Summary: This sermon deals with the reality that our lives are a type of examination before God in which we should strive to be passing tests along the way.
Each year around this time, Christian parents can begin to rejoice that their children are now going to be more involved in prayer than they were the previous couple of months. Heaven is full of prayers, "Lord don’t let me get that teacher, Lord please let me get that teacher. Lord don’t let me get lost. Lord, don’t let there be a quiz today." There is nothing to get children to praying like going back to school and having to face the dreaded quizzes, tests, and examinations that are most certain to come. So much of what happens in school, focuses in on the examination that is to come. The grades that they will receive on those examinations will depend a lot on the preparations that they make during the coming few weeks and months.
Some students will start to apply themselves immediately to start learning the material. Some will wait until the progress reports come out, and after their parents have canceled their phone and tv privileges, they will start to prepare for the exam. Others will wait until the night before the exam to start to study, blame the teacher for giving so much to study for, and ask God for a miracle to somehow pass the exam.
We often times do not realize it, but the Christian lifestyle is a lot like going to school. You can’t be a disciple of Jesus Christ without being a student of the word of God. We are told in the Scriptures, 2 Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. The Greek word that is translated do your best can also be translated by the word study. To study means you have to put some effort in it. You can usually look at a test score and know from the grade who studied and who didn’t. It’s not enough sometimes to study. You can study diligently, but if you study the wrong thing, it’s all in vain. Have you ever been prepared for a test by studying chapter five only to get the test and discover, you were supposed to have studied chapter 6.
Like school, Christianity has pop quizzes, mid-terms, and the final examination. Unlike school though, each exam is tailored fit for each individual. Therefore nobody can cheat off of someone else. Nobody can say this test was too hard or too easy. Nobody can say, well at least I didn’t do as bad as so and so did. As we walk this walk in life, we need to realize that God is keeping watch, and God is keeping score.
Most of us think of ourselves as pretty decent people. Even people that we think are absolutely horrible, think of themselves as pretty good people. You see they have a different measure of standard than you do. The Bible goes a step further in saying how we view ourselves. In our Old Testament reading , it said in Proverbs 16:2 All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. We ask the question, how in the world could you do something like that, when the other person sees it as no real big deal. Why? Because in his own eyes, he’s innocent. But how we see ourselves in our own eyes is not the end of the matter. God says, you see the action, but I’m weighing the motives. In our spiritual lives, we flunk a lot of pop quizzes that come our way, simply because we did things with the wrong motive.
There’s something else about the exams. We think that we know exactly what’s come to be on the exams in our lives. The only thing is, we really don’t. Things show up on the test that we had not planned on running into. We had our lives mapped out to go in the direction of east, and for some reason or another, we find ourselves heading south. Why? Again we forget, that there is a teacher over us who sits high in the heavens. We read in Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. It doesn’t matter whether you are saved or not, your plans for the future, must always go through the plan of God for your life. Even if you think, I’m so wicked, there is nothing that God could have as a plan for me. Think again, for we read in Proverbs 16:4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends-- even the wicked for a day of disaster.
God has put certain natural laws and moral laws into the world, and we will be examined on our willingness to respect and obey those laws. The law of gravity says that if you jump off a building, it does not depend on who you are, where you’re from, or how your parents were, you will fall to the ground. That’s the consequence of breaking a natural law. There are moral laws that God has given to us such as the 10 commandments. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian or not, even if you’re an atheist, God still requires you to pass the examination on keeping those laws. God isn’t interested in the fact that you weren’t a Christian when you committed adultery, or when you were a liar. It’s a s in for the Christian and non Christian alike. A non Christian’s sin is no greater or no lesser than a Christian’s. The only difference is that if the Christian repents, Jesus is willing to bear the consequence for those sins on the final exam. You can’t pass the exam without Jesus anyways, because you need a perfect score. Yet the Bible tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.