Originally scheduled for July 1
A normal feature of a communion meditation is
the encouragement for those who partake to examine themselves. Let’s
take a little bit closer look at it this morning.
But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the
bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and
drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
(1 Corinthians 11:28-29 NASB)
This is the “proof text” cited for this
examination. We might back up just a bit and remember what we’re
doing: in communion, we are proclaiming the body and blood of our
Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever else might be going on, this is a most
serious matter. His body and blood are our atonement; his
crucifixion the most important event in human history. This is
serious stuff. We ought to act like it. But so often we treat this
as a formality — it’s “just a ritual.” Let me give you a parallel:
when my father died he was entitled to a flag on his coffin because
of his 20 years service in the Army. The flag came with a small
detachment of soldiers who most impressively folded the flag in the
absolutely correct manner. They were dressed in formal uniforms and
did their job quite well. They handed the flag to one of my
brother’s stepsons who is in the Navy, who handed it to my mother. I
now have that flag in my house. The thought of that flag brings me
to the edge of tears. If I react that way to a flag being folded and
presented, how much more seriously should I take communion? Indeed,
Paul tells us here that we eat and drink judgment to ourselves if we
do not judge the body rightly. This is important!
Failure to examine yourself has even more
serious consequences. As the apostle John put it,
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the
truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and
righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a
liar and His word is not in us.
(1 John 1:8-10 NASB)
Failure to examine yourself is equivalent to
saying that there is no need for you to examine yourself. This is
very foolish. If we say we have no sin:
We are deceiving ourselves. Man who
is deceiving himself is fooling himself, and therefore making
himself a complete fool.
More than that, you’re saying that
your Savior is a liar. That is hardly a zero risk proposition.
It is also evidence that God’s word
is not in you — in short, you’re a hypocrite.
But if you do examine yourself and confess your
sins to God, he has promised to forgive them. More than that he has
promised to clean up your act. Forgiveness and cleansing are the
result of self-examination.
Communion is a high holy thing, not to be taken
lightly. It has about it that which some call “the sense of the
sacred.” It is reserved strictly for God’s use with us. It’s as if
he’s saying this is so high and holy that you cannot understand it
completely. But that’s no surprise, his ways are far above our ways
and understanding. However, in this world, that’s as common as mud.
How many things do you really understand thoroughly? It’s a rare
medical doctor that can repair race engines. But most medical
doctors do know when to change the oil in the car. It is by
obedience that we get through this. We don’t have to understand it;
we have to obey it.
Therefore, with all due humility, examine your
self. Do not seek your own self justification — that’s just too easy
to find. Rather, seek out that which is sin in your life, confess it
and give it to God. Then, partake.