive from the Apostle Paul in this respect, and it is found in 1 Corinthians 11:28. “THEREFORE LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF.”
[c] He presented it as a very important thing, because to come unworthily before the Lord in such an act of worship and remembrance, was literally to bring judgement upon oneself! Because it was an act which dishonoured the Lord’s Body and Blood, which was being remembered.
[d] Not only that, he said, because some of you do this unworthily, “many are weak and sickly among you - and many sleep” which suggests, that many had even gone to an early grave, because of their careless spiritual lives, and lack of soul self-examination!
[e] This was not such an off-beat idea, when you consider the fate of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. They had been dishonest to the Lord, and they dropped dead there and then on the spot! SO IT SEEMS THOSE IN THE EARLY CHURCH, HAD A POWERFUL INCENTIVE TO KEEP THEMSELVES IN LINE SPIRITUALLY!
[f] HOW DIFFERENT TODAY, WHEN WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF ‘SO WHAT’ AND ‘WHO CARES’ CHRISTIANITY! It’s a day when CONSEQUENCES is nothing more than a board game, which no one needs to take seriously!
[g] It is a day when it is forgotten that EVERY ONE OF US WILL STAND BEFORE GOD TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT!
[*] It is a day when HOLINESS OF LIFE is looked upon as old fashioned!
There IS A DAY OF RECKONING, both for Christians and for the sinner!!
[h] The Christian will be called to stand before the JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST, where the worth of their SINCERITY, SANCTIFICATION AND SERVICE since the day they were saved, will be measured, and examined.
[i] RECORDS are being kept at this very moment in Heaven, of how you and I are living our lives, USING OUR TALENTS, OUR TIME AND OUR TREASURE!!
[j] There will be many who will stand before Him ashamed - but it will be forever too late!!
[a] The probing of the mind, and a FORM of ‘self-examination’, is fashionable today.
[b] Amongst the rich and famous of America, if you don’t have your own ‘shrink’ or ‘therapist’, even if you’re a child, there must be something wrong with you!!
[c] I was reading about one woman, who was suffering from depression, and went into a private clinic to get treatment.
Eventually she was convinced, mainly by auto-suggestion from her ‘therapist’, that she had been sexually abused by her father when only a year old.
Part of the suggested ‘treatment’ was that she face her father with these accusations. As the man was totally innocent, you can imagine what that did to her relationship with him and the family.
In the end, she realised that the whole thing was a total fabrication, put together with the help of her ‘therapist’, like a novel, but which she had been coerced into believing was true, and she ended up suing the therapist for the damage and injury done to her and her family!
[d] There are Christians who also live in a little fantasy world of their own design, in which they believe that everything in their spiritual garden is rosy, there are no weeds needing attention, and no maintenance needing done!!
[e] Show me the Christian who does not need to do some spiritual weeding, and I’ll show you the perfect man or woman! THEY DON’T EXIST!
[f] The devil always makes sure there are plenty of weeds being planted in our lives, and it is only through spiritual examination that we can discover and recognise them, and root them out!!
[g] If we don’t, then, it is not long before our hearts get overgrown, and the spiritual fruit yield becomes choked and stunted.
[h] There must be a constant re-assessment by the Christian!
They must re-examine what they think has made them a Christian, and seriously re-assess themselves. Because, to be blunt, ─ if they are not a Christian according to God’s ‘ground rules’, they are not a Christian!!
(i) Too many are Christians, only ON THE OUTSIDE!
William Booth said, “To get a man soundly saved, it was not enough to put on him a new pair of breeches - to give him regular work, or even to give him a university education. These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged, you have wasted your labour!”
(“Darkest England and The way Out”)
[a] If the active desire to be more like Christ every day, is NOT present in our lives, then we must EXAMINE OURSELVES, because, in that case, our experience does not match up with Bible Christianity!
[b] I have come across some folk down through the years, who have quite an adverse reaction to being told they are not what they should be.
And yet every one of us has a great way to go, before we will truly be ‘like’ our Lord. [SEE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT NO 1]
[c] “If we can look back, say a year, and don’t seem to have made any progress, then we must EXAMINE OUR WALK with the Lord! It should be a walk of continual growth and spiritual improvement!
[d] It should also be a walk of FOLLOWING CHRIST!
[e] Every true disciple is a follower of Christ! “Take up thy cross and follow Me” was His invitation, and it still applies today.
[f] As we walk in the way in which the Lord leads us, the Christian life should continually be full of new exciting challenges, which we can only face in the strength, courage and faith of the Lord!”
[g] It will do us all good in these moments, to EXAMINE OUR MOTIVATION - that which enthuses us in what we do for the Lord!
[h] In my ministry, I have come across many who could not have been motivated by the Spirit, because their whole service for God was done in a miserable fashion, and they created disharmony with others in the process of fulfilling it!
[i] We must ask ourselves, “Is doing the Will of God, the most important thing in my life??”
[j] IF IT ISN’T, THEN WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM, THAT WILL NEED RESOLVING VERY QUICKLY.
[a] Am I keeping true to my Christian commitment?
Is every area of my life under God’s rule - TIME, ABILITIES, AMBITIONS, FRIENDSHIPS, POSSESSIONS?
[b] Is there KNOWN SIN IN MY LIFE WHICH I HAVE REFUSED TO SURRENDER and allow God to cleanse? Read Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 1:9.
[c] Is there any barrier between me and any other person? AN UNHEALED QUARREL, RESENTMENT, UNFORGIVENESS, HATRED?
Read Matthew 5:21-24; 6:14,15.
[d] DO I HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF LOVE, APPRECIATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF MY BROTHERS IN CHRIST, THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE CHURCH, OR LIKE SO MANY SELF RIGHTEOUS HUMBUGS, DO I TURN MY NOSE UP AT OTHERS WHO BELONG TO THE LORD??
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-12;3:1-4; Ephesians 4:1-6.
[e] Unfortunately, these things become such a part of us, we fail to notice they are there - we make excuses - we feel justified - and all the time, we fail to notice that they are ebbing away our spiritual experience; until we become no more than an empty shell, with the mere appearance of being a Christian.
[f] It is the heart that God is specifically interested in -HAVE YOU EXAMINED YOURS RECENTLY??
PRAYER CHORUS 72
PRAYER CHORUS 34