Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Examine Yourself!

I Corinthians 11:28

A person ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink the cup.

I remember as a little boy taking communion, it was always a special time. Once a month, my church, Cedar Grove Baptist Church would serve, "The Lord's Supper or Sacrament." You had to be baptized and give your life to Christ before you could be eligible to take communion. I was excited to finally be able to take communion. The pastor and deacons gathered stoically behind the mysterious white sheet breaking the flat bread in the silver pan and pouring out the grape juice in the little glass cup. As they distributed the bread and the cup, it was sacredly quiet. It was so quiet you could hear the cracking of the bread in the mouths of the members. Then came the cup, as soon as the Pastor gave his speech, "in like manner Jesus took the cup, blessed it, and said 'this cup represents the blood of the New Covenant shed for the remission of sins, take and drink..." We all drank in unison.

Before the juice could settle in my throat and hit my taste buds an old senile deacon yelled out, "This grape juice is kind of sour!" My cousin laughed so hard that he accidentally spewed out all his juice on his Sunday pants. The Juice had fermented! They didn't examine it before they served it.

Some of us are like that juice, we have expired and we have not examined our spiritual state in a while. Our service has gotten stale. We are bitter because of the lack of blessings. Our love has gone sour. Before we take communion again and fellowship with other believers we might need to examine ourselves to make sure we:

1. Check for Bitterness over our past. When Naomi came back to Bethel she had lost her husband and two sons to famine. She said, "Don't call me Naomi which means pleasant but call me Mara which means bitter." When tragedy strikes our families it's easy to get bitter. We must let God heal us from the inside out.

2. Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness can set up like stagnant water. It can cause us to have a bad taste in our mouths for human interaction. Forgiveness is an ongoing thing that we must do to make sure our cups are clean.

3. Unconfessed Sin. Sin that is allowed to linger in our lives is like corrosion in a pipe. The water is good but the pipes are bad. if we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive us our sins.

4. Pride. Pride is like little worms that infest our spirit until there is no more God just our ego leading toward destruction. Pride comes before the fall. Humble yourself before the Lord.

5. Lust. A man's eyes are the window to his soul. if the eyes are full of darkness then the soul will be also. Make a covenant with your eyes that you will not lust for that which does not belong to you.

6. Hypocrisy. Jesus told the Pharisees that they were good at cleaning the outside of the cup but inside they were like tombs, full of dead men's bones. It was their religious hypocrisy that made them unclean. Their motives were bad.

7. Shame. Guilt and shame left unchecked will cause us to condemn ourselves when Jesus died to set us free through forgiveness of sins. Once God forgives you, you have to forgive yourself.

Dear God,

Thank you for communing with me. Search me, oh God, and if you find any wicked way in me, take it out. Create in me the right spirit. I want you to pour me out as a drink offering that will be a blessing and not bitterness to those that receive your gift of ministry through me. Thank you for using me as a vessel to pour through. Fill my cup with your oil until my cup runs over.

In Jesus Name,

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