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Summary: The Bible commands us to test ourselves:

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YOUR SPIRITUAL INVENTORY

TEXT: 2 Corinthians 13:5

INTRODUCTION:

1. Warren Wiersbe tells about the time the late William Randolph Hearst sent out his agent to secure particular art pieces. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures. They were in Mr. Heart’s warehouse. Hearst had been searching frantically for art pieces he already owned.

2. We are fast approaching the end of another year. Very soon now you will see business sending people up and down the aisles of the stores with little clipboards or hand-portable computers. They are TAKING INVENTORY.

3. Companies do this for taxes. But they also do it to figure out

a) How well they did last year, and

b) To figure out what they can do to improve the next year

4. Perhaps now is a good time for each of us to look back at the past year and take a SPIRITUAL INVENTORY.

5. This would give us the opportunity

a) To thank God for the areas of growth we have each experienced and

b) To determine in which areas we need to put forth a special effort to improve in the coming year.

6. Some would become very uneasy at the very thought of a spiritual inventory.

7. They would have all kinds of reasons for opposing such a lesson, but the truth of the matter is the real reason they would be upset, by the lesson, is because they are afraid of what they might find.

8. The Bible commands us to test ourselves:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

9. Others are probably thinking that the church needs an inventory.

10. When we the members get our own inventories straightened out the church will come out right.

11. Perhaps it would help us to put it down in black and white.

12. Many have thought they were doing well financially until they set down the figures in black and white.

13. The necessity of a budget.

14. We must be honest in making our inventory. If we lie to ourselves about our physical condition there can be little hope of improvement; the disease will persist. Worse still, deep inside we will know that we have lied to ourselves and the problem will continue to plague us.

15. It is far better to recognize our problems so that we can put them behind us.

DISCUSSION:

I. Do you give thanks at meal time?

"forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." (I Tim 4:3-5)

A. A. If we eat without prayer, we are eating polluted food (V - 5).

1. Compare to Jews cleansing items with water.

2. We don't use water but we do use prayer.

B. Worst of all, if we eat without giving thanks we are ungrateful children.

C. Even in public we give thanks if we care more about the Lord than

we care about what complete strangers think of us.

II. Is prayer a part of your personal life?

"pray without ceasing;" (I Thess 5:17)

A. Is your prayer life such that you can stop and pray at any time?

Ephesians 6:18-19 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,

As Hendriksen noted, the word "all" is used four times in this verse.<23>

ALL kinds of prayers and supplications are to be used: public prayers, private prayers, intercessory prayers, prayers of thanksgiving, every kind!

ALL seasons are the season of prayer: all times of the day, all conditions and circumstances, all occasions, all states of mind, etc.

ALL perseverance: through times of discouragement or defeat when it seems that all is lost, when victory has smiled or when it has failed .... let nothing hinder the prayer life.

ALL the saints are to be remembered in prayer. What an intercessor was Paul. His letters abound with the word that he is praying for those whom he remembers and for those who will receive his letters.

Even though the Christian has put on the whole armor of God, he cannot win the victory except through a constant reliance upon prayer. A prayerless Christian is a contradiction of terms. (Burton Coffmaan Commentary on Ephesians)

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