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Communion Meditations (2020)

 

Self Examination

Originally scheduled for June 21

It is a curious fact about communion meditations: we are often told that we should examine ourselves so that we might partake of communion in a worthy manner. This comes directly from the Scriptures:

But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

(1 Corinthians 11:28 NASB)

 

This verse is frequently quoted but seldom explained. Most of us are content with that; we want to let sleeping worms lie. This morning, we will look at looking at ourselves.

 

Recognition

The first thing we must do is this: we must recognize that all of us are sinners. This begins with the idea that I personally am a sinner, and therefore I need to do something about it. Sin separates us from God, and therefore requires some maintenance to get things back in working order.

We also must recognize that everyone else is a sinner. We therefore have no privilege of making a comparison with someone else (“I’m a better man than…”) Whether or not I am less of a sinner than you is completely irrelevant. Indeed, how can I condemn you when the Scripture tells me that you are under no condemnation?

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

(Romans 8:1 NASB)

If you are in Christ Jesus you are not condemned. If Christ Jesus will not condemn you, who am I to make the accusation? Seriously, I have enough problems of my own and I don’t need to worry about your list of sins. Let each man examine himself, not others.

 

Confession

Most of us can understand recognizing our own sins. But why confession? After all, God already knows all about it. I’m not delivering anything in the way of news to Him. And besides, it hurts my pride to have two admit this. Which, of course, is exactly the point; it hurts your pride and enhances your humility.

One good reason for confession is that it tells some other persons that you are a sinner and you know it. It’s a good antidote to “holier-than-thou.” It helps them to know that you struggle with sin just like they do. Another reason is that confession helps you secure their assistance. We are a body, a united body, and if one of us has a problem with a particular sin the rest of us should be willing to help — if we know about it.

There is a particular instance where public confession is required. This is usually the case when it involves leadership of the church and the sin is quite serious. The principle here is that we do not sweep the dirt under the rug, for doing that just leaves more dirt under the rug.

 

Repentance

This is the follow through to confession. Golfers understand the principle; hitting the golf ball requires that you follow through correctly, or you will not hit the ball where you wanted it to go. The same is true with regard to sin; you can confess all day long but if you do not repent and follow through it is of no use. Simply, ask forgiveness of those whom you might have offended, if possible. Then let your actions speak louder than your words; change what you do to avoid sinning again. This may be a very repetitive process, another reason to seek the help of the church.

 

Body and blood

You are given the body and blood of Christ so that you might remember what he did for you. It should not be a mere memorial, but a call to action. Examine yourself — and then partake.

 

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