Summary: A challenge to take a honest look at our selves and what we call christianity.
Scripture: Psalms 26: 1—
Title: “Evaluating Christianity”
Introduction: A couple of weeks ago I noticed three sermon tapes laying on the counter in the bookstore with titles of sermons I had preached recently. I thought I would get some copies made of them and listen to them while I was driving back and forth to the hospitals as I made my visits. On my next trip I put one of the tapes into the tape player and began to listen. As the tape played on I began to listen to myself preach. I began to notice things that just didn’t suit me. I was doing some things that bothered me. I listened to all three tapes and when I had finished the last one I must say I had some disappointments concerning my preaching. What I had actually done was “evaluated” my own preaching! I was doing some of the same things that I had criticized others for doing. I was breaking my own rules. I think every one of us should do a self-evaluation of our selves periodically. I believe we can get so caught up in doing things over and over until we think we’ve got it just right! There’s an old saying, “There’s always room for improvement.”
I would like for you to join me this morning as we do an EVALUATION of CHRISTIANITY. For this evaluation to be HELPFUL we must be HONEST.
We’re going to use the Bible as our GUIDELINE. Then we need to take a LOOK at our church. We also need to take a look at our selves.
Before we EVALUATE Christianity we need to Examine Ourselves. The Apostle Paul made this statement in (1 Cor. 11:28) “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” (This was an evaluation to find if a person was spiritually capable of receiving Communion.)
I. A SELF-EXAMINATION. (Evaluating)
a. The first step in a “Self Examination” should be taking a “Good Look” at our self! (James 1:23) “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:”
How do we stack up in light of the Word of God?
b. Another step in a “Self Examination” is “How do I FEEL?” – (Romans 8:16) “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
“Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Eph. 4:19)
Have our consciences become desensitized? (Are we NUMB?)
Do we CARE? (Mk. 4:38) “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?”
c. Another step in a “Self Examination” is checking our VISION. – (Prov. 29:18) “Where there is no vision, the people perish:”
Without VISION a person is in a place of jeopardy. – A person without VISION has to DEPEND on others, a person without VISION lives a life of DANGER, and a person without VISION is also LIMITED in everything they do!
d. Another step in a “Self Examination” is checking our HEARING – (Rom. 10:17) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Hearing is one of the most IMPORTANT parts of our lives because so much DEPENDS on hearing.
Hearing causes our EMOTIONS to be touched, MENTAL PICTURES to be FORMED, APPITIES to be CREATED, and HEARING will PROTECT us. It will cause us to notice things we would not notice without hearing ability.
In the book of Revelation this phrase is used seven times, “hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;”
e. One of the MOST important parts of a “Self Examination” is checking the HEART! – (Prov. 4:23) “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”
A BAD HEART greatly AFFECTS the WHOLE BODY!
(Mt. 12:34 ) “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
(1 John 3:20) “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”
f. Last of all in this list of “Self Examination” is the PHYCOLOGICAL examination! – This will deal with our THINKING (our MIND)
(Prov. 23:7) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:”
II. EVALUATING CHRISTIANITY.
a. Are we, as Christians, RELEVANT to the needs of the NON-CHRIATIAN?
When people with “Felt Needs” come into our churches how are we RESPONDING?
Is our MUSIC and our PREACHING, TEACHING able to relate to the NEEDS of the people attending our churches? (Do they understand our Christian vocabulary?)