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Communion 2011

Warning Lights

Originally scheduled for December 4

Unless you are a pilot or a ship captain, you probably don’t really notice them.  They are the warning lights required by law. If you've ever looked at a radio tower at night, you've seen the flashing red lights. Their function is to warn airplane pilots that between those lights there's a radio tower. Likewise, ships display them — one side green, the other side red — so that the ship's captain not only knows where an approaching ship might be but also which direction it's going.

The lights are regulated by the government. This is something that must be because you don't want to worry about which lighting system you're looking at. All the pilots know what those lights mean, and all the ship captains can tell right from left. They are required for our safety, and regulated so that they will work.

In a way, communion does the same sort of thing. We are told that a man is to take communion after examining himself. That self-examination is to be a warning to the Christian. It's something that needs to be done; it's something that pays great benefits — and it is something needed to preserve the harmony of the church.

Note that it is regulated. Self-examination is a good thing, but to do it right we need to do so in the context of the sinless life of Christ. It's no use comparing ourselves to our next-door neighbor. The standard by which we are measured is Jesus Christ. When you examine yourself against that standard the results are usually quite clear. The key question then is whether or not you will do something about it. Confession and self-examination should lead to repentance.

If you can go to that self-examination and conclude that there is no action required then I suggest you are going to have some vision difficulties. Only the pure in heart can see God. If you say you have no sin, your heart is not pure and God will soon vanish from your sight. Therefore, pay heed to the warning lights. Let your self-examination give rise to confession, and your confession give rise to repentance. This is the honorable and worthy way in which to receive communion.

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