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Communion 2009

Self Examination

Originally scheduled for November 1

The church which your author attends has recently made a deep commitment to what is called Consumer Christianity. This has had a particular effect upon the communion service itself: the service has been revised to completely prevent self-examination. The usual method is to have a special number by the worship team which is loud and intrusive.

Upon inquiry, the explanation is given that communion is a time of congregational praise, not a solemn remembrance. The music is fast and happy (the definition of “praise” music today) so that one’s mind does not focus on self examination, but clapping along.

Communion is now secondary in worship here; it is “fit in” to the service wherever it can be fit to accommodate the music and the message. Those who object are classified as fossils and then ignored.

 

Why are we doing this? Consumer Christianity, by definition starts by finding out what people want, then delivering it to them. It’s fairly clear that people don’t want guilt; it’s unpleasant and pop psychology says it’s bad for you. So if you have a portion of your service that causes guilt, you change it. It keeps guilt from spreading. It keeps people happy.

 

Why, then, does the Scripture command that a man should examine himself? The answer is relatively simple: self-examination reveals the guilt you already have – and leads therefore to repentance. We are commanded to do this regularly at communion for the same reason we remove splinters quickly: the pain goes away faster, and the infection has no chance to spread. Regular self-examination does the same thing with regard to sin in your spiritual life.

So I encourage you today: examine yourself. Take the time to see if there is sin in your life. If there is, repent of it and seek the Lord’s aid in keeping it away from you – “deliver us from evil.” Then take the Lord’s Supper, knowing that it was given for you so that you might receive the Lord’s forgiveness. Forgiveness – whether it was on your spiritual shopping list or not.

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