Shelby G. Floyd
What a beautiful day we have to come and worship God. Thank you for your attendance and your interest in worshipping and serving Christ in spirit and truth. We are sorry that Mitch cannot be here today. As you know he suffered a blood clot in his lung, and he is recuperating at home. Also Patsy McCluggage is suffering from a blood clot in her leg. We also want to remember Gabe Harman who had surgery this past week and is now recuperating at home. Let us pray that he will heal up and be back soon.
I am speaking to you on the subject—”Test Yourselves.” We are all being tested in various ways. Examinations are quite common these days. We are being examined for drivers’ tests, physical exams, blood tests, stress test, skin test, eye exams, dental exams, hearing tests, and pregnancy tests, and covid tests. There are physical and psychological tests. But today we are more interested in taking spiritual and religious tests!
I read of a husband who was sick and had to go to the doctor for an examination. He took his wife along with him. He went in to see the doctor who did a very complete examination. He sent the husband out to the waiting room and asked his wife to come in for a consultation. The doctor told his wife he had some awfully bad news. Your husband is extremely sick, but the good news is that he will be better if you will take him home, cook three hot meals every day, take care of all his needs and then he should be recovered in about two months. The wife yelled out, TWO MONTHS! The lady then left the doctor’s office and went out and got in the car with her husband. The man said, well what did the doctor say? The wife looked at her husband and said, “you are going to die!” Men we should be very thankful when we have a good wife that takes care of us all the time, cooks our meals and does our laundry and all that kind of stuff.
Sometimes it is necessary to regularly turn our attention on ourselves and examine our character and conduct. Do you examine yourself regularly to see if you are living right, and if your conduct is what it should be? We all need to do some self-examinations! Alexander Pope, who is one of my favorite poets said,
“Know thyself and presume not God to scan. The proper study of mankind is man.”
Therefore, we need to study man in order to know how we can take care of ourselves. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He was one of the great philosophers of ancient Greece. But the apostle Paul said it best in his second letter to the Corinthian church:
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV).
Paul is telling all of the Christians at Corinth that you need to take a test; you need to get an examination to see if you are qualified! In real estate training I remember that salespeople need to “have a checkup from the neck up!” He was really saying you need to check your thinking and your attitude. We really need to examine ourselves because we may be blind to our faults.
WE MAY BE BLIND TO OUR FAULTS
We have had good presidents in both of our national parties down through the ages since the beginning of our country! I remember when I was growing up, Harry S. Truman was thrust into the presidency when Franklin D. Roosevelt suddenly died. Sam Rayburn as I remember was the leader of the Senate. He quietly took Harry aside and said, Harry from here on out you are going to have lots of people around you, and they will try to put a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas, but their own. And Harry they will tell you what a great man you are, but Harry you and I both know you aren’t!
Most people do not see any faults in themselves. It is easy to see faults in everybody else, but it is difficult to see any evil in ourselves. Jesus said to his disciples one time, “Every plant that my heavenly father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads the blind man, both will fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:13-15). I have always found it to be very humorous to think of a blind man leading the blind. But to think of them falling into a ditch is not very funny! But Jesus was using hyperbole—an exaggeration to make his point. And the point is well taken because Paul declared that it is not wise to measure ourselves by ourselves: “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12). And so we need to let the word of God measure us instead of trying to measure ourselves by ourselves. In one survey that was done 88% of the people believed that if they were to die right away they would go to heaven! Do you think 88% of our population is living the Christian life? That is very doubtful! Therefore many people are blind to their faults and have little commitment to Christ and the church.
THE DANGER OF UNFAIRLY JUDGING OTHERS
In the second place this morning, I want to point out the danger of fairly examining and judging other people. We like to scrutinize other people rather than taking the tests ourselves. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5 NIV).
We know people are always judging us, and we must learn to judge ourselves by the word of God. It is better not listen to all the talk that people try to get you to do. There is the story of an old man, a boy, and a donkey who were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked along the road. As they went along they passed some people who remarked what a shame it was that the old man was walking, and the boy was riding. The old man and the boy thought well maybe these critics are right, and so the boy got off the donkey and the old man rode on the donkey. As they went toward town, soon some of the people said what a shame he makes that little boy walk and he is riding the donkey. They said well maybe it is better if we both walk. So some other people remarked that it was very stupid for them to walk when they had a good animal to ride. Then they both decided to ride the donkey. As they passed, some people said it was awful for two people to ride on that poor donkey. Then the old man and young boy decided that the people were probably right, so they would just carry the donkey. As they crossed the bridge going into town they both lost their grip on the donkey, and he slipped from their hand and fell into the river and drowned! What is the lesson to learn? It is impossible to please everyone, so just please the Lord and be done. All of God’s children must learn to examine ourselves instead of letting others examine us!
LEADERS “EXAMINE YOURSELVES”
Now the leaders of the church need to examine themselves and become better leaders. We all wish our leaders in politics would do some self-examinations and lead our country in restoring our ancient landmarks of the constitution! The apostle Paul exhorted the leaders in the church to examine themselves: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB)?
Elders Must Examine Themselves
The elders of the church must examine themselves. Paul was on his journey to Jerusalem, and he called the elders from Ephesus over to the little seacoast town of Miletus, and they came over and met with him. He reminded them of the kind of life that he had lived among them for three years. And then he warned the elders to be vigilant and watch out for the wolves:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-31 NKJV).
Paul was warning the elders to be on the look for false teachers who would come in and destroy the flock. In order to do that, the elders needed to take inventory of their commitment as shepherds (See 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Preachers Must Examine Themselves
Preachers and teachers must examine themselves to make sure they are committed to proclaim the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! Jesus said, “The truth will make you free!” From time to time we hear of preachers who take a great fall by their reckless living and then destroy the faith of many people that they have influenced to become children of God. Paul said to the young preacher Timothy: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).
Deacons Must Examine Themselves
Deacons must test themselves also. Paul charged young Timothy to charge the deacons to be blameless: “But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless” (1 Timothy 3:10).
CHURCH MEMBERS MUST EXAMINE THEMSELVES
From what has been said, you can surmise that self-examination and testing covers everyone. Therefore, all of us who have been added to the body of Christ must examine ourselves. We must pass the test! Are we in the Faith? “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Is our work what it ought to be? “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Galatian 6:4).
Are We Observing the Lord’s Supper in the Right Manner?
When we observe the Lord’s supper we must examine ourselves as the Bible plainly teaches. We read on Sunday Paul’s instructions on partaking of the supper of the Lord. First, he reminds the Corinthians that Jesus himself established his own Memorial:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Next, the apostle exhorts them to “examine themselves” to see if they were observing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in “an unworthy manner!”
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
No one is “worthy” to take the Lord’s Supper. But the text does not teach that we must be worthy before we eat and drink the supper of the Lord. But what is taught is we must partake of the supper “in a worthy manner” by “discerning the Lord’s body.” We are not to examine everyone else, but we are to examine ourselves and so observe the Lord’s body. Paul teaches that he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner by “not discerning the Lord’s body,” eats and drinks judgment to himself.
Now verses 30 and 31 assign the reason the Lord chastens those who take the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner. Paul teaches that we should judge ourselves so we would not be judged by the Lord. If not, the Lord is going to take some corrective action to convince us how important communion with the body and the blood of the Lord should be! Therefore, let us all be more serious when we commune with the Lord each Sunday.
LET GOD GIVE YOU A SPIRITUAL EXAMINATION
David the king of Israel is a good example of giving ourselves a spiritual exam. David and his army conquered all of those wicked Canaanite nations and opened up the land for the twelve tribes of Israel. David made a lot of mistakes and he had to examine himself over and over again. This demonstrates that even kings had to examine themselves. David was always trying to do better, and he would ask the Lord to reveal to him any shortcoming in his life. For instance he wrote: “
You have tested my heart;
You have visited me in the night;
You have tried me and have found nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress (Psalms 17:3 NKJV).
Again, he asked the Lord to examine him and reveal his faults:
Vindicate me, O Lord,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the Lord;
I shall not slip.
2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart. Psalms 26:1, 2
Repeatedly David asked the Lord to give him a spiritual examination,
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139: 23, 24).
ARE WE IN THE FAITH EXAMINATION?
Now I want us to take an examination test to see if we are in the faith. This involves several tests.
1. The Conversion Test
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God? Not everyone does. Even in the days of Jesus many of the people in his hometown did not believe in him. This was also true with some members of his own family—his brothers and sisters. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13 NKJV).
Have you repented of your sins? Jesus commanded repentance everywhere he preached! “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Have you made the good confession? Every person must confess their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9, 10).
Have you been immersed in baptism for the forgiveness of sin? It is a command of Christ and is mentioned over one hundred times in the New Testament. The church of Christ has emphasized baptism for forgiveness for over one hundred years because almost every denominational church teaches that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They teach salvation by faith alone which is contrary to the plain teaching of the bible (James 2:24). The church actually had its beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:46, 47). The people cried out in the audience when Peter had convinced them that they had the blood of Jesus dripping from their hands. They have been a part of that crowd that said crucify him, crucify him! He made that charge so strong that they cried out in the audience, “men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter gave a quite simple answer that any child can understand even in the 4th or 5th grade:
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38, 39).
About three thousand people obeyed and became the nucleus of the New Testament church!
Now I relate to you a story about a man that also was baptized and became a member of the New Testament church. There was a man one time who said that he had learned to be careful about small things. A little pair of homemade socks changed the entire course of his life. He once planned to take a trip with some of his friends on a canal boat, but two days before he intended to leave he injured his foot while he was chopping wood. It was only a small cut but the socks that he was wearing had some dye that caused the wound to turn red. So he decided not to take that trip. He decided to stay home but as a result something happened that really changed his life. A preacher came into town and since he did not have anything else to do, he decided to go to the service to hear him preach the word of God. His message was so powerful that he decided he would obey the gospel and become a Christian. Later he also decided to get a college education because that would help him to better serve the Lord. He became a powerful preacher, then a Senator of the U. S. Did you know that man also became the president of the United States of America—James A. Garfield. James A. Garfield also became Alexander Campbell’s personal lawyer. Later he became one of three presidents to be assassinated! Do not discount and despise the day of small things! Garfield socks are even sold today in memory of this story.
2. The Character Test
Now we will let the word of God give all of us a character test: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:5-10).
Do not ever deny that you have committed sin (Romans 5:6-8).
3. The Currency Test
The currency test is how regular you contribute to the Lord financially. All who live in America have a wonderful standard of living. How generous are we in contributing to the cause of Christ? In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said to the people: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Jesus is therefore testing our heart.
4. The Love Test
How is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ? Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13: 34,35). Later John the apostle repeated that we need to love one another, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14). I believe that the Heartland membership has passed this test.
5. The Constancy Test
As all of us draw closer to the end of our life, we need to ask ourselves, am I steadfastly serving the Lord and being faithful to the cause of Christ? It is important for us have steadfast devotion to the Lord. Paul exhorted, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). It all begins by becoming a Christian! Why not begin today?
Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon June 12, 2022 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142