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Communion Meditations (2017)

Accusation

Originally scheduled for  August 13

Years have gone by, but the old man remembers it like it was yesterday. He was a young soldier who attended a nearby church. One day the pastor of that church encountered him and in the course of conversation mentioned that one of the elders in the church —by name — was having incest with his daughters.

Surprisingly, the accusations were very believable. After all, this particular bit of gossip came from the senior pastor of the church. What he was doing sharing it with the soldier is another question; but the pastor felt that the phrase “in confidence” covered the possibility of the gossip being repeated. It’s an accusation which is impossible to disprove, and is therefore all the more believable.

It brings to mind the fact that in such circumstances there is a strong temptation to be judgmental. Just hearing the accusation — it is rather juicy, isn’t it — is enough to cause judgment to rise in the mind. The soldier could never look at the man again with the same eyes. It was many years of experience before he could realize that this accusation was just that: accusation. But it was enough to provoke judgment.

Just how does God want the church to deal with something like this? Christ lays out one very basic principle in Luke 6:38-42. The first thing to do before you attempt to correct something like this is to make sure that you are coming in with clean hands. That may mean that you have to correct the fault in yourself. In the process you will need to ask God for forgiveness and for cleansing. In all things like this you must remember: judge the sin; reconcile the sinner.

It may surprise you, but Communion plays a large part in this. We are taught that we must discern the body and blood of Christ in the elements of communion (First Corinthians 11:29). We are to see his sacrifice in these things. To see the sacrifices to ask what was the sacrifice for. If you do this, certain things will come to mind:

·         First, that there is such a thing as sin.

·         Second, that each and every one of us are sinners.

·         Third, that all being sinners means that all of us need grace.

So let me urge you this morning: if you are faced with the difficulty of correcting another sinner, seek forgiveness in this communion service this morning. Do this before attempting to reconcile another sinner. As Christ said, “Remove the plank from your own eye first.”

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