Summary: Jeremiah exhorted Israel to self-examination: Lamentations 3:40-41
Our Year In Review
Text: 2 Corinthians 13:5
This past Tuesday, December 1st, I received an email from an online search company informing me that they had just made available their “Annual Year in Review: 2009.” And it took my brain a minute to register that we had indeed entered the final month of the year (and then I was a little irritated that this company saw fit to “end” the year a full thirty days early.)
It is hard to believe that year end has come so quickly but it is not unusual to feel that way, particularly as the total number of years one has seen pass increases. The rate at which a year passes seems to be directly proportional to the number of years one has lived, or at least that is my experience.
And this email was just the first of what will literally be hundreds of newspapers, magazines, websites, and television programs doing various "2009 Year in Review" pieces on ever category we can imagine (best movies, biggest news stories, richest people, biggest celebrity, etc.) It is that time of year, the end, and it is a time when we pause and reflect and consider the year past. We examine our lives over the past year to decide whether we had a good year of a bad one, were we successful or not, to what degree did we accomplish our goals, did we keep even one of our New Year resolutions? We will all engage in this self-examination to some degree or another, it is part of the human condition.
What I’d like to bring to your attention this morning is that the concept of examining self is also found in scripture.
Jeremiah exhorted Israel to self-examination:
Lamentations 3:40-41 “Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.”
Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers to examine themselves when it came to the Lord’s supper:
1 Corinthians 11:28 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
Paul also told the Galatians to examine their work in the Lord:
Galatians 6:4 “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
On this first Sunday of the last month of 2009 I’d like us to consider conducting our own “Year in Review” in light of another scripture penned by the Apostle Paul:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?
1. In this verse Paul challenged the Corinthians to self-examination.
a. In doing so, he employs the present tense for the verbs “test” and “examine”
b. Indicating that such examination was not an annual activity but meant to be a continuous one.
2. In rising to the same challenge we need to also examine ourselves and consider some important questions...
a. Why should we examine ourselves?
b. By what standard should we examine ourselves?
c. What sort of questions should we be asking ourselves?
[In this lesson, we will focus our attention on this challenge to “Examine Yourselves” and we will conduct our “year in review” by answering these questions, beginning with...]
I. WHY EXAMINE OURSELVES?
A. TO DETERMINE IF WE ARE IN THE FAITH...
1. Paul said, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith.”
a. Paul challenged his opposers in Corinth to test (peirazete) themselves, to examine (dokimazete) themselves
1) peirazete implies a practical test, one base on a standard not merely curiosity. It implies a definite intent to ascertain their spiritual condition.
2) Dokimazete is used in testing the purity of metals, the proof of authenticity.
b. Yourselves is emphatic.
c. The expression “in the faith” refers to being a faithful Christian
d. As we consider our year in review we need to do so from the question of our faith in Christ.
2. There is the real and ever present danger of drifting from the faith.
a. It is possible to drift away if we neglect our salvation.
Hebrews 2:1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. (The word spoken by God through His Son.)
b. It is possible to develop an evil heart of unbelief.
Hebrews 3:12-14 “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.”