Every year the doctor expects to see me. For insurance purposes it is a year and a week after the last time he saw me. It is time for my annual check-up. What I expect him to tell me is that I am wonderfully fit and have the mind, body and reflexes of a man half my age. I expect him to tell me that I have no conditions that need watching and that I have no need of prescription medications. That is what I expect, but it isn’t what I get. He is the doctor and he sees me differently than I see myself. Bummer!
This has a spiritual application in two ways. First, Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they were in the faith. That was a pretty clear call for a check-up. They had problems that they consistently denied but that were readily apparent to others. It is important to note that Paul always called them Christian brethren, but a check-up would help them treat the problem make them more evidently so. Dr. Paul had spoken and given them multiple prescriptions for healing.
The second application is for the people in the church to examine those teaching in the church. Paul used this in Titus chapter one where he spoke of the leaders of the Cretan church as being ones who professed to know God but by their works denied Him. What sounds like truth from the pulpit should look like truth in the lives of those who preach it. (However, before a charge is brought against an elder or pastor, the one who levels the charge must be free from the same sin or any other known or open sin. They should especially be free from the sin of contentiousness which leads many to accuse others and fail to examine themselves.) When a leader regularly practices open sin his preaching will begin to stray from the truth. Soon whole congregations will be led astray from sound doctrine and fall into error.
Thus we see the rise of many false cults from the Gnostics who opposed the Apostles to ones we see today. We also see the corruption of many denominations that have openly embraced sexual sin. The Gnostic teaching was particularly debauched in the practice of open immorality by its leaders. Jude used the phrase to define them, “Ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” We need to heed God’s call for examination of both ourselves and our leaders to see if there is proper reflection of God’s truth. Edwin Orr wrote the words to a very special hymn that calls for examination.
Search me, O God, and know my heart today. Try me my Savior, know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me; cleanse me from every sin and set me free.
O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee. Send a revival, start the work in me.
Thy Word declares, Thou wilt supply our need; for blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.
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