Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Examine Yourselves

As I read through the bible I see place after place after place where what is written is not reflected in todays brand of "christianity." Read this example below:

2 Cor 15:5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in youunless, of course, you fail the test? 6And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. 10This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

Here's what I would like you to reflect on this morning: has your "pastor" ever told you to examine yourselves to see whether or not you are in the faith? I mean, ever? I can tell you that I spent many years being "serviced" by todays CEO style christian guru "pastors" and I never heard one of them...ever even hint around this idea. That my friends is more evidence that what we see in the world is a church preaching a different Jesus according to a different spirit and a different gospel than the one we read about in the bible.

Let me ask you this, when the world conflicts with the word of God, what should we do? Ignore the word so we can be at peace with the world? Never. Also notice this with me, Paul tells the Corinthian church to examine themselves, to test themselves, and as he mentions later in verse 10 he does this in order to build them up, not tear them down.

The partial gospel preached in so many churches today tears people down. The "pastors" may think they are doing people a favor by only cherry picking the most pleasant and pleasing words from our Lord's words, but doing this will never allow the people to achieve the perfection we are told to aim for. Behold:

2 Cor 13:11Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Only when we have the whole counsel of God can we ever hope to move closer to the goal of perfection. As this servant has written before, I believe the Lord is calling us to the very center of his will for us. We are being led towards perfection "in Christ." Would any respected teacher do otherwise? Good teachers show you the right way, the perfect way to achieve things. They may give you crutches along the way to help you along the path where you are troubled, but the goal is always perfection.

Here's another thing I've never once heard any preacher, "pastor" whatever mention:

Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Christ Jesus is in you, UNLESS you fail the test. Fail the test? Are you reading this? Christ Jesus is in you unless you fail the test. This statement along with so many others in the bible stabs a rapier through the heart of the OSAS "once saved always saved" argument doesn't it? Either that or Paul is out of his mind and so is the Holy Spirit and we know that cannot be the case. There is a "test" that we must pass. If we do not pass this "test" then Christ Jesus is not in us, and if he is not in us, we are not "saved."

When is the last time your "pastor" talked to you about the importance of this "test" we read about in 2 Corinthians? Do they not think its important? Do they think you are not "spiritual" enough to handle it? Do they think it will be bad for this weeks "tithe" collection? Why don't they ever mention it?

Along the lines of passing this "test" we have this relevant and recurring passage of scripture:

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

We must pray always that we may be accounted worthy to escape.....We know that many preachers and teachers talk about the rapture, but how many talk about the worthiness necessary to take part in it?

Accounted worthy? Examine ourselves? Test ourselves? Pass the test?

These ^^are recurring themes in the bible that are passed over by todays "christianity." They are not good topics to maintain "church attendance" and the financial bottom line..I understand. Why is this being written about today? How does todays writing fit into the 4 month or so theme of Jesus calling us to him? The Lord is coming back for a spotless bride. He expects holiness from us and a heart inclined towards perfection. He searches our hearts and minds. What is he finding when he searches us?

As we move down this narrow road that leads us through the small gate that leads to life, there is little room on either side for deviation. Broad roads have lots of room for maneuver, ours does not. The Lord is faithful to forgive us our tresspasses while we are living. As I read the pages of the New Testament I see Paul chastising the churches for different kinds of bad behavior that causes him to tell the churches things like "hey guys, you need to examine yourselves." We need to be our own harshest critics, but not for the purpose of tearing down, for building us up. Its called CONSTRUCTIVE criticism and many times we are the only ones (along with the Lord) who can criticize ourselves for things without hard feelings or resentment.

We serve a very good God. He loves us and he has proven his faithfulness to this servant over and over and over again. Our God answers prayer. Our God honors his promises, he watches over his word to ensure it does what it was sent to do. Let's examine ourselves in order to perfect our walk with our God. Lets set our hearts on doing things that please him. As the Spirit searches our hearts and minds, lets do some internal "housecleaning" to make sure that there are no doors in our "house" the Spirit will open and say "WHOA, what's that?" Judgement starts with the church and our loving God starts judgement with the "easy way" of us judging ourselves (with the Spirits help) so he does not have to use the "hard way" of external judgement on us.

Today is a good day. Thank him. Let his praise be continually on your lips. Remember what he has done for you, your family and all the brothers. May he bless you and keep you today and may he grant you peace.