Keith Hunt - Let a man EXAMINE himself Restitution of All Things


Let a man EXAMINE himself

                  IN GIVING INSTRUCTIONS
                 TO THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH
                 ABOUT THE DEATH OF JESUS
                         PAUL SAID:

                "Let a man EXAMINE himself"


There are, to be sure, many areas in our lives where we can
examine ourselves in the light of God's word, to see if we
measure up to the name "Christian." We may want to examine
ourselves as a husband or wife, as a mother or father to our
children, as an employee to our employer, or an employer to those
who work for us. We could examine ourselves within the context of
our neighborhood - are we someone that people like to live near?
We can examine ourselves by the mirror of God's law - going down
each of the Ten Commandments, reflecting and meditating on our
daily life to see where we may fall short and miss the mark.

Then there is the "tongue" - that little member as James wrote,
that little member that can be a fire, a "world of iniquity" and
can indeed be as he said, "an unruly evil - full of deadly
poison"(James 3:6,8). Yes, we can examine ourselves in the light
of what James said about the tongue, and see if we more often
than not "put our mouth into gear before our brain" as people
often say about those who speak before they think.

Are the words that come out of your mouth woven with the threads
of love, kindness, patience, concern, joy, understanding, or are
they laced with harshness, impatience, vaulted vanity, and
sprinkled with cutting sarcasm's?
Do we jump into arguments at the "drop of a hat"? If someone says
something about us we don't think they should have said, are we
like a bullet from a gun - fast to action in verbal diatribe and
castigation to "get even" with that person? Do we tend to
dominate all conversations we enter into with others, hardly
anyone else being able to get a word in?
Do we jump to fast conclusions about something we only partly see
or hear, and start spreading false rumors and stories around to
all that will listen?

Oh yes, there are so many ways this little member of ours can be
"an unruly evil - full of deadly poison" if we do not restrain
it.

We can examine ourselves in how much TV we watch each week, and
what KIND of TV programs we decide to view. How do we guide our
children in their viewing of ''the built in baby sitter" as the
TV has been called?

Maybe you want to examine yourself in Sabbath keeping. Is the
Sabbath a delight and joy to you, or do you just endure it,
drifting through its hours, hardly able to wait for the sun to go
down so you can "do your thing" ?

Your feeling pretty good about the aforementioned examination
topics, the doctor is giving you a clean bill of health so far.
Your in "good shape" as they say.

Well let's see now. You could see how you stack up against the
BIG 3(as some like to call them) - Bible Study, Prayer, and
Meditation.

Do you really read and study your Bible as you maybe once did, in
those days of "first love" - when what you were discovering the
Bible REALLY said(and not what people said it said) was so
EXCITING and thrilling?

Can you still get ENTHUSIASTIC over discovering something new in
God's word, something you had never seen quite that way before?
I'm not talking about LARGE foundational truths and doctrines
that you've already discovered and been enthusiastic over, but
those small things that just keep popping out at you as you read
the word. Let me give you an example.

For years and years, and more years, I had read many times the
words of Jesus, "Fear not little flock for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the Kingdom "(Luke 12:32).
One day as I was looking in one of my Bible Commentaries I have
in my library, looking for something else at the time, I
discovered a comment about the words "little flock." It is what
is called in the Greek, a double diminutive. In the English
language we would write it something like, "little, little flock"
or "very little flock."

Now that discovery was not earth shattering - it did not change
any large foundational doctrine of God - it did not change the
way I should live. It was just a little bit of knowledge about a
few words of the Bible that I did not have before. Yet I got
excited over finding that small truth.

God's word is ever full of such discoveries no matter how long
you've been reading it.

If you have passed with a reasonably good mark on the big three,
then you could try the "fasting" examination. Does a year go by
and you come to the day of Atonement only to realize you didn't
have a spiritual fast on any day for a whole year?

How about "service to others"? Did you, since you last took stock
to examine yourself to see if you were "in the faith," SERVE
someone, HELP someone - GIVE to someone of your time, talent,
encouragement, condolence, or perhaps give of your physical
money, food, or goods to those in need?

Did you send a card to some person? Maybe for their birthday or
their wedding anniversary, perhaps a "get well card" to someone
with a chronic illness, or an individual who finds themselves in
the hospital for one reason or another.

The apostle John was inspired to write, "By this we come to know
progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand
the(essential) love: that He laid down His(own) life for us; and
we ought to lay(our) lives down for(those who are our)
brothers(in Him)" (1 John 3:16, Amplified Bible).
The Greek "to lay" in the sentence, "to lay down our lives for
the brethren" is in the PRESENT tense, and could be better
understood as saying, "and we ought to be continually laying down
our lives for the brethren."
How do we continually lay down our lives for others? John goes on
to answer in verse 17 and 18.

"But if any one has this world's goods - resources for sustaining
life - and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet
closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of
God live and remain in him? Little children, let us not
love(merelv) in theory and speech, but in deed and truth - in
practice and in sincerity "(Amplified Bible).

If we are serving our fellow man in whatever way and with
whatever means are at our disposal, then John tells us in verse
19, we can know we are of the truth.


                     MORE EXAMINATIONS

The same apostle John also wrote, "The man without love for his
brother is still in death. The man who hates his brother is at
heart a murderer, and you know that the eternal life of God
cannot live in the heart of a murderer " (1 John 3:14,15 -
Phillips translation).

Is there someone - a relative, neighbor, co-worker, church
brother or sister - whom you detest, abhor, and plain hate at
heart? I do not mean you detest or hate their sins, but
you despise them as a person. Do you have a grudge against
someone - a "bone to pick" with them? Someone has "done you
wrong" or you have done them wrong and you know it. Maybe you
must examine yourself along these lines, and get your heart
cleaned up by God's Spirit washing away your hate. Maybe you must
do what Jesus taught in Mat.18:15 and Luke 17:1-4.
Many of us - hopefully ALL of us - can do what must be done to
try and heal friendships.
We can "clear the air" - we can forgive or ask for forgiveness
from a friend or relative or church acquaintance, but what about
an ENEMY? What about that individual who is a sworn enemy of
yours? He is going to hate you "till hell freezes over" as the
saying is. He despises not only how you think, how you live,
what you say, but he or she just hates YOU - as a person.

How do you measure up in your attitude and in your actions
towards that kind of fellow?

You can examine yourself on this point with the light and
teaching of Christ as found in Luke 6:27-29.


Let's get down to examining ourselves in the context and
environment of "Church services and fellowship."

Oh, we may have nobody we hate or even dislike per se, but are we
"clicky"? Only talking to and fellowshipping with, week after
week, those to whom we have a natural infinity towards. Types of
personalities are naturally drawn to each other, and that is not
wrong as such. But it you find you can not, or do not, over a
period of time, talk to all and everyone within your group - if
you find it hard to go and greet the new-comer - if you find
you are completely content with the "niche" you have carved for
yourself in the body of Christ, to the exclusion of all others,
then it's time to do an examination or yourself - to see if you
are in the faith.

Do you tend to be a complainer? You feel "nothin's bein' done
right" as far as your church group goes. Maybe you gripe about
this or gripe about that. When the floor is open to suggestions
or comments, are you the first to stand and complain about
something? Sure there is a time and place for constructive
criticism, but if that's all that comes out of your mouth -
criticism - then an examination on your part is called for,
before others do it for you.

It is much better to examine ourselves than have God or others
have to do it for us.

Let's be willing to examine ourselves on how we accept
sermonettes or sermons. Do we "nit pick" on a continuous basis?
Trying to poke holes in what was said - disagreeing with every
sentence uttered, finding fault with the delivery, inflection of
voice, arm or hand gestures etc. etc.
True, we are not to be "dumb sheep" just leaving our minds at the
door and letting someone else do our thinking for us. On the
other hand we should not let the pendulum swing all the way to
the other side either, and become a chronic critic.

Maybe you do not belong to a "click" nor have you carved out a
niche in your "comfortable pew"(as one book was called that came
out in complaint about lazy comfortable Christians) in services,
but do you show favoritism? You like this or that person more
than others because they drive the same car as you - the "only
car worth having" as far as you are concerned. Or, they like the
same music that you like, or they dress in your view like the
"cat's me-ow."
Perhaps it's the job they have, the position they hold in the
community, or any number of other things this or that person has
that makes you show favor to them above others.

For those who are "up front" leaders in services, such as
deacons, deaconesses, song leaders, announcement person, Sabbath
school teachers - do you show favoritism in different ways? If
you are song leader, do you always ask the same two or three
people to open and close with prayer, when you know there are
many others who can do it also, and would like to from time to
time? That also is favoritism.

Your group has the blessing of a keyboard player for the song
service. You have the added blessing of having more than one
keyboard player in your congregation. Do you share their talents,
giving them all a chance to play if they are willing to do so? I
have experienced some churches and fellowship groups that have
that blessing of more than one pianist, yet only one is chosen or
asked to play, and the roof will fall in before anyone else gets
the job, even if the regular player can not make it to services
for some reason. Everybody has to try and sing
"acappella"(without instrumental accompaniment) while the
other pianists sit there never being asked to serve. This is also
favoritism.

And favoritism of any kind is wrong brethren. It is sin - it
misses the mark. James was inspired to clearly tell us so, in the
book that bears his name, chapter 2 and verses 1 to 9.

Do you have a particular "minister of the gospel" that you
idolize? A man you would do anything for, even commit suicide
for, or lie for, or even kill for.

Many in recent times have done some of those very things, for a
man they unknowingly and not with planned forthought perhaps(but
did nevertheless) came to worship as if he was God's infallible
servant in word and deed. Do you remember "Jonestown"? For those
of you who do not, maybe your public library carries the book.
You think this can not happen in God's church. Wrong! It happened
right at the beginning - within 70 years of the start of the New
Testament church. People began to follow people - men began to
have their "minister" idols. It's recorded for us. Read about it
in 1 Cor.1:12-13. This too is sin!

There are so many areas of our lives we could put under the
magnifying glass of self examination that a whole book could be
written on the subject. Probably someone somewhere, has done just
that - written a book on the topic of self-examination. Certainly
God's word examines us if we will let it.


                   SEARCH ME OH GOD

This was the attitude of David(a man after God's own heart) in
Psalm 139 and verse 23.
He cried out for God to search him, to know his heart, to know
even his thoughts. He wanted God to see if there was any wicked
way in him.

This is the attitude of a truly converted person - someone who
desires to be shown his error, his sins of heart and mind - sins
of OMISSION as well as sins of CO-MISSION. This is the attitude
of someone who is willing to examine him or her self through the
light of God's word and Spirit.

Jeremiah also cried out to God and said, "O Lord, correct me, but
with judgment, not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing"
(Jer.10:24).
You will notice that Jeremiah was very wise in his asking to be
examined, he asked God not to do it in anger. A good lesson for
all of us to learn, for who would want to fall into the hands of
an angry God?
Notice the verse previous to the one quoted above in Jeremiah 10.
It is telling us that man by himself, without the help of God,
cannot properly and clearly direct the true way he should live,
speak or think. Oh, he may be able to see that stealing, or
murder, or rape, is not good for his society, but can he see
where the very thought of wanting to rape someone is wrong? Can
he see that publishing magazines of nude men or women for people
to lust over in their minds, is sin? Can he see that to hate
someone in your heart is wicked? By and large mankind does not
see these things as evil. Overall he can not direct his steps by
himself. If he could the world would not have all the pain,
troubles, crime, wars, and sicknesses it does have. He would be
able to make his own utopia and God would not have to send Jesus
Christ back to this earth to show mankind the way in which he
should walk.

Do you want God to look upon you as He did David?

What must you do for God to look upon you with favor?

There are a number of things the word tells us we must do - two
of them are found in Isaiah 66:2, "but to THIS MAN will I look,
ever to him that is poor and of a CONTRITE SPIRIT, and TREMBLES
at my word."

We are to be humble, teachable in spirit and to deeply respect
with an obedient heart, the word of God.  And part of God's word
says we are to EXAMINE OURSELVES!

J.B.Phillips translated 2 Cor.13:5 this way: "You should be
looking at yourselves to make sure that you are really Christ's.
It is yourself that you should be testing. You ought to know by
this time that Christ Jesus is in you, unless you are not real
Christians at all."

Our heavenly Father wants us to examine OURSELVES - to willfully
take the time to ask for guidance through the Holy Spirit in
showing us our sins - to see where we fall short as we look into
God's mirror, as we read and study and meditate on His law and
word.
He wants us to learn and be corrected through others. To learn
and be corrected by sermonettes, sermons, articles we may read -
through the experiences and errors that others have made who went
before, and who can now help us not make the same mistake.
God wants US - you and me - to judge and examine OURSELVES. He
does not want to have to directly do it for us. That would only
bring His chastening upon us.

Just as a physical parent does not want to have to meter out
punishment of various kinds, upon his or her child, for them to
learn the way to go, but wants the child to listen and obey his
words, to examine himself, so as to avoid parental punishment.
Likewise, our heavenly Father wants it to be with His sons and
daughters.
But if His children will not examine themselves to see if they be
in the faith, then with loving concern, He must step in and
chasten us, in order that we not perish with the
world.
"For if we searchingly examine ourselves - detecting our short
comings and recognizing our own condition - we should not be
judged and penalty decreed(by the divine judgment). But when
we(fall short and) are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined and
chastened so that we may not(finally) be condemned(to eternal
punishment along) with the world "( 1 Cor.11:31,32 Amplified
Bible).


There is probably no better time to have personal introspection
than at the Passover season. 

We are admonished by the apostle Paul:

"But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread
and drink of that cup."(1 Cor.11:28).
                 .......................................



                      Written by Keith Hunt(1991)



 
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