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Communion (1995 Series)

Self Examination

Scheduled for May 4

(1 Cor 11:28 NIV)  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.


It is rather interesting to me that the medical profession -- home of so many who think of themselves as M. Deities -- will so frequently encourage the practice of self examination.  After all, the doctor knows so much more than you and I, should we not let him do the examining?  And yet despite the ego, it is standard practice to encourage the patient to examine himself.

The reason is relatively simple:  the tests performed by the medical profession are often painful, intrusive, obnoxious -- and expensive.  Even worse is the treatment which comes after the tests.  Surgery, one doctor reminded me, is nothing more than a friendly attack with a knife.  But the surgery can be lessened or even avoided -- if the disease is detected in time.  That’s why self examination is so much encouraged:  the sooner you see it, the lighter the task of curing it.


Some of us, however, take our dislike of going to the doctor (a male fault, for the most part, in my observation) to the extreme of never performing a self examination.  We’re afraid of what we might find.  You think not?  Have you ever felt around inside your mouth and discovered something that “felt funny?”  Did you have the temptation to say, “Well, it’s probably nothing -- no need to call the dentist on this one?”  Of course, when it begins to hurt, you’ll hear the dentist say those painful words, “I wish you had come in when you first noticed this.”


The purpose of self examination is not to prevent disease.  It is to minimize the impact the disease has, and provide the swiftest, least painful cure.  That is exactly the same purpose that self examination has for the Christian.  You and I are sinners.  We are going to sin;  if we “let it go,” it will become a habit of vice so very hard to break.  But if we catch it early, God, the Great Physician, can deal with it gently and root it out.

So our spiritual physician prescribes a weekly period of self examination.  It’s a time for a check of our attitudes and our habits.  In a medical examination, the doctor will tell you what to look for.  He’ll tell you what “normal” looks and feels like, and then leaves it to you to find something that doesn’t match that pattern.  So it is with our heavenly physician.  He has given us the pattern we should conform to -- our Lord, Jesus Christ.  As we approach the Lord’s Supper, we should be fully aware of our sins.


For there is one thing else.  More and more doctors are discovering that the patient is a very important part of the cure.  It is so in spiritual life as well.  If you will not examine yourself, you will not confess your sins.  If you will not confess, you will not repent.  If you will not repent, you cannot be forgiven.  Healing power is His;  the next step is ours.

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